As you previously heard from the STA, the federal government is examining the possibility of providing Canadian workers with the right to request flexible work arrangements. As described by The Honourable MaryAnn Mihychuk, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, “The Government of Canada recognizes that Canadians need help to balance their professional and personal responsibilities, and that is why we launched consultations as the first step in bringing the right to request flexible work arrangements to Canada.”

There has been much buzz about the topic since Justin Trudeau made the promise at a rally in Winnipeg this past summer.

“The employee is allowed to ask and the employer needs to formally respond in writing to that request,” Trudeau said. But while employees would be given the right to ask, there would be no requirement that requests be met by employers. “

To guide the decisions to come, consultative sessions were held with both stakeholder and the general public from mid-May until the end of June of this year. The key channels for participating in the consultations were:

  • an online survey;
  • social media, including Twitter;
  • a discussion paper that invited feedback on a series of questions;
  • six regional roundtables with key stakeholders (in Winnipeg, Montréal, Toronto, Atlantic Canada, Vancouver and Northern Canada); and
  • a national roundtable held in Ottawa.

1260 people completed the online survey which, according to the Government, is not a representative sample but was taken into consideration anyways. Written submissions were provided by a variety of employer’s groups, associations and unions, the Canadian Trucking Alliance was among them. Building on the theme of “one size does not fit all,” several employer and labour organizations and at least one think tank highlighted that the need for flex work is often unpredictable and that it is important for workplaces to have flexible work arrangements that respond to episodic, short-term and longer-term flexibility requirements. It was also noted that it is important for employees, employers and policy-makers to recognize that flexibility in work arrangements is related to but distinct from flexibility to take leave from work.

A full report on the findings can be found here:

Over the coming months, the Government plans to move forward on its pledge to amend Part III of the Canada Labour Code to give workers in federally regulated sectors the right to request flexible work arrangements and explore other ways to help them better manage their work and personal lives. The STA will keep members updated on all developments.

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