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Ontario considers big changes to Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act

For the first time in over 20 years, the Province of Ontario has commissioned an independent report to review both the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Employment law changes coming ($15 minimum wage and more); overtime exemptions under employment standards; and grievance of an employee alleging discrimination based on family status.

 

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The end of accommodation? Frustration of the employment contract as a last resort

One of the goals of legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Human Rights Code is to promote accessibility and accommodation in various forums, including the workplace. However, when it becomes clear that, despite accommodating an employee to the point of undue hardship, a disabled employee will never again be able to return to his or her job or be accommodated in another position, what can an employer do?

 

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Employer unsuccessful in voiding unfavourable termination clause

A recent decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal dealt with the unusual situation of a defendant employer arguing that its own contractual termination provision was unenforceable and thus the plaintiff employee was entitled to common law reasonable notice. Employees frequently challenge the enforceability of a termination provision to seek common law notice, however, it is rare that an employer would do the same.

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Repeat violators from 2016 blitz; whether employer-employee relationship existed; and Labour force survey, April 2017.

 

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Wrongful dismissal: When does the limitation period clock start running?

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice touches upon a little discussed area of employment law. Specifically, when does the limitation period clock start running for a claim of wrongful dismissal?

 

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: an employment agreement not signed before the first day of work; a volunteer in a coma who willingly assumed risks of the task that caused his injury; and the electronic distribution of T4 information slips.

 

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Are employees of a marijuana dispensary protected by employment standards?

With news almost every week of another marijuana dispensary raided by the police, Ontarian’s have asked, can the Ministry of Labour enforce employment standards (i.e. notice of termination, overtime, etc.) in favour of individuals who work at these criminal enterprises? In short, yes. There is simply no exemption in the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) which exempts […]

 

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Contract enforceability: Signing the employment contract prior to the start date

When an employee is terminated without cause and offered a package that is very modest, but otherwise compliant with the employment contract, a common first step for his or her lawyer will be to see if the contract can be set aside. If the contract can be declared void, the employee can try to pursue the typically much greater common law damages. There are several grounds upon which courts have set aside either the full contract or at the least, the termination provision. This blog post will focus on the issue of signing the contract prior to the start date.

 

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Employee’s age justifies wrongful dismissal damages of 24 months

Given the elimination of mandatory retirement years ago, employees are working for longer periods of time and well into their 60s and some into their 70s. Age has always been one of the key Bardal factors, in addition to title, length of service and compensation, that courts use to determine an appropriate common law notice period. In the recent case of Ozorio v. Canadian Hearing Society, 2016 ONSC 5440, Justice O’Marra confirmed that an employee’s age remains a significant factor in determining a common law notice period.

 

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Wood vs. Oudin: Clarity in termination provisions

In Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., the Ontario Court of Appeal seemed to make a definitive statement about the interpretation of termination provisions in employment agreements: a court will invalidate them when they contain actual or technical deficiencies. However, the same Court’s decision last year in Oudin v Centre Francophone de Toronto seemed to reach a different conclusion: the court will apply contractual certainty to give effect to the parties’ intentions. Can the two be reconciled? Closer inspection reveals that each decision is specific to the employment agreements in each.

 

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Termination clause and the importance of the word “minimum”

Employees are entitled to reasonable notice upon termination of their employment. However, a termination clause contained in an employment contract may oust the employer’s obligation to provide reasonable notice, so long as the termination clause actually limits the employee’s entitlement to notice, without violating employment standards.

 

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Father fired for seeking parental leave awarded $62,000 in damages

In Ontario, as a new parent, you are entitled to take unpaid time off work for up to 37 weeks to take care of your newborn child (i.e., parental leave). This right applies to both parents, and the employer is legally required to provide you with your old job at the end of the leave. The employer is also not permitted to retaliate, or punish you in any way, for taking the time off to spend with your family. Unfortunately employers often consciously violate these rights and returning employees frequently find that either they no longer have a job, or that the job responsibilities or pay have changed.

 

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Uncertainty with termination clauses continues

There are few areas of employment law more in flux (and vexing to lawyers) than that surrounding the enforcement of termination clauses. Part of the frustration is when the Courts provide seemingly contradictory messages on whether termination clauses will be upheld. In January 2017 alone, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released two decisions that appear, on their face, to be somewhat at odds.

 

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Requesting background checks after employment starts

In a recent Ontario Superior Court decision it was held that an employer’s decision to request a criminal background check after employment had commenced was lawful under the applicable 12–month fixed term contract and the employee was not entitled to damages when her employment was terminated after she refused to consent to the background check.

 

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