Stay in compliance with employment laws

If you are planning to recruit any vacant positions you are holding in your workforce, now is a good time to refresh your memory when it comes to Canada's employment laws, particularly those that govern equality and diversity in the workplace.

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The Canadian Human Rights Act

This broad piece of legislation prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants or existing staff members on the grounds of their gender, age, race, ethnicity and any other protected characteristics. It also requires employers to actively improve employment opportunities for women; Aboriginal people such as Indians, Inuits or M├ętis; people with disabilities; and those from minority ethnic groups.

The act includes a duty for employers to accommodate acceptable changes to employees' duties or work environments to allow them to perform their job effectively. Where it is not possible to accommodate the employee's requests because it would cause the organization undue hardship, this must be formally recorded to protect the business from the risk of future litigation.

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The Employment Equity Act

This act was created to ensure that nobody is denied employment for reasons that are unrelated to their ability to perform the duties of the role, and in particular to offer equal opportunities to women, Aboriginal people, those with disabilities, and those from minority ethnic groups.

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The Pay Equity Act

This act aims to ensure that gender-based discrimination in terms of financial compensation is eliminated and that all people who perform the same duties are fairly compensated and at the same level.

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The Canada Labour Code

This piece of legislation is crucial for gender equality in the workplace. It makes provisions for women and caregivers by mandating that employers offer fair periods of maternity, parental and compassionate care leave. This includes leave that is required due to a critical illness. It also prevents women from being unfairly reassigned prior to or upon their return from maternity leave.

The Canada Labor code also allows employees who have been in a post for six months to request flexible work arrangements, amending their schedule, number of hours worked and work location. Employers are not required to accept the proposals, but any decisions must be formally recorded to protect against future legal action.

If you are concerned about your ability to recruit for your vacant positions or need additional support to ensure your employment terms are compliant with all applicable labour laws, you should seek specialist advice and support from your franchisor, a recruitment consultancy or a franchise attorney. It is better to spend time and money up front to ensure compliance than run the risk of financial and reputational penalties for non-compliance at a later point in time.

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