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Government of Canada proposes 10 days of paid medical leave for federally-regulated employees

Killian McParland and Emily Murray

On Friday, November 26, 2021, the Liberal federal government moved to fulfill its campaign promise to provide 10 days of paid medical leave of absence (also referred to as “sick days”) for all federally-regulated employees within 100 days of being re-elected.

Bill C-3 would do so by amending the Canada Labour Code to remove the ability to use paid personal leave for illness and injury and replace it with up to 10 paid days of medical leave.

As drafted, an employee would earn one day of paid medical leave after each month of employment, up to a maximum of 10 days in a calendar year. The paid leave could be taken in one or more periods, but the employer may require that each period be taken as at least one day. Employers would be able to require a medical certificate for any medical leave with pay (but for medical leaves without pay, only where it is at least three days). Bill C-3 may change before it is passed and additional rules may follow in supporting regulations.

After introducing Bill C-3, the Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan advised that the government will engage in consultations with federally-regulated employers and workers to better understand the impact of these changes on their workplaces and local realities.

While these legislative amendments would only impact federally-regulated employers and employees, paid medical leave remains a topical issue in the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Just two days before the federal government’s announcement, the British Columbia government announced that it would be amending its provincial employment standards legislation to provide a minimum of five days of paid sick leave per year as of January 1, 2022.

This will remain an area to watch for all Canadian employers.


This client update is provided for general information only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about the above, please contact a member of our Labour and Employment group.

 

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