Employment Law

Employers take note: Make sure your employees’ termination clauses don’t exclude benefits and severance pay under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

May 16th, 2017 by Claudia Pedrero

With the provincial government looking at instituting a minimum wage of $15.00/hour, the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA) is generating headlines this week.

But one of the biggest pitfalls for employers in the ESA made judicial news at few weeks ago: the Ontario Court of Appeal further clarified employers’ obligations when terminating employees in its decision Wood v Fred Deeley Imports Ltd. (Wood) released earlier this year.

The important take-away from this case is: if the termination clause in an employment contract excludes even one obligation under the ESA the entire termination clause is unenforceable. As a result, the employee becomes entitled to common law reasonable notice discussed in more detail below. The employment clause will also be void even if the employer meets the ESA obligations that were excluded from the termination clause.

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What medical documentation should you accept when asked to accommodate a disability?

February 2nd, 2017 by Celia Chandler

Our housing provider and employer clients often get asked to accommodate mental and physical disabilities under the Human Rights Code. While we’ve known for a long time that it’s OK to ask for medical documentation to support the requests, it’s been a bit unclear what should be included in doctors’ notes. Sometimes clients got notes that were too skimpy and other times clients got lengthy ones that revealed much more information than was necessary to meet the request.

Yesterday, the Human Rights Commission released some guidance for doctors, for people requesting accommodation, and for housing providers and employers who have been asked for accommodation. The Commission tells us that a doctor’s note should include:

  • that the person has a disability
  • the limitations or needs associated with the disability
  • whether the person can perform the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user, with or without accommodation
  • the type of accommodation(s) that may be needed to allow the person to fulfill the essential duties or requirements of the job, of being a tenant, or of being a service user,
  • in employment, regular updates about when the person expects to come back to work, if they are on leave

To see what the Commission released yesterday, click here.

To see the Commission’s Policy on ableism and discrimination based on disability, click here.

Save the Date: IC Education, our workshop series, will turn its attention to human rights in housing on March 4, 2017, at Otter Creek Co‑operative in Whitby. More details to follow soon!


Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act come into force September 8th

September 2nd, 2016 by Lauren Blumas

Workplace sexual harassment has been in the news, a lot. The legislature responded to calls for increased protections for workers by proposing amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which expand the scope of harassment to include workplace sexual harassment and increase employer obligations to employees.

Those amendments come into force on September 8th. Employers and employees need familiarize themselves with those amendments if they have not already. We blogged about the amendments back in April, here.

So what are the essentials for September 8th? Read the rest of this entry

Employers: update your Workplace Harassment policy. Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act come into force September 2016.

April 7th, 2016 by Shelina Ali

Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act received royal assent on March 8, 2016 and will come into force in September 2016.   It makes several important amendments to the provisions dealing with workplace harassment in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act).

Workplace sexual harassment is now explicitly included in the definition of workplace harassment and is a defined term under the Act.   The amendments also clarify that a reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor in managing employees does not constitute harassment.  A reasonable action is not defined under the Act, and will need to be determined on a case by case basis. Read the rest of this entry

The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act: Meeting your obligations as an employer in 2015

January 14th, 2015 by Safia Lakhani

The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act was passed by the Ontario legislature in November 2014. The Act amends five statutes relating to employment and labour relations, and introduces new obligations for employers in 2015.

Below is a brief summary of amendments to existing legislation under the Act. It is important that employers are familiar with their obligations as these changes come into effect.

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Freedom of expression for federal librarians and archivists under attack

April 1st, 2013 by Priya Sarin

Although federal public servants have always had a limited right to freedom of expression (as compared to private sector employees), certain government employees have recently been subjected to increasingly strict policies, or codes of conduct, which govern their behaviour both in and out of the workplace. Two recent policies effectively restrict access to the media and participation in forums for intellectual debate — such as conferences or teaching engagements. Contrary to what you might expect, these policies do not target employees in the justice, immigration or national defence departments, but rather scientists, librarians and archivists associated with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Canadian Heritage. There are two reasons why Canadians should be concerned: 1) this continues a trend of the Harper government to restrict the public’s timely access to valuable information from our experts on issues of national importance (which in turn negatively impacts the quality of our public discourse and ability to make informed decisions); and 2) some of these policies are unnecessarily restrictive and arguably in breach of section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms ‑- the right to freedom of expression.

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