Thanks to Canada's history of French colonialism, labor laws in Quebec look slightly different than regulations in the country's other provinces.
For foreign companies looking to expand, understanding the nuances of these labor laws (also referred to as labor codes) is essential. You may even want to consider getting legal advice or working with a global EOR service like Via.
Here’s our breakdown of key labor laws in Quebec that you’ll need to know if you plan to expand your business here.
To understand Quebec, you’ll need to understand its history. French colonialism still influences much of the area, with a large number of Francophone natives (French speakers) still residing in the area.
After the Seven Years War, the British took power in Quebec, but needed to ease the tension between British rule and the province’s Francophone roots. The Quebec Act of 1774 was passed to protect French laws, recognize French as the official language in the area, and make Roman Catholicism the official religion.
Even now, 85% of French-Canadian citizens reside in the region of Quebec, making it one of the largest populations of French speakers outside of France.
Employer regulations in Ontario and most of Canada draw heavily from British law, while the entire province of Quebec, including Quebec City and Montreal, are also governed by principles in the French Civil Code.
Employment contracts are required in Quebec and by the federal government in Canada. Right away, employment contracts have to state whether the period of employment will be fixed or indefinite. These employment contracts are governed by principles founded in the Quebec Civil Code (QCC) and should highlight the employment and working conditions of the relationship between both parties.
Quebec labor code dictates that an employer must give an employee a written notice of termination for an employee who has worked there for longer than 6 months. Notice periods can be a lot shorter in Quebec than in the rest of Canada.
Employers must give a notice period to employees, and the amount of notice depends upon how many years of continuous service the employee has with the company.
Notice required for length of service:
3 months-1 year: 1 week notice
1-5 years: 2 weeks
5-10 years: 4 weeks
10 years or more: 8 weeks
Employers are not required to give employees a notice of termination of employment if the employee has worked for a period of 3 months or less.
However, in Quebec, the Act Respecting Labour Standards (2017) allows some employees to be reinstated if they were terminated without good or reasonable cause. This is not the case in the rest of Canada; employees aren’t normally reinstated if they are fired unfairly.
Employers can sometimes choose to give their employees payment in lieu of termination, though these cases may still be subject to review by the court system if an employee feels they’ve been wrongfully terminated.
Employment law dictates that when you hire any foreign worker in Canada, you’ll need to obtain LMIA certification from the government showing that you could not fill the position by a Canadian citizen first. In the province of Quebec, you also need to obtain a Quebec Certificate of Acceptance (CAQ).
The certificate is specific to the region and shows the foreign worker is eligible to work for a Canadian employer.
Full-time employees in Quebec work 40 hours per week, with 8 hours per day. Employees are required to receive a break after 5 consecutive hours of work.
Employers must have a written agreement with the employee if they choose or are required to work over 8 hours in one day. Employees must sign and agree to overtime.
When an employee works overtime, they are entitled to time and a half.
Quebec's minimum wage for any job was just voted to increase in May of 2023 to $15.25 CAD per hour.
Another labor law in Quebec is the 3-hour rule. This law states that a person who reports for their usual shift or comes in at the request of their employer, but works less than 3 hours or does not work at all, must be paid their usual wage for 3 hours.
Workers in Quebec are entitled to a minimum of 32 consecutive hours of rest per week in Quebec.
If you plan to hire employees and properly run payroll in Quebec, you have two options:
Open a local entity and set up your own HR team
Use a global employer-of-record (EOR) service like Via
Payroll in Quebec can either be run bi-weekly, bi-monthly, or monthly.
Self-employed workers or contractors are subject to their own set of tax regulations and rules.
Quebec labor laws state that all employees are required to contribute to the Quebec Pension Plan (QPP) and to the Employment Insurance (EI).
Employee contribution rates:
Quebec Pension Plan: 5.4% of annual gross salary
Employment Insurance: 1.3% of annual gross salary
Employer contribution rates:
Quebec Pension Plan: 5.4% of annual gross salary
Employment Insurance: 1.1%-1.3% of annual gross salary
Health Service Fund for CAD 1 million or less: 2.3% of employee’s annual gross salary
Health Service Fund for CAD 5 million: 4.26% of employee’s annual gross salary
Any contributions that employees make that are specific to the province of Quebec are credited and deducted from the employee’s federal income tax earnings.
Individuals in Quebec file income taxes on an annual basis and are required to calculate their taxes based on their worldwide annual income and family situation.
Income tax rates in Quebec:
Over $220,000: 13.16%
Quebec labor law asserts that employees are entitled to 180 days of maternity leave without pay for a duration of 18 continuous weeks to care for a child and be with their family. This number is slightly higher than the federal Canadian maternity leave policy of 15 continuous weeks.
Parents of newborns or newly adopted children are entitled to leave without pay for up to 65 weeks to care for their child. Many employers may offer to pay employees for some or all of their parental leave depending on the stipulations of the employment contract.
Vacation time and length per year is determined by the employees' uninterrupted times of service.
Vacation leave time in Quebec:
Less than 1 year: One day per full month of uninterrupted service without exceeding 2 weeks
1-5 years: Two weeks
Over 5 years: Three weeks
As of 2022, the minister of Canada has made employee health and safety a priority.
All employees with over 30 days of employment to a company are entitled to their first three days of sick leave. After that, employees will accumulate one day of sick leave per month, for up to 10 days per year.
Any worker who is a victim of domestic violence or sexual violence can receive an unpaid leave of absence of up to 26 weeks over 12 months.
Statutory holidays in Quebec:
New Years Day
Bank Holiday (January 2nd)
Quebec-only statutory holidays:
Victoria Day (National Patriots’ Day in Quebec)
Quebec’s National Day
In September 2021, the Quebec Government passed Bill 59, which is focused on modernizing occupational health and safety across the province.
Quebec has strong laws protecting workers from psychological harassment and sexual harassment. It is an employer’s duty to prevent harassment of any kind.
The Quebec Pay Equity Act was passed in 1996, with the aim of limiting wage discrimination against women.
Companies of all sizes want to hire employees in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, but don’t know how to navigate the country’s local labor laws. Via makes hiring Canadian talent and building your global team seamless.
While some third-party EOR or PEO services outsource hiring to other organizations, Via owns its legal entity in Canada. We streamline HR processes for your employees by providing direct employment to your employees.
With our easy-to-use platform, Via helps you manage local HR processes for direct employment such as benefits, payroll, background checks, and more. Our team of local labor lawyers and on-the-ground experts ensure that your company remains compliant while expanding abroad. As your employer-of-record/entity in Canada, Via assumes responsibility for employment liability, so that you can focus on what matters: recruiting and managing your team. Companies that partner with Via keep all of their employees’ intellectual property. We ensure that this is spelled out in the employment contracts. With Via’s transparent pricing, you can pay full-time employees or contractors in Canada with no hidden set-up fees, no foreign exchange or transaction fees, and no minimums.
Whether you’re looking to start with 1 employee and scale up at your own pace, or begin with a whole team of developers and grow quickly, Via has your back.