A study of Canada’s Big 6 banks found that financial institutions aren’t responding to complaints in a timely, effective manner. In just five years, 13 employers were punished for violating the Canada Labour Code. But it’s not just financial institutions that must abide by customer-focused regulations.
Bill C-86 sets out new and updated requirements for both financial institutions and HR professionals as well. This guide outlines highlights for both.
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Bill C-86 means some big changes for HR departments. Go through these new requirements to determine what, if any, amendments you’ll need to make to your organization’s policies, procedures and processes.
Employees are entitled to an unpaid break of at least 30 minutes for every five consecutive hours of work. In addition, employers must allow employees to take unpaid breaks for medical reasons, breastfeeding or breast pumping.
Employers must also give employees a rest period of at least eight consecutive hours between their shifts.
Employees are now entitled to various types of yearly leave (e.g. holiday pay, parental leave, critical illness leave, etc.) from their first day of work.
After working for three consecutive months, offer employees five days of personal responsibility leave, with the first three days paid. They may use this time for caring for family members, attending a citizenship ceremony and other responsibilities.
Medical leave, formerly called “sick leave,” entitles employees to 17 weeks off for personal illness or injury. Bill C-86 expands the scope to now cover organ and tissue donation as well as attending medical appointments during work hours.
Victims of family violence are entitled to ten days of leave, with the first five days paid.
Employees who identify as Aboriginal (including Inuit and Metis) and have three months of continuous service are entitled to five days of leave to participate in traditional activities. These include hunting, fishing, harvesting and other practices prescribed by regulation.
Shared parental leave increases from a total of 63 to 71 weeks in the Bill. In addition, parents who combine maternity and parental leaves may now take up to 86 weeks of total leave.
Allow all employees to take unlimited unpaid leave for court-related responsibilities, including:
- Appearing as a witness in a trial
- Acting as a juror
- Attending jury selection
Finally, Bill C-86 updates vacation requirements. Employees with one year of service are entitled to two weeks of vacation time and four per cent vacation pay. Those who have served five or more years receive three weeks and six per cent vacation pay. Provide employees who have worked at your organization for 10 years four weeks of leave and eight per cent vacation pay.
As part of Bill C-86, the Pay Equity Act aims to eliminate pay discrepancies between men and women who work the same jobs. First, private employers with 100 or more employees and unionized workplaces with more than 10 employees must write pay equity plans. Stéphane Erickson of Norton Rose Fulbright explains what you should include in your plan here.
Next, form a pay equity committee to execute your plan. The committee should have at least three members, with at least 50 per cent of members being women. Every bargaining agent must be represented. Non-union employees can elect their representative. At least one member should be selected by the employer as its representative.
Similarly, employers may not pay employees differently for the same work based on their employment status (e.g. full-time, part-time, temporary). Exceptions to this requirement include seniority, merit and quantity or quality of the employee’s work.
Employees who are being terminated as part of a group termination should be given eight weeks’ notice. A group termination is defined as terminating 50 or more employees in a four-week period.
Employees who have worked at your organization for three months or more should be given two to eight weeks’ notice. Alternately, you may offer them two to eight weeks’ wages at their regular rate, or a combination of notice and pay that equates to two to eight weeks, depending on their length of service.
In addition, if an employee files an unjust dismissal complaint against your organization, you must submit it to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) for adjudication.
When communicating work schedules, employers must give employees at least 96 hours’ notice, in writing, before they are scheduled to work. If you fail to give this notice, the employee may refuse their shift.
However, this requirement doesn’t apply when the schedule change was requested by the employee, there’s an emergency or a collective agreement specifies a different time frame.
Under Bill C-86, when an any part of “a work, undertaking or business” is leased or transferred in any manner, “the employment of the employee will be deemed to be continuous, notwithstanding the transfer” explain the lawyers at Mathews Dinsdale.
The Bill also requires employers to reimburse employees for “reasonable work-related expenses.”
Finally, employees with at least six months of continuous service may request changes to their work arrangements. They may submit requests to change location, hours and other work conditions, in writing, and employers must respond within 30 days of receipt.
Download our Bill C-86 HR compliance checklist to make sure you’re complying with these requirements.
Bill C-86 compliance for financial institutions means more customer-focused, effective and transparent procedures.
Financial institutions are required to form a consumer provisions committee of their Boards of Directors. This committee is responsible for:
- Ensuring bank management establishes procedures that comply with consumer provisions in the Bank Act
- Reviewing the procedures to make sure they’re sufficient for compliance
- Asking management to report to the committee yearly concerning the implementation of these procedures as well as on other steps they’ve taken to protect consumers
- Reporting to the FCAC within 90 days of the fiscal year-end regarding how the committee performed the above duties that year
One of the most important aspects of Bill C-86 is establishing policies and procedures that promote responsible business conduct. These regulations aim to protect customers by ensuring the products and services offered to them are always appropriate for their circumstances and needs.
Some provisions under this part of the Bill require financial institutions to:
- Ensure all ads are accurate, clear and not misleading
- Avoid pressuring or taking advantage of customers
- Allow customers to cancel an agreement without a cancellation fee during a set “cooling down period”
- Never impose charges for products or services that were on special offer on the day the promotion ends without the customer’s express consent
Complaints are defined by the Bill as any dissatisfaction a customer has with a product or service, or with the way in which a product or service was offered, sold or provided. Financial institutions must establish procedures for handling complaints within 90 days.
Designate at least one employee in Canada to implement these procedures, plus another one or more employees to deal with incoming complaints.
Create a comprehensive record of every complaint. This should include information on how resolved the complaint, including any compensation you paid. Finally, you must submit these records to the FCAC Commissioner within 60 days of the end of every quarter.
The Bill requires financial institutions to be transparent and disclose important information to help customers make informed decisions before committing to a product or service. It includes disclosure requirements for telephone agreements, promotional offers, personal deposit accounts, prepaid payment products and more.
To comply with these requirements, start by taking the following steps:
- Use clear, simple language in disclosures
- Disclose voluntary codes of conduct and public commitments you’ve agreed to follow
- Provide customers with a resource person who can explain terms and conditions of a product before entering into formal agreements
Set up a whistleblowing system to help employees report wrongdoing within your institution. As long as they have reasonable grounds to believe that someone has or plans to violate the Bill, they can report to their employer, the Commissioner of the FCAC, the Superintendent of Financial Institutions or law enforcement.
Financial institutions must keep the identity of their whistleblowers confidential. In addition, the Bill prohibits suspending, terminating, demoting, harassing or disadvantaging a whistleblower as a result of their report.
Violating the Bill, including failure to comply, is expensive. Financial institutions can be fined up to $10 million.
In addition, the FCAC Commissioner must now make details of violations public. This includes the nature of the violation, who committed it and the penalty imposed.
Use our Bill C-86 compliance checklist for financial institutions to help you keep track of your compliance efforts.
Keep in mind that these are just some highlights from Bill C-86. In order to be fully compliant, carefully review the entire bill for changes and new requirements that apply to your organization.