News & Publications

Labour & Employment

Verbal References: The Truth Shall Set You Free

Written by on January 30, 2019.

Some employers are wary about providing references for former employees, fearing a defamation lawsuit. However, a recent decision of the Divisional Court suggests that negative references that are substantially true and provided without malice may not be defamatory. In the trial decision of Papp v Stokes et al, 2017 ONSC 2357, the plaintiff brought a claim for wrongful dismissal and defamation against his former employer. The plaintiff’s employment was terminated on December 19, 2013 and th...

Employers: Post and Distribute the Updated ESA Poster

Written by on January 18, 2019.

Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), employers must post a copy of the most recent employment standards poster (“ESA Poster”) prepared by the Ministry of Labour in a “conspicuous place” in the workplace. The Ministry of Labour has just released a new version of the ESA Poster, which you can view/print at this link.[1] In addition to posting the updated ESA Poster in a conspicuous place, employers must print it, in colour or black and white, on paper that is at least 8...

Uber Decision Calls into Question Arbitration Clauses in Commercial Agreements

Written by on January 07, 2019.

The news media has widely reported the Ontario Court of Appeal’s January 3, 2019 decision allowing a class-action by Uber drivers to proceed. The decision does not answer the question of whether Uber (and UberEATS) drivers should be considered employees or independent contractors (a conclusion that could have wide-ranging implications for employers that rely on independent contractor agreements). However, one aspect of the decision may have an immediate impact on employers in Ontario – the C...

Employers: Consider these Sample New Year’s Resolutions

Written by on January 04, 2019.

  With the start of a new year comes the opportunity to reflect on your business’s labour relations and start tackling those items on your “to-do” list. Here are three sample New Year’s resolutions that may benefit your business: 1. Revise your template employment contract, if necessary One of the most important clauses in every employment contract is the termination clause. A well-drafted and enforceable termination clause can be the difference between providing terminated emp...

Enforceability of Termination Clauses in Employment Contracts – Trending towards Clarity, or More Uncertainty?

Written by on December 19, 2018.

It is a basic principle of employment law in Ontario that employees terminated without cause are presumed to be entitled to common law reasonable notice of termination unless the parties clearly agreed to a different notice period, typically through a termination clause in an employment agreement, that does not violate the statutory minimums prescribed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). One issue that frequently arises is whether the parties clearly agreed to a notice period ...

Bill 47 – Amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995

Written by on November 14, 2018.

The legislation governing unionized workplaces in Ontario, the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”) will be amended by the Ontario government if the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (“Bill 47”) passes in its current form.  Expected changes will include the following: Repeal of Union’s ability to obtain a list of employees Currently, s, 6.1 allows a trade union to obtain a list of employee names and contact information if the union obtains membership cards from twent...

Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018

Written by on November 09, 2018.

Many businesses that are provincially-regulated employers in Ontario have spent the better part of last year changing their workplace policies to ensure compliance with the labour reforms implemented by the Wynne government in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (“Bill 148”). However, such businesses should be aware that Ontario’s recently elected Progressive Conservative government has tabled the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 (“Bill 47”) which, if passed in its current f...

Is Bill 148 being scrapped in its entirety?

Written by on October 03, 2018.

Premier Doug Ford was quoted yesterday (Tuesday October 2, 2018) in the legislature as saying, “We’re getting rid of Bill 148. We’re going to make sure we protect the front-line workers.” His Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson was quick to slow down the move, saying, “There are parts that we will keep and there are parts that probably will go” and went on to say that the process is under review. Recently, Ford announced that the minimum wage increase scheduled for January 1,...

Ontario Government Announces WSIB Premium Relief for Employers

Written by on September 27, 2018.

On September 26, the government of Ontario announced that Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) premium rates for employers will be reduced due to a steep reduction in the WSIB’s Insurance Fund’s unfunded liability. In the announcement, the provincial government stated that “the WSIB will be able to cut the average premium rate for employers by almost 30 per cent, starting January 1, 2019.” According to the WSIB, premiums for Schedule 1 employers will decrease from an aver...

Divisional Court overturns Ontario Labour Relation Board’s certification of construction bargaining unit integral to telecommunications

Written by on August 29, 2018.

In a significant victory for employers engaged in construction work in federally-regulated sectors, the Divisional Court in Labourers’ International Union of North America, Ontario Provincial District Council v Ramkey Communications Inc [1]has overturned an Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) decision suggesting that all contractors performing construction work were subject to provincial labour relations laws, regardless of how vital, essential, or integral that work was to the federal...