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Hilary Page brings a diverse legal background to her employment law practice. She started her career summering with a litigation boutique in downtown Toronto and then articled in-house at a municipality, where she developed an interest in workplace and human rights law.

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The COVID-19 Period in Ontario’s Infectious Disease Emergency Leave has been extended until September 25, 2021. Prior to this change, the COVID-19 Period was set to end on July 3, 2021. 

What does the end of the COVID-19 Period mean?

The end of the COVID-19 Period is relevant to employers who reduced the hours of their employees due to COVID-19 reasons. In many cases, these employees were “laid off,” meaning they work no hours at all. 

Typically, a layoff can only last for a specific number of weeks. The introduction of the “deemed IDEL” and the extension of the COVID-19 Period have made it possible for these employees to remain off work/laid off for much longer, without a termination being triggered. 

If you were an employer keeping the July 3, 2021 end date in mind, you can forget that and add September 25, 2021 to your calendar.
Continue Reading IDEL COVID-19 Period Extended to September 25, 2021

pregnant employee notice periodIn the case of Nahum v. Honeycomb Hospitality Inc., the employer, Honeycomb Hospitality, terminated their Director of People and Culture, Sarah Nahum when she was five months pregnant. 

Entitlement to Notice of Termination

The notice period is intended to bridge a terminated employee to their new position. Courts consider the employee’s age, length of service and the character of their employment when determining what notice period is appropriate. 

Ms. Nahum had been with Honeycomb for just four and a half months. She was 28 years old and made $80,000 per year. She was terminated without cause, did not have a valid contract governing her termination entitlements, and therefore was entitled to notice in accordance with the common law. 

Honeycomb argued that an appropriate notice period for Ms. Nahum was two months.  
Continue Reading How Does Being Pregnant Impact an Employee’s Notice Period?

Constructive Dismissal and the IDEL
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At long last, the impact of Ontario’s Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) on employee constructive dismissal claims has been litigated. Employment lawyers have been speculating for a long while about how courts will treat the various employment pivots employers were required to make during the pandemic. We now have our first answer. 

Last week, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in Coutinho v. Ocular Health Centre Ltd. and ruled that the IDEL does not take away an employee’s ability to sue for constructive dismissal. 

What’s Constructive Dismissal?

A constructive dismissal occurs when an employer unilaterally and substantially changes an express or implied term of the employee’s contract. The term also needs to have been essential. Changes regarding pay, duties, hours of work etc., can all potentially be constructive dismissals. 
Continue Reading An Important Ruling for Employers on Constructive Dismissal and the IDEL

Results-Only Work Environments
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It’s no secret that one of the keys to happiness at work is a sense of control. With most knowledge workers having shifted to working from home, perhaps with more built-in flexibility, and with managers having had to let go of their need to be able to physically supervise, some workplaces may consider revisiting the idea of Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE).

What is a Results-Only Work Environment?

In a results-only work environment, the focus is autonomy and accountability. Employees are not subject to requirements like being at their desk or available via Slack from 9 – 5. How and when they get work done is up to them. What the employer focuses on is results and only results. If a full-time employee takes only 20 hours a week to fulfill their duties, in a ROWE workplace that’s fine! The other 20 hours are their own.   
Continue Reading Results-Only Work Environments

manager exemption for overtime
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Last week we wrote about ways employers can manage overtime liabilities with Averaging Agreements and Time in Lieu. This week we will tackle a commonly litigated overtime issue – the manager exemption. 

The Manager Exemption 

Not every worker is entitled to overtime pay. Exemptions are set out in section 8 of Ontario Regulation 285.1 under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Included in the list of the exempt is the manager or, to be exact, “a person whose work is supervisory or managerial in character and who may perform non-supervisory or non-managerial tasks on an irregular or exceptional basis.” Who exactly falls under this exemption can be unclear. 
Continue Reading Overtime Part 2: The Manager Exemption

questions about vaccines and employees
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With the vaccine becoming more widely available, questions about vaccine passports, time off to get the vaccine and whether employers can require employees to get the vaccine are becoming more relevant. 

Paid Vaccination Leave in Saskatchewan

Last week a new paid vaccine leave became law in Saskatchewan. This leave, which was made under Saskatchewan’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020, allows workers to take PAID time off to get their vaccines. Saskatchewan is the first jurisdiction in Canada to implement this type of leave. 
Continue Reading Vaccinating the Workforce