Burdens of Small Business: Employment Standards Act

The CFA met with the Ministry of Labour in January and stressed some key points to be considered when reviewing the Act:

  • The importance of streamlining and simplifying the Act, with the goal of dovetailing any changes with the federal government so they do not hit small businesses all at once.
  • To apply enough runway to any changes to give small business an opportunity to plan for the changes.
  • The need for plain language, as many small business operators/franchisees are new to Canada and their native tongue is neither English nor French.To provide better tools to submit questions for feedback and clarity on rules and new standards in our current reality. For example: Are there new standards, such as WSIB considerations, needed for working from home in a hybrid work model? How might existing standards apply or not apply in this scenario?
  • Understanding that franchisees are small business owners who are often sole owner/operators and do not have H.R. staff or resources to deal with the complexities of the Act and its regulations. Difficulty in understanding and finding information related to specific regulatory requirements often becomes a resource drain on busy franchise owners who already have many responsibilities.

Should regulatory and administrative burdens grow in terms of compliance requirements, businesses will continue to face challenges in remaining profitable; the burden on businesses should be reduced to a level that does not have a tangible impact on profitability.


The CFA calls on government to reduce red tape and regulatory burden for small business owners, like franchisees, by streamlining and simplifying the Act and information on its regulatory requirements by:

  • Coordinating any changes to the Act or regulatory requirements with the Federal government and providing sufficient notice of changes so that small businesses can appropriately prepare;
  • Using plain language in communication and education to small business owners about changes and requirements; and
  • Providing better tools to find information and receive guidance on how to comply with the Act in real-world scenarios.