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Canada Labour Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. L-2)

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Act current to 2024-06-19 and last amended on 2024-02-01. Previous Versions

Canada Labour Code

R.S.C., 1985, c. L-2

An Act to consolidate certain statutes respecting labour

Short Title

Marginal note:Short title

 This Act may be cited as the Canada Labour Code.

  • R.S., c. L-1, s. 1


Marginal note:Definitions

 In this Act,


Board means the Canada Industrial Relations Board established by section 9; (Conseil)

external adjudicator

external adjudicator means a person appointed under subsection 12.001(1); (arbitre externe)

federal work, undertaking or business

federal work, undertaking or business means any work, undertaking or business that is within the legislative authority of Parliament, including, without restricting the generality of the foregoing,

  • (a) a work, undertaking or business operated or carried on for or in connection with navigation and shipping, whether inland or maritime, including the operation of ships and transportation by ship anywhere in Canada,

  • (b) a railway, canal, telegraph or other work or undertaking connecting any province with any other province, or extending beyond the limits of a province,

  • (c) a line of ships connecting a province with any other province, or extending beyond the limits of a province,

  • (d) a ferry between any province and any other province or between any province and any country other than Canada,

  • (e) aerodromes, aircraft or a line of air transportation,

  • (f) a radio broadcasting station,

  • (g) a bank or an authorized foreign bank within the meaning of section 2 of the Bank Act,

  • (h) a work or undertaking that, although wholly situated within a province, is before or after its execution declared by Parliament to be for the general advantage of Canada or for the advantage of two or more of the provinces,

  • (i) a work, undertaking or business outside the exclusive legislative authority of the legislatures of the provinces, and

  • (j) a work, undertaking or activity in respect of which federal laws within the meaning of section 2 of the Oceans Act apply pursuant to section 20 of that Act and any regulations made pursuant to paragraph 26(1)(k) of that Act; (entreprises fédérales)


Head means the Head of Compliance and Enforcement designated under subsection 122.21(1); (chef)


Minister means the Minister of Labour. (ministre)

PART IIndustrial Relations


 WHEREAS there is a long tradition in Canada of labour legislation and policy designed for the promotion of the common well-being through the encouragement of free collective bargaining and the constructive settlement of disputes;

AND WHEREAS Canadian workers, trade unions and employers recognize and support freedom of association and free collective bargaining as the bases of effective industrial relations for the determination of good working conditions and sound labour-management relations;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada has ratified Convention No. 87 of the International Labour Organization concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize and has assumed international reporting responsibilities in this regard;

AND WHEREAS the Parliament of Canada desires to continue and extend its support to labour and management in their cooperative efforts to develop good relations and constructive collective bargaining practices, and deems the development of good industrial relations to be in the best interests of Canada in ensuring a just share of the fruits of progress to all;

NOW THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

  • 1972, c. 18, Preamble


Marginal note:Definitions

  •  (1) In this Part,

    arbitration board

    arbitration board means an arbitration board constituted by or pursuant to a collective agreement or by agreement between the parties to a collective agreement and includes an arbitration board the chairperson of which is appointed by the Minister under this Part; (conseil d’arbitrage)


    arbitrator means a sole arbitrator selected by the parties to a collective agreement or appointed by the Minister under this Part; (arbitre)

    bargaining agent

    bargaining agent means

    • (a) a trade union that has been certified by the Board as the bargaining agent for the employees in a bargaining unit and the certification of which has not been revoked, or

    • (b) any other trade union that has entered into a collective agreement on behalf of the employees in a bargaining unit

      • (i) the term of which has not expired, or

      • (ii) in respect of which the trade union has, by notice given pursuant to subsection 49(1), required the employer to commence collective bargaining; (agent négociateur)

    bargaining unit

    bargaining unit means a unit

    • (a) determined by the Board to be appropriate for collective bargaining, or

    • (b) to which a collective agreement applies; (unité de négociation)


    Board[Repealed, 2017, c. 20, s. 319]

    collective agreement

    collective agreement means an agreement in writing entered into between an employer and a bargaining agent containing provisions respecting terms and conditions of employment and related matters; (convention collective)

    conciliation board

    conciliation board means a board established by the Minister under paragraph 72(1)(c); (commission de conciliation)

    conciliation commissioner

    conciliation commissioner means a person appointed by the Minister under paragraph 72(1)(b); (commissaire-conciliateur)

    conciliation officer

    conciliation officer means a person appointed by the Minister under paragraph 72(1)(a); (conciliateur)

    dependent contractor

    dependent contractor means

    • (a) the owner, purchaser or lessee of a vehicle used for hauling, other than on rails or tracks, livestock, liquids, goods, merchandise or other materials, who is a party to a contract, oral or in writing, under the terms of which they are

      • (i) required to provide the vehicle by means of which they perform the contract and to operate the vehicle in accordance with the contract, and

      • (ii) entitled to retain for their own use from time to time any sum of money that remains after the cost of their performance of the contract is deducted from the amount they are paid, in accordance with the contract, for that performance,

    • (b) a fisher who, pursuant to an arrangement to which the fisher is a party, is entitled to a percentage or other part of the proceeds of a joint fishing venture in which the fisher participates with other persons, and

