Toronto is a great place to be a tech employer. It’s a cool city with exciting innovation and talent. If you’re a US company considering getting in on the action in Toronto, there are few things you should know about the True North.
Canada strives to have workplaces that are tolerant and inclusive and employees have some serious protections and benefits. In Ontario, our Human Rights Code expects employers to play a big role in preventing all forms of discrimination at work against a number of protected groups.
Here are a few things employers should be aware of:
1) We do not have at will termination
In Canada, unless the employer has a really good reason, it cannot terminate an employee without providing reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice. Without at will termination, and with a high threshold for just cause to terminate, terminations are typically accompanied by pay to the terminated employee. If there is no employment agreement, the amount can be substantial.
2) Our employees have privacy rights at work
Employees have an expectation of privacy, even on work devices, and increasingly Canadian courts are recognizing this. While many Canadian employers monitor their employees’ use of technology, there is a fine line to tread between invading privacy and managing the workplace. While some of this can be managed through effective workplace policies, employers should proceed with caution when viewing potentially private digital information.
We advise about privacy and technology a lot! For more information about privacy in the workplace and issues specifically related to BYOD, cyberloafing and co-working, see my past posts on these topics: http://www.canadaemploymenthumanrightslaw.com/category/privacy/
3) Canadians like babies!
In Canada, parental leave is available for the birth or adoption of a child. A new mother can take up to 17 weeks of maternity leave and an additional 35 weeks of parental leave can be shared between both parents or taken by one. During this time off, employees get to continue on benefit plans and earn seniority. At the end of the leave employees must be given their old job back, or be placed in a comparable position.
New parents are entitled to employment insurance benefits while they are away from work, and many employers provide a “top up” to the employment insurance benefits, to ensure the employee does not suffer economically because of the leave.
If you want to make sure your company is compliant with Ontario employment laws, please feel free to send me your questions and I may address them in a future post.