First Reference blog top 10
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SpringLaw is a regular and long-time contributor to First Reference’s* blog First Reference Talks. We are very happy to be a member of this community of subject-matter experts and professionals, which aims to help small to medium-sized businesses stay abreast of news and discussions on Human Resources, Employment Law, Payroll and Internal Controls. 

In 2020, Covid-19 was, of course, top of mind for all employers and a topic we regularly wrote about for First Reference and our own SpringLaw blog followers.  We are thrilled to have two of our First Reference blog posts among their Top 10 most-read blog posts for 2020!
Continue Reading SpringLaw’s contributions among top 10 First Reference blog posts in 2020

Ontario lockdown January 2021
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Happy New Year to our readers! In Ontario, we begin the new year in yet another lockdown situation, which has forced many many small businesses to switch back to curbside pick-up only or, in some cases, stop operating. In southern Ontario, the lockdown will remain in effect until at least January 23, 2021. Full details of the lockdown rules can be found in O. Reg. 779/20, which came into effect on December 26, 2020.  

Staying Open? Make A Safety Plan!

For businesses that remain open and in-person, employers are required to prepare and make available a safety plan. Physical distancing and applicable capacity limits, as set out in O. Reg. 779/20 must be followed. 
Continue Reading Ontario’s Latest Lockdown and a New Grant for Small Businesses

favourite posts to revisit
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What a wild ride 2020 has been. Our offices are closed this week and our team is (hopefully) enjoying a well-deserved vacation. While most of our 2020 blogging has been Covid-19 related, and while much of our blogging does tend to revolve around legal updates, occasionally a “fun” employment topic makes its way onto the blog. For today’s post, I thought I’d pick out a few of my all-time (definitely non-Covid-19) favourite posts to revisit.

Dress Code Rules: What’s wrong with saying “no hot pants”?


This blog attracted a lot of eyeballs – thank you Google Analytics! Dress codes are one of the sneaky ways that employers often still discriminate. I know it’s been awhile since we’ve all been to a Jack Astors or a Hooters,  but you should know that legally the female waitresses should be allowed to dress exactly like the men and vice versa.


Continue Reading Special Bonus Holiday Blog! Hilary’s 2020 Favourites

workplace mandate for vaccination
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Now that Canada has started to administer its first COVID-19 vaccine shots, many employers are wondering if they can require their workers to get vaccinated? A workplace mandate for vaccination seems like sensible risk management after a year of devastating costs for employers due to the pandemic. 

What if My Employee Refuses to be Vaccinated?

But what can an employer do if an employee refuses to be vaccinated? As long as your employees are not unionized, employers have the right to terminate employment without cause for any reason unless it’s discriminatory. As long as the requirement or any policy related to vaccination doesn’t infringe on any human rights protection owed to the employee, the requirement is not discriminatory. Requiring an employee to be vaccinated when they have a good reason not to be – for example, they are immunocompromised and it is not recommended by their doctor – would likely be a human rights violation.  An employee terminated for refusing or delaying in being vaccinated will be owed any contractual, statutory or perhaps common law termination pay to which they are entitled. This is because the refusal to be vaccinated likely won’t be just grounds for a termination with cause. 
Continue Reading Vaccination and the Workplace

Free legal updates webinar: 2020 Wrap-Up & Your Questions AnsweredWhat a year it has been in the world of employment law! For our final webinar of 2020, join Lisa Stam and Hilary Page for a quick overview of important legal updates/the current lay of the land, along with an ‘open mic’ for your pressing questions.

Register today for our free SpringForward Legal Updates webinar

Liability protection for businesses for COVID-19 issues
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Last week, on November 17, 2020, the Ontario government passed a law providing liability protection for businesses for COVID-19 issues. The new Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 is good news for businesses worried about liability if a customer or client is exposed or contracts COVID-19.

The critical, and pretty much deal-breaking carve out for employers, however, is that employers are NOT protected from claims from employees.
Continue Reading New Business Liability Protection Act Carves out Employee Claims

employee tests covid-19 positive
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As case numbers rise, employers and employees alike may wonder what they should do if an employee or a co-worker tests Covid-19 positive. 

If An Employee is COVID-19 Positive

Obviously, an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 should not return to work until they are no longer COVID-19 positive. In Ontario, workplaces are currently required to administer the daily screening tool, which ideally catches any infected employee early. 

Employers should assess the infected employee’s past actions and potential contacts. It may not be necessary to close the entire workplace, but it may make sense to close off their work area or the bathroom they used for a time and then to thoroughly disinfect the area.
Continue Reading Covid-19 Infections At Work

A Guide for Employers during COVID-19A Guide for Employers during COVID-19

This Guide sets out the key employment law issues to consider, as well as the government’s financial relief options to explore to get through this deep economic crisis.  (Last Updated October 21, 2020).

Further free resources can be found here.

Should you need legal advice on how to manage

New COVID-19 health and safety compliance obligations
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The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has resulted in the Ontario government amending regulation  O. Reg 364/20: Rules for Areas in Stage 3, under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“the Regulation”). The new amendment took effect on Saturday, September 26, 2020, and imposes on employers new health and safety compliance obligations related to COVID-19, specifically employee screening, or as the Regulation puts it:

“The person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall operate the business or organization in compliance with the advice, recommendations and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health on screening individuals.”
Continue Reading New Mandatory Employer Obligation – Ongoing COVID-19 Workplace Screening