Lexicon

A

Annual leave

Paid leave to which the employee is entitled each year pursuant to the Act or to any other agreement with the employer, and the length of which is generally determined by the employee's uninterrupted service.Note - The Act stipulates the rate of indemnity associated with the annual leave, which must be calculated based on the gross wages earned during the reference year.

Adverse work environment

An adverse work environment is harmful to the victim of harassment. The work climate resulting from harassing behaviour can, for instance, isolate the person.

Absences and leaves for family or parental reasons

All of the leaves to which an employee is entitled for various situations related to his family and to the ensuing responsibilities, and the circumstances of which are stipulated in the Act or in a collective agreement.Notes – The leaves for family or parental reasons granted by the Act are: leave for a funeral, leave for a marriage or civil union, leave for a prenatal examination, maternity leave, paternity leave, leave for an adoption, parental leave, leave for family or parental obligations and the leaves granted at the time of the suicide of the employee's spouse or child or when this child is the victim of a crime.

  • Depending on the terms and conditions that govern the leaves, some of these leave are with pay.
Adoption leave

Leave to which is entitled an employee who legally adopts a child as his daughter or son.

Note - The Act grants an adoption leave of five days to the employee, both of which are paid under certain conditions and which can be divided. Moreover, the Act authorizes an unpaid leave of two days when an employee adopts the child of his spouse.
   

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B

Bereavement leave

Leave to which the employee is entitled for the death or funeral of a member of his family or that of his spouse.

Note - Depending on the relationship that the employee has with the deceased person, the Act stipulates whether or not the bereavement leave is paid, as well as its length.

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C

Complaint for a prohibited practice

Complaint filed following non-compliance with the provisions of the Act that protect the employee against certain actions by the employer that adversely affect his employment because he exercised a right granted by the Act or by reason of his personal situation.

Note - Prohibited practices may take the form of a dismissal that is occasionally constructive, a disciplinary layoff, forced retirement, a transfer, discriminatory measures or reprisals.

Complaint for an administrative infraction

Complaint filed following non-compliance with the provisions of the Act that protect the employee against the refusal or failure by the employer to comply with certain formalities.

Note - The employer must, among other things, keep a register of wages, give the employee a duly completed pay sheet and issue a work certificate when the employee requests one at the expiry of his contract of employment.

Complaint for psychological harassment

Complaint filed following the failure to respect the provisions of the Act that protect employees from psychological harassment.

Constructive dismissal

Roundabout means whereby the employer dismisses the employee under the cover of a permanent or temporary layoff, or leads him to resign by substantial and unjustified changes to his conditions of employment or by different forms of harassment.

Complaint for a dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause

Complaint filed following non-compliance with the provisions of the Act that protect the employee against dismissal without a real and serious reason.

Note - The Act protects employees who do not have other remedial procedures at their disposal and who can provide proof of uninterrupted service, the minimum duration of which is also set by the Act.

Contract of employment

Agreement whereby a person undertakes to work under certain conditions under the authority of another in return for remuneration, for a fixed term or open-ended period.

Note - The contract of employment of a dependent contractor is also known as a contract for the lease and hire of services. While it resembles a contract for services, it does not have the main characteristic, namely the absence of a subordination relationship. This contract of employment does not give the employee true autonomy with respect to its performance.

Conditions of employment

All of the favorable or unfavorable factors surrounding the accomplishment of work by the employees in an undertaking.

Note - Remuneration, fringe benefits, workplace layout, disciplinary system and leaves are part of the conditions of employment within the broad sense of the expression.

Complainant

Natural or legal person that files a complaint because he/it believes that the employer infringed on a right granted under the Act.

Notes - In this case, a legal person refers to any non-profit organization dedicated to defending workers' rights.

  • The employee must authorize in writing the organization that files a complaint with the Commission on his behalf.
Claim

Action by the Commission which consists of claiming, on its behalf or on the behalf of an employee, a sum of money from an employer to enforce certain provisions of the Act.

