Federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers make progress on key challenges facing workers in Canada

The Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa with tulips in bloom in the foreground. Photo: HR Law Canada/Canva
By Employment and Social Development Canada | Government of Canada

Federal, provincial and territorial labour ministers met on April 14 to advance work on priority issues in workplaces across Canada.                                               

The ministers discussed labour issues related to the changing nature of work, including gig work and digital platform work. Ministers shared labour policy successes and lessons learned, much of which centred on changes in workplaces since the pandemic.

Chaired by the federal Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., the meeting allowed ministers to share their various approaches to paid sick leave (also known as paid medical leave), and discuss ongoing occupational health and safety harmonization efforts pursuant to the Pan-Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Reconciliation Agreement.                   

The International Labour Organization (ILO) presented on the recent decision to include a safe and healthy working environment as a fundamental principle and right at work. Canada has already ratified one of the two ILO conventions associated with this right and ministers discussed next steps toward possible ratification of the second.

In light of Canada’s recent ratification of ILO Convention 190, the Violence and Harassment Convention2019, ministers heard from the Canadian Labour Congress and researchers from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario on their 2022 report entitled “Harassment and Violence in Canadian Workplaces: It’s [Not] Part of the Job.” Several governments shared their efforts and ongoing initiatives to address this issue.

Ministers committed to pursuing their collaboration and to working toward the implementation of policies supporting fair, safe, healthy and inclusive workplaces across the country.

Quote

“Across the country, workers share common values, standards, and rights.  They also have different needs and priorities. We come together to share ideas and collaborate because that’s how we get the best solutions that work for workers.”
– Federal Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

Quick Facts

  • The federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for labour meet regularly to discuss issues of mutual concern that they can collaboratively address. Throughout the year, their work is supported by deputy ministers through the Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation.
  • In June 2022, the International Labour Conference (ILO) declared a safe and healthy working environment as a fifth fundamental principle and right at work, along with the four other existing fundamental principles. Two occupational health and safety conventions were subsequently declared as new fundamental or core ILO Conventions: C187, the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006; and C155, the Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981. Canada ratified C187 in 2011, but has not yet ratified C155.

Associated links

The Canadian Association of Administrators of Labour Legislation
International Labour Organization
News Release: Minister O’Regan ratifies C190 
Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation

Author