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Use It or Lose It Vacation Policy in Canada

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Table Of Contents

You’ve probably heard of Canada’s divine mountain rangers, glorious forests, and other extraordinary natural and man-made attractions the country has. It’s also known for hockey, maple syrup, and low unemployment rates. Needless to say, living in Canada does sound like a dream come true. 

If you’re planning to move to Canada, or are already living there, you should be informed of all legal requirements when it comes to PTO or any other kind of leave.

Leave Quota in Canada

The amount of days off you are legally entitled to in Canada is 10. 

Canada is also known as one of the countries that have the lowest number of paid time off throughout the year. To its residents, Canada grants up to 10 paid days off from work. And when we add 9 more days Canadians get due to public holidays, we come to a total amount of 19 paid days off from work per year.

However, you must be wondering. What happens if I don’t use all the available days off? Do I lose them? We have some great news for you. 

Unlike in the USA, the “Use It or Lose It” policy is declared illegal in Canada.

1944 – Canada Introduces Vacation Legislation

Somewhere around 1944, Canada enacted its first vacation legislation. Thanks to the legislation, vacations with pay have become a legal right for employees.

However, the same rules don’t apply to the entire country. Each jurisdiction has its own legislation when it comes to vacation. This typically includes the rights behind earning vacation time, the minimum vacation days off you can take, the employer’s rights to schedule and forfeit vacation time, the obligation of vacation pay when employment is terminated, and more, depending on the jurisdiction.

As mentioned above, most jurisdictions have a minimum vacation time of 10 days, however, there is an exception to this rule. Saskatchewan offers a minimum of 3 weeks.

Of course, the minimum entitlement may vary in different provinces. The number of available vacation time can be increased after a certain number of years of service.

Another thing important to note is that most jurisdictions state the employee earns vacation days in the first year of employment and can use them in the following year.

What happens if I don’t want to take any time off?

First of all, you definitely should take some time off from work, as it has many benefits. However, let’s say you absolutely love working and can’t imagine a day when you aren’t going into the office. What happens in this case?

Though rarely, these things can happen, and in that case, the employer has the right to determine for you when you’ll be taking a vacation.

What happens with unused leave in case of termination of employment?

When employment ends, and the proper termination notice is given, an employee is entitled to be paid the vacation pay that they’ve earned. It’s important to note that each province decides which earnings are “vacionable” and will be calculated for the vacation pay entitlement.

In order to keep track of your used leave, it’s essential you use leave management software, such as Vacation Tracker, so you can always be sure of the remaining days off.

Vacation Tracker is designed to fit your company’s needs, no matter the niche you’re in. Easy to use, and even easier to install, Vacation Tracker makes sure your team members are just minutes away from their well-deserved time off. And what’s even better, you can see it in action right away by scheduling your free consultation. 

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Understanding the legal regulations concerning leave laws in Canada is very important, however, it may get a little confusing at times. Hopefully, our article has helped clear things up for you a little, and get a better understanding of leave laws in Canada.

Aleksandra Cvetkovic
Aleksandra Cvetkovic

Aleksandra has been with the team since day one, bringing her passion for all things marketing.

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