In the current economy, many Quebec employers are faced with the
difficult decision of closing their establishments or dismissing
some or all of their employees. The purpose of this bulletin is to
provide you with ten (10) golden rules to be followed to ensure
that dismissals will be made at a minimum cost and in accordance
with the Quebec legislation. While some of these rules apply to
unionized employees, this bulletin will address only non-union
employees. The ten (10) golden rules are as follows:
1. The Quebec Labours Standards Act states that the termination
of ten (10) employees or more in the same establishment, within the
course of two (2) consecutive months, constitutes a
"collective dismissal", requiring the issuance of a
collective dismissal notice within a stipulated period.
Exception: the only types of employees excluded
from the collective dismissal are those with less than three (3)
months of uninterrupted service, with a fixed term contract which
expired, who have committed a "serious fault", who are
students who work during the school year pursuant to a job
instruction program approved by the Ministère de
l'éducation, du sport et des loisirs, or who are Senior
2. You must provide each dismissed employee with a minimum
individual termination of employment notice as
3. If the termination is part of a collective dismissal, you
must provide each employee affected by the collective dismissal
with a specific minimum collective dismissal notice as follows:
If you do not give the notice of collective dismissal in the
period stipulated above, the Labour Standards Act stipulates a fine
of $1,500.00 per week.
4. Non-union employees are also entitled to notice of
termination under the Civil Code of Quebec. The length of
this notice depends on various factors, such as the employee's
number of years of service, age, position, income, availability of
alternative employment, etc. There is no formula used to calculate
notice, although rough rules of thumb (provided as starting points
only) include the following:
a. two (2) to three (3) weeks per year of service for clerical,
line workers, etc.;
b. three (3) to four (4) weeks per year of service for technical
[non professional] employees, line supervisors, etc.; and
c. one (1) month plus per year of service for managerial,
professional employees, etc.
5. One piece of good news: these notices are not cumulative.
Only the highest level of applicable notice has to be provided,
inclusive of the others, as long as all of them are detailed in the
written notices. Moreover, these obligations can be discharged by
working notice, pay in lieu of notice (also known as a
"termination indemnity"), or any combination of the two,
at the employer's discretion.
6. If you decide to provide pay in lieu of notice, the amount
due to the employee is equal to the usual pay rate the employee
would have been entitled to for the notice period. Overtime does
not have to be taken into consideration.
7. The termination indemnity, where applicable, must be paid at
the time of the dismissal and you must ensure that the employee
receives at the same time all accrued and outstanding sums owing to
him or her, such as wages, overtime, vacation indemnity (4% or 6%),
8. The collective dismissal notice must be posted in an easily
accessible location in the establishment concerned and must contain
the following information:
the name and address of the employer or the establishment
the activity sector;
the name and address of the employees' association (where
the reason for collective dismissal;
the planned date of the collective dismissal; and
the number of employees who may be affected by the collective
9. The notice of collective dismissal must also be sent by mail,
effective from the date of its mailing, to the Minister of
Employment and Social Solidarity, with copies to the Labour
Standards Commission, to the accredited association representing
the employees (where applicable), and to each and every employee
subject to the collective dismissal.
10. The Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity may also
require that you participate in establishing a reclassification
committee when fifty (50) or more employees are affected by the
collective dismissal. The Minister may agree on your contribution
of up to fifty percent (50%) of the operating costs of the
reclassification activities. However, failing such agreement, the
Government may determine this contribution by regulation.
The ten golden rules are just the beginning of the analysis, and
qualified legal counsel should be consulted to assist in the
preparation of appropriate termination arrangements.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are
cautioned against making any decisions based on this material
alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
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