honest contractual dealings
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A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision serves as a helpful reminder to workers and businesses about the importance of honesty in their contractual dealings. C.M. Callow Inc. v. Zollinger involved condo maintenance contracts. The plaintiff, C.M. Callow performed summer and winter maintenance for the defendant Zollinger, who managed maintenance contracts for several condos (referred to as Baycrest). 

The Deception

Baycrest and Callow entered into a two-year winter maintenance contract in 2012. In the Spring of 2013, Baycrest decided they wanted to end the winter contract. The contract allowed for early termination, for any reason, by way of 10 days notice. They did not provide that notice until September of 2013, allowing Callow to act on his impression that the winter contract would be renewed all through the summer of 2013. Through the summer of 2013 Callow performed the summer maintenance contract and also did additional work for free, in the hopes and under the impression that the winter contract would be renewed.   Continue Reading Honesty – the Golden Rule for Contracts

impact of covid-19 on terminations
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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our economy. In many industries, it has made it more difficult to find work and also more difficult for businesses to afford termination packages when letting employees go. The relevance of these facts to how courts will determine what terminated employees are entitled to has, so far, been unclear. 

Reasonable Notice

When an employment relationship is not governed by a written contract – with valid termination provisions – a terminated employee’s entitlements on termination without cause will be determined by the common law and what is called reasonable notice.  Continue Reading The Impact of the Pandemic on Termination Packages

romance in the workplaceSpringLaw’s Lisa Stam joined ADP’s Jeff Livingstone, host of the Insights@Work podcast for a conversation about romance in the workplace.

As Jeff explains, “When professional and personal lives co-mingle, it’s only natural that romantic work relationships happen.  While merging romance and work might sound like an ideal situation, navigating office politics and HR policies present their own pitfalls.”

Lisa and Jeff discuss the very important considerations for employers such as ensuring there are clear policies, training and communications around workplace relationships, and how to address power imbalances, conduct sexual harassment investigations.

importance of record of employment
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Employers may brush off the importance of a Record of Employment (ROE) or even have their accountant handle all the details, but it is an important document in the realm of employment law. This document becomes significant when it comes to topics such as terminations, lay-offs, resignations, disability, illness, quarantine, a leave of absence and maternity or parental leaves.  So here are the top 6 things that every employer should know when it comes to a Record of Employment.

Firstly, what is an ROE?

An ROE is a form that employers complete for employees who are receiving insurable earnings who have stopped working and are experiencing an interruption of earnings. This document is a requirement of the Employment Insurance Program. An ROE must be completed even if the employee is not applying for Employment Insurance Benefits. Continue Reading Top 6 Things to Know Regarding ROEs

Julie Payette and Rideau Hall's toxic workplace
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Rideau Hall is the latest workplace to become famous for its toxicity. The story of Julie Payette’s reign and downfall serves as an important reminder for workplaces. The law attempts to protect employees from violence and harassment in the workplace with both proactive and reactive requirements. However, when the offending behaviour comes from the very top, as was the case for the Rideau Hall employees, feelings of powerlessness are pervasive. 

The independent workplace report resulting from a review of the circumstances at Rideau Hall reported that 43 employees described the work environment as “hostile.” Out of 93 current and former employees interviewed, only 10 described the work environment in neutral or positive terms.  Continue Reading Workplace Lessons from Rideau Hall

Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision
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The highest Canadian court has just confirmed that an invalid “just cause” termination section in an employment contract will also knock out the entire termination section, including the “without cause” section. 

In our earlier blog discussing employment termination packages –Termination Entitlements: Benefits, Bonuses, and Commissions – we promised to keep you updated on 2020’s employment law decision of the year, Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. So here we go. 

Leave to Appeal Denied

To recap, Waksdale was a decision from the Ontario Court of Appeal that immediately put termination provisions in jeopardy. In the case, the Court of Appeal found that the employer, Swegon North America, could not rely on their properly drafted “without cause” termination provision, in a without cause termination of their employee, Benjamin Waksdale. The reason is that the  “with cause” provision in the same termination section of his contract was missing certain criteria and did not comply with Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000. We wrote about the decision last summer here Continue Reading Waksdale: Now the Final Word on Termination Provisions – Leave to Appeal Waksdale Decision to the Supreme Court of Canada is Denied

Deidre Khayamian called to the barSpringLaw would like to congratulate Deidre Khayamian on being called to the Bar and continuing on with our firm as a 1st-year lawyer.  Deidre has a sharp legal mind,  an elegance with words, an amazing wit, and empathy and compassion for the clients she serves. We know she is going to be a fantastic lawyer and are honoured she has chosen SpringLaw as her legal home.

Deidre graduated from Queen’s University Faculty of Law and after working as a law clerk to support our litigation practice, she completed her articling program with us during 2020. She brings her many years of clerking experience at a large Bay Street firm to her legal practice, giving her a head start on running a practice, working with clients and knowing how to practically solve a legal problem.

Congratulations Deidre. We know being called during a global pandemic lacks all the fanfare you deserve, but please know that we’re cheering wildly from the back of the room! We’re so proud of you and so delighted you’re starting your career as a lawyer at SpringLaw. 

 

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 January 22, 2021)

Further free resources can be found here.

Should you need legal advice on how to manage your workplace during the COVID-19 outbreak, please get in touch.

ensure your business is compliant during lockdown
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As we all now know, Ontario is under a state of emergency and a stay home order. If you are operating a business that is still open, you need to know what you should be doing to ensure that everyone stays safe and in compliance with the law. 

Firstly, everyone should be working from home, unless the nature of their work requires them to be on site. 

Only businesses on this list can be physically open.  Continue Reading Lockdown Rules if Your Business is Open