international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Canada: Bill C-65 proposes changes to workplace harassment legislation applicable to federally regulated employers and workplaces

The Hon. Patty Hajdu, federal Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, is sponsoring Bill C-65, new proposed federal legislation aimed at providing better recourse for employees of federally regulated employers with respect to harassment and violence in the workplace. Bill C-65 would make a number of amendments to Parts II and III of the Canada Labour Code.

If passed in its current form, Bill C-65 would allow those employees who believe they have been victims of harassment or violence, or who have witnessed these behaviours, to attempt an informal resolution with their employer. If the matter is not resolved informally, the employer would then be obligated to appoint a competent person to undertake an investigation. Once an investigation report has been issued, federally regulated employers would then be obligated to implement any recommendations or corrective measures set out in that report. If at any time during this process the employee believes that a contravention of the Canada Labour Code has taken place, the employee would be entitled to file a complaint with the Labour Program. The Program would then be empowered to investigate such complaint and potentially take enforcement action.

While the employer obligations set out in Bill C-65 have not yet been passed into law, as Bill C-65 is a government-sponsored bill it is likely that this Bill will eventually introduce new obligations for federally regulated employers operating in Canada. Federally regulated employers would therefore be well advised to carefully monitor the progress of this Bill.