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20 Canadian Lab. & Emp. L.J. 273 (2017)
Addressing Work-Family Conflict in Quebec: The Gap between Policy Discourse and Legal Response

handle is hein.journals/canlemj20 and id is 283 raw text is: 










         Addressing Work-Family Conflict

         in Quebec: The Gap between Policy

            Discourse and Legal Response



                         Stiphanie  Bernstein*

      In the twenty years since Quebec introduced its family policy in 1997,
with the objective of supporting the parents of young children, the province has
implemented a number of measures aimed at promoting work-life balance which
are in many respects more generous than those elsewhere in Canada. However,
while enhancing  rights to maternity, parental and paternity leave upon the
arrival of a child, Quebec has done little to address conflicts between work and
family life after a parent's return to work, especially conflicts resulting from
routine, daily obligations towards children, the elderly, or other family mem-
bers. This paper examines the adequacy of existing legal mechanisms available
to Quebec  workers under human rights and employment standards legislation
for reducing work-family conflict. In this regard, the author notes that 'family
status or 'family situation has not been recognized as a prohibited ground
of discrimination under Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, and
the province's courts have consistently resisted expanding the scope of the pro-
hibited ground of civil status to include parental obligations in the employ-
ment context. Furthermore, while the Labour Standards Act provides for various
short- and long-term leaves of absence for family responsibilities, the legislation
imposes restrictive conditions on entitlement, e.g. the obligation in question must
generally be extraordinary in nature, and the employee must prove that she
took steps to find an alternative solution before seeking leave. Overall, Quebec
law has preserved management's prerogative to determine the organization and
scheduling of work, maintaining a conception of the ideal or normative
worker as one who has no family responsibilities. Ultimately, the author argues,
meaningful reform must take aim at the crux of the matter - employees' ability
to control their working time.






  * Professor, D6partement des sciences juridiques, Universit6 du Qu6bec A Montr6al.
    The author wishes to thank Mathilde Valentini, LL.M student, Universit6 du
    Qu6bec & Montr6al, for her stellar research assistance and engaging discussions,
    as well as the research team of Precarious Employment, Atypical Schedules
    and Work-Family  Balance: An Interdisciplinary Analysis on Individual and
    Collective Strategies (SSHRC 2015-2019).

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