MHR523 – Chapter 2
The Legal Framework for Employment Law in Canada
Provincial/Territorial laws govern approximately 90 percent of workers, while the civil service
employs the other 10 percent.
Common Law – The accumulation of judicial precedents that do not derive from specific pieces
Contract Law – Legislation that governs collective agreements and individual employment
Employment (labour) Standards Legislation – Laws present in every jurisdiction that establish
minimum employee entitlements and set a limit on the maximum number of hours of work
permitted per day or week
Covers maternity leave, maximum hours of work, equal pay for equal work, etc.
Legislation Protecting Human Rights
Charter of Rights and Freedoms – Federal law enacted in 1982 that guarantees fundamental
freedoms to all Canadians
Takes precedence over all other laws
Provides the following fundamental rights
1. Freedom of conscience and religion
2. Freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and
other media of communication
3. Freedom of peaceful assembly
4. Freedom of association
Equality Rights – Section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees the
right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination
Human Rights Legislation
Broad in scope, affecting almost all aspects of HRM
All jurisdictions prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, sex, marital status,
age, physical and mental disability, and sexual orientation.
Discrimination – A distinction, exclusion, or preference, based on one of the prohibited grounds,
that has the effect of nullifying or impairing the right of a person to full and equal recognition
and exercise of his or her human rights and freedoms
Intentional Discrimination – An employer cannot discriminate directly by deliberately
refusing to hire, train, or promote an individual.
Subtle direct discrimination can be difficult to prove.
Employer may not ask someone else (employment agency, etc) to discriminate on his or
Also may not discriminate becuase of association (ie. Because of ill family member)
Unintentional Discrimination – Discrimination that is embedded in policies and practices
that appear neutral on the surface, but have an adverse impact on specific groups of people
for reasons that are not job related or required for the safe and efficient operation of the
www.notesolution.com Requirement for Reasonable Accomodation – The adjusment of employment policies and
practices that an employer may be expected to make so that no individual is denied benefits or
disadvantaged in employment because of grounds prohibited in human rights legislation.
Undue Hardship – The point to which employers are expected to accommodate under human
rights legislative requirements. Failure to make every reasonable effort to accommodate
employees is a violation of human rights legislation in all Canadian jurisdictions.
Permissible Discrimination – Employers are permitted to discriminate based on a:
Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (BFOR) – A justifiable reason for discrimination
based on business necessity or a requirement that can be clearly defended as intrinsically
required by the tasks an employee is expected to perform
Harassment – Unwelcome behaviour that demeans, humiliates, or embarrasses a person, and
that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome
Sexual harassment – Offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person's sex, as
well as behaviour of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwe