Changes to employment standards rules in the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act are in effect for temporary layoffs, group terminations, and variances and exemptions. All other employment standards changes take effect November 1.
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 and Immigration written notice of at least 4 weeks.
If an employer is unable to do so, they can provide written notice as soon as reasonable in the circumstances.
Group notice to the employees is no longer required but employers must provide individual termination notices to affected employees.
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.
Exceptions to the rules
Group termination rules do 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.
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:
- Alberta Works and Alberta Supports Centres
- Coping with Change
- Dealing with job loss
- Creating a new future: The job loss handbook
For group terminations that occurred before March 17, 2020, the following rules apply:
- Employers must notify the Minister of Labour and Immigration, 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
- The notice must be given according to the timelines above regardless of how long the individual employees in the group have been working.
- The notice must specify the number of employees whose employment was 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.
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.