Albertans returning to work this morning will find themselves working under freshly gutted Employment Standards Code provisions
EDMONTON - It’s not just a post-Halloween sugar crash that working Albertans are feeling today. It’s a crash in their workplace protections, as well. The Employment Standards Code changes contained in Kenney’s Bill 32, the so-called Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, came in to effect on November 1st.
“The implementation of these Employment Standards changes moves Alberta far outside the Canadian mainstream when it comes to rights and protections for workers," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour. “It tips the balance of power outrageously in favour of employers.”
As of November 1st, Albertans are now working under a lower set of minimum Employment Standards, which include attacks on their holiday pay, worse layoff protection, a lack of notice for shift changes, and a near end to overtime pay for many.
“This will effectively be the end of overtime as we know it for non-union workers in Alberta,” said McGowan. “This is going to vaporize huge chunks of income for many Albertans, especially those who work in industries characterized by long hours and seasonal work, like construction, energy and agriculture.”
Another change worth noting is that Bill 32 allows employers to individually, or as a group, apply to be exempt from parts of the Employment Standards Code, meaning they are no longer bound by these minimum workplace rules.
“Before Bill 32 some exemptions were allowed but employers had to meet criteria and justify why certain parts of the Employment Standards Code should not apply to their business,” said McGowan. “Exemptions like this could mean that entire industries would not have to pay minimum wage. It could mean that employers do not have to give 30 minute breaks every 10 hours. It could mean that overtime would never have to be paid. And so on.”
The implementation of yesterday's Employment Standards changes is designed to reward bad employers and encourages bad practices that take advantage of workers.
“With the changes coming in to effect today, it is clear that Jason Kenney and his UCP government are not on the side of working Albertans,” concluded McGowan.
Director of Communications, AFL