September 29, 2011

OTTAWA – Canadian workers who require additional leave to deal with illness or injury will have their jobs protected longer under legislation tabled yesterday by John Rafferty and Carol Hughes.  

Bill C-294 amends the Canada Labour Code by increasing the existing 12 weeks of job-protection for employees who are unable to work to 52 weeks -  a time-frame the MPs feel better reflects the challenges faced by many Canadians as they recover to the point they can return to work.

“Not all people who are fighting serious illness such as cancer or mental illness can be expected to return to work in the 12 weeks the Labour Code provides,” said Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.  “John’s Bill, which I was proud to second in the House of Commons, goes a long way to recognizing what the reality is for people who are  recovering from illness or catastrophic injuries.”

The bill is in no way meant to ignore the needs of employers who remain free to hire temporary replacements for workers who are recovering.  It only extends the period so that it could be as long as 52 weeks to offer the recovering employee some peace of mind during their struggles.

“No one needs to worry about having a job to return to as they put their efforts into getting better,” said Hughes.  “This small amendment to one line of the Labour Code acknowledges that, without drastically changing existing measures at the same time.”

“If you take the length of time someone may have to fight a serious disease like cancer as an example, this change will have the Labour Code match the circumstances for someone who probably shouldn’t be rushed back to work, and that is a good thing,” concluded Hughes.