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Proposed citizenship ceremony leave in Nova Scotia

Bill 115, An Act to Amend Chapter 246 of the Revised Statutes, 1989, the Labour Standards Code, Respecting Citizenship Ceremony Leave received first reading in the Nova Scotia Legislature, and is currently sitting with the Law Amendments Committee. The goal of the Bill is to create an unpaid leave of absence of up to one day under the Labour Standards Code so employment is protected while employees attend their citizenship ceremony.

The rules would be simple; the employee gives the employer 14 days’ notice or as much notice as is reasonably practicable of the date of the citizenship ceremony and the time the employee will be away from work to attend the citizenship ceremony. The employee would have to provide evidence of the date of the citizenship ceremony if the employer asks for it.

Then, the employer must provide the unpaid leave of absence of up to one day.

It is important to keep in mind that employees who are denied the leave of absence or the opportunity to resume work on account of taking the leave may make a complaint to the Director of Labour Standards, and may appeal any decision to the Labour Standards Board.

In consultations, the government considered that about 800 to 1,000 people in Nova Scotia become Canadian citizens every year. Attending a citizenship ceremony provides a great sense of belonging and pride to new Canadians since being a citizen means an individual can participate fully in society through voting in elections and running for office.

Nova Scotia follows in the footsteps of Manitoba, which currently permits employees who have been employed for at least 30 days to take up to four hours of unpaid leave to attend a citizenship ceremony to receive a certificate of citizenship.

Similar to what is proposed for Nova Scotia, the Manitoban employee must provide the employer at least 14 days’ notice or, if it is not possible for the employee to give 14 days’ notice, as much notice as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. Also, if requested by the employer, employees must provide evidence of their entitlement to the leave.

Christina Catenacci
First Reference Human Resources and Compliance Editor

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Christina Catenacci

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. Read more
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