The federal government has published its findings from nearly a year of consultations on federal labour standards with Canadian citizens, unions, labour organizations, employers, employer organizations and other stakeholders.

“We heard one strong message throughout the consultations: the way Canadians work has changed, but federal labour standards have not,” said Patty Hajdu, minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, in her message to open the report.

The online consultation attracted 10,000 visits, including more than 3,000 survey participants, 23 personal stories, 45 online expert discussion form posts, 25 written submissions and four high-level roundtables.

Read: Highlights of Ontario’s labour law changes

It focused on five themes: removing eligibility requirements to maternity and other leaves, supporting work-life balance, good wages and benefits, revising termination provisions and protecting employees in non-standard and precarious employment.

Looking at whether labour standards need to be improved to create better access to leave, the report found 69 per cent of survey respondents said no eligibility period should be required for an employee to take leave due to tragedy, while 41 per cent said the same for taking sick leave and 29 per cent for maternity or parental leave.

More than half (61 per cent) of respondents said employees should have to work three years before they get more vacation than the minimum, 27 per cent said five years and three per cent said more than 10 years.

As for how much minimum vacation Canadian employees should get annually, the responses were fairly split. The two most common responses were three weeks (32 per cent) and four weeks (38 per cent), followed by more than four weeks (17 per cent) and two weeks (12 per cent).

Read: What do Canadian provinces offer around sick, emergency leave?

The survey found a similar split when respondents were asked how many days of paid personal leave workers should be allotted each year. The most common response was more than five days (42 per cent), followed by five days (35 per cent), three days (nine per cent) and four days (eight per cent).

Almost all (93 per cent) of the survey respondents said employees should have the right to refuse to respond to work-related communications outside of working hours and 79 per cent said employers should have policies in place to limit the use of work-related technology outside of working hours. With that said, among those who believe employees shouldn’t have the right to unplug from work communications outside of work hours, 27 per cent said it was because business doesn’t stop at the end of the work day.

A majority (80 per cent) of respondents said employers shouldn’t be allowed to pay workers less because of their employment status, meaning temporary and part-time employees should be paid the same hourly wage as full-time, permanent employees in the same job.

Read: Ontario passes pay transparency legislation

Looking at benefits and wages, the report found 24 per cent of respondents said good wages are the most important feature of a good job, followed by benefits (21 per cent). Three quarters (76 per cent) said they’re in favour of introducing a federal minimum wage. And 95 per cent said keeping benefits was very or somewhat important when switching jobs.

“A modern set of federal labour standards will better protect Canadian workers and help set the stage for good quality jobs, especially for workers in part-time, temporary or low-wage jobs, many of whom are struggling to balance work and family,” said Hajdu in a news release. “Standards that reflect current workplace realities will help employers recruit and retain employees while also improving their well-being. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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