Calendar day

Day that extends from midnight to midnight

Note - The calendar adjective also applies to a week, a month and a year when reference is made to time periods adopted for life in society.

Collective work agreement

"An agreement in writing respecting conditions of employment made between one or more certified associations and one or more employers or employers' associations."

Note - Definition taken from the Labour Code (Québec).

Collective agreement

"An agreement in writing respecting conditions of employment made between one or more certified associations and one or more employers or employers' associations."

Note - Definition taken from the Labour Code (Québec).

Compensatory leave

Leave granted to the employee in place of the indemnity that was supposed to be paid for a paid leave by which the employee did not benefit.Note - It may happen that a compensatory leave is granted in the place of the payment of overtime worked; it must then be a condition of employment that is more advantageous for the employee in order to comply with the Act.

Compensatory holiday

Leave granted to the employee in place of the indemnity that was supposed to be paid for a paid leave by which the employee did not benefit.Note - It may happen that a compensatory leave is granted in the place of the payment of overtime worked; it must then be a condition of employment that is more advantageous for the employee in order to comply with the Act.

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D

Dismissal

Dismissal consists of definitively interrupting the employment of an employee whose behaviour is called into question by his employer. In certain cases, the non-renewal of a contract or the failure to recall the employee to work may constitute a dismissal.

Duration of work

Reference period during which an employee must be at the disposal of his employer.

Discriminatory measure

Illegal measure whereby the employer takes an action that adversely affects the job or the conditions of employment of an employee by treating him differently from other employees by reason of his sex, race, religion, age, opinions or personal situation.

Note - The dismissal of an employee because she is pregnant or the forced retirement of an employee due to his age are examples of discriminatory measures.

Domestic

An employee in the employ of a natural person and whose main function is the performance of domestic duties in the dwelling of that person, including an employee whose main function is to take care of a child or a sick, handicapped or aged person and to perform domestic duties in the dwelling that are not directly related to the immediate needs of the person in question.

Divided leave

Refers to a leave, the total length of which is divided into weeks, days or half-days at the employee's request.

Disciplinary measure

Repressive measure applied by the employer against the employee for a disciplinary infraction.

Note - The main forms of disciplinary sanctions are the following: warning, fine, loss of specific benefits, disciplinary layoff, demotion and dismissal.

Decree

A decree is considered like a decision or a regulation. It should be pointed out that in Québec a collective agreement decree is a decree whereby the government imposes the application of the provisions of a collective agreement signed by a group of employees on other employees of the same activity field.

Difference in treatment

Difference in the conditions of employment of employees performing the same work with the same employer. The differences prohibited by the Act respecting labour standards are those that result in new employees hired after a specific date obtaining conditions of employment that are inferior to those enjoyed by employees already on the job. These differences must concern a standard stipulated in the Act.

Disciplinary infraction

Willful breach of duty by the employee who commits wrongful acts in the exercise of his duties or who contravenes the internal rules of the undertaking.

Note - Negligence and insubordination are considered disciplinary infractions. Moreover, incompetence and the physical or mental inability to perform the duties for which the employee was hired are not disciplinary infractions.

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E

Employment

Remunerated activity that usually entails obligations, responsibilities and requiring specific professional qualifications.

Employer

Natural or legal person that has work carried out, in return for remuneration, by one or more employees on his/its behalf and under his/its subordination.

Employee

A person who works for an employer and who is entitled to a wage; this word also includes a worker who is a party to a contract, under which he or she:

  • iundertakes to perform specified work for a person within the scope and in accordance with the methods and means determined by that person;
  • undertakes to furnish, for the carrying out of the contract, the material, equipment, raw materials or merchandise chosen by that person and to use them in the manner indicated by him or her; and
  • keeps, as remuneration, the amount remaining to him or her from the sum he or she has received in conformity with the contract, after deducting the expenses entailed in the performance of that contract.
Employee in the clothing industry

An employee in the clothing industry who would be subject to one of the following decrees, had they not expired:

  1. the Decree respecting the men's and boys' shirt industry;
  2. the Decree respecting the women's clothing industry;
  3. the Decree respecting the men's clothing industry;
  4. the Decree respecting the leather glove industry.

