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…
A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, Stanley v. Advertising Directory Solutions, considered the rights of an employee of a U.S. company who was working for a Canadian subsidiary when terminated. The court found she was entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice upon termination according to Canadian law. This despite a written agreement with the U.S. parent that said she was employed at will.
The court ruled that an agreement with a U.S. parent company won’t permit a Canadian company, which is also the person’s employer, to avoid its obligation to provide reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice of termination. read more…
By Bruce Grist
Conventional wisdom suggests that because a nonsolicitation clause is more likely than a noncompete clause to be enforced by a Canadian court, why bother including a noncompete clause in an employment agreement? The British Columbia Court of Appeal’s decision in Edward Jones v. Voldeng suggests that there is still value in including a noncompete clause. Why? It may be easier to demonstrate irreparable harm, one of the requirements to obtain an injunction, when a former employee has breached a noncompete clause. read more…
By David Wong
Attendance management programs themselves aren’t discriminatory — they just need to be carefully designed and properly applied. Such is the latest conclusion in continuing litigation between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. and the Canadian Auto Workers, a battle over an attendance management program covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region in British Columbia.
By Bill Duvall
As the prognosis for Canada’s economy remains uncertain, the Canadian court system continues to churn out employment cases arising from distressed employers. On this front, two recent cases are of interest. In the first, an Ontario court concludes that employees may not be entitled to statutory severance pay when they are provided with pension bridging and supplementary benefits. In the second, a British Columbia court is more employee-friendly, giving a broad interpretation to the definition of wages.
Ontario employees not entitled to severance pay
In Ontario, employees with at least five years’ service are generally entitled to up to 26 weeks’ severance pay when their employer discontinues its business. Employers are exempt from this severance pay obligation when an employee retires on termination and receives an “actuarially unreduced pension benefit that reflects any service credits which the employee, had the employment not been severed, would have been expected to have earned in the normal course of events for purposes of the pension plan.”
As we reported in an article last year, courts across the country are generally following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Keays v. Honda Canada: Punitive damages should be awarded only in exceptional cases, and moral damages should be limited to actual losses resulting from the employer’s conduct. That has left Canadian courts assessing employees’ actual losses. But the result can be a double-edged sword. Other damages may flow â€“ as was the case when the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled in Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. that an apprentice who was wrongfully dismissed was entitled to $25,000 for loss of his apprenticeship.
In November 2002, Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. (Dams) entered into an apprenticeship agreement with a Mr. Marchen. Under the agreement, Marchen was to work and take courses to become a qualified automobile collision repair journeyman. In exchange, Dams was to provide adequate training, so far as the facilities and the scope of the business would permit. The training program was expected to take approximately four years. Dams wasn’t required to keep Marchen employed for the entire period but only so long as work was available.
A British Columbia Court of Appeal decision has worrisome implications for companies that control elements of the operations of subcontractors or franchisees. Although it was about a franchise situation in B.C., it could have repercussions in other provinces and other business relationships.
In 2005, there was a robbery of a Petro-Canada service station. The robber got behind the counter and held a worker at knife point. A small swinging door was his only barrier to entry, and he kicked it down.
One of the principle features of Canadian employment law that strikes many U.S. employers as unique is the concept of an employee’s common law right to reasonable notice of termination when an employee is fired without cause.
Compliance with the minimum statutory requirements for notice, termination pay, and/or severance pay contained in employment standards legislation across the country generally isn’t sufficient to extinguish an employer’s obligations to provide reasonable notice. That’s because the courts have repeatedly held that minimum standards aren’t “reasonable.”