(Dec. 17/17): On January 1, 2018, Alberta’s Employment Standards and Labour Relations codes will adopt new rules and regulations, and its Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act may too. In June 2018, Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA) could also see some labour-friendly tweaks.

Bill 17, The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act, will impact the province’s small business and hospitality industries in a variety of ways:

Employment Standards updates:

General holiday pay
Overtime
Vacation pay
Youth employment
Maternity/parental leave
Compassionate care leave

Labour Relations Code updates:

Union certification
Unfair labour practices
First contract arbitration
Definition of employer/employee

Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans, was introduced in the provincial legislature on November 27. It is the result of a comprehensive review of the province’s OHS Act after an independent request came from the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB). The bill would implement changes to the OHS Act and WCA.

WCA updates:

Increase benefits for young workers suffering long-term injuries on the job
Establish an office that helps Albertans navigate the compensation system
Remove the annual maximum insurable earning cap of $98,700

OHS updates:

Legislate the right to refuse unsafe work
Mandate joint worksite health and safety committees
Mandate new employee health and safety orientation
Develop and promote education and training programs

If passed, most of the OHS changes would come into effect on January 1, 2018, while the proposed WCB and WCA changes would occur June 1, 2018.

If you would like to know more about the impact these employment standards and labour law changes will have on your business, members can sign up for our January 8 webinar Understanding the 2018 Alberta Labour Changes with guest speaker, Calgary lawyer, Tom Ross.

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