364 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 3 MAY 2018
employer must pay the employee termination pay on that day. If the
employer wants to continue or extend the layoff period past 59 consecutive
days, it may do so provided it continues to pay wages or benefits to the
Section 64 provides that if an employer recalls an employee on a temporary
layoff and requests in writing that the employee return to work, and
the employee fails to do so within seven days, then the employee is not
entitled to termination notice or pay.
There is no requirement in the Alberta ESC that the employer provide
the employee a written notice of temporary layoff. However, the Alberta
Court of Appeal in Vrana v. Procor Ltd.4 outlined some minimum obligations
of an employer intending to lay off an employee temporarily, which we will
In comparing Alberta and B.C. statutory regimes governing temporary
layoff, it is fair to conclude that the former is more detailed and clearer,
making it easier to determine the rights and obligations of employers and
employees. The Alberta ESC also seems to provide the employer with more
flexibility in the workplace by expressly affording the employer a statutory
right to lay off employees. This said, even the Alberta ESC contains some
On the plain language of the B.C. and Alberta legislation, there are differences—
and, in some cases, significant differences—on the subject of temporary
layoff. However, the policy considerations set out in s. 2 of the B.C.
ESA (“Purposes of this Act”) and the preamble5 of the Alberta ESC do not
appear that different from each other: both tend to value fairness, efficiency,
open communication and flexibility.
Beyond that, however, the Alberta preamble refers to the “world-wide
market economy of which Alberta is a part”, which arguably speaks to
Alberta’s uncertain oil-based economy (which in recent times has suffered
tremendously with the protracted and continuing global oil slump) and foreshadows
the relatively liberal or pro-employer stance on layoff in the legislation.
It may very well be that the difference in the legislative treatment of
layoff in these provinces is shaped by the nature of their respective economies.
That is, the legislature of the more diversified economy of British Columbia
may not see the need to affirmatively provide employers with the same
flexibility to lay off employees as does the legislature of Alberta, a province
that is economically dependent on oil and subject to greater shocks to its
economy stemming from the vagaries of global oil prices.6