Out of Province Remote Work Restrictions
To: HR Community and Hiring Managers
From: Francis Desjardins, Director, Labour & Employee Relations
Subject: Out of Province Remote Work Restrictions
Date: November 9, 2023
In the past months, we have received an increased number of requests to hire candidates living and working outside of the province or internationally. In addition, in a few cases, we have been informed, after the fact, that a faculty or unit had proceeded to hire a candidate working and living abroad, without prior authorization.
The present memo intends to clarify the University’s position with respect to out-of-province work.
Though McGill embraces flexible work arrangements, the University cannot have employees living and working in a jurisdiction other than Quebec1. Doing so would lead to employment and legislative burdens that are too great for the institution to assume.
Here are some of the key constraints and obstacles that limit our ability to have employees working from other geographical areas:
Legal and regulatory complexities: Hiring employees in different provinces or countries involves navigating complex legal and regulatory frameworks. Compliance with various labor laws, health and safety regulations, tax regulations, and employment standards can be very challenging. In addition, this situation would open the door to out-of-province litigation, which must be avoided.
Immigration: Employees must have the right to both live and work in a country. Employers are usually legally responsible for ensuring that employees have the right to work abroad, and documentation to validate this. Failure to comply with immigration rules can lead to penal liability, audits and fines by local immigration authorities.
Administrative burden: Managing remote employees in different geographical locations requires significant administrative resources. It involves coordinating payroll, benefits, and other HR functions across multiple jurisdictions.
Data security and confidentiality: Working remotely from another country can increase the risk of data security threats such as hacking and cyber-fraud. This puts the organization, colleagues, and the remote individual at greater risk.
Cost considerations: Expanding into new regions can imply increased operational costs, including those related to legal compliance, taxes, and benefits. These additional expenses can strain our financial resources.
Pension & Benefits: Eligibility for benefits coverage is impacted by the place of residence. For instance, to be eligible to the Supplemental Health Plan, employees must be covered by a provincial health plan, such as RAMQ in Québec, and to be eligible for life insurance coverage, employees must be Canadian citizens or Canadian residents. This is similar for the Pension Plan, in order to be eligible, a person must be a Canadian resident. They are not eligible to participate if they work & reside outside of Canada.
Time zone differences and performance management: Time zone variations can affect team collaboration, communication, and productivity. It may lead to issues related to scheduling meetings, resolving urgent matters, and maintaining a cohesive work environment. In addition, having an employee who lives out of province work 100% remotely limits a manager’s ability to manage performance and request on-campus presence when necessary.
Flexible Work Arrangements: The University’s IFWA does not permit employees to work remotely 100% of the time. Allowing this for out-of-province hires would create internal inequities.
Based on all of these factors, it is in the best interest of the University to only hire employees who are able to perform their work in Quebec.
Employees who work in Quebec but reside outside of the province and in Canada should also live close enough to their ‘’home’’ campus, be it downtown Montreal, Gatineau, MacDonald, or Mont- Saint-Hilaire, to commute to work in the same way as their colleagues.
We trust in your understanding and invite you to reach out with any questions or needs you may have in relation with local employment practices.
Francis Desjardins, CRIA
Directeur, Relations de travail | McGill University
1 This does not apply to employees living out-of-province but working in Quebec.