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

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.

manager exemption for overtime
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Last week we wrote about ways employers can manage overtime liabilities with Averaging Agreements and Time in Lieu. This week we will tackle a commonly litigated overtime issue – the manager exemption. 

The Manager Exemption 

Not every worker is entitled to overtime pay. Exemptions are set out in section 8 of Ontario Regulation 285.1 under the Employment Standards Act, 2000. Included in the list of the exempt is the manager or, to be exact, “a person whose work is supervisory or managerial in character and who may perform non-supervisory or non-managerial tasks on an irregular or exceptional basis.” Who exactly falls under this exemption can be unclear. 
Continue Reading Overtime Part 2: The Manager Exemption

vacation pay class actions
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Since 2019, there have been five proposed class actions against insurance companies and banks for failure to pay proper vacation pay to employees, both past and present. The total amount claimed in the aggregate of these five actions is around $1.2 billion. Royal Bank of Canada is a named party in three of the five actions; in one, it is facing a proposed $800-million class-action lawsuit involving thousands of advisors. Bank of Montreal and Allstate Insurance are also named in these class actions. A significant aspect of the allegations against these employers revolves around the calculation of their employees’ vacation pay. The issue is that for many of these employees, the majority of their compensation is and was made up of commissions and bonuses. Their vacation pay, however, was and continues to be based solely on their much lower base salaries.
Continue Reading Vacation pay class actions a heads up for employers

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

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

Toolkit helps employers during latest Covid-19 lockdownAs COVID-19 continues to create barriers for businesses across the province, many employers face tough decisions regarding their staff. With so much uncertainty regarding when and if things will return to normal, scaling down or shutting down is becoming a reality in many industries. 

At SpringLaw, we help employers navigate these difficult decisions every day, but are also aware that not every business needs traditional legal services. This is why we created our Pivot DIY employer toolkit. Pivot DIY contains guides to help employers decide how to adjust their workforce and template legal documents with instructions on how to customize them. 

Layoffs/Deemed IDEL

Where employers are hopeful that more work will be available in the future, layoffs may be appropriate. A layoff is a temporary stoppage of work. An employer normally needs the contractual right to lay an employee off. Normally, layoffs can only last for specified lengths of time. 
Continue Reading Pivoting Your Business During Yet Another Lockdown

executive termination package entitlements
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Unfortunately, lots of terminations are coming across our desks these days. While most employers understand that they need to provide notice of termination, many employees have a variety of different types of compensation which may or may not continue during the notice period. As with many things in law, it depends! 

Let’s go over some of the common aspects of executive termination packages.

A Primer on Notice

It all starts with notice! Unless an employee is being terminated for cause, they are entitled to notice of termination. “For cause” or “with cause” terminations are rare, so in most cases and absent egregious employee behaviour, employers will owe employees notice.

Continue Reading Termination Entitlements: Benefits, Bonuses and Commissions