New Electronic Monitoring Policy: The What, How and Why for EmployersOntario has taken the lead in terms of enhancing employer transparency in the workplace and ensuring that workers are able to disconnect from their work. Now that employers with 25 or more employees (as of January 1, 2022) must have a Disconnect From Work Policy, it’s time for employers to calendar more Covid-driven workplace requirements. This same employer group must have an Electronic Monitoring Policy prepared by October 11, 2022, and rolled out within 30 days, by November 10, 2022. These are both policies that employees are actually reading, so it’s worth the advance planning by employers. 

Bill 88, the Working for Workers Act 2022 became law in April and requires employers to be transparent about how they monitor their employees’ use of devices such as computers, cell phones and GPSs.  Continue Reading New Electronic Monitoring Policy: The What, How and Why for Employers

Employee Handbooks are an integral part of Canadian workplaces. Whether you have 10 employees or 100+ employees, you want to make sure that your Employee Handbook is up to date and current with legislative requirements under the various employment statutes. 

Why are Employee Handbooks Important? 

Your Handbook should be an easy, go-to resource for any questions your employees have about policies, conduct, compensation, time off, discipline, and who to speak to about what. A well put together Handbook ensures your employees are confident and knowledgeable about their workplace and outlines not only what is expected of your employees but also what your employees can expect from you.  Continue Reading A Breakdown of Employee Handbooks – What’s Included and When to Update Them

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

We are excited to announce our 2 new lawyers, Matt Chapman and Evaleen Hellinga! They have each quickly become an invaluable part of our growing team.

Matt brings to the firm great experience litigating employee claims, advising on complex executive comp matters and helping employers through workplace law crises and legal proceedings from hire to fire. After practicing a wider range of commercial and employment law matters in the first few years of his legal career, Matt has zeroed in on his passion – helping parties navigate through workplace disputes. His exceptional people skills and EQ drive creative, practical and thoughtful workplace solutions. Prior to law, Matt worked at a tech startup and has great instincts on how to integrate tech and automation into his day-to-day files. He hails from beautiful Bayfield and, given the benefit of our fully virtual firm, Matt works for SpringLaw from Fergus, Ontario. Clients and counsel alike love working with Matt and his calm, organized and tenacious approach to client services. So glad you’ve joined the team, Matt!

Evaleen joins us after a serious boot camp at the TDSB, working on the various union and workplace issues which all amped up in the pandemic era (as every parent out there already knows!). She knows her way around collective agreements, union dynamics, human rights matters and workplace disputes generally.  Evaleen is a born writer and has a knack for reducing complex legal concepts to plain-English, practical solutions. Prior to law, as a student, Evaleen worked part-time at a management consulting company and honed her organizational, and project management skills. She will no doubt impact our automation and workflows, to keep driving the tech-forward approach to our legal services. Raised in Waterloo, Evaleen now lives in Toronto. You’re a great addition to the team, Evaleen!

 

 

 

Probationary Periods: What You Need to KnowIt takes a lot to hire and onboard new employees. As much as you intend to keep each and every one of your new hires, there may be a new employee you hired not too long ago that just isn’t working out. What do you need to know before you let them go?

What is a Probationary Period?

At common law, a clear meaning has generally been attached to the term “probationary employee”. Unbeknownst to many employers, however, the terms “probation” or “probationary period” do not actually appear in the minimum standards legislation of many Canadian jurisdictions. Nonetheless, many of these pieces of legislation do exclude employers from having to give employees a specified amount of notice of termination if the employee has not accumulated a specified amount of service with the employer (typically around 3 to 6 months). For convenience, we will be referring to this amount of service as probation or the probationary period.  Continue Reading All About Probationary Periods

Gender-Inclusive LanguageRecent legislative changes acknowledge society’s growing understanding of gender diversity in all places, including the workplace. More provinces and territories may follow in adapting their employment legislation to reflect current norms. 

Employers can and should take proactive steps to create inclusive workplaces by acknowledging and promoting gender diversity and making sure to address employees by their preferred pronouns. Failing to do so could lead to potential human rights claims.

In various parts of the country, employment-related legislation has recently been amended to include gender-inclusive language. As society develops an understanding of gender diversity, our legislation is starting to keep up with the times. Continue Reading Legislation Brings Gender-Inclusive Language

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

Common Employer Determination: Rahman vs CannonIn a previous blog post, we wrote about the recent Rahman v. Cannon Design Architecture Inc case. Here’s a recap of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision:

  • an employee’s level of sophistication has no bearing on whether a termination clause is enforceable
  • the language in with-cause termination provisions needs to be carefully worded and abide by requirements in the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”)

And more importantly: 

  • subsidiary and parent companies of an employer can be considered “common employers” if there is a certain level of integration between the companies, making them jointly and severally liable to the employee 

In this blog post, we will dive deeper into the Court’s finding that the three respondent companies were common employers.  Continue Reading Rahman v Cannon: Common Employer & Termination Clause Updates Part II

IDEL update: What's Changed & What Do Employers Need to Do? With the welcome easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Ontario – from masking requirements to vaccine mandates – it’s been a while since many employers have had to turn their minds to the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). When the IDEL was first introduced, we were faced with an array of questions from employers. Since then, the IDEL has been through several updates and expansions. This blog discusses the most recent update to the IDEL.

Paid IDEL

What’s Changed?

Paid IDEL has now been extended to July 31, 2022. The Ontario COVID‑19 Worker Income Benefit (“Benefit”), which came into effect April 29, 2021, amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and required employers to provide paid IDEL to eligible employees. It was previously set to end on December 31, 2021.  Continue Reading Update: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)

Common Employer & Termination Clause Updates: Rahman vs CannonDoes the employee’s level of contract knowledge make a contract more enforceable? Who is on the hook for termination pay if a company has subsidiary or parent companies? 

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently answered these questions in Rahman v. Cannon Design Architecture Inc. The bottom line of the decision is:

  • an employee’s level of sophistication has no bearing on whether a termination clause is enforceable
  • the language in with-cause termination provisions needs to be carefully worded and abide by requirements in the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) 
  • subsidiary and parent companies of an employer can be considered “common employers” if there is a certain level of integration between the companies, making them jointly and severally liable to the employee. 

Continue Reading Rahman v Cannon: Common Employer & Termination Clause Updates