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

In this webinar, SpringLaw’s Lisa Stam and Danielle Murray will discuss how you can support women leaders in the workplace, common challenges women leaders face, and how employers can ensure equitable exits if needed.

Date: Wednesday, May 18, 2022
Time: 10:30-11:00 am EST
Register today: Click here!

Continue Reading Free webinar: Barriers & Biases – Supporting Women Leaders

On April 22, 2022, the Ontario government announced that provincial masking requirements, which were set to expire on April 27, 2022, are being extended in certain higher-risk indoor settings until 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022. The extended measures have been made in an attempt to manage the sixth wave of COVID-19.

These higher-risk settings include:

  • public transit;
  • health care settings (e.g., hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics that provide health care services, laboratories, specimen collection centres, and home and community care);
  • long-term care homes;
  • retirement homes; and
  • shelters and other congregate care settings that provide care and services to medically and socially vulnerable individuals.


Continue Reading Before you take off your mask: masking still required in certain Ontario settings

The End of COVID-19 Regulations
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Throughout the course of this COVID-19 pandemic, we have undergone several cycles of announcements, implementations, and revocations of COVID-19-related regulations. On April 14, 2022, Ontario filed yet another regulation – O. Reg. 346/22: Revoking Various Regulations (this “Regulation”) under Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. In the nutshell, this Regulation revokes every single remaining COVID-19-related regulation in the province.

What Are Some Examples of Rules and Restrictions Being Lifted?

A major regulation being revoked is Regulation 364/20: Rules For Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, which requires that businesses must operate in accordance with any advice and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including with respect to physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting; establishing, implementing and ensuring compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy; and setting out the precautions and procedures that businesses must include in their COVID-19 vaccination policies. In addition, masks and face coverings are no longer required on public transit services, in hospitals, in long-term care homes, laboratories and specimen collection centers, homeless shelters, and congregate care supportive housing residences, among others.
Continue Reading The End of COVID-19 Regulations

Working for Workers Act received Royal Assent, making it now law
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In March, we blogged about Bill 88 or the Working for Workers Act (part 2) (the Act). You can read that post here. On April 11, 2022, the Act received Royal Assent, making it now law. Most significant to employers, who are not Uber etc., are the changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000  (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The Act has attracted the most attention for the creation of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, which will have big implications for digital platform workers and “employers” like Uber and Skip the Dishes, however, the Act impacts non-digital platform employers too. 

Here’s the rundown of what’s new in the ESA and the OHSA.
Continue Reading Working for Workers Act 2 Passes in the Ontario Legislature: What Employers Who Aren’t Uber Need to Know to Comply

26-Month Notice Period Upheld by Ontario Court of Appeal
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In the world of workplace law we often say that, absent exceptional circumstances, the greatest notice period that any wrongfully dismissed employee could be awarded by an adjudicator is 24 months. But what are those exceptional circumstances? Years ago, we blogged about Dawe v. The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, a case in which the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s award of 30 months of reasonable notice for a terminated employee, reducing the final notice period to 24 months. Recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal released a decision, Currie v. Nylene Canada Inc. (“Currie”), affirming the trial judge’s assessment of damages in the amount of 26 months of reasonable notice for the wrongfully dismissed employee, Ms. Currie (“Ms. Currie”). Below we will look at the factors the Court considered in rendering this judgment.
Continue Reading Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds 26-Month Notice Period

Government changes to the covid-19 safety measures & workplace policiesAcross Canada, government mandates regarding masking and vaccination are lifting. In Ontario, vaccine passports are no longer required as of March 1 and masking mandates were lifted as of March 21. Employers who previously rolled out vaccination policies may be wondering what these wider government changes mean for their workplace policies. 

Is A Vaccination Policy Necessary?

The shift in governmental approach towards COVID-19 safety protocols will likely mean that employers looking to justify invasions of employee privacy – i.e. disclosing vaccination status –  based on reasonable health and safety concerns will be less able to do so. This is because the consensus, as evidenced by the change in government mandates, is that maybe this need is not based on a legitimate health and safety concern. This may vary depending on the workplace, but we note that even the employee vaccination mandate for long-term care homes –  which was legally required – has been lifted. 
Continue Reading What Does the End of Provincial Covid-19 Safety Measures Mean for Workplace Policies?

pregnancy or parental leave top-up
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As companies struggle to retain their talent in the midst of so many economic and health changes, many are finding new ways to attract and keep employees. A growing number of companies, for instance, are providing their employees with or extending existing pregnancy or parental leave top-up payments to assist families with caregiving responsibilities (present and/or future). 

Pregnancy vs. Parental Leave Basics

First of all, it’s important to distinguish between two commonly confused leaves: pregnancy and parental leave. In Ontario, pregnancy leave is taken by the birthing parent and typically starts before the birth of the child. Parental leave, on the other hand, can be taken by either or both new parents after the birth of the child or when a child comes into the employee’s custody, care and control. Parental leave can also be used by parents who are adopting a child. The birthing parent will typically take a combination of pregnancy and parental leave. These leaves are protected leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). The ESA sets out the requirements for the leaves, for example, how long an employee must be employed with the employer before they can take the leave, and the employee’s entitlements both during the leave and upon return from the leave. 
Continue Reading Parental Leave, EI and Top-Up Basics

Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act: Bill 88 proposes new changes to ESA
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Bill 88 has been receiving a lot of media attention for the aspects related to digital platform workers and the proposed creation of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022. While this will impact many workers, it will not have an impact on most employers. Employers do need to pay attention to other aspects of the Bill, which propose new changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000. Chief among these is a new requirement for employers with 25 employees or more to have a written policy with respect to electronic monitoring of employees.

Electronic Monitoring of Employees

If passed, Bill 88 will require that employers who employ 25 employees or more, on January 1 of any given year, have a written policy with respect to the electronic monitoring of employees. The wording of the Bill suggests that even employers who do not electronically monitor employees will be required to have a written policy, provided they employ 25 employees or more on January 1 of any given year. 
Continue Reading Bill 88: More Changes to the Employment Standards Act

IT employment standards rights: how do they differ from other employees?
Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash

Tech is on the rise. Tech jobs have exploded in number in past years, but especially so since the pandemic. We work with a lot of tech clients, especially tech startups with workforces that are growing exponentially. There are many types of workers who work with tech companies, amongst them information technology (IT) professionals. It is critical for tech companies that employ IT professionals to understand the rights of their workers, especially their IT professional employees, whose employment standards rights are different from those of some other employees. 

How Are an IT Professional’s Rights Different? 

Under O. Reg. 285/01 of Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), IT professionals are exempt from the following requirements under the ESA:
Continue Reading Who is an Information Technology (IT) Professional in Ontario? And What Rules Apply to Them?