Federal Budget Implementation Bill Introduced (C-38)
On April 26, 2012, the federal government introduced Bill C-38, Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act, omnibus legislation intended to give effect to certain key initiatives outlined in its Budget 2012.
Among other matters, Bill C-38 would, if passed,
- amend Part I of the Canada Labour Code (“Code”) to require each party to a collective agreement to file a copy of the agreement with the Minister of Labour “immediately after it is entered into, renewed or revised,” subject to the regulations, as a condition of its coming into force;
- amend Part III of the Code to generally require employers that provide benefits to their employees under long-term disability plans to insure those plans. As an exception, however, a new subsection 239.2(2) would allow for an employer to not insure long-term disability benefits under circumstances and subject to the conditions provided for in the regulations. Uninsured long-term disability benefits that are in pay and long-term disability benefits in respect of claims initiated prior to the coming into force of these amendments may, as a transitional measure, continue to be provided on an uninsured basis;
- in addition to a general and significant increase in maximum fines for first, second and subsequent offences under section 256(1) of the Code, Bill C-38 would specifically increase maximum fines for non-compliance with the above long-term disability provisions, the employer obligation to provide wage replacement to an employee who is absent from work due to work-related illness or injury section in section 239.1(2), or Group Termination of Employment regulations (section 227) to a fine of not more than $250,000;
- amend the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Act to establish the Social Security Tribunal and to add provisions authorizing the electronic administration or enforcement of programs, legislation, activities or policies, including those the Canada Pension Plan, the Old Age Security Act and the Employment Insurance Act;
- repeal the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which relates to wages and hours of labour in relation to public works and contracts;
- amend the Old Age Security Act to gradually increase the age of eligibility for the Old Age Security Pension, the Guaranteed Income Supplement, the Allowance and the Allowance for the Survivor and to allow individuals to voluntarily defer their Old Age Security Pension up to five years past the age of eligibility, in exchange for a higher, actuarially adjusted, pension.
Generally, the Bill C-38 amendments highlighted above would come into force on a day or days to be fixed by order of the Governor in Council.
For more information about Budget 2012, see our FTR Now, “Federal Budget 2012 – Highlights for Employers.”