Bill 176 : An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balancethe Standards of Practice Regarding Commuted Values

Bill 176 : An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance

Retirement and Benefits

Issue 18-07
Mon, 04/09/2018 - 08:32

On March 20, Bill 176 was presented to the National Assembly by Ms. Vien, Minister responsible for Labor. 


This bill proposes a number of changes that will affect the minimum working conditions that employers must offer their employees. It proposes, in particular, the end of hire date disparities in relation to pension plans and other employee benefits, as well as a number of other measures to improve the minimum working conditions of workers. Here is an overview of several measures provided for in Bill 176. 

Provisions entering into force upon ratification of Bill 176 

Treatment disparities based on the date of hire (orphan clauses) 

Since 2003, the Act respecting labor standards (the "Act") provides that employees may not be offered less favourable conditions solely on the basis of their hire date. A clause of this type is commonly referred to as an orphan clause. However, under the current rules, pension plans and other employee benefit plans are not considered part of an employee's working conditions. It is this element that Bill 176 will modify. Upon the assent of Bill 176, a clause providing for a less advantageous pension plan for employees performing the same duties in the same establishment, but having been hired after a certain date, will be illegal. However, current agreements with orphan clauses will not be affected by this bill. 

Employee's recourse 

Bill 176 provides for employees who believe that they are subject to a disparity of treatment based on their hire date to file a complaint with the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. In the case of an employee covered by a collective agreement, the employee must, in order to submit a complaint to the board, demonstrate that he has not used the recourses resulting from this agreement. 

The Commission may, after investigating and finding the complaint admissible, refer the case to the Tribunal administratif du travail, which may specifically:  

  1. order to put an end to the distinction;
  2. order that an employee join a pension plan or make other benefits available to him;
  3. order the employer to compensate the employee for the loss resulting from the distinction.

Other provisions effective January 1, 2019 

Weeks of vacation  

The Act currently provides that a worker is entitled to 3 weeks of paid vacation per year if the employee has more than 5 years of service. Bill 176 will lower this criterion to 3 years. 


The Act already provides for the possibility of being absent from work, without pay, because of illness, organ or tissue donation for transplant, accident or criminal acts, for oneself or certain members of his family. In addition to adding spousal violence as a possible cause of absence, increasing the number of days a worker can be absent and expanding the definition of "parent," Bill 176 provides that the first 2 days of leave taken under these provisions shall be paid by the employer. 

Statutory holiday pay 

Bill 176 proposes that a worker be paid for a statutory holiday even if it does not coincide with his usual work schedule. 

Disparities in treatment based on employment status 

Bill 176 also foresees prohibiting offering different rates of pay or paid days off solely because an employee is not a full-time worker. 

Refusal to work 

Bill 176 states that an employee may refuse to work more than 2 hours of overtime in any 24-hour period. Previously, the limit was 4 hours.  

In addition, an employee may refuse to work if he is informed less than 5 days in advance that he is required to work. 

Psychological harassment 

Following the adoption of Bill 176, the employer will have to make available to its employees a psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy.  

In fact, Bill 176 states that psychological harassment will include such behaviour in the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature. 

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