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F

Fixed term contract

Contract of employment stipulating a beginning and an end and binding the parties until its expiry either by a date or by a precise event that is to take place.

Note - The end of the harvest and an objective to be attained are examples of events that may be used to set the expiry of a fixed term contract. In these specific cases, the Act uses the expression contract for specific services.

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G

Good and sufficient cause

True reason, the importance of which justifies a dismissal.

Notes - A good and sufficient cause does not generally entail an immediate breach of the contract of employment and does not release the employer from the obligations associated with the notice of termination of employment.

  • Disloyalty, insubordination and incompetence are reasons that may justify dismissal.

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H

Hearing

A court proceeding in which evidence is presented to determine facts that are in dispute.

Holiday

Religious or civic holiday established under an act, a collective agreement, a decree, or by custom and which is generally a non-working day.

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I

Indemnity for termination of employment

Compensatory indemnity paid by the employer who terminates the contract of employment of an employee without giving him the prior written notice required under the Act or who does not respect the notice period.

Note - The indemnity for termination of employment must be equal to the wages that the employee would normally have earned during the notice period.

Inquiry

Procedure whereby investigative personnel examine certain facts and gather elements necessary to create a file, following the filing of a complaint or at the Commission's initiative.

Note - The inquiry may, among other things, check if offences have been committed and eventually lead to the settlement of the dispute in question.

Indemnity

Sum of money paid to the employee either to compensate for prejudice or to compensate for a leave or certain disadvantages.

Incremental nature of sanctions

Principle whereby the employer must gradually punish the repetitive disciplinary infractions of an employee before dismissing him.Note - The type and the incremental nature of sanctions may vary according to the undertaking and the seriousness of the infraction.

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L

Leave for an examination related to pregnancy

Leave to which is entitled an employee who must be absent to undergo an examination related to her pregnancy.

Note - The Act grants an unpaid leave for prenatal examinations.

Leave for the birth of a child

Leave to which an employee is entitled at the time of the birth of a child.

Note - The Act grants a paternity leave of five days, two of which are paid under certain conditions and which may be divided.

Leave

Period during which the employee is authorized to interrupt his professional activities without there being a breach of the contract of employment.conditions of employment within the broad sense of the expression.

Leave for prenatal examination

Leave to which is entitled an employee who must be absent to undergo an examination related to her pregnancy.

Note - The Act grants an unpaid leave for prenatal examinations.

Layoff notice

Written notice that must comply with the conditions and the time periods set by the Act and which the employer is required to give the employee before laying him off for six months or more.

Labour standard

Rule governing the conditions of employment set either by decree, by law or by regulation, and which stipulates the minimum rights and obligations for the parties to a contract of employment.

Layoff indemnity

Compensatory indemnity paid by the employer who lays off an employee for six months or more without giving him the written notice required under the Act or who does not respect the notice period.

Note - The layoff indemnity must be equal to the wages that the employee would normally have earned during the notice period.

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M

Maternity leave

Leave to which an employee is entitled at the time of her pregnancy and the birth of her child.

Notes - The Act grants an unpaid maternity leave of eighteen uninterrupted weeks which the employee may spread out as she see fits before and after delivery, but taking into account the anticipated delivery date.

  • Certain events stipulated in the Act may modify the length of the maternity leave.
Marriage leave

Leave to which the employee is entitled on the day of his marriage or his civil union or that of a member of his family.

Note - The Act grants a paid leave on the day of the marriage or the civil union of an employee, whereas it grants an unpaid leave on the day of the marriage or the civil union of one of his children, his father, mother, brother, sister or a child of his spouse.

Management right

Employer's right to put in place mechanisms allowing him to control and oversee the behaviour and the performance of his employees. The employer makes decisions related to the profitability of the enterprise in the interest of the smooth operation of business, but not with view to adversely affecting his employees.

