Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsUnions and Employment Standards
hri_Admin Staff asked 4 years ago

We recently realized that in British Columbia there is a fact sheet produced by Employment Standards outlining when basic rights cannot be negotiated and must, at a minimum, be followed. It also outlines when some parts of ESA can be negotiated in the collective agreement and therefore employment standards does not apply and has no jurisdiction (overtime, annual vacation, seniority retention, statutory holidays, termination and layoff).
Although it is unlikely that a union would agree to provisions deemed lesser than Employment Standards, we are wondering how other provinces work. We received information from Alberta Employment Standards that no such provisions apply in Alberta as they do in BC. Employment Standards is always the minimum and is upheld even with a collective agreement in place.
Thank you,

2 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

Interesting Q. Employment standards are minimum requirements for non-union employment everywhere in Canada and can’t be negotiated away UNLESS expressly permitted, e.g., with regard to overtime averaging in some provinces. The same basic rule pertains to union employment although latitude for negotiation is generally wider if it’s part of a collective agreement. But again, you need to look at the specific provision of the ESA statute or Reg. to determine how much, if any, room for negotiation there is. If no latitude is provided for, the provision can’t be negotiated away.
At least this is my belief. But I also want to run this by our payroll expert Alan because he knows the ESA laws better than I do. So stay tuned and I’ll relay his comments as soon as I get them. Glenn

Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

Alan officially agrees and endorses my response. Re: your other Q: Alberta is another jurisdiction where employers may ask for reasonable evidence of need for crime related child death or disappearance leave, which may leave door open to inquiring about whether employee is a suspect in case.