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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.

update your employment contracts
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Why Employment Contracts are Good

Our readers are probably sick of hearing us go on about employment contracts, but we will never stop recommending them!

An employment contract gives both employers and employees certainty about their entitlements both with respect to compensation and also on exit. 

Whether terms are written down or not, employment relationships will be governed by various terms. In the absence of a contract, courts read in implied terms of employment from the common law. It’s better to get those terms written down so you actually know what they are and don’t have to wait for a judge to tell you! 
Continue Reading Why you should update your employment contracts and why January is a good time to do so

Office holiday party and Covid-19 considerations
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Likely you’ve noticed that the holiday season is upon us! Often around this time of year, we’ve written a blog post about holiday office parties. Usually, these have revolved around topics like social host liability, drinking and sexual harassment. This year, many workplaces are eager to get the gang back together in person and have the additional consideration of COVID-19! What to do?!

Where to Party?

An easy option, which will allow employers to avoid having to reinvent the wheel, will be to have the holiday party at a restaurant. Restaurants know the local public health rules and you won’t have to ruin the night for your HR person by requiring them to be the mask police all night. Proof of vaccination is required to dine indoors in most jurisdictions and the restaurant will have a set-up for contract tracing and vaccination checks. 
Continue Reading Time to Party IRL?

Arbitration Decisions on Mandatory Vaccination Policies
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This month has seen arbitral treatment of two mandatory vaccination policies in the context of unionized workplaces. In a grievance brought by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Canada, Local 333 against employer Paragon Protection Ltd., the arbitrator found that the employer’s vaccination policy was reasonable. In a grievance brought by the Power Workers’ Union (the “PWU”) against employer Electrical Safety Authority, the arbitrator found that it was not.

Paragon Protection’s Vaccination Policy

Paragon Protection Ltd. provides security services and employs 4,400 unionized security guards to hundreds of client sites across Ontario. Many of these client sites had vaccination requirements. Paragon gave its employees approximately two months notice that they would be requiring them to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees would report their vaccination status by way of a declaration. The policy allowed exemptions for human rights reasons on the basis of creed/religion and health. 
Continue Reading Arbitration Decisions on Mandatory Vaccination Policies

A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes
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On October 25, Ontario Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“the Bill”) passed first reading. This Bill proposes amendments to our key Ontario employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In today’s post, we will review highlights regarding the proposed ban on non-competes and talk about how Ontario businesses can prepare. 

A Ban On Non-Competes

One much-discussed element of the Bill is the proposed ban on non-competition agreements in employment contracts. 

A non-competition agreement restricts – or tries to – an employee’s ability, for a period of time, to work for a competitor after leaving the employer. The restriction is usually somewhere between three months to two years. 
Continue Reading A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes

National Day for Truth and ReconciliationToday marks Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  This day provides Canadians with an opportunity to honour, reflect upon and educate themselves about the lost children and Survivors of residential schools, and their families and communities.  

At SpringLaw, each of our team members will be dedicating part of today to observing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by learning about Truth and Reconciliation, the diverse and rich First Nations, Metis and Inuit cultures across Canada, and reflecting upon their stories and histories.

SpringLaw will also be making a donation to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation for each team member who completes the University of Alberta’s free online course “Indigenous Canada”. We encourage all of our clients, colleagues, family and friends to do the same. 
Continue Reading National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Job Consequences for Employees Refusing Mandatory Vaccination
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We are getting lots of questions from employers and employees about vaccination. We addressed many of these questions a few weeks ago in our post Unvaccinated Employees and Mandatory Vaccination. Now that a little bit of time has passed, we are getting more questions about the possible job consequences for employees who are unvaccinated. 

Why is the Employee not Vaccinated?

Before considering what job consequences might be appropriate, it’s crucial for employers to understand the employee’s reasons for being unvaccinated. In rare circumstances, an employee may be entitled to a legitimate exemption from a mandatory vaccination policy. Employees who have legitimate exemptions based on medical or religious grounds will be entitled to protection from discrimination by human rights legislation. While it still may not be appropriate to allow an unvaccinated employee with a legitimate reason for an exemption from attending in person at the office, they will be entitled to accommodation. The range of accommodations is wide, from placing an employee on an unpaid leave of absence to allowing them to continue their work remotely. For more information on legitimate reasons for exemptions and accommodation, see our past post
Continue Reading Job Consequences for Employees Refusing Mandatory Vaccination

Unvaccinated Employees and Mandatory Vaccination
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Both employers and employees are asking questions related to mandatory vaccinations and consequences for employees who don’t get them. Here we run through some of those FAQs!

Q: If vaccinations are deemed to be “mandatory” for workers, are there any legal exemptions?

A: Yes, in some cases there will be legal exceptions to a job requirement that employees be vaccinated. These exceptions come from the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”), which prohibits discrimination in employment based on protected grounds. The protected grounds likely to be engaged with respect to a vaccination requirement are disability and creed. If the exemption is based on a medical reason, it will fall under disability. Religious reasons will fall under creed.
Continue Reading Unvaccinated Employees and Mandatory Vaccination