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

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
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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

dress code rulesWith so much hot news swirling around, some may have missed the story of the Arctic research mission MOSAiC’s dress code. Apparently, women on board the ship were told not to dress in tight-fitting clothing, and specifically no leggings, no crop tops, no short shorts, no hot pants and “nothing too revealing.” The leader of the mission apparently felt that this was a “safety issue,” as “there are a lot of men on board this ship … and some of them are going to be on board this ship for months at a time.” Ah hem. 

It’s been reported that the dress code policy followed allegations of sexual harassment made by several women on the ship.


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

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

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 August 27, 2020).

Further free resources can be found here.

Should you need legal advice on how to manage

workplace law advice for employers
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In these challenging times, in the midst of the pandemic, as workplaces re-open, pivot and change, we see the importance and immense value of having strategic employment and workplace law advice. Just a small allocation of thought space and time to being proactive could have changed the outcome of so many situations. We see it now in our firm in many ways. 

Having run a small business for over a decade, I can appreciate that employers are often triaging the urgent demand of finding solutions to client’s needs. Rarely did I have the time or opportunity to “smell the roses” let alone try to proactively anticipate the workplace law needs of my growing organization. However, I now see the critical importance of taking a proactive approach.
Continue Reading Workplace Law: It Pays To Be Proactive

workplace violence and harassment
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

When it comes to workplace violence and prevention, the federal government has been playing catch up with the provinces. Starting in 2017, the feds have been working on amendments to the Canada Labour Code (CLC) to more fully address workplace violence and harassment. While Bill-65 – snappily named An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (harassment and violence), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 – establishing the amendments was passed in 2018, the changes had not come into effect nor had a date for their coming into effect been announced. New regulations were announced on June 24, 2020, which provide employers with more details regarding what will be required of them and setting out an effective date of January 1, 2021, for the changes. There are also requirements that employers need to meet before January 1, 2021. More details can be found on the government site here.  
Continue Reading New Federal Anti-Workplace Violence and Harassment Requirements