Large, federally regulated companies may soon find it considerably tougher to carry out mass lay-offs without warning, with federal officials set to crack down on labour rules.
The legislation regarding the requirements for businesses wishing to undertake ‘group terminations’ is undergoing an overhaul following concerns from Labour Minister Maryann Mihychuck. The current rules for exceptional circumstances, it is believed, are being used too frequently and thus abused.
While the final wording of the new regulations has not been confirmed, the objective is to ensure more employers take appropriate steps when conducting mass lay-offs, including assisting employees with finding alternative employment and ensuring severance pay.
The current regulations stipulate that companies must provide the federal government with 16 weeks notice before letting go 50 or more workers over a four-week period. Employers are also required to establish an employer-employee committee to help laid off workers find new jobs.
If exceptional circumstances occur, companies can request exemptions to these rules. However, when officials analysed these requests in recent years, it was found that waivers were being used too often, particularly in the telecommunication and banking fields.
The new rules could dictate that a waiver is denied if the company has already received an exemption in the previous six months, while businesses will have to provide more detailed information on how many workers will be affected and the nature of their roles, not to mention the financial reasons for the group termination.
The new laws are designed to provide workers with more notice regarding possible lay-offs.