Termination clause as a ticking time bomb: Are courts in Ontario changing approach?

November 16, 2014 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

by Marc Rodrigue

To the chagrin of many employers in Canada, the courts have made the drafting and enforcement of termination provisions in an employment contract challenging. In recent years, case law in Ontario has been particularly harsh in striking down termination provisions that may be contrary to the statutory provisions of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in some circumstances but not others (e.g., entitlements meet the requirements for the first five years of employment but not thereafter).

A recent case in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ford v. Keegan, 2014 ONSC 4989, provides some indication that the court in Ontario has not fully settled on when striking a termination clause is appropriate. As opposed to the treatment of termination clauses in other cases, the court in this case indicated that a termination clause, so long as it meets the ESA minimums at the time an employee is dismissed, should be enforced. read more…

Quebec employers can’t waive notice period provided by resigning employee without providing notice

October 19, 2014 - by: Mohamed Badreddine 0 COMMENTS

by Mohamed Badreddine

Most employers in Quebec know that under Quebec’s Act Respecting Labour Standards (ALS) and the Civil Code of Québec (CCQ), an employer who wishes to terminate an indefinite contract of employment without serious reason must provide notice or pay in lieu of notice. Employees who wish to resign must also give their employer notice of resignation.

In Commission des normes du travail v. Asphalte Desjardins inc., the Supreme Court of Canada held that when an employee gives notice of resignation, the employer cannot waive the notice period and terminate the contract of employment without providing notice or pay in lieu of notice. read more…

British Columbia court offers more lessons about employment contracts

September 14, 2014 - by: Monique Orieux 0 COMMENTS

by Monique Orieux

Last year in Northern Exposure we shared five key lessons about Canadian employment contracts arising from the trial court’s decision in Miller v. Convergys CMG Canada Limited Partnership. The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently issued its decision in the case: Miller v. Convergys CMG Canada Limited Partnership, 2014 BCCA 311. Its decision reinforces those lessons. It also serves as a reminder that employment agreements should be tailored to the individual circumstances of each employee. read more…

Employer obtains injunction to prevent misuse of its confidential information

September 07, 2014 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

When an employee announces that he or she is resigning in order to go work for a competitor, it is only natural for an employer to become anxious—particularly when the departing employee has access to the business’s confidential information. Complicating matters further is the technological ease with which an employee can wrongfully divert an employer’s confidential information if he or she wishes to do so. read more…

Will the abolishment of mandatory retirement result in longer notice periods?

May 11, 2014 - by: Northern Exposure 3 COMMENTS

By Ralph N. Nero and Nicole R. Singh

You’re about to terminate an employee’s employment without cause. He’s been with you for 30 years, earns $100,000, has a middle management position, and is 69 years old. He could retire with a full pension. Surely you don’t have to provide him with a severance package? Absolutely, say Canadian courts. read more…

Employee solicitation: Do you have any recourse?

March 16, 2014 - by: Sebastien Gobeil 0 COMMENTS

By Sébastien Gobeil

We have often reported on how Canadian courts enforce, or do not enforce, noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses. But those cases have focused on the solicitation of the former employer’s customers or clients. What happens when a former employee solicits your employees to leave, leading to a series of resignations? Do you have any recourse? read more…

When can Canadian employment contracts be terminated for ‘frustration’?

March 09, 2014 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Like any contract, an employment contract can be legally “frustrated” and come to an end. Basically, this may happen when it becomes impossible for one of the parties to perform his or her end of the bargain. For example an employment contract can be frustrated when, because of an illness or injury, it becomes clear that an employee is no longer able to work. But it is not easy to define when that will become clear. read more…

B.C. court decision offers lessons to employers about employment contracts

December 15, 2013 - by: Kevin O'Neill 0 COMMENTS

By Kevin O’Neill

In a recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision, Gerry Miller v. Convergys CMG Canada Limited Partnership, the court confirms a number of useful principles for employers who use an employment agreement containing minimum severance provisions. read more…

High court rules on noncompete, nonsolicitation clauses in business sale

November 03, 2013 - by: Isabelle East-Richard 0 COMMENTS

By Isabelle East-Richard

A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision arising out of Québec will have broad ramifications across Canada.

In Payette v. Guay Inc. (2013 SCC 45 (September 12, 2013)), the Supreme Court of Canada settled the debate over whether the employment contract provisions of the Civil Code of Québec also apply to noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses set forth in business sale agreements. In so doing, it addressed the distinction between the rules that apply to restrictive covenants found in an employment contract and those found in a contract for the sale of a business. read more…

Silence as acceptance when company sold

August 11, 2013 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

By Keri Bennett

Canadian employees may believe that a change in ownership of a company results in a change in the terms of employment and requirement for a new employment contract. Not so. In Whittemore v. Open Text Corporation, the Ontario Superior Court made it clear that the original terms of employment remained valid after a share purchase. The court also made it clear that employees are required to advise their employer if they do not accept a change to their terms of employment. read more…

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