All About Employee Leave & PTO in Canada

Learn what you need to know about leave requirements in Canada and how Justworks EOR can help you streamline hiring in Canada.

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How an EOR Can Help with Employee Leave & PTO in Canada

Different countries have different leave requirements. When hiring in Canada, Justworks EOR can help you understand the cultural nuances by offering localized guidance to help you stay in line with federal requirements and prospective employees’ expectations. 

Save time, money, and effort by minimizing the potential risks of hiring in an unfamiliar talent market like Canada. We’ll help you hire more quickly and manage HR tasks like running payroll, filing taxes, accessing benefits, staying on top of compliance, and more. 

Employee Leave & PTO Expectations in Canada

While leave in Canada varies from province to province, the Canadian government has some federal requirements. Across the country, employees are entitled to paid vacation (PTO), statutory holidays, medical leave, maternity and parental paternity leave, and other forms of personal leave.

Vacation Leave 

Vacation entitlement can vary by province or territory. Generally, federal law requires that employees receive at least two weeks of paid time off (PTO) after one year of employment, three weeks after five years of employment, and four weeks after 10 years of continuous service.

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Personal Leave 

In Canada, personal leave allows employees time off for various personal reasons like illness, medical appointments, or family emergencies. Specifics vary by province or territory, as labor laws are mostly regulated at this level. Provinces like Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia offer paid or unpaid personal leave, influenced by tenure, company policies, and specific provincial or territorial regulations. Employers may request prior notice or documentation, like a doctor's note. Generally, employees can take personal leave after three months of employment and are entitled to receive the first three days paid at their regular rate.

Medical & Critical Illness Leave  

In Canada, medical and critical illness leave allows employees to take time off work due to personal illness or to care for a sick family member. Medical leave covers employees' own illness or injury, with duration of time off and benefits varying by province or territory. Critical illness leave permits time off to care for seriously ill family members, such as spouses or children, with specific and length of time off varying by jurisdiction. Employees may receive wage support through employment insurance or employer-provided benefits.

Parental Leave

In Canada, new mothers, biological or surrogates, can take up to 15 weeks of maternity leave. Additionally, biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents are entitled to 35 weeks of parental benefits, which can be shared between parents. These benefits are provided through Employment Insurance (EI), not by the employer.

Domestic Violence Leave

Domestic violence leave in Canada aims to support employees who are victims of abuse by providing them with time off to seek medical or legal help, counseling, or find a safe place to stay without risking their job security or financial stability. It can also apply if an employee's child or dependent is affected. Leave entitlement varies but typically includes 10 days of unpaid leave and up to 15 to 17 weeks under certain circumstances, depending on provincial or territorial regulations and federal mandates.

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Aboriginal Employee Leave 

Aboriginal employees with at least three months of continuous service can take up to five unpaid days off per year to engage in traditional practices, such as fishing, hunting, or observing cultural events.

Public Holidays in Canada

Canada has 10 statutory public holidays, which vary by province or territory. Some holidays are observed across most regions, which we’ve listed. Note: Employees required to work during a public holiday may take an additional rest day instead of that holiday. 

Public holidays in Canada: 

  • New Year’s Day - January 1

  • Good Friday - Friday before Easter Sunday

  • Easter Monday - Monday after Easter Sunday

  • Victoria Day - Monday before May 25

  • Canada Day - July 1

  • Labour Day - 1st Monday in September 

  • Thanksgiving Day - 2nd Monday in October

  • Remembrance Day - November 11

  • Christmas Day - December 25

  • Boxing Day - December 26

Ready to Hire Confidently in Canada?

Justworks EOR makes building your global team seamless by offering local expertise to help you understand the nuances of the talent market in Canada. Save yourself the time and hassle of international hiring today.

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