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Changes to the capital gains inclusion rate and the employee stock option deduction rate (as proposed in Budget 2024) will apply to stock options exercised and shares sold on or after June 25, 2024

The new measure reduces the stock option deduction and capital gains tax exemption from 1/2 of the taxable amount to 1/3 of the taxable amount, if an individual’s annual combined limit of CAD 250,000 has been exceeded. The individual taxpayer can choose how to allocate the preferential tax treatment between the stock option income and capital gains to the extent the combined limit has been exceeded. 

There is still uncertainty as to how employers should manage tax withholding on stock option income (i.e., apply a 1/2 or 1/3 exemption), given they would not be in a position to know whether the combined limit has been reached by the employee and how the employee has chosen to allocate the exemptions. Further technical changes in the legislation are expected to be introduced at the end of July 2024 that may provide additional clarification on this point. For now, it may be reasonable for employers to assume that only 1/3 of the stock option income is exempt and withhold taxes accordingly and leave it up to the employees to claim the 1/2 deduction (if available) when they file their individual tax returns. 

Continue Reading Changes to Taxation of Stock Options and Capital Gains – Effective Immediately
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We are thrilled to announced that the latest edition of The Global Employer: Focus on Global Immigration & Mobility is now available! This handy, go-to desk reference guide includes:

  • An overview of key global immigration and mobility issues to consider related to immigration, employment, compensation and employee benefits, income taxes and social insurance, and global equity compensation.
  • An executive summary for 27 jurisdictional chapters identifying key government agencies, highlighting current compliance and enforcement trends, and describing short and long term visas appropriate for business travel, training and employment assignments. The handbook includes other can’t miss insights for global human resources and legal teams.

Click here to access now.

Baker McKenzie offers comprehensive legal advice related to global immigration – delivered locally around the world. We help employers plan and implement global transfers and provide on-site legal support to companies and employees in most major business communities around the globe. To know more, visit our Global Immigration & Mobility page or contact us here.

*Jurisdiction chapters available for Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Myanmar, The Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.

Global Employment & Compensation Resource Suite

Looking for additional resources to ensure your HR and legal counsel remain up-to-date on the latest employment law regulations globally?

Access our Global Employment & Compensation Practice Group’s full digital library of legal content on-demand.

The Global Employment & Compensation Resource Suite is a self-service database that provides our clients with 24/7 access to our global employment resources. Once registered, users can browse our range of Global Employer Handbooks, Blogs and Media, and Legal Updates.

Click here to request access.

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We’re bringing the world to you. Join Baker McKenzie for our annual Global Employment Law webinar series.

In the face of intensifying geopolitical risk and continuing economic uncertainty, the challenges for global employers to plan carefully and operate strategically to maintain a thriving workforce is greater than ever. We’ll help employers navigate those challenges in our four-part webinar series featuring Baker McKenzie Global Employment Law colleagues from the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East and Africa who will share legal updates and trends impacting US-based multinationals, and provide tips and best practices for your success. 

In each 60-minute discussion, we will explore:

  • The Local Political & Economic Climate
  • How Global Hot Topics Play Out Locally, highlighting developments in:
    • Noncompete Agreements
    • The Shifting ID&E Landscape
    • Labour Relations
    • AI in the Workplace
  • New Laws to Know
  • Action Items for Employers to Take Now (“To-Dos”)

Join us!

Registration Details

Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Mexico
Thursday, June 6, 2024
10 am PT/ 12 pm CT/ 1 pm ET
Click here to register for the Americas webinar.

Australia, China, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam
Wednesday, June 12, 2024
3 pm PT/ 5 pm CT/ 6 pm ET
Click here to register for the APAC webinar.

France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom
Thursday, June 20, 2024
9 am PT/ 11 am CT/ 12 pm ET
Click here to register for the Europe webinar.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye and the United Arab Emirates
Wednesday, June 26, 2024
9 am PT/ 11 am CT/ 12 pm ET
Click here to register for the MEA webinar.

To view these programs in a different time zone, click here
Please “register” for a copy of the recording and materials if you are unable to attend live.

CLE Accreditation

Each program is approved for 1.0 general California CLE credit, 1.0 general Illinois CLE credit, and 1.0 professional practice New York CLE credit. Participants requesting credit for other states will receive Uniform CLE Certificates.

Each 1-hour program can be applied towards the 9 Substantive Hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) required by the Law Society of Ontario.

Baker & McKenzie LLP is a California and Illinois CLE approved provider. Baker & McKenzie