Client Update: Recent Proposed Leaves for Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia government introduced Bill 29 on September 14, 2018 to increase pregnancy and parental leave to reflect the recent changes by the federal government to Employment Insurance (“EI”). Those EI changes extended employment insurance for maternity and parental leave from a combined 50 weeks to 76 weeks and came into effect on December 3, 2017. The majority of provinces have amended their employment standards to match the federal government’s changes to employment insurance (see chart below).
Consistent with the federal EI changes, Bill 29 reduces pregnancy leave from 17 weeks to 16 weeks (to reflect the now reduced EI waiting period of one week), increases parental leave from 52 weeks to 77 weeks and also increases the maximum combined leave from 52 weeks to 77 weeks. Bill 29 received second reading in the legislature on September 14, 2018. On September 24, 2018 the NDP brought a motion at Law Amendments to reduce the one year employment requirement for pregnancy and parental leave, to 17 weeks. The motion was defeated; Bill 29 was referred back to the Legislature without any amendments.
As can be seen from the chart below, the proposed changes would bring Nova Scotia in line with the majority of Canadian provinces (excluding Quebec):
|Nova Scotia (existing legislation)||17||52||52|
|Nova Scotia (proposed changes)||16||77||77|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||17||61||78|
|Prince Edward Island||17||35||52|
Employers who have policies providing “top-up” for pregnancy and parental leave should ensure that Bill 29 does not overextend their policy beyond the desired effect.
Sick leave and domestic violence leave
Last week, the Nova Scotia NDP introduced two bills which, if enacted, would provide paid days for both sick leave and domestic violence leave, and also remove the right of employers to ask for a doctor’s note.
Currently, s. 60D of the Labour Standards Code (“Code”) provides up to three days unpaid sick leave for employees.
On September 20, 2018 the NDP introduced legislation to amend the Code to provide six paid days and also remove the right of employers to ask for a doctor’s note. The proposed NDP amendment follows in the footsteps of Ontario Bill 148 (passed by the Liberal Government of Ontario) which came into force in January 2018. Bill 148 abolished the employer’s right to ask for a doctor’s note and increased the number of personal emergency leave (i.e. sick leave) to 10 days per year including two paid days. We will continue to monitor the NDP’s proposed amendments.
As for domestic violence leave, on April 17, 2018 the Nova Scotia government passed legislation amending the Code to provide for domestic violence leave. The amendments are awaiting proclamation and will provide 10 intermittent unpaid days and also 16 continuous weeks of unpaid leave. On September 21, 2018 the NDP introduced a bill to provide for the first five days of domestic violence leave to be paid. The Department of Labour and Advanced Education are holding consultations with stakeholders next week on whether to include paid days in domestic violence leave.
Currently, four provinces have proposed amending their legislation to include paid leave for domestic violence and three provinces have legislation in force which provide paid leave. The NDP’s proposal for six sick days of paid leave would place Nova Scotia well above provincial standards:
|Province||Paid days domestic violence (proposed or enacted amendments)||Paid days sick leave (enacted amendments)||Unpaid sick leave (enacted amendments)|
|Nova Scotia (existing legislation)
|Nova Scotia (proposed changes by NDP)
A change from unpaid to paid leave would impose a considerable new cost to Nova Scotia companies. We will continue to monitor the proposed amendments.
This update is intended for general information only. If you have questions about the above information, please contact Guy-Etienne Richard, or another member of our labour and employment group.
By Kimberly Bungay On April 1, 2023, the Nova Scotia government will proclaim into force Bill 226, which amends the Companies Act (the “Act”) to require companies formed under the Act to create and maintain…Read More
Abuse of sick leave / failure of employee to participate in accommodation process: Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486
By Chad Sullivan and Kathleen Starke Background A recent decision, Vail v. Oromocto (Town), 2022 CanLII 129486, involved several grievances including an unjust dismissal claim by a firefighter as well as a grievance filed by…Read More
By Stuart Wallace and Kim Walsh On January 1, 2022, the Underused Housing Tax Act (the Act) took effect. The Underused Housing Tax (the UHT) is an annual 1% tax on the value of vacant or…Read More
Parlez-Vous Francais? Recent amendments to Quebec’s Charter of the French Language may impact Atlantic Canadian businesses
By: David F. Slipp and Levi Parsche In May 2022, Bill 96 was adopted by Quebec’s National Assembly, significantly amending the Charter of the French Language (the “Charter“). The amendments create new requirements for using…Read More
The Winds of Change (Part 7): Paying the Piper: New Newfoundland and Labrador Fiscal Framework expects billions in revenues from wind to hydrogen projects
By Dave Randell, G. John Samms, and Stuart Wallace With the deadline for bids on crown lands available for wind energy projects extended to noon on March 23rd, the latest development in our Winds of…Read More
By Kevin Landry and Colton Smith The Retail Payment Activities Regulations have been released in the Canada Gazette Part 1 for comment. Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed regulations for a period of 45…Read More
By Andrew Burke, Colleen Keyes, Gavin Stuttard and David Slipp With proxy season once again approaching, many public companies are in the midst of preparing their annual disclosure documents and shareholder materials for their annual…Read More
By Brittany Trafford and Sean Corscadden In response to the nationwide labour shortage, the Federal government is allowing select family members of foreign workers to apply for open work permits. This temporary policy came into…Read More
Mark Tector and Ben Currie Effective January 1, 2023, amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) took effect, excluding “business consultants” and “information technology consultants” from the application of the ESA. This is a…Read More
By Perlene Morrison, K.C. and Curtis Doyle Once again, the time has come to review the year that was and to chart the course for the year ahead. For municipalities and planning professionals in Prince…Read More