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Regulations for federal employees

In Canada either provincial/territorial law can regulate workers or they can be federally regulated.

However, there is a specific sector of employees who fall under federal regulations.

If you are working the following businesses or industries, it’s likely you are a federally regulated employee and your employer is a federally regulated employer.

Such businesses and industries include:

  • Banks;
  • Marine shipping, ferry and port services;
  • Air transportation, including airports, aerodromes and airlines
  • Railway and road transportation that involves crossing provincial or international borders
  • Canals, pipelines, tunnels and bridges (crossing provincial borders)
  • Telephone, telegraph and cable systems
  • Radio and television broadcasting
  • Grain elevators, feed and seed mills
  • Uranium mining and processing
  • Businesses dealing with the protection of fisheries as a natural resource
  • Many First Nation activities
  • Most federal Crown corporations
  • Private businesses necessary to the operation of a federal act

Federally regulated employers and employees also have their own federal Occupational Health and Safety Act.     

What happens if I don’t fall under one of the listed categories for federally regulated businesses or industries?

Then most likely, provincial or territorial employment laws regulate you.

What does being a federally regulated employee mean?

You are protected by federal labour standards instead of the employment standards act of your province or territory.

The Canadian Labour Code regulates work hours, conditions, holiday pay, minimum wage requirements, maternity and parental leave, notice of termination and more. Both employers and employees who are federally regulated must follow the code.

Here are a few examples of how the federal government regulates some areas that fall under the code.

Minimum wage

The federal government follows the minimum wage of each province and territory in which the worker resides. Whenever the minimum wage is raised in a province or territory, the federal rate in that area also rises. In other words, the federal government doesn’t set its own minimum wage but adapts the provinces and territories individual minimum wage rates.

All employees, except registered apprentices, who are federally regulated, have to be paid at least a minimum wage.

Work hours

The standard hours of work for an employee in a federally regulated industry are:

  • Eight hours in a day (any period of 24 consecutive hours)
  • 40 hours in a week (the period between midnight on Saturday and midnight on the Saturday that immediately follows)

Federally regulated employees are all entitled to one full day of rest each week, which usually falls on a Sunday.

During a week when one or more holidays occur, the standard hours of work is reduced by eight hours for each holiday.

Notice of termination

Federally regulated employees do not have to give their employer notice if they choose to quit. However, if the employer chooses to terminate a position, they must either:

  • Provide the employee with at least two weeks' written notice; or
  • In lieu of such notice, pay the employee two weeks' regular wages.

If you are a federally regulated employee and you are having problems at work, consult with a lawyer.

Read more:

Federally Regulated Businesses and Industries

Federal labour standards