Probationary clauses: Devil is in the details

May 01, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by J. Alexandra MacCarthy

In Canada, the legal effect of a probationary clause in an employment contract can be unclear depending upon the facts of the particular case. The Supreme Court of British Columbia recently addressed probationary clauses in employment contracts in Ly v. British Columbia (Interior Health Authority), 2017 BCSC 42.

The plaintiff (PY) was hired by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) as the manager of quality and patient safety and client experience and moved from Vancouver to Kamloops for the position. The offer of employment contained the following clause: read more…

Sale of business to smaller company doesn’t equal termination

May 08, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Olivier Lamoureux

A Québec court recently ruled that there was no constructive dismissal arising from the sale of a business to a smaller third-party purchaser for whom a manager refused to work. The Quebec Court of Appeal in the Boulad case (2108805 Ontario inc. c. Boulad, 2016 QCCA 75) overturned a lower court decision that would have required the employer to pay substantial damages to a manager who didn’t want to work for the new owner. read more…

Transferred employee’s wrongful dismissal suit lands in New York court

April 19, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Bonny Mak Waterfall and Rachel Younan

When a Canadian employer transfers its employee to a non-Canadian entity, is it still on the hook for wrongful dismissal damages? Recently, an Ontario court declined to hear a civil action claiming wrongful dismissal damages from an employee who was transferred to a United States subsidiary of a Canadian company. However, the judgment left open the possibility that different facts may lead to a different result. read more…

Commissions during the notice period: contractual language rules

January 04, 2015 0 COMMENTS

By Thora A. Sigurdson

In Sciancamerli v. Comtech (Communication Technologies) Ltd., 2014 BCSC 2140, a specialized salesperson was terminated without cause after 10 months’ service. He sued for wrongful dismissal. At trial, the main issues were the length of notice for a short-term salesperson and his entitlement, if any, to commission payments during the notice period. This case is a reminder to Canadian employers of the importance of carefully drafted language in employment contracts. read more…

Purchaser of bankrupt Quebec business found liable to executive it didn’t hire

November 30, 2014 0 COMMENTS

By Marie-Gabrielle Bélanger

The purchaser of all the assets of a bankrupt business will be bound by the employment contracts of the bankrupt company and must therefore honor these contracts. So ruled the Court of Appeal of Quebec in a recent decision, Aéro-Photo (1961) Inc. c. Raymond (available in French only). read more…

British Columbia court offers more lessons about employment contracts

September 14, 2014 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…

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

March 09, 2014 3 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…

U.S. employment agreement ruled inapplicable after transfer to British Columbia

May 26, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Katherine Pollock

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…

Terminating Long-Absent Employees: ‘Frustration’ Isn’t Just a Legal Term

September 13, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Gulu Punia and Kyla Stott-Jess

When an employee is absent because of long-term disability, employers naturally wonder how long they must wait before the employment contract has been “frustrated.” If it has, the employment contract can be terminated. According to the recent Ontario decision of Naccarato v. Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd., however, the question isn’t “how long” but rather “what is the prognosis?”

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Working Notice: Is It Right for You?

April 05, 2010 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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