Changes to employment standards rules are proposed in Bill 32: the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act.

Basic rules

If an employer intends to terminate the employment of 50 or more employees at a single location within a 4-week period, the employer must give the Minister of Labour, the affected employees, and their unions(s) the following amount of written notice according to the number of employees affected:

  • 8 weeks - 50 or more employees but less than 100
  • 12 weeks - 100 or more employees but less than 300
  • 16 weeks - 300 or more employees

COVID-19 response

Temporary Rules: For group terminations that occurred on or after March 17, 2020, the notice period is waived. Employers provide as much notice as is reasonable or possible in the circumstances. All the other rules still apply.

Group termination notice is not required to temporarily lay off a group of employees. However, employers should be aware of the rules for temporary layoffs.

Learn more about temporary layoff and recall notices.

Details of notice

The notice must be provided directly to all affected employees as per the timelines above, regardless of how long the individual employees in the group have been working. For example, if an employee has been working for two years and is part of a group of 100 employees terminated, that employee, along with the others in the group, must receive 12 weeks’ notice.

The notice must specify the number of employees whose employment will be terminated, and the effective date of the terminations.

If an employee is affected by group termination, the notice they receive as part of that will suffice for the needs of individual termination notice. Group notice can be paid out or have a combination of pay/notice if the employer wishes to terminate before the end of the applicable notice period.

Exceptions to the rules

This requirement does not apply to seasonal labourers or to anyone employed for a definite term or task.

How to give notice

Employers subject to the group termination requirement must complete and submit a Notice to Minister of Group Terminations form (PDF, 204 KB).

Upon receiving it, Employment Standards will provide the employer with written acknowledgement of the notice. Failure to provide required notice may result in an administrative penalty.

Workforce adjustment services

Since 2004, the Government of Alberta has offered Workforce Adjustment Activities to companies planning closures or layoffs. After receiving a termination notice under section 137, Government of Alberta staff offer the employer information about programs and services available through the Government of Alberta and the Government of Canada. These services include working with employers and employees to develop presentations, workshops, referrals and other need-based responses.

Supports and services for employers include:

Supports and services for employees include:

How the law applies

Part 2, Division 8 of the Employment Standards Code provides the process required to terminate employment relationships, entitlements to termination notice and pay, temporary layoff and recall rights.

Division 8 also outlines circumstances in which an employer or an employee may not be required to provide termination notice under the Code.

Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct.