The Federal Government of Canada has introduced Bill C-3, legislation that will amend the Canada Labour Code, and grant employees who fall under federal jurisdiction 10 paid sick days. In Canada, the Federal jurisdiction includes federally regulated public sector workers and employees working for federally regulated private sectors (e.g. interprovincial transportation, banking and postal services). Together these industries employ roughly 6% of all Canadian employees.
Minister of Labour Seamus O’Regan Jr. stated that the introduction of the 10 paid sick days is “an important step in the fight against COVID-19”. The Federal Government previously introduced three days of paid personal leave for federally regulated employees in 2019 that could be used if an employee fell ill. Bill C-3 provides a generous top-up to this, and codifies that these days must be used only if an employee is sick. It’s clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is still driving legislative decisions and changes as we approach the 2-year mark of the pandemic.
The Federal Government hopes to develop a national action plan, to ensure paid sick days across the country. Of course, the provinces ultimately decide how many sick days provincially regulated employees receive.
Bill C-3 is currently in the first reading stage, and there is no specified date on which these changes will come into force. However, federally regulated employers should begin preparing sick leave policies in preparation for the passing of this legislation.