The definition of full-time employment in Canada varies between industry, as some industries are regulated by the federal government and some are overseen by their provincial government. Both Statistics Canada and the Ontario government define "full-time" employment as 30 or more hours per week. Statistics Canada does not remove workers deemed "temporary" from their definition. However, the full-time hours threshold is not well defined in most Canadian statutes. Some suggest the protection afforded by Canadian labor legislation only comes into force after a worker can prove 37 or more paid hours of work per week.
Part-Time vs. Full-Time: Why care?
Full-time workers are afforded many privileges, including the right to severance pay, vacation pay and legal protection against undeserved dismissal. As such, gaining more than 30 hours of paid employment per week can mean the difference between access to these rights and unfair treatment. In Ontario, the definition of full-time employment has a maximum of 48 hours per week. Beyond that point, workers must consent to additional hours of work.
Full Time Temporary Workers
If a temporary, full-time worker has completed at least 12 months of uninterrupted work, they are able to qualify for all the rights and protections of Section Three of the Canada Labour Code. These include vacation pay, severance and protection from unjust firing.
Industries Covered by Provincial Labor Law
Generally, all industries whose product or service must not cross a provincial or national border to be delivered, along with sensitive industries like communications, air transportation and certain forms of mining, are covered by the labor legislation of the province they reside in. In Ontario, the labor code is called the Employment Standards Act.
Industries Covered by Federal Labor Law
All banks, the communications sector, shipping, airlines, fisheries, and businesses concerned with uranium or grain are covered by the Canada Labor Code. All others are covered by provincial or territorial legislation, which varies greatly.
Firing a Full-Time Worker
Qualifying as a full-time worker under Canadian labor laws affords workers certain privileges when they are terminated. In Ontario, a full-time worker who has worked three uninterrupted months or more must given advanced written notice of termination, termination pay or a combination of both.