New rules set to crack down on mass lay-offs

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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.
 
  • S Steen on 2016-10-03 2:33:18 PM

    I was part of a 100 plus group that were terminated due to a Company "bankruptcy" which occured in December of 2015. The employees were quietly shifted to a shell company prior to the bankruptcy. While this shell company was determined to be bankrupt, the original business was still worth millions.

    No severance was provided to anyone. There was no advanced warning given by the Company. After 35 years of faithful service, this was how my employment was allowed to end. I was provided my back holiday pay and not much else. Our Unifor collective agreement was not honoured by the Company. Is this to become a common happening in the Canadian labour market? Shame on the Company and the Federal Government for allowing this type of thing to happen.

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