News & Publications

Employment

Frustration of Employment Contract: What to Consider Before Throwing in the Towel

Written by on July 31, 2017.

Like any contract, an employment contract can be “frustrated” when continued performance of the contract becomes impossible or would be radically different because of a dramatic change in circumstances. Employers typically raise frustration of contract to formally end the employment relationship with employees who have been away from work for a long time and are unlikely to return. The most common reason an employee is unable to return to work and, therefore, where frustration of contract...

Indecent Proposal? Whether and How to Ask Existing Employees to Sign New Employment Contracts

Written by on June 19, 2017.

Asking existing employees to sign new employment contracts can be a sensitive topic.  Employees will undoubtedly wonder why they are being asked to do so.  Many will quite rightly assume that the employer’s main motive for having new contracts be signed is to protect the employer – not the employee.   Some will sign without issue, while others will refuse to do so.  Others may sign reluctantly, and perhaps feel some ongoing resentment towards the employer for being asked to do so.  Emp...

Change is gonna come: The Changing Workplaces Review Final Report

Written by on May 24, 2017.

More than two years after Ontario’s Minister of Labour initiated it, the Changing Workplaces Review has issued its final report.  And depending on how (or if) the current Liberal government chooses to implement its 173 recommendations, employment in the province could look quite different a year from now.  As the authors describe their work: These changes would benefit workers directly, and employers and society in general.  Employees will benefit from a better workplace and an enhanced ab...

International Women’s Day

Written by on March 08, 2017.

Are you experiencing an abnormally high level of absenteeism among female employees today?  If so, here’s a great article featuring advice from some of our most respected employment law colleagues: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/leadership/womens-strike-what-employers-need-to-know/

Potential Changes to Employment Legislation May Mean Increased Liability for Franchisors

Written by on February 28, 2017.

The Ontario Changing Workplaces Review’s final report is expected to be delivered in the next few weeks and, if some of the ideas contained in its interim report become law, franchisors may find themselves liable as employers of their franchisees’ employees, regardless of the franchisor’s actual level of control over the workplace. The Review began as a Government of Ontario initiative in early 2015, with the Review’s terms of reference directing two Special Advisors to provide recomm...

Former Employee Successfully Sued for Defamation for Facebook Posts

Written by on February 24, 2017.

In recent years, careless, or let’s say, less than sensible comments on social media have gotten countless employees in trouble with their boss. Employees who have used Facebook as a forum for posting threatening language and vile insults about a supervisor or offensive accusations about the company they work for have quickly been shown the door; and arbitrators and labour boards are often prepared to uphold these dismissals.[1] A new decision from the Court of Quebec[2], however, confirms ...

Unproven Complaints Against Employers Could Soon be Released to the Public

Written by on February 07, 2017.

The Toronto Star has recently started a legal challenge that, if successful, may result in human rights, occupational health and safety, and other complaints made against employers being made public, despite the fact that those allegations are unproven. Most hearings today are not handled by the courts but are instead administered by a collection of boards and tribunals established by the province of Ontario. These agencies were created in order to reduce the number of cases heard by the cour...

Changes to Emergency Leave Requirements in the Auto Industry

Written by on January 31, 2017.

The final report from Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review is expected any day now, but in a taste of what’s to come, some changes are already being implemented. Since 2004, s. 50 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has required employers with more than 50 employees to provide 10 unpaid emergency leave days annually. These days are available to employees who experience personal illness, injury, medical emergency or other urgent matter, or where a member of the employee’s c...

Resignation: Can You Take it Lying Down?

Written by on January 05, 2017.

Say you’re an employer facing the prospect of being overstaffed. Some managers have recently left your employ but their support staff remain. You meet with one of your employees to discuss some upcoming changes to their job description in light of this impending overstaffing. They are upset by these changes, but the meeting ends and you think nothing more of it. The next day, the employee comes into work, packs up their things and walks out the door. You hear nothing from them for days. They...

Ontario Minimum Wage Rates Increase October 1, 2016

Written by on September 15, 2016.

Employers take note!  The minimum wage for provincially-regulated employees in Ontario will increase again on October 1, 2016.  The new rates will be: General Minimum Wage $11.40 / hour This rate applies to most employees. Student Minimum Wage $10.70 / hour This rate applies to students under the age of 18, who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays. Liquor Servers Minimum Wage $9.90 / hour This rate applies to em...