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What Do Alberta Employers Need to Know About Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business?

On May 27, 2019, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open For Business (Bill 2), in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Bill 2 introduces a number of changes to labour and employment legislation in Alberta and is partially aimed at rolling back certain changes introduced in 2017 by the previous NDP government.

In addition, pursuant to an Order in Council effective June 26, 2019, the minimum wage for employees aged 17 or younger will be reduced from $15 to $13 per hour: (i) for the first 28 hours worked in a week while school is in session; and (ii) for all hours worked while school is not in session.

Key changes to Alberta employment law introduced by Bill 2 include:

  • Requiring employees to have worked at least 30 days in the 12 months preceding a general holiday in order to be eligible for general holiday pay.
  • Pay for a general holiday is not required if the employee does not work on the general holiday and the general holiday falls on a day that normally would not be a work day for the employee. For example, if a business is normally closed on Monday and the general holiday falls on Monday, employees would not receive pay for the general holiday.
  • Clarifying that, for employees who work an irregular schedule, such employees will be eligible for general holiday pay if, in at least 5 of the 9 weeks preceding the work week in which the general holiday occurs, the employee worked on the same day of the week as the day on which the general holiday falls.
  • Allowing overtime to be banked at a 1:1 rate under an overtime agreement rather than the current requirement to bank at a ratio of 1.5 hours off for every overtime hour worked.

Key changes to Alberta labour law introduced by Bill 2 include:

  • Eliminating the “card-based” method of union certification and requiring a representation vote in favour of the applicant union prior to certification.
  • Reducing the amount of time during which an employee’s application for membership in a trade union may constitute proof of employee support of a union for the purpose of a union’s certification application from 6 months after the employee’s application for membership to 90 days.
  • Expanding the Labour Relations Board’s power to marshal proceedings relating to employment in certain administrative tribunals by providing the Labour Relations Board with the ability to make directions, including the power to order the stay of such proceedings.

Note that Bill 2 may be subject to revision prior to being passed into law.

Lawson Lundell’s Labour, Employment, and Human Rights Group will continue to monitor developments in respect of Bill 2 and any changes to Alberta’s labour and employment law. Further updates will be posted on our blog.

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Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

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