Chapter 2 The legal framework for employment law in Canada
The legal framework for employment also includes constitutional law, particularly the Charter
of rights and freedoms; acts of parliament; common law, which is the accumulation of judicial
precedents that do not derive from specific pieces of legislation; and contract law, which
governs collective agreements and individual employment contracts.
Regulation: Legally binding rules established by the special regulatory bodies created to enforce
compliance with the law and aid in its interpretation.
****In this chapter, broader laws affecting the overall practice of HRM will be reviewed. These
include employment standards legislation, human rights legislation, and employment equity
Employment/labour standards legislation
Employment (labour) standards legislation: laws present in every Canadian jurisdiction that
establish minimum employee entitlements and set a limit on the maximum number of hours of
work permitted per day or week.
****these law establish minimum employee entitlement pertaining to such issues as wages;
paid holidays and vacations; leave for some mix of maternity, parenting, and adoption;
bereavement leave; compassionate care leave; termination notice; and overtime pay. They also
set the maximum number of hours of work permitted per day or week; overtime pay is
required for any work in excess of the maximum.****
Equal pay for equal work: Equal pay for equal work specifies that an employer cannot pay male
and female employees differently if they are performing the same or substantially similar work.
Legislation protecting human rights:
The charter of rights and freedoms
Charter of rights and freedoms: Federal law enacted in 1982 that guarantees fundamental
freedoms to all Canadians.
****the charter takes precedence over all other laws, which means that all legislation must
meet Charter standards; thus, it is quire far-reaching in scope****.
The charter provides the following fundamental rights and freedoms to every Canadian:
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
****In addition, the charter provides Canadian multicultural heritage rights, first peoples’ right,
minority language education rights, equality rights, the right to live and work anywhere in
Canada, the right to due process criminal proceedings, and the right to democracy.****
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
****all jurisdictions prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, colour, religion/creed, sex,
marital status, age, physical and mental disability, and sex orientation. Some but not all
jurisdictions prohibit discrimination on the basis of national or ethnic origin, family status,
ancestry or place of origin, and various other grounds.****
****central to human rights laws is the concept of discrimination.***
Discrimination: as used in the context of human rights in employment 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.
****both intentional and unintentional discrimination is prohibited.****