Employment / Labour Law
Federally Regulated Employees

Federally regulated employees are governed by the Canada Labour Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. L-2 (the “CLC”), the federal equivalent of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000. While it bears many similarities to its provincial legislative counterpart, the CLC is unique in that DIVISION XIV - Unjust Dismissal (s. 240 to s. 247) entitles unjustly dismissed employees whom are not managers with a tenure of 12 months or longer to receive reinstatement with back pay. In addition, s. 168 of the Canadian Labour Code clearly prohibits an employer to opt out DIVISION XIV - Unjust Dismissal of the CLC.

However, same as its provincial counterpart, the claim of unjust dismissal is only available to non-unionized federally regulated employees.

The main sectors governed by the Canada Labour Code are:


  • Banking (ex. CIBC bank)

  • Inter-provincial/international transportation (ex. trucking companies, railways)

  • Airports, and Air transportation (ex. Air Canada)

  • Television, Telephone, Radio and Cable systems (ex. Rogers/Bell)

  • Fisheries

  • Grain Elevators

  • Uranium Mining and Processing

  • First Nation Activities and Crown Corporations

In practice, all matters which are not federally regulated are, by default, provincially regulated.

The test for whether the matter is provincially regulated, or federally regulated is fact-specific and legally based. For instance, if a transportation company starts regularly running across provincial boundaries it will become federally regulated.

The Canadian legal landscape was drastically altered with the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2016 SCC 29. The Supreme Court has held that held that federally regulated employers cannot terminate the employment of a non-managerial employee, who has been employed for more than 12 months, without just cause.

In the Supreme Court decision of Wilson vs. Atomic Energy, it confirms that employees of a federally regulated business enjoy quasi-union protections, which includes duty of employer to investigate complaints, entitled to progressive discipline, duty to reinstate employees. The default position is to reinstate employees.

If you work in a business section that is governed by the Canada Labour Code, and you think you have been unjustly dismissed, or if you are an employer being served with a claim of unjust dismissal, you are highly recommended to seek legal advice. HTW Law can help. Call us now at 647-849-6582 or send us a message if you have some legal questions / inquiries or want to schedule an appointment with HTW Law.

© 2021 by HTW Law Professional Corporation.

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
bbb logo - HTW Law