What the Act says

The Act respecting labour standards contains provisions on the notice of collective dismissal that protect the majority of Québec workers, whether they are full or part time.

Collective dismissal occurs when an employer terminates the employment of 10 employees or more of the same establishment over a period of 2 months or lays off at least 10 employees of the same establishment for more than 6 months.

The Act respecting labour standards establishes the process that must be followed and the time periods that must be respected when issuing a notice of collective dismissal. These time periods depend on the number of employees concerned.

Notice of collective dismissal
Number of employees Time periods
10 to 99 8 weeks
100 to 299 12 weeks
300 employees and over 16 weeks

The notice of collective dismissal must contain the following information:

 

  • the name and address of the employer or the establishment concerned
  • the activity sector
  • the name and address of the employees’ associations, where applicable
  • the reason for the collective dismissal
  • the planned date of the collective dismissal
  • the number of employees possibly concerned by the collective dismissal.

 

To whom is the notice of collective dismissal sent?

The original notice must be sent to the Ministère de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale.

Note

The notice of collective dismissal must be sent by mail. It takes effect from the date of its posting.

A copy of the notice must be addressed to the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. Where applicable, a copy must be sent to the accredited association that represents the employees affected by the dismissal.

Finally, a copy must be posted in a conspicuous and readily accessible place in the establishment concerned.

It is important to note that a notice of termination of employment must also be given to each employee concerned by the collective dismissal. To calculate this indemnity, please refer to section How to calculate the indemnity in the page Notice of termination of employment.

The indemnities provided in those cases where the notice of termination of employment and the notice of collective dismissal are not sent within the time period stipulated in the Act are not cumulative. An employee only obtains the higher of the indemnities to which he is entitled. Moreover, if the notice of collective dismissal is not given within the time period stipulated in the Act, the employer may be required to pay a fine of $1,500 per week, which will go into the labour market development fund.

Calculation examples

When is the indemnity paid?

If an indemnity must be paid, it is paid at the time of dismissal. In the case of a layoff for 6 months or more, the indemnity must be paid not later than 6 months after the layoff date.

Other obligations

In cases of collective dismissal, when the number of employees concerned is equal to or greater than 50, the Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale can ask the employer to participate in the setting up of a reclassification assistance committee. For more information, consult the web site of the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale.

The Ministère du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale may also agree with the employer on a financial contribution to the operating costs of the reclassification assistance committee and to the reclassification activities. Failing an agreement, the government can determine this contribution by regulation.

Exceptions

Some employees are excluded from the application of the provisions related to the notice of collective dismissal. They are:

  • employees with less than 3 months of uninterrupted service
  • employees laid off for less than 6 months
  • employees of an establishment whose activities are seasonal or intermittent
  • employees whose contract for a fixed term or for a specific task expires
  • casual employees and students who work for the government covered by the section 83 of the Service Public ActCe lien ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre
  • students who work for the government
  • employees of an establishment affected by a strike or a lockout
  • employees having committed a serious offence.

Frequently asked question

  1. Can an employee claim a notice of collective dismissal if the enterprise for which he worked is bankrupt?
    No. The Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail can only claim wages from the directors.  Wages comprise all remuneration that may be earned by an employee, but exclude the notice of termination of employment.

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