Canadian Labour Laws:
Both Federal and Provincial Laws

Canadian labour laws cover all employees in Canada with the majority (approximately 90%) covered under provincial labour laws. The remainder are covered under federal labour law through the Canada Labour Code. Each province has its own labour laws.

Canada's labour laws and employment laws are quite challenging to employers doing business in Canada as these laws are constantly being changed. In addition to these constant changes, those employers doing business throughout Canada, or have operations in the different provinces, are subject to differences in the employment laws of the various provinces and territories.

Labour Law

What can also add to the employment law challenges is the fact that both the federal and the provincial governments can have jurisdiction over labour and employment issues in a province depending on which industry the enterprise operates in.

These labour laws and employment laws can be very confusing to new businesses to the Canadian labour environment, as well as for local businesses that are expanding from provincial markets into the Canadian national market for goods and services.

The constant change associated with employment and labour law in Canada poses a significant challenge for employers doing business here. That challenge is compounded by the fact that employers with operations across Canada may be subject to differing employment laws in each province.

Most industries fall under provincial jurisdiction, while federal jurisdiction oversees labour and employment matters in those industries that are inter-provincial and international such as:

  • airlines and related infrastructure operations
  • banks
  • railways
  • highway transport (trucking)
  • pipelines
  • shipping
  • preservation of fisheries
  • telecommunications
  • Radio and television broadcasting
  • ferries, tunnels, and bridges
  • most grain elevators
  • some grain related operations
  • uranium mining operations
  • undertakings such as Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company

Federal and Provincial Labour Relations

Canadian Labour Laws (Federal)

British Columbia 






Newfoundland and Labrador

New Brunswick

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia

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