In Bryant v Parkland School Division, 2022 ABCA 220, the Justices considered the meaning of the following termination clause:
“This contract may be terminated by the Employee by giving to the Board thirty (30) days or more prior written notice, and by the Board upon giving the Employee sixty (60) days or more written notice.”
The trial judge said that this gave the Employer a discretion but not an obligation to give more than 60 days notice.
The Court of Appeal thought otherwise. Here is what they said:
 The starting point, then, is that there is a presumption of an implied term requiring the employer to provide reasonable common law notice on dismissal. Only where the employment contract unambiguously limits or removes that right will the presumption be rebutted, and the implied term ousted. The chambers judge did not begin his analysis with these principles at the forefront.
 When these interpretive principles are properly applied, it is clear the clause does not unambiguously limit the employees’ right to common law reasonable notice. The clause does not clearly fix the employees’ notice entitlement. It does not impose an upper limit on the amount of notice an employee is entitled to receive. It does not suggest that 60 days is the maximum notice to which an employee is entitled. To the contrary, it explicitly provides that an employee can be entitled to more notice. The inclusion of the words “or more” recognizes a longer notice period as a realistic possibility.
 The chambers judge noted that “if the contract contained only the words ‘60 days’ it would be abundantly clear that [the employer] had fixed its notice at 60 days”. We agree. Such language would have been clear and unambiguous. But that is not what the clause says. The chambers judge concluded the employer had given itself the discretion to decide the amount of notice owing to an employee. That seems a questionable conclusion. If that was intended the employer could have written the contract to clearly say so. Another, and more reasonable, interpretation is that the employer intended the notice period to be in accordance with common law standards, subject to a minimum notice period of 60 days.
 The key point is that the clause is not sufficiently clear, unequivocal and unambiguous to remove or limit the presumed common law right of the employees to reasonable notice. The reading more favourable to the employee must prevail.
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