The Employment Standards Act provides statutory job protection to civilians serving as military reservists in the Canadian Forces.
In the past, military reservists working as civilians did not have a guaranteed right to return to their position upon completion of their deployments, unless such protection had been negotiated contractually.
Section 52.2 of the Employment Standards Act, was amended and now permits reservist employees to take leaves of absence, without pay, when deployed to a Canadian Forces operation outside Canada or to pre-deployment or post-deployment duties in connection with such an operation. Such leaves also extend to reservist employees deployed to a Canadian Forces operation inside Canada for the purpose of providing assistance in dealing with an emergency or its aftermath.
The provisions require employers to provide a leave of absence for the prescribed period, or, if no period is prescribed, for the period which is necessary to accommodate the Canadian Forces operation. Employers are not required to contribute to any benefit or pension plans during the leave period unless otherwise agreed to in an employment contract or collective agreement.
Similar to other leave provisions, employees wishing to take reservist leave would be required to provide written notice four-weeks in advance of the period of leave. If the employee receives notice of deployment less than four weeks before it will begin, written notice must be provided to the employer as soon as is reasonable and practicable. In addition, the written notification must include the date on which the unpaid leave is to begin and the expected date of return to work. If an employee intends to return to work prior to the date previously specified in the written notification, he or she must give the employer notification at least one week before the date proposed to return to work.
The reservist leave provisions are intended to apply to all employers, regardless of size, covered by the Act.
Information provided by Ryan Anderson, an employment lawyer with Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP. The information provided in this article is necessarily of a general nature and must not be regarded as legal advice. For more information about Mathews Dinsdale & Clark LLP, please visit mathewsdinsdale.com.