According to Statistics Canada, in 2023 20% of Canadian workers reported that they “usually” work from home. This is a significant jump from the pre-pandemic numbers, with only 7% of workers reporting that they usually worked from home in 2016.

Many employers now are trying to figure out how to move forward with working arrangements for their employees in the post-pandemic world- fully remote? Fully in-person? A hybrid of both? 

If your business has employees working remotely, whether all the time or some of the time, there are certain employment law issues you should consider as remote work becomes a more permanent and prevalent part of the employment landscape. Continue Reading Potential Employment Law Issues When Managing a Remote or Hybrid Workforce 

If you’ve ever explored SpringLaw’s Teams’ Bios, it’s no secret that we are huge pet lovers over here! And, being a virtual law firm, we are lucky enough to work with our furry friends daily. For workplaces that are in-office or hybrid, we have seen various workplaces try to replicate this joy by introducing pet-friendly policies to allow employees to bring their pets to work. For animal lovers, the benefits of bringing your pet to work days may be obvious including improved morale, reduced stress, and even increased productivity. However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies for all employees and if you’re thinking about rolling out a Pet Policy at your workplace, there are some very important legal factors to consider before doing so.  Continue Reading Bring your Pet-to-Work Policies – The Do’s, the Don’ts, and the Cautionary Notes 

Duty to Mitigate in Claims of Wrongful Dismissal

Employees suing former employers for wrongful dismissal damages are obligated to “mitigate” their damages, and a failure to do so may lessen the damages awarded by a Court. In Part 1 of this series, we provided a general overview of the employee’s duty to mitigate. In Part 2, we are delving into specific mitigation issues: whether an employee is required to seek out lower paying positions after an unsuccessful period of searching for a more comparable role; whether job titles of the positions applied for matter; and how employers meet the onus of showing an employee has not met their duty to mitigate. These questions were answered by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Lake v. La Presse, 2022 ONCA 742. Note that the decision discussed here overturned Lake v. La Presse (2018) Inc., 2021 ONSC 3506, which we covered in a previous blog post. Continue Reading Mitigation Part 2: No Requirement to Search for Less Comparable Positions Over Time

Paid IDEL Updated July 21, 2022COVID-19 rules continue to change quickly. In a previous blog, we indicated that the paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) would come to an end on July 31, 2022, the deemed IDEL would end on July 30, 2022, and the voluntary IDEL would continue so long as the circumstances leading to an employee’s leave continue and COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease. Though the end date of the deemed IDEL remains the same and the voluntary IDEL continues to have no set end date, the Ontario government has once again extended the paid IDEL to March 31, 2023. Specifically, on July 21, 2022, the Ontario government filed O. Reg. 464/22: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, which amends O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, by extending Ontario’s paid IDEL days until March 31, 2023.
Continue Reading Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL): Another Update

Soaring Inflation Rates and Deflated Wages

As inflation rates have soared in recent months, the impact has been felt by employers and employees alike. According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s inflation rate, now at 7.7%, has skyrocketed at the fastest pace in almost 40 years. This is the highest rate since 1983. 

In an ideal world, wages would keep up with rising inflation rates. Currently, this is not the case across many industries.  

Why wages can’t keep up?

The relationship between inflation, wages and business costs is circular and intertwined. Due to inflation, both the costs of living and the costs of doing business are drastically increasing, making wage increases for many businesses challenging or, in some cases, unsustainable. If a company is able to invest in higher wages, they likely have to increase the prices of their products and/or services to account for their overhead. Thus a further increase in the cost of living.
Continue Reading Soaring Inflation Rates and Deflated Wages

Dealing with both employees and employers daily, we are constantly hearing and seeing how “hot” the job market is right now. Yet employers, in particular, are finding it increasingly difficult to find workers. We are seeing this clear across the board, from the restaurant and retail industries to the corporate world. So, who is the job market “hot” for? And, how can employees and employers take advantage of this scorching time?

What’s Happening with the Job Market? 