Manager

Employee who performs a management role and who has the necessary authority to make decisions that are binding on his employer.

Note - The definition of the term "employee" in the Labour Code (Québec) excludes "managers".

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N

Notice period

Period which the employer must respect and which extends from the time when the notice of termination of employment or layoff is given and the time it becomes effective.

Note - The length of uninterrupted service determines the notice period.

Notice of termination of employment

Written notice that must comply with the conditions and the time periods set by the Act and which the employer is required to give the employee before terminating his contract of employment.

Non-working day

Day on which the employee does not work.

Notice of collective dismissal

Notice that an employer must give in writing to the Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity before laying off permanently or temporarily for a period of more than 6 months 10 employees of the same establishment over a period of 2 consecutive months.

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O

Overtime

Hours worked over and above the duration of the standard workweek and which are usually remunerated at a premium rate.

Note - The length of the regular workweek is set by the Act and by regulation of the government or by any other agreement between the parties.

Obligation of means

Obligation for a person to take reasonable measures in the execution of their duties, considering the probability and gravity of risks normally foreseeable.

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P

Prior notice

Written notice that the employer is required to give the employee before terminating his contract of employment or laying him off, while respecting the conditions and the time periods set either by the Act, a contract of employment, a collective agreement or a decree.

Note - For several years, the expression "advance notice" has been replaced in the Act by the expressions "notice of termination of employment" or "layoff notice", depending on the situation.

Permanent layoff

A permanent layoff consists of definitively interrupting the employment of an employee due to a change in the undertaking's manpower needs.

Professional misconduct

Breach committed willfully or otherwise by the employee in the discharge of his duties resulting in harmful consequences for the undertaking or causing serious harm to the user or the client by reason of negligence or error.

Note - Professional misconduct may be good and sufficient cause for dismissal and even constitute serious fault, depending on the circumstances.

Putting in default

Written notice following an inquiry, in which the Commission calls on an employer to pay the sum of money which it believes is owing to one or more employees.

Pecuniary complaint

Complaint filed following non-compliance with the provisions of the Act that protect the employee against the failure to pay sums of money that are owing to him.

Note - This type of complaint deals with infractions related to wages and indemnities.
   

Psychological harassment

Section 81.18 of the Act defines psychological harassment as:a vexatious conduct that manifests itself in forms such as hostile or unwanted behaviours, words, recurring actions that affect the employee's dignity or their psychological or physical integrity, making the work place adverse to them.Only one problematical conduct can also be considered psychological harassment if it affects the employee to that point and has a continuous adverse effect on them.For a psychological harassment situation to be acknowledged, the 4 elements of the definition must be present. The vexatious conduct must:

  • be repetitive or problematical
  • be hostile or unwanted
  • affect the person's dignity or their psychological or physical integrity
  • make the workplace adverse.
Protective re-assignment

Program administered by the CSST that allows a pregnant or nursing employee to ask that her employer assign her to other tasks which do not entail dangers and which she can accomplish. If the employer is unable to modify the employee's work station or offer her another task, the employee has the right to stop working temporarily.

Pay sheet

Document that the employer must give the employee at the same time as his pay, and on which appears the detailed description of the statement of wages and at-source deductions.

Paid holiday

Holiday on which the employer is obliged to give his employee a day off with an indemnity.

Note - The employer must pay the employee an indemnity or grant him a compensatory holiday in addition to his wages if he must work on a statutory holiday.

Paid annual leave

Paid leave to which the employee is entitled each year pursuant to the Act or to any other agreement with the employer, and the length of which is generally determined by the employee's uninterrupted service.

Note - The Act stipulates the rate of indemnity associated with the annual leave, which must be calculated based on the gross wages earned during the reference year.

Paid vacation

Paid leave to which the employee is entitled each year pursuant to the Act or to any other agreement with the employer, and the length of which is generally determined by the employee's uninterrupted service.Note - The Act stipulates the rate of indemnity associated with the annual leave, which must be calculated based on the gross wages earned during the reference year.

