Canadian Labor Laws and the Treaty

By Bryce M. Stewart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
A WEEKLY REST OF AT LEAST TWENTY-FOUR HOURS

"The adoption of a weekly rest of at least twenty-four hours, which should include Sunday wherever practicable." (Treaty of Peace: Article 427, 5.)

Wherever possible in industrial and commercial establishments the whole of the staff should be granted the rest period simultaneously. The rest period may be suspended or diminished after consultation with employers and workers' organizations, all such exceptions to involve compensatory rest in as far as possible and to be reported, with reasons, to the International Labor Organization ( 1921 convention and recommendation).

LEGISLATION in Canada on the subject of a weekly rest falls into three main groups: first, the provincial Sunday observance laws and the Dominion Lord's Day Act; second, the provincial laws prohibiting the operation of electric railways on Sunday; and third, the British Columbia act establishing a weekly half-holiday for shop employees and the provincial early-closing laws authorizing municipalities to pass by-laws requiring retail stores to close for a weekly half-holiday. In addition to these three main groups of laws some of the provinces have legislation providing a weekly twenty-four-hour rest for employees of fire departments, hotels and restaurants, bakeshops and barber shops.

The early Sunday observance laws had their rise in Sabbatarianism rather than in any desire to save the worker from constant toil. The first law of the kind was passed in Nova Scotia in 1758 (c. 32) "in order that all persons may, on the Lord's Day, apply themselves to duties of religion

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