Minister of Labour (Canada)

From Academic Kids

In the Cabinet of Canada, the Minister of Labour is responsible for setting national labour standards and federal labour dispute mechanisms. Much of the responsibility for labour belongs with the provinces, however the federal government is responsible for labour issues in certain economic sectors.

Since 2004 the position has been styled the Minister of Labour and Housing, a name change corresponding with responsibility for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Authority being transferred to the portfolio at that time. "Minister of Labour" remains the title for legal purposes.

The Department of Labour was created with William Lyon Mackenzie King as its first minister in 1909. Previously, the responsibility for labour affairs was handled by the Postmaster General.

From 1993 to 1996 the Department of Labour was amalgamated with the Department of Employment and Immigration to create Human Resources Development Canada. Although the intent was to replace two cabinet posts with a single Minister of Human Resources Development, the desire to appoint "star candidate" Lucienne Robillard's to cabinet in 1995 gave the position received a reprieve from amalgamation—Robillard was given the title and positioned as a second minister inside HRDC, responsible for the "Labour Program."

A 2003 reorganization saw HRDC dismantled and labour responsibilties passing to a successor department, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, again with two ministers, a Minister of Labour and a Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development. The name change to "Labour and Housing" occurred seven months later.

The Minister of Labour and Housing is responsible for HRSDC's "Labour Program" and thus is responsible for the Canada Labour Code, the Employment Equity Act, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service as well as the implementation of health and safety legislation. Other Acts the Minister retains responsibility for include the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, Government Employees Compensation Act and Merchant Seamen Compensation Act. The Minister is also responsible for the Strategic Policy and International Labour Affairs (SPILA) Directorate which focuses on workplace trends and changes, including work-life balanceand the reformation of employment relationships and the Workplace Information Directorate (WID) which provides information on workplace conditions, trends and innovative practices through direct personal services, electronic means, and various publications, including the Workplace Gazette and the Wage Settlements Bulletin.

See List of Canadian Ministers of Labour


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