    • (c) any other person who, whether or not employed under a contract of employment, performs work or services for another person on such terms and conditions that they are, in relation to that other person, in a position of economic dependence on, and under an obligation to perform duties for, that other person; (entrepreneur dépendant)


    dispute means a dispute arising in connection with the entering into, renewing or revising of a collective agreement, in respect of which notice may be given to the Minister under section 71; (différend)


    employee means any person employed by an employer and includes a dependent contractor and a private constable, but does not include a person who performs management functions or is employed in a confidential capacity in matters relating to industrial relations; (employé)


    employer means

    • (a) any person who employs one or more employees, and

    • (b) in respect of a dependent contractor, such person as, in the opinion of the Board, has a relationship with the dependent contractor to such extent that the arrangement that governs the performance of services by the dependent contractor for that person can be the subject of collective bargaining; (employeur)

    employers’ organization

    employers’ organization means any organization of employers the purposes of which include the regulation of relations between employers and employees; (organisation patronale)


    lockout includes the closing of a place of employment, a suspension of work by an employer or a refusal by an employer to continue to employ a number of their employees, done to compel their employees, or to aid another employer to compel that other employer’s employees, to agree to terms or conditions of employment; (lock-out)


    parties means

    • (a) in relation to the entering into, renewing or revising of a collective agreement and in relation to a dispute, the employer and the bargaining agent that acts on behalf of the employer’s employees,

    • (b) in relation to a difference relating to the interpretation, application, administration or alleged contravention of a collective agreement, the employer and the bargaining agent, and

    • (c) in relation to a complaint to the Board under this Part, the complainant and any person or organization against whom or which the complaint is made; (parties)

    private constable

    private constable means a person appointed as a police constable under Part IV.1 of the Railway Safety Act; (agent de police privé)

    professional employee

    professional employee means an employee who

    • (a) is, in the course of their employment, engaged in the application of specialized knowledge ordinarily acquired by a course of instruction and study resulting in graduation from a university or similar institution, and

    • (b) is, or is eligible to be, a member of a professional organization that is authorized by statute to establish the qualifications for membership in the organization; (membre de profession libérale)


    strike includes a cessation of work or a refusal to work or to continue to work by employees, in combination, in concert or in accordance with a common understanding, and a slowdown of work or other concerted activity on the part of employees in relation to their work that is designed to restrict or limit output; (grève)

    trade union

    trade union means any organization of employees, or any branch or local thereof, the purposes of which include the regulation of relations between employers and employees; (syndicat)


    unit means a group of two or more employees. (unité)

  • Marginal note:Employee status preserved

    (2) No person ceases to be an employee within the meaning of this Part by reason only of their ceasing to work as the result of a lockout or strike or by reason only of their dismissal contrary to this Part.

  • R.S., 1985, c. L-2, s. 3
  • 1996, c. 10, s. 234
  • 1998, c. 10, s. 182, c. 26, ss. 1, 59(E)
  • 1999, c. 31, ss. 149(E), 162(E)
  • 2007, c. 19, s. 60
  • 2015, c. 3, s. 15(F)
  • 2017, c. 20, s. 319


Marginal note:Application of Part

 This Part applies in respect of employees who are employed on or in connection with the operation of any federal work, undertaking or business, in respect of the employers of all such employees in their relations with those employees and in respect of trade unions and employers’ organizations composed of those employees or employers.

  • R.S., c. L-1, s. 108
  • 1972, c. 18, s. 1

Marginal note:Crown corporations

  •  (1) This Part applies in respect of any corporation established to perform any function or duty on behalf of the Government of Canada and in respect of the employees of any such corporation, except any such corporation, and the employees thereof, that the Governor in Council excludes from the operation of this Part.

  • Marginal note:Limitation

    (2) The Governor in Council may, pursuant to subsection (1), exclude from the operation of this Part only those corporations in respect of which a minister of the Crown, the Treasury Board or the Governor in Council is authorized to establish or to approve some or all of the terms and conditions of employment of persons employed therein.

  • Marginal note:Addition of name to Schedule

    (3) Where the Governor in Council excludes any corporation from the operation of this Part, the Governor in Council shall, by order, add the name of that corporation to Schedule IV or V to the Financial Administration Act.

  • R.S., 1985, c. L-2, s. 5
  • 2003, c. 22, s. 107

Marginal note:Canadian carriers

 This Part applies in respect of any Canadian carrier, as defined in section 2 of the Telecommunications Act, that is an agent of Her Majesty in right of a province and in respect of the employees of the carrier.

  • 1993, c. 38, s. 88

Marginal note:Employees of Her Majesty

 Except as provided by section 5, this Part does not apply in respect of employment by Her Majesty in right of Canada.

  • 1972, c. 18, s. 1

Major Projects

Marginal note:Major projects

 Nothing in this Part shall be construed so as to prevent the establishment of agreements on a project basis and where all the parties in a collective bargaining relationship identify themselves to the Minister as being engaged in a project that the Minister determines to be a major project, the Minister and the Board shall act as expeditiously as possible to facilitate the collective bargaining process involving those parties.

  • 1984, c. 39, s. 22

DIVISION IBasic Freedoms

Marginal note:Employee freedoms

  •  (1) Every employee is free to join the trade union of their choice and to participate in its lawful activities.

  • Marginal note:Employer freedoms

    (2) Every employer is free to join the employers’ organization of their choice and to participate in its lawful activities.

  • R.S., 1985, c. L-2, s. 8
  • 1999, c. 31, s. 162(E)

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