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More Government Action in the Time of COVID-19: Temporary Pandemic Pay

By Employment Law

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact workers in all areas, governments are attempting to find ways to provide relief. For example, the Federal Government has created the Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which are intended to help those who have lost work due to the pandemic and to prevent the loss of work by subsidizing employers, respectively. These are just two examples of many responses to the pandemic that governments in Canada are taking to attempt to help its workforce. Recently, the Government of Ontario announced that it was implementing a new measure to help…

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Can an Employee Refuse to Return to Work Because of Covid-19?

By Employment Law

As the Province’s economy begins to reopen, employers and businesses are beginning to recall their employees. Many employees are concerned about the health hazards that a premature return to work may pose. Employers are concerned about the legal challenges they may face if an employee refuses to return to work. On account of the foregoing, the question on many peoples’ minds at the moment is, can an employee refuse to return to work due to Covid-19? In short, the answer is no, though there are exceptions. Provided that the employer is legally permitted to open its doors (i.e. provincial orders…

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Are Covid-19 Related Lay-Offs Constructive Dismissals?

By Employment Law

On account of the ongoing Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (the “Pandemic”), on March 17, 2020, the Government of Ontario declared a state of emergency under section 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. As a result of this declaration and its associated orders, several establishments and businesses were legally required to close. Further, on March 23, 2020, the Government of Ontario ordered the mandatory closure of all non-essential workplaces, effective March 24, 2020 (the “Second Order”). The forced closure of non-essential businesses has been in effect for over a month, with the possibility of being extended as…

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Employment in the Time of COVID-19: Federal Measures

By Employment Law

Many employers are suffering from loss of business due to the impact of COVID-19. As a result, many people are finding themselves without work, either due to being laid off or terminated. Governments worldwide are attempting to lessen the economic impact of the pandemic. In Canada, the Federal government has taken several steps with a view to helping Canadians who are being impacted economically by the novel coronavirus. These include measures designed to help employees experiencing a loss of income due to COVID-19, and to support employers with a view to preventing layoffs. The Canada Emergency Response Benefit The Canada…

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Can Professional Associations Mandate Their Members’ Speech?

By Employment Law

Most professionals like engineers, doctors, pharmacists and lawyers are governed by professional associations. These professional associations actively engage in regulating their respective licensees to ensure a minimum level of competency with a view to protecting the public interest. Associations are also empowered to protect members of the public by maintaining the capacity to discipline and sanction their members. For instance, the Law Society of Ontario regulates the more than 50,000 lawyers who practice in the province and can investigate and sanction lawyers who have been found to violate the Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct or its By-Laws. Accordingly, these professional…

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The Gig-Economy, Inter jurisdictional Working Arrangements, and the Choice of Law

By Employment Law

One of the emerging trends in Canadian workplaces is the increasing number of flexible working arrangements. The rise of online services, and gig-economy apps like Uber and Doordash, has afforded many Canadians the ability to set their own hours. These work arrangements occur through independent contracting agreements that are either national or international in scope. For example, an Ontario corporation could enter into an exclusive distributor agreement with a British Columbia resident while an Alberta resident could enter into a service agreement with a California tech company. These inter-provincial and international arrangements create their own unique legal challenges, especially since…

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What Happens When Just Cause for Termination Is Discovered After an Employee Has Already Been Dismissed?

By Employment Law

Whether someone is terminated with or without just cause can have significant financial implications. Where an employer correctly terminates an employee for just cause, it is not required to provide the employee with any notice of termination or payment in lieu thereof, unlike where the dismissal is without cause. However, the employer does not necessarily have to get it right at the time that the dismissal is communicated to the employee. After-acquired cause refers to just cause for termination that is discovered after an employee has already been dismissed. Although it gives employers some room for error at the time…

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“Consideration” and Employment Law – How Archaic Legal Principles are Still Relevant to Very Modern Legal Problems

By Employment Law

An employment contract is the central document that binds both parties, by setting out their legal obligations and responsibilities. When a dispute arises, a judge analyzes the contract to try and determine what the parties agreed to. A contract of employment can exist between parties, even if it has not been reduced to writing. After-all, if the employee is performing work, and the employer is paying for the work, there is an agreement between the parties. Employment relationships that are not reduced to writing are often more favourable to the employee, especially because in most cases, a written contract serves…

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Is Your Employer Allowed to Lay You Off?

By Employment Law

Employers lay off their employees for a variety of reasons. Whether it be due to lack of work, financial issues, or some other reason, the impact is still the same for employees – loss of work. However, many people do not know whether they can do anything in response to being laid off. This post will outline some of the basic principles relating to layoffs and how employees can respond. What Is a Layoff? Many people believe that a layoff is the same thing as a termination. This is not the case – a layoff refers to an employer reducing…

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Are Terminated Employees Entitled to Unvested Stock Options That Would Have Vested During the Notice Period?

By Employment Law

The answer: Yes. How did we get here? The answer lies in the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s evolving approach to this issue in recent years. A terminated employee’s right to exercise stock options during the reasonable notice period has been an increasingly litigated issue that has been rife with uncertainty. Employers often take the position that the language used in these employee incentive agreements results in their cancellation on the date of termination. Unsurprisingly, employees assert entitlement to all non-discretionary remuneration that was a fundamental part of their compensation. In 2004, the Court of Appeal for Ontario released a…

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