On November 26, 2021, the Government of Canada introduced Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code (the “Bill”) for first reading. The Bill proposes certain amendments to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”) that will be of significant importance to federally-regulated workplaces, including:

  • Personal Leave Repealed from the Code:
    • The amendments repeal the Personal Leave provisions of the Code (s. 206.6(1)), which had provided employees with five days of leave (three paid, two unpaid) for:
      • treating their illness or injury;
      • carrying out responsibilities related to health care or care of any of their family members
      • carrying out responsibilities related to the education of any of their family members who are under 18 years of age;
      • addressing any urgent matter concerning themselves or their family members; and
      • attending their citizenship ceremony.
    • Ten Paid Sick Days:
      • The amendments update the Medical Leave provisions of the Code (s. 239) and introduce a new paid entitlement, accrued by an employee at one paid day of medical leave of absence per one completed month of continuous employment with the employer.
      • An employee may accrue up to 10 paid days of medical leave of absence in a calendar year. Each paid day of medical leave of absence that an employee does not take in a calendar year carries forward to January 1 of the following calendar year and counts toward the ten paid days that can be earned in the new year.
      • An employer may require that each period of a paid medical leave of absence be taken at a minimum of one day’s duration.
      • An employer may require that an employee who has taken a paid medical leave of absence to provide a note from a health practitioner. An employer must request the note, in writing, no later than 15 days after the employee has returned to work from the paid medical leave of absence.
      • An employer may also require that an employee who has taken an unpaid medical leave of absence for three days or longer to provide a note from a health practitioner.

Implications for Employers

If Bill C-3 is passed, federally regulated employers will be required to provide their employees with ten paid days of medical leave of absence.

Although Bill C-3 provides for a significant expansion in paid entitlements for employees taking a medical leave of absence, in its current form, it also repeals the Personal Leave provisions of the Code which allowed employees to take paid leave for reasons other than a personal medical leave of absence (e.g. attending a citizenship ceremony or education responsibilities for family members).