The ATCC held a conference call in September with the Alberta Construction Association (ACA) to discuss how to move the prompt payment file forward. The ACA was quick to clarify that it does not categorically support prompt payment legislation (many of their members are general contractors), but rather they have sent a letter to the Service Alberta Minister, Honorable Brian Malkinson, indicating they “support a legislative review and consultation process around the need for prompt payment legislation”. The ACA is positioning their advocacy around “legislation that does no harm to workers”. Given the recent closure of Concept Group, the ATCC feels there is strong correlation between prompt payment and potential harm to workers as there were, very suddenly, 521 families without a paycheck.
Subsequently the ATCC met directly with Minister Malkinson regarding the consultation process. The government is looking for a clear ask; who should be included as stakeholders and what is their position on prompt payment? As such, the ATCC has been providing information on who they think should be included as well who should lead the consultation process. The ATCC is hopeful that Minister Malkinson will announce the governments’ intention to pursue a stakeholder engagement process, strongly encouraged him to utilize the work already completed by Singleton Reynolds as a template for the consultation process, and have provided him with an Alberta law affiliate with whom Singleton Reynolds has arranged an agreement in principle to work with. As much of the work has been done, The ATCC is focused on supporting a consultation process that is swift and focused.
There is also a coordinated effort being undertaken by a number of associations including the Mechanical Contractors Association of Canada (MCAC), the Mechanical Contractors Association of Alberta (MCAA), and the National Trade Contractors Coalition of Canada (NTCCC) plus constituent associations including the ATCC to draft and submit letters of support for prompt payment legislation at the federal level.
We are herewith calling on all members to draft letters of similar nature and submit to:
Hon. Bill Morneau
Minister of Finance
90 Elgin Street
Please carbon copy your letter to:
Office of the Minister of Finance
90 Elgin Street
Emily is one of the policy advisors who will have the most say in recommending this decision to the minister. Letters should be sent on company letter head and be signed by the most senior officer of the business.
In June 2017, the Alberta Government passed the Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act (Bill 17), setting the stage for significant amendments to the Employment Standards Code (ESC) and Labour Relations Code (LRC). Most of the changes will come into force on January 1, 2018, and will affect all provincially-regulated employers in the Province of Alberta, both unionized and non-unionized.
In this article, we will summarize some of the most significant changes to the ESC and LRC. Employment Standards Code.
Bill 17 will introduce the following changes to the ESC, the statute governing minimum employment standards in Alberta:
Long-Term Illness and Injury Leave: Eligible employees will be entitled to take an unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 16 weeks per year due to long-term personal sickness, injury or quarantine. Employers will be entitled to ask for a medical certificate issued by a physician stating the estimated duration of the employee's absence. Personal and Family Responsibility Leave: Eligible employees will be entitled to take an unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 5 days per year for personal sickness or the short-term care of an immediate family member. This will include attending to personal emergencies and caregiving responsibilities related to the education of a child. Domestic Violence Leave: An employee who is a victim of domestic violence will be entitled to take an unpaid, job-protected leave of up to 10 days per year for certain specified purposes, including seeking medical attention or counseling. Leave Eligibility: Employees will now be eligible to take leaves of absences under the ESC after 90 days of employment, as opposed to 1 year. Overtime: Employees will be eligible to take time off in lieu of overtime pay at a rate of 1.5 hours for each hour of overtime worked, as opposed to the current rate of 1 hour per hour of overtime worked. Employees will also be allowed to bank overtime for 6 months, as opposed to the current period of 3 months. Rest Periods: Employees will be entitled to a minimum 30-minute break (paid or unpaid) within every 5 consecutive hours of work. If agreed to between the employer and employee, breaks can be taken in two 15-minute installments. Termination of Employment: Employers will be prohibited from forcing employees to use entitlements such as vacation during a termination notice period, except as agreed to by both the employer and employee. The ESC will also be amended to prohibit the dismissal of employees on maternity and parental leave except where the employer's business is closed or suspended. Temporary Layoff: The possibility of an indefinite temporary layoff will be eliminated by requiring that layoffs be limited to 60 days within a 120-day period. Layoffs that exceed this period will be deemed to result in termination of employment. However, layoffs can be extended if wages and/or benefits are paid to the employee and the employee consents to the extension.
Labour Relations Code
Bill 17 will also introduce the following changes to the LRC, the statute governing labour relations in Alberta:
Card-based Certification: If between 40-65% of employees in a bargaining unit sign cards in favour of a union, a certification vote will be required. However, if more than 65% of employees sign cards, the union will be automatically certified without a vote (although the Alberta Labour Relations Board will retain the ability to require a vote should it doubt the authenticity of the support). Unfair Labour Practices: In unfair labour practice complaints involving discipline, dismissal or other alleged intimidation of an employee, the employer have the onus of proving that the action it took does not constitute an unfair labour practice, as opposed to requiring the employee prove that it does. In cases where employers have engaged in unfair practices, the Board will also have the ability to certify a union without a vote. Dependent Contractors: The definition of "employee" in the LRC will be broadened to include "dependent contractors", that is: contractors who are in a position of economic dependence on their principals (whether or not the contractor furnishes his or her own tools, equipment, etc.). Note that this particular change comes into effect on September 1, 2017.
The foregoing is non-exhaustive list of upcoming changes to the ESC and LRC. A more comprehensive list of amendments is available on the Alberta Government's website: "Employment Standards Code changes"; "Labour Relations Code changes".
In order to prepare for these changes, Alberta employers should start reviewing their policies, practices and procedures now to ensure that they are compliant come January 1, 2018.
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained.
© McMillan LLP 2017
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Alain Tremblay MDCM, FRCPC, FCCP, Associate Professor of Medicine is now able to accept participants with prior asbestos exposure wanting to get screened with low-dose CT in Edmonton and Ft. Mc Murray in addition to Calgary.
Please see the attached updated version of the 2014 Alberta Construction Trade Definitions for your use (updated as of June 2014).
Please destroy the earlier January version you are currently using. In summary the following updates have been implemented:
Reminder: The Trade Definitions are a living document and will continue to be periodically improved and updated. Stakeholders will be advised as updates are published.
ACA, its member local construction associations and the 3000 plus member firms endorse adoption of the 2014 Trade Definitions as a best practice. We encourage all tender authorities and their design consultants, specification writers, and contractors and suppliers to cite and utilize the 2014 Trade Definitions for their projects.