Employment Standards Act

Employers often wonder how to handle requests for leaves of absence from employees.

This requires understanding the various options available depending on the terms of employment and benefit plans, but also obligations under employment standards legislation and human rights legislation. This balancing act can become burdensome and lead to liability for employers if mishandled. Continue Reading An Employee Has Requested a Leave of Absence, Now What?

On November 1, 2023 British Columbia’s new Pay Transparency Act (“Act”) took effect, which requires employers throughout British Columbia to post expected salary ranges for job postings. Notably, as explained by the British Columbia government in a guidance document, this requirement will also apply to postings for remote positions if the position is open to candidates in British Columbia, among other locations. 

British Columbia is now the second province in Canada with such legislation in effect following Prince Edward Island in 2022. Ontario may also follow suit with the Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development recently announcing the intent to introduce legislation next week regarding pay transparency. As details emerge and if the legislation progresses toward becoming law in Ontario, we will keep you informed.Continue Reading British Columbia Becomes The Second Province with Pay Transparency Legislation

On October 26, 2023, the Working for Workers Act, 2023(the “Act”), the Ontario government’s third iteration of this legislation aimed at protecting workers,  received Royal Assent and came into force. The Act introduces amendments to several employment-related statutes, impacting employers across the province. Below are some of the most relevant amendments. 

Mass Terminations Under the ESA:

One of the most notable changes introduced by the Act is the expansion of the definition of an employer’s “establishment” under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). This expansion now includes the private residences of employees who work from home. As a result, employers must take these employees into account when assessing mass terminations. Mass terminations occur when 50 or more employees are terminated within the employer’s “establishment” in a four-week period.Continue Reading Ontario’s Working for Workers Act, 2023: Key Changes Affecting Employers

IT employment standards rights: how do they differ from other employees?
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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?

A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes
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On October 25, Ontario Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“the Bill”) passed first reading. This Bill proposes amendments to our key Ontario employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In today’s post, we will review highlights regarding the proposed ban on non-competes and talk about how Ontario businesses can prepare. 

A Ban On Non-Competes

One much-discussed element of the Bill is the proposed ban on non-competition agreements in employment contracts. 

A non-competition agreement restricts – or tries to – an employee’s ability, for a period of time, to work for a competitor after leaving the employer. The restriction is usually somewhere between three months to two years. 
Continue Reading A Proposed Ban on Non-Competes

IDEL and Constructive Dismissal
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The Ontario Superior Court has ruled once again on the right of an employee to assert a constructive dismissal in light of the O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“the Regulation”) under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). In the latest decision, the court ruled that the Regulation does not preclude an employee from asserting a common law constructive dismissal. 

As discussed in previous posts, under the Regulation neither a reduction in the employees hours of work or wages constitute a constructive dismissal under the ESA if they occur during the COVID-19 Period. The COVID-19 Period keeps changing on us, but it currently runs from March 1, 2020 to September 25, 2021.  There have been conflicting decisions about whether the Regulation also removes an employee’s right to assert a constructive dismissal under the common law. 
Continue Reading Another Ruling on the IDEL and the Employee’s Right to Pursue Common Law Constructive Dismissal

severance and employer payroll threshold
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A new ruling from Ontario’s Divisional Court has changed which employees will be entitled to severance pay. While the law has been mixed, it was generally the case that the $2.5 million payroll threshold for the purposes of calculating severance pay applied to Ontario payroll only. The Divisional Court has now ruled that global payroll should be considered. 

What’s Severance Pay?

In Ontario, employers with a payroll of more than $2.5 million must, upon termination or severance of employment, pay severance pay to employees with five or more years of service. This aspect of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) increases the legal minimums employers are required to pay to long service employees significantly. Under the ESA, notice of termination caps out at 8 weeks, whereas severance pay can be up to 26 weeks. 
Continue Reading Heads up Multinational Employers! A Change to the $2.5 Million Payroll Threshold Calculation.

IDEL extension July 3, 2021
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We had a feeling this might happen! And it has. The Ontario government has extended the length of the Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) AGAIN! Enacting O. Reg 765/20, amending O. Reg 228/20 both under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). 

We have been warning our clients – and webinar attendees – about the upcoming January 2, 2021 end to the Deemed IDEL – it has now been extended to July 3, 2021. 

What is a Deemed IDEL? 

Employees who were laid off or had their hours reduced from March 1, 2020, until July 3, 2021, are on a deemed IDEL. During normal times, we would consider these employees to just be laid off but these regulations convert any reduction in hours – including all the way to ZERO hours and ZERO pay – to be deemed IDELs and not layoffs. 
Continue Reading New! IDEL Extension Until July 3, 2021

Considerations for employers recalling employees to work
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Employers are encountering issues as they ask their employees to come back to work. We will take a look at some of these in today’s blog. 

A Recap 

Many employees were placed on layoffs in March 2020, when the shutdowns occurred. In Ontario, these layoffs were then converted into deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves. While statutory layoff timelines normally restrict the amount of time an employee can be on a layoff before being considered terminated, in Ontario the Infectious Disease Emergencies Leave amendments to the Employment Standards Act changed this. Ontario employees can now be involuntarily off work (laid off) until January 2, 2020, without having a  termination triggered. 

A layoff does not end the employment relationship. It’s just a temporary pause, which anticipates that the employer will bring the employee back to work or recall them. 
Continue Reading Recalling Employees to Work: Considerations for Employers