The labour market, while hot, is also very tight right now. The unemployment rate is at an extreme low and job vacancies are at an extreme high. Why is this? COVID-19 undoubtedly changed many aspects of the way we work but one of the biggest shifts we saw was moving to remote work. This had a direct impact on the types of employment people sought out. While tech industry businesses had to staff up their growth quickly, hospitality and retail industries took a huge hit to their employment rates, with many shops and restaurants closing. With this, we’ve seen tech, financing, non-commercial real estate, and essentially any areas of work that can excel in remote work, takeoff (if managed properly).
Continue Reading Keeping Up With the Current “Hot Job Market”

Disconnecting from work - the why and how for employers and employeesIn our previous blog, we discussed how employers who staff 25 or more employees must implement a written policy addressing disconnecting from work. But, what does this mean for both the employer and the employee and what are the benefits we hope to see? 

It’s no secret the pandemic has entirely changed the way we work. Our homes have become our offices which has caused a huge disruption in our work-life balance. But, the work-from-home mandate is not the only culprit for the changed relationships with our jobs. It started long before that with access to technology everywhere we go. Our work is easily accessible through our phones, tablets, laptops, and maybe even our smartwatch. We have entirely normalized being reachable and accessible at all hours of the day. With pending deadlines and timelines, we’ve seemed to adopt an “always on” approach to work where we somehow feel guilty about shutting down. 
Continue Reading Get That Spring Back in Your Step by Disconnecting

Can Employees Record Work Meetings?
Photo by Craig Pattenaude on Unsplash

With the rise of remote working in the past couple of years, virtual work meetings, whether over video or phone call, have become a common occurence. With that comes the issue of recording work calls. In this post, we address the possible risks involved when an employee records work meetings, either surreptitiously or with consent. 

Can an employee legally record a work call?

It is technically legal in Canada for an employee to record a conversation they are a part of, and the employee does not attract criminal liability if they do so surreptitiously, as long as they were a part of the call. However, Courts across Canada have found that surreptitious recording can justify termination for cause. 
Continue Reading Can Employees Record Work Meetings?

Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Options for Legal Redress
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

Introduction – Part II

During Part I of this blog, we outlined three initial legal options for survivors of sexual assault and/or harassment in the workplace context. These included filing a workplace complaint, filing a grievance if you are in a unionized setting, or submitting an application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). Here, we continue to outline the remaining three options for legal redress in this context. 

Asserting a Constructive Dismissal

Per Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, your employer is responsible for ensuring a safe, harassment-free work environment. If you resign from your employment you typically will not be entitled to any compensation from your employer. If you are terminated, you will typically be entitled to notice of termination – colloquially known as a “severance package”. However, the law has carved out an exception in circumstances where the employer’s conduct has been so bad that you essentially have no choice but to quit. This is called a “constructive dismissal.’” Depending on the facts of each case, asserting a successful constructive dismissal claim could result in a damages (compensation) award comparable to what you would have been entitled to had you been terminated. If your constructive dismissal arose out of the context of being sexually harassed or assaulted at work, you may also be entitled to additional forms of compensation including human rights or general damages. 
Continue Reading Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Options for Legal Redress – Part 2

Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Options for Legal Redress
Photo by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

Introduction – Part I

In the wake of the #MeToo era, a burgeoning consciousness has grown around the existence of and need to address sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. Individuals of all genders and orientations have found the courage to come forward, and legislation in Ontario has made it mandatory for employers to sufficiently investigate these allegations in a timely and comprehensive manner. Trauma-informed Workplace Investigations inherently require a sound understanding of power dynamics and nuanced forms of sexual harassment. New hybrid work models pose unique obstacles for enforcing cyber-bullying and anti-discrimination/harassment policies, and have brought to the forefront the importance of building a workforce predicated on respect, plurality, accountability, legal compliance, and employee well-being. As part of this, employees who experience sexual assault and/or harassment in the workplace may have different legal options at their disposal. 

In Part 1, we begin here with a  review of three possible options. 
Continue Reading Sexual Harassment and Assault at Work: Options for Legal Redress – Part I