Vol. 149, No. 16 — August 12, 2015
SI/2015-78 August 12, 2015
ECONOMIC ACTION PLAN 2015 ACT, NO. 1
Order Fixing September 14, 2015 as the Day on which Section 87 of the Act Comes into Force
P.C. 2015-1170 July 31, 2015
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, pursuant to section 93 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1, chapter 36 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes September 14, 2015 as the day on which section 87 of that Act comes into force.
(This note is not part of the Order.)
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of Labour, pursuant to section 93 of the Economic Action Plan 2015 Act, No. 1 (the Act), chapter 36 of the Statutes of Canada, 2015, fixes September 14, 2015, as the day on which section 87 of the Act comes into force.
This Order brings into force the legislative amendment made to the Canada Labour Code, section 123, as set out in the Act (Bill C-59).
In April 2015, the Government tabled Budget 2015, in which a commitment was made to strengthen the Canada Labour Code (the Code) protections for interns in federal jurisdiction. Following the Budget announcement, the Act was tabled, which included provisions to grant full occupational health and safety protections under the Code to interns who are not in a workplace as employees, but are there in order to acquire knowledge and experience.
As a result, section 123 of the Code is amended by adding the following after subsection (2): “This Part applies to any person who is not an employee but who performs for an employer activities whose primary purpose is to enable the person to acquire knowledge or experience, and to the employer, as if that person were an employee of the employer.”
Bill C-59 received royal assent on June 23, 2015. The legislative amendment, made through this Bill, will be brought into force on September 14, 2015.
The legislative amendments do not automatically amend the application of the regulations, and in order to extend the application of the regulations to interns, the regulations require an amendment by a Governor in Council to make that intention clear.
The legislative amendment will ensure interns are afforded with the same occupational health and safety protections as employees. For instance, interns will now have the right to refuse dangerous work and to request information from the employer on matters related to workplace hazards or other relevant information. Employers in the federal jurisdiction will benefit from enhanced clarity regarding their obligations/duties as an employer. Employers would further benefit from greater consistency; that is, the same occupational health and safety protections would be required for interns and employees.
The proposed amendments do not result in significant incremental costs for federal jurisdiction employers, given the small number of interns (1 029 in 2014–15) under federal jurisdiction who are not in the workplace as employees, but are there to acquire knowledge and experience, and the low cost associated with full protections provided by the proposed amendments. Any administrative costs would be negligible given that the majority of employers have already existing practices, procedures and/or processes in place to address potential areas of concern with respect to health and safety issues at the workplace for their employees.
In addition, in Canada, full occupational health and safety protections, including the right to refuse unsafe work, are available to interns in approximately half of the Canadian provinces and territories which have responsibilities for occupational health and safety protections in workplaces: Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The legislative amendment ensures that the federal jurisdiction has a clear legislative regime on the issue of interns, and is therefore on par with many provincial and territorial counterparts.
Consultations on the legislative amendments with key stakeholders, such as employee and employer representatives were undertaken from late 2014 until May 2015. Overall, stakeholders confirmed their support for providing full occupational health and safety protections to interns and are fully aware of the amendment to the Code.
Occupational Health and Safety Policy Unit
Employment and Social Development Canada
165 De l’Hôtel-de-Ville Street
Place du Portage, Phase II, 10th Floor