Working Notice: Is It Right for You?

April 05, 2010 - by: Hadiya Roderique 0 COMMENTS

By Hadiya Roderique

Despite signs of a recovering economy, Canadian employers are still looking for ways to downsize operations and minimize human resources expenses. One cost-effective manner is to give working notice when terminating an employee.

What is working notice?
Working notice is an alternative to paying out a lump sum upon dismissal. The employee is given advance notice of his or her final date of employment and continues to work until the date of termination. Working notice allows employers to maximize productivity and value while significantly reducing the cost of termination.

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Does Temporary Layoff Result in Right to Severance Pay?

December 21, 2009 - by: Derek Knoechel 0 COMMENTS

By Derek Knoechel

In early 2008, the owner of a dental practice, having recently purchased the business, faced some difficult choices. Given what appeared to be a temporary downturn in revenues, the owners decided on a temporary layoff.

While permitted by employment standards laws, the employer in the recent case of Besse v. Dr. A.S. Machner Inc. found out that the courts considered the layoff to amount to a termination of employment. The employment standards law didn’t provide a right to impose a temporary layoff – at least not without triggering all the severance rights the courts normally accord terminated employees.

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Group Terminations in Canada: What Employers Need to Know

July 27, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Katie Clayton and Farrah Sunderani

In today’s economy it’s become commonplace for employers to terminate large numbers of employees at one time. Depending on the number of employees being terminated, an employer may fall under federal or provincial group termination provisions designed to protect employees and the local economy from an influx of terminated individuals re-entering the workforce. As such, it’s important employers be aware of the obligations they are under in order to protect themselves against, at times, hefty consequences.

Federal legislation
Employers operating in federally regulated industries are subject to the Canada Labour Code, which contains specific requirements in the event of a group termination in Division IX, Part III and the associated regulations. These define a group termination as a termination of 50 or more employees in the same establishment within a four- week period. In such a case, the employer must provide the Minister of Labour with 16 weeks’ notice in writing of the pending terminations under Section 212. The notice of group terminations is separate and apart from the notice entitlement for each individual employee. The group termination notice itself must contain the following information: read more…

Beware the Unpaid Intern in Canada

June 15, 2009 - by: Sara Parchello 3 COMMENTS

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the current economic climate is that there are fewer jobs to go around for students. Summer and graduating students who have relied on summer jobs for experience and training are finding few opportunities out there.

To solve this problem, many students and graduates are reaching out to companies to offer their services on a gratuitous basis as unpaid “interns.” The mutual benefit seems obvious — especially if an unpaid internship blossoms into a full-time paying job.

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Reducing Pension Costs in Canada During Hard Times

May 26, 2009 - by: Lyne Duhaime 2 COMMENTS

The recent decline in financial markets has caused Canadian pension plans to become significantly underfunded. For instance, in Québec close to 97 percent of all defined benefit pension plans are currently underfunded.

As this continues, many employers may look for ways to reduce pension costs or at least offset increases of those costs. Such losses can have a significant impact on a company’s ability to survive the current economic downturn.

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Weathering the Economic Storm in Canada: Restructuring and Employees’ Rights

May 12, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

By Leanne Fioravanti and Stephen Acker

In these tough financial times, a number of companies are trying to reorganize themselves in order to avoid insolvency or bankruptcy. In Canada, there are several laws that help facilitate this process: the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (BIA). For the most part, employees are often left high and dry during these restructurings, as these laws don’t offer them much protection.

Canadian processes
The CCAA is a federal law that allows financially troubled companies that owe in excess of $5 million the opportunity to restructure their affairs. The CCAA process is court-driven, giving judges a high degree of flexibility to decide how best to deal with the specific cases before them. A monitor is appointed to oversee the restructuring and to report to the court when necessary about the restructuring.

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Work-Sharing: An Alternative to Layoffs in Canada

April 13, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Katie Clayton and Cherity Smith

Since the economic downturn took hold, each day brings another announcement of employee layoffs and corporate downsizing. Recent blog entries have looked at options such as layoffs, furloughs, and reducing hours of work. There is another option in Canada – work-sharing.

What is work-sharing?
Work-sharing is an adjustment program created by the Canadian government. It provides income support to employees eligible for employment insurance benefits who are willing to work a reduced workweek. The reduced workweek would be for a defined time period in order to help the employer avoid layoffs.

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Categories: Economy

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Be Careful Taking Cost-Saving Measures in Union Workplace

March 24, 2009 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

By Karen Sargeant

In the last several months, we have posted several blog entries detailing how employers can reduce employment costs and/or increase workforce flexibility in these tough economic times. We have talked about furloughs, work-sharing programs, changing employment contracts, adjusting the size of the workforce and reducing employees’ hours of work.

But all of these discussions have been in the context of nonunion workplaces. What about a unionized workplace – do employers have the same flexibility to reduce hours, shorten the workweek, impose work-sharing programs or set up other cost-saving measures? The answer depends.

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Jobless Rate Rises in Canada, Too

January 20, 2009 - by: Karen Sargeant 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant

The United States is not the only country being hit by increasing unemployment rates — Canada is being hit, too. Although not as high as unemployment figures in the US, Canadian figures put unemployment at 6.6%. So where is Canada being hit the most? The following statistics from the Labour Force Survey show where.

  • A net 34,000 jobs were lost in December, the result of a large drop in full-time work. A gain of 36,000 part-time jobs offset the loss of 71,000 full-time jobs. Understandably, most of the losses were in the private sector.  In fact, the public sector gained jobs.
  • December’s job losses arose largely from a drop in construction. That industry experienced one of the largest monthly losses in over 30 years — 44,000 jobs lost in December. Given that housing starts in November were at their lowest level in seven years, this is not surprising.
  • Other industries hit hard were: business, culture, recreational services, agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, oil and gas, trade, and manufacturing.
  • Alberta was the hardest hit province, accounting for 16,000 of the lost jobs. This is particularly surprising given that only a year ago employers were giving huge signing bonuses just to get employees to come work for them. But it’s not surprising given the decline in oil and gas.
  • Second behind Alberta in December was Quebec. But year over year, unemployment in Quebec was unchanged.
  • Young people aged 15 to 24 and men aged 25 to 54 were the hardest hit by the declines in December.
  • Those over 55 actually saw an employment increase. Perhaps these older workers are prepared to accept flexible work schedules and fewer benefits. But despite the employment increase, unemployment rose for these older workers, the result of an increase in the number of people over 55 looking for work.

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Categories: Economy

Challenging Times in Canada Present Opportunities for Creative Solutions

December 23, 2008 - by: Katie Clayton 1 COMMENTS

by Katie Clayton

In this economic climate in Canada, many employers are being forced to find ways to reduce costs, which often means layoffs. But layoffs don’t have to be the only answer — you can reduce costs without losing valuable employees.

One way businesses can do so is to slightly reduce their employees hours of work. Even a small decrease in work hours can have a significant effect on a company’s bottom line, allowing it to keep talented employees for when the economy rebounds. So how do employers go about reducing employees’ hours of work while avoiding claims that it has unilaterally altered a term of employment, which could lead to a claim for constructive dismissal?

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