Labour and employment law considerations

In Canada, labour and employment relations are, for the most part, governed by the laws of the province in which an employee works. The term “labour relations” is used to refer to the union context, while “employment relations” is a general term covering employment laws and practices, which are not specific to trade unions. Federal jurisdiction in the labour and employment field is limited to federal works or undertakings, including interprovincial transportation, pipelines, telecommunications, broadcasting and banking. All other businesses are provincially regulated. A manufacturing operation, for example, with plants in different provinces may find itself subject to the laws of several jurisdictions.

Notwithstanding the different jurisdictions, as a general rule, all Canadian jurisdictions are consistent in overall direction. However, the specifics of legislation and the administering agencies vary greatly from province to province.

More in this section:

  • Basic employment standards and contracts
  • The organization and operation of trade unions
  • Occupational health and safety
  • Human rights
  • Pay equity
  • Acquiring an existing business

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In this guide: