Every province and territory in Canada provides that an employee may take leave from work pursuant to legislated leaves of absence, and thereafter be reinstated to his or her former position or comparable employment. Some of the leaves commonly given across many provinces include: maternity and paternity leave, adoption leave, bereavement leave, sick leave, and jury duty leave. Other types of leave that may be less known but which are nonetheless recognized in some provinces include emergency leave, leave for reservists, organ donation leave, and, most recently, leave for victims of domestic violence.
Working parents face particular challenges, juggling the care of children along with job responsibilities, and some types of legislated leaves seek to address those situations. Certain provinces require employers to allow leave related to:
Care, health, or education of a child.
Critical illness of a child.
Suicide of a child.
Death or disappearance of a child due to a crime.
Under care, health, or education leave, an employee in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, or Quebec may be entitled to an additional leave during each employment year in order to meet the responsibilities related to the care, health, or education of his or her child. In Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, an employee is entitled to several days of unpaid leave in a year which can be used to meet family responsibilities, while employees in Ontario may be entitled to use emergency leave to deal with parental duties.
In Ontario, Yukon, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick, employees who are the parents of a critically ill child may be entitled to take an unpaid leave of absence in order to care for or support that child. In Quebec, compassionate care leave may be extended for the parents of a minor child who has a serious and potentially life-ending illness.
A number of provinces permit parents of a child who has gone missing or has died as the result of a crime to take unpaid leave. In addition, Quebec allows employees to take up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave following the suicide of a child.
As is generally the law with respect to provincial employment standards legislation, the provisions for leaves of absence are the minimum requirements only. On the other hand, certain jurisdictions expressly provide that their leave of absence provisions do not apply to all employees. For example, architects, lawyers, accountants, farmers, fishers and horticulturalists are often excluded from entitlement to these leaves of absence. The legislation in each province or territory must be reviewed for further details of who qualifies for specific leaves.
Specialty Technical Publishers (STP) has just published an update to its publication Employment Law: Solutions for the Canadian Workplace and provides a variety of single-law and multi-law services, intended to facilitate clients’ understanding of and compliance with requirements. These include: