Among the most challenging and complex issues faced by
businesses, governments, organizations and individuals are those
that arise in the workplace—in the relationships between
management and employee, worker and employer and between employer
and the myriad of regulatory bodies which supervise a wide variety
of activities that occur in the workplace.
In this booklet, we have endeavoured simply to identify many of
the key issues of which employers and counsel for employers need to
be cognisant and which need to be prudently managed.
The Canadian framework is, in some respects, similar to that of
our neighbours to the south; but it is also unique and distinct
from U.S. law in some very significant ways and a failure to
appreciate those distinctions can prove costly and very damaging,
both to an employer's bottom line as well as to its corporate
culture. In this booklet we identify the statutory and regulatory
framework for Canadian employment law, and we discuss the
importance of employment agreements, the critical issue of
termination of the employment contract, the human rights regimes
and the duty to accommodate, the distinction between unionized and
non-unionized workplaces, technology use and privacy rights in the
workplace, the law of fiduciaries, mitigation, progressive
discipline, some selected tax aspects of the employment
relationship, the distinction between employees and independent
contractors, bankruptcy and insolvency issues that arise in the
employment context, employment issues that arise on the purchase
and sale of a business and other topics of concern in employment
This booklet is not intended to provide legal advice and does
not purport to offer comprehensive treatment of any of the issues
discussed herein. Instead, it is intended to identify for the
reader the areas which require the attention of prudent management
and vigilant counsel so that appropriate advice may be sought in
connection with any of these issues as the need arises.
We hope that you will find this survey of the essential areas in
Canadian employment law to be of interest. We invite you to get in
touch with any of the talented, highly regarded and dedicated
members of our employment law practice group with any questions and
advice that you may have.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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