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What changes have been made to employment law over the decades?

The changes to employment law in Canada over the decades have been tremendous. While this is true in many countries, it's still very interesting to look back on how things used to be and to contrast that with current employee rights.

For instance, did you know that Canada used to have a standing ban on unions? Not only were they frowned upon and fought by employers, but they were made entirely illegal by the government itself. This was true in 1872, when the very first Labour Day parade was held. Anyone in a union could be charged with criminal conspiracy.

In fact, that first parade was started because of this law. The Toronto Typographical Union had seen numerous arrests, and two dozen leaders were in jail. The parade was set up as a protest, demanding that they be released. The arrests came when those leaders had decided to strike.

Why did they strike? They just wanted to lower the work week to 58 hours. In today's world, with a standard 40-hour week, even thinking about working 58 hours is enough to give one pause, but it would have been a nice step in the right direction back then.

Today, the parade has become an annual affair. While watching it and celebrating Labour Day, it's important for modern workers to think about how things were back then, how the whole practice got started, and how they have so many more rights today.

Do you think your rights in the workplace are being violated? If you do, you need to look into all of your legal options in Calgary.

Source: Monster, "Canadian Employment Law: Knowing Your Employee Rights," Mark Swartz, accessed June 12, 2015

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