Employers may want to reassess how they terminate their employees and the timeframe and manner through which they provide their employees with their termination-related entitlements. Pohl v Hudson’s Bay Company, 2022 ONSC 5230, a recent Ontario decision, demonstrates, amongst other things, what a court may award an employee whose dismissal was conducted by an employer in an unfair manner.  

What Happened?

A 28-year full-time Hudson’s Bay Company Sales Manager in his 50s was terminated on a without-cause basis and immediately walked out the door. He earned an annual salary of $61,254 plus pension contributions and other benefits.
Continue Reading The Importance of Being Honest and Sensitive: The $50k+ Moral and Punitive Damage Award

As of October 1, 2022, minimum wage rates in Ontario have increased. The general minimum wage for provincially regulated employees has increased by 50 cents from $15.00 to $15.50 per hour. This raise represents a 3.33% rise in response to rising costs and inflation. 

Generally, minimum wage requirements apply to all employees, whether they are full-time, part-time, or hourly. There are special minimum wage requirements for specific categories such as students, liquor servers, hunting, fishing and wilderness guides, and home workers. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) Guide nicely outlines all minimum wage requirements here

For employees whose pay is based wholly or partly on commission, their pay must amount to at least the minimum wage for each hour the employee has worked. 
Continue Reading The Ontario Minimum Wage Has Increased as of October 1, 2022

With only a few business days left before October 11, 2022, when employers must have a written Electronic Monitoring Policy in place, SpringLaw is fielding regular questions from employers about their near-final drafts. The policy requirements and meeting this new transparency obligation are discussed in our prior blog: New Electronic Monitoring Policy: The What, How and Why for Employers. The deadline for providing a written copy to employees is November 10, 2022.

Step One: Review Your Current Electronic Monitoring Practices

Employers with a buttoned-down approach should start with a broad review of their current monitoring practices. This may unearth some overkill monitoring and data collection – passive and unintentional, or otherwise. 
Continue Reading Privacy Compliance: We’re Watching You, Employees, But Not Really

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

The End of COVID-19 Regulations
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Throughout the course of this COVID-19 pandemic, we have undergone several cycles of announcements, implementations, and revocations of COVID-19-related regulations. On April 14, 2022, Ontario filed yet another regulation – O. Reg. 346/22: Revoking Various Regulations (this “Regulation”) under Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. In the nutshell, this Regulation revokes every single remaining COVID-19-related regulation in the province.

What Are Some Examples of Rules and Restrictions Being Lifted?

A major regulation being revoked is Regulation 364/20: Rules For Areas at Step 3 and at the Roadmap Exit Step, which requires that businesses must operate in accordance with any advice and instructions issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, including with respect to physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting; establishing, implementing and ensuring compliance with a COVID-19 vaccination policy; and setting out the precautions and procedures that businesses must include in their COVID-19 vaccination policies. In addition, masks and face coverings are no longer required on public transit services, in hospitals, in long-term care homes, laboratories and specimen collection centers, homeless shelters, and congregate care supportive housing residences, among others.
Continue Reading The End of COVID-19 Regulations

Working for Workers Act received Royal Assent, making it now law
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In March, we blogged about Bill 88 or the Working for Workers Act (part 2) (the Act). You can read that post here. On April 11, 2022, the Act received Royal Assent, making it now law. Most significant to employers, who are not Uber etc., are the changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000  (ESA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The Act has attracted the most attention for the creation of the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, which will have big implications for digital platform workers and “employers” like Uber and Skip the Dishes, however, the Act impacts non-digital platform employers too. 

Here’s the rundown of what’s new in the ESA and the OHSA.
Continue Reading Working for Workers Act 2 Passes in the Ontario Legislature: What Employers Who Aren’t Uber Need to Know to Comply

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?

We’ve written about terminations in several of our blog posts throughout the years. Some of our employer readers (and clients) may recall scrambling to update their employment contracts following the 2020 release of Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. (2020 ONCA 391). Still, many employers who are seeking to terminate their indefinite-term employees on a without cause basis believe that as long as they provide their employees with 2 weeks of notice, or the period of notice set out in the Employment Standards Act, 2000, they are off the hook. More often than not, this notice period is legally insufficient. So, what is the applicable notice period? 
Continue Reading Firing Employees with 2 Weeks of Notice May be Insufficient

An Update on Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021
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In our recent blog, we talked about Ontario’s Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, which proposed new changes to several pieces of legislation, most notably the Employment Standards Act, 2000. On November 30, 2021, Bill 27 passed third reading and on December 2, 2021, it received royal assent, making it now law. In this post, we will highlight some of the key changes.

Non-Compete Agreements are Prohibited

Under Bill 27, employers are prohibited from entering into employment contracts or other agreements with employees that is or includes a non-compete agreement. Employers will be pleased to know that there is an exception for executives; these employees may still enter into non-compete agreements with employers. 

Executives are defined as “any person who holds the office of chief executive officer, president, chief administrative officer, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief information officer, chief legal officer, chief human resources officer or chief corporate development officer, or holds any other chief executive position”.
Continue Reading An Update on Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021

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