Financial advisors, analysts and other professionals in the financial services sector should be excluded from Ontario’s labour laws on wages, overtime, public holidays and vacation pay, says the Investment Industry Association of Canada (IIAC).
Specifically, the IIAC argues in a submission to an Ontario provincial government review of labour legislation that financial services professionals should be excluded from provisions designed to protect workers from exploitation. Other professionals such as lawyers, engineers and accountants are already exempt from these rules, the IIAC says, noting that registered financial services professionals should be as well.
“The rationale for the exemption is based on the recognition that professional roles require significant independence in fulfilling their responsibilities and require much greater flexibility in their hours of practice,” the IIAC notes in its submission, adding that these jobs are generally well paid, offsetting the concerns that the legislation seeks to address.
“Given the nature of the work, and the skills required to perform their job functions, it is clear that these professionals should be treated similarly to other exempted professionals. Like the other exempt employees, they are highly trained professionals, working in a highly regulated industry and require significant flexibility in hours of practice,” the IIAC’s submission says. “Many of these employees also receive commission or bonus compensation that is directly linked to their individual performance. In addition, imposing maximum hourly restrictions may impede or, in certain circumstances may be contrary to their professional obligations to third-party clients.”
In addition, the IIAC’s submission argues that it would be unfair to require financial services firms to pay overtime on top of the already high compensation and benefits that industry employees receive. Furthermore, the association notes that other provinces — such as British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan — already exempt financial services professionals from similar laws.
As a result, Ontario’s provincial government should exclude investment advisors, portfolio managers, securities traders (retail and institutional), research analysts and associates as well as other financial services sector professionals, such as managing directors and compliance officers, from these rules, the IIAC’s submission argues.
The deadline for comments on the review of the existing labour and employment law framework was Sept. 18. It is to submit its final report by the end of 2016; after that, the Ministry of Labour will consider changes to Ontario’s labour relations and employment standards regime.