Paid leave

Leave without reduction of wages granted to the employee either by the Act, a collective agreement, a decree, or by custom.

Note - For example, the Act grants the employee a paid leave of one day on the day of his marriage.

Part-time employee

Permanent or temporary employee, whose hours of work are less than the normal hours of work in his activity sector or in the undertaking that employs him.

Parental leave

Leave to which an employee is entitled after the birth or the adoption of a child with a view to allowing him to take better care of the child, and the duration of which may last 52 weeks.

Part-time

Permanent or temporary employee, whose hours of work are less than the normal hours of work in his activity sector or in the undertaking that employs him.

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R

Registration system of wages

Mandatory registration system kept by the employer, in which must appear all the information required by the labour legislation concerning the employee and his job.

Reinstatement

Reinstatement in his position of an employee who was unfairly or illegally dismissed, laid off or transferred, generally ordered by an administrative court by virtue of an Act or the application of a collective agreement.

Note - Reinstatement may be accompanied by full or partial compensation for lost wages.

Resignation

Action whereby the employee voluntarily, namely freely and without outside constraint, severs the contract of employment that binds him to his employer.

Reference year for the annual leave

Period of twelve consecutive months during which the employee gradually acquires the right to the annual leave.

Note - The Act stipulates that the reference year extends from May 1st of the previous year to April 30th of the current year, except where a collective agreement or a decree sets another date to mark the starting point of this period.

Reprisals

Action taken by the employer that adversely affects the job or conditions of employment of an employee following the exercise of a right ensuing from the Act or for other reasons in order to seek revenge.

Note - The cases in which reprisals are prohibited are listed in the Act. The fact of imposing less advantageous conditions of employment because an employee testified in proceedings relating to the application of a labour standard is an example of reprisals.

Recourses

Process allowing the Commission to call for the application of the Act and for the complainant to assert his rights.

Note - For example, the Act provides for the following recourses:

  1. Civil recourses;
  2. Recourse in the event of a prohibited practice;
  3. Recourse in the event of a dismissal not made for good and sufficient cause (unfair dismissal).
Reasonable means

Each company's situation is unique, so the reasonable means vary from one place to another according to company's size, context, existing risks or resources. The court decides in each case if the actions taken were sufficient.

Réservists

Reservists are officers and non-commissioned members who make up the Canadian Army Reserve Force. They are individuals who have enrolled and who receive military training without, however, being on active duty and who may be called up as reinforcements within the context of an operation carried out by the Canadian Forces abroad or in Canada.

Reasonable person

A person well informed of all the circumstances and being in the same situation as that experienced by the employee who presents oneself as a victim of harassment, and who would also conclude that the conduct is vexatious.

Reasonable time period

The reasonable notice of termination must take into account, inter alia, the kind of job, the particular circumstances in which it is done and its duration.

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S

Spouse

Either of two persons who:

  1. are married or in a civil union and cohabiting;
  2. being of opposite sex or the same sex, are living together in a de facto union and are the father and mother of the same child;
  3. are of opposite sex or the same sex and have been living together in a de facto union for one year or more.
Staggering of working hours

Staggering of work hours according to a reference basis other than on a weekly basis with a view to calculating the overtime hours of certain categories of workers whom this arrangement favors.

Notes

  1. Employees who work in remote areas and those whose work schedule is irregular are examples of categories of employees likely to obtain certain benefits from the staggering of work hours.
  2. The employer must obtain the Commission's authorization to stagger work hours.
Statutory holidays

Holiday on which the employer is obliged to give his employee a day off with an indemnity.

Note - The employer must pay the employee an indemnity or grant him a compensatory holiday in addition to his wages if he must work on a statutory holiday.

Sick leave

Leave granted to the employee by reason of illness or accident.

Notes - The Act does not grant sick leave, but it prohibits the employer from dismissing, laying off or transferring an employee who has been absent by reason of illness or accident. The Act also stipulates the number of weeks during which the employee may be absent without suffering prejudice or without losing his rights.

  • It is the Act respecting industrial accidents and occupational diseases that applies when an absence is caused by an industrial accident or an occupational disease.
Standard

Set of rules, principles, elements intended to standardize methods and means of action and to serve as a guide in the application of a policy.

Supernumerary employee

Temporary employee in addition to the permanent staff.

Settlement

Action of reaching an agreement between an employer and an employee.

Note - If a settlement occurs before the Commission's intervention, the inquiry file is cancelled, and if it occurs after the Commission's intervention, reference is then made to an investigation file that has been settled.

Seasonal employment

Job occupied only during certain periods of the year, at more or less fixed dates, by reason of the nature of the activity carried out.

Notes

  1. An employee who holds this job is called a seasonal employee.
  2. Seasonal employment associated with weather conditions is mainly found in the forestry, agriculture, fisheries and tourism sectors.
Self-employed worker

Person engaged in professional activities for their own account and under their own responsibility. This person has no subordination relationship with the employer.

Serious incidence

By definition, harassment has a recurring characteristic, i.e. it is continuous in time. For only one problematical conduct to be acknowledged as psychological harassment, its adverse effect must extend. Isolated actions such as aggressions with extensive effect could thereupon be considered psychological harassment.

Serious fault

Action or omission, the importance of which leads to the immediate dismissal of the employee who is the author and which releases the employer from the obligations related to the notice of termination of employment.

Note - Serious fault may result from a single action or a single omission, but also from a series of blameworthy facts of lesser importance that are repeated despite serious warnings and the accumulation of which make the immediate breach of the contract of employment necessary.

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T

Tip-sharing arrangement

Verbal or written agreement whereby the employees receiving tips of an establishment freely and voluntarily decide to redistribute a portion of the tips received to other staff members.

Transfer

The transfer of an employee corresponds to a change in his conditions of employment. For example, this may involve an assignment to another workstation or another place of work, a reduction of the number of hours of work, etc. An exchange of posts or a demotion are in fact transfers.

Training period

Period that follows an employee's entry into service and during which the employer judges his ability to hold the position, before confirming him in his job if the result is positive.

Termination of pregnancy

Expulsion of a fetus before term, whether naturally or induced.

Temporary layoff

A temporary layoff consists of temporarily interrupting the employment of an employee due to a change in the undertaking's manpower needs.

Termination of employment

End of the employee's service following the breach of his contract of employment as decided by his employer.

Note - In the Act, the expression "termination of employment" only covers the notions of "dismissal" and "permanent layoff".

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U

Uninterrupted service

The uninterrupted period during which the employee is bound to the employer by a contract of employment, even if the performance of work has been interrupted without cancellation of the contract, and the period during which fixed term contracts succeed one another without an interruption that would, under the circumstances, give cause to conclude that the contract was not renewed.

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V

Violation of a standard

Violation of a labour standard by virtue of which a complaint is filed.

Note - The same complaint can deal with more than one offence.

Vexatious behaviour

It is a conduct that is humiliating or abusive for the person who suffers it, that hurts them in their self-esteem and cause them substantial distress. It is a behaviour that exceeds what a reasonable person considers appropriate at work.

Vacation

Rest period granted on an annual basis to the employees of an enterprise.

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W

Work schedule

Breakdown of work hours within a given period.

Note - The work schedule may be fixed, compressed, divided, variable, open, etc.

Working day

Day normally devoted to work by the employee.

Wages with a 50% premium

Wages to which a 50% premium applies over and above the usual hourly wages, generally for payment of overtime.

Note - Depending on the context, the expressions "time and a half" and "at time and a half rate" may be used.

Wages

A remuneration in currency and benefits having a pecuniary value due for the work or services performed by an employee.

Work certificate

Written certificate issued by the employer to the employee who requests it at the expiry of his contract of employment and which includes the description of the nature of the position held and its duration.

Notes - A work certificate cannot deal with the quality of the work or the employee's conduct.

  • The Commission may issue a work certificate in the place of an employer who refuses to do so.

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