Canada – Amendments to the Criminal Code Amnesty Order related to the May 1, 2020, ban on assault-style firearms

On May 1, 2020, the Government of Canada banned over 1,500 models and variants of assault-style firearms and some of their components, and made an accompanying two year Amnesty Order. The amnesty protects individuals or businesses while they take steps to come into compliance with the law if they possessed a now-prohibited firearm at the time the prohibition came into force.  

During the Amnesty period, individuals or businesses who are in possession of these now prohibited firearms may dispose of them through deactivation by an approved business, surrender to a police officer, export them to another country, and, if a business, return them to the manufacturer. 

On March 16, 2022, the Government of Canada announced an extension of the Amnesty for eighteen months, until October 30, 2023, along with other amendments. These amendments address issues that have been identified since 2020, allow the Government time to implement the mandatory buyback program, and protect firearm owners as they come into compliance with the law. The buyback program will offer fair compensation to affected owners and businesses. Owners will also have the option of deactivating the affected firearms at the government’s expense. Both options will support the safe removal of these firearms from our communities.

May 1, 2020 ban on assault-style firearms
On May 1, 2020, the Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and Other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted of the Criminal Code were amended to reclassify as prohibited over 1,500 models of firearms.  

The prohibition also included certain components of some now prohibited firearms (the upper receivers of the M16, AR-10, AR-15 and M4 pattern firearms). New maximum thresholds for muzzle energy (greater than 10,000 Joules – e.g., sniper rifles) and bore diameter (20 mm or greater – e.g., grenade launcher) are in place. Any firearm that exceeds these limits is also now a prohibited firearm.

An Amnesty Order accompanied the ban to protect individuals or businesses who, at the time the prohibition came into force, were in possession of a now prohibited firearm, from criminal liability for illegal possession of the firearm or device while they take necessary steps to comply with the law.

Amendments to the Amnesty Order
The Government is extending the Amnesty Order from April 30, 2022, to October 30, 2023, to address issues that have been identified since 2020, allow the Government time to implement the mandatory buyback program, and protect firearm owners as they come into compliance with the law. The buyback program, which will be introduced in early 2023, will offer fair compensation to affected owners and businesses. Owners will also have the option of deactivating the affected firearms at the government’s expense. Both options will support the safe removal of these firearms from our communities. Additional changes have been made to respond to concerns that were raised following the prohibition and would protect individuals against criminal liability during the amnesty period by:

allowing firearms to be transported so that they can be repaired and used safely for sustenance hunting or for those exercising a right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982;
protecting those who would alternatively store a newly-prohibited firearm, or an owner who transports it for that purpose; 
protecting individuals who lawfully purchased, or entered into an agreement to purchase, a formerly restricted firearm up to and including April 30, 2020, and who did not receive a registration certificate by that date as required by the Amnesty Order;
protecting businesses that take possession of the prohibited firearms in order to deactivate them on behalf of an owner; and,
providing the Bank of Canada, a Crown entity, with flexibility to use its full inventory of firearms that best addresses its security needs.

Canada – Backgrounder: Amendments to the Canada Labour Code to provide ten days of paid sick leave

The Government of Canada has authority to legislate paid sick leave, via Part III of the Canada Labour Code, for the federally regulated private sector. This sector includes about 955,000 employees (or approximately 6% of all Canadian employees) working for 18,500 employers in industries such as banking, telecommunications, broadcasting and inter-provincial and international transportation (including air, rail, maritime and road transportation), for federal Crown corporations, as well as for certain activities on First Nations reserves.

The proposed legislation proposes to amend medical leave under Part III of the Canada Labour Code to provide that:

employees are entitled to earn one day of medical leave with pay for each month of employment with an employer, up to a maximum of ten days in a calendar year;
any day of medical leave with pay that an employee does not take in a calendar year carries forward to January 1st of the following calendar year and counts toward the ten days that can be earned in the new year; and
the maximum number of days of medical leave with pay that an employee can take in a calendar year is ten.

The coming into force date would be fixed by Order in Council.

The Canada Labour Code (Code) currently provides employees in federally regulated industries with five leaves related to personal illness or injury: 

Personal leave provides employees with up to five days of leave per year for personal illness or injury, family responsibilities, urgent matters concerning themselves or their families, or attending their citizenship ceremony. The first three days of this leave are paid if the employee has completed three consecutive months of continuous employment with the employer. In order to avoid the duplication of leave provisions under the Code, the proposed legislation would remove “personal illness or injury” from the list of reasons for which an employee is entitled to take personal leave.
Medical leave provides employees with an unpaid leave of up to 17 weeks if they are unable to work due to personal illness or injury, organ or tissue donation, or medical appointments during working hours.
Work-related illness or injury leave provides employees the right to be absent from work for an indefinite period if they suffer a work-related illness or injury. Employers are required to subscribe to a plan that will replace the employee’s wages according to the workers’ compensation laws applicable in the employee’s province of permanent residence.
The leave of absence for members of the Reserve Force provides members of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserve Force with leave for as long as necessary to treat, recover from, or undergo rehabilitation for a physical or mental health problem that results from service in an operation or activity listed in the Code. While on leave, employees are entitled to various compensation programs provided by the Government of Canada.
In March 2020, the Code was amended to create the leave related to COVID-19. Prior to November 20, 2021, this leave allowed employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for up to four weeks if they were unable to work for reasons related to COVID-19, including if they have contracted or might have contracted COVID-19, and up to 42 weeks if they were unable to work because of caregiving responsibilities related to COVID-19. The leave related to COVID-19 was designed to align with the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit; the eligibility period for the benefits ended on November 20, 2021 and the leave related to COVID-19 was repealed on the same day. The Government has introduced legislation to extend the eligibility period for the benefits until May 7, 2022, and to reinstate the leave accordingly.

Canada – Important amendments to the Public Service Employment Act

Gatineau, Quebec

On June 29, Bill C-30, an Act to implement certain provisions of the budget, received Royal Assent. The bill contains amendments to the Public Service Employment Act that aim to strengthen diversity and inclusion, and address biases and barriers faced by equity-seeking groups.

The Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) will have an important role in implementing these changes, which will support increasing diversity and levelling the playing field for all Canadians who participate in public service hiring processes.

As the provisions of the law come into force in stages, the PSC will work with key stakeholders, including departments and agencies, bargaining agents and employee diversity networks, to implement these amendments effectively.

The PSC continues to advance diversity, equity and inclusion through initiatives that include targeted student and graduate recruitment programs, an internship program for persons with disabilities, and audits and studies on the impact of the hiring process on equity-seeking groups.

The PSC is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion, and to ensuring that all those applying to public service jobs have an equal opportunity to highlight their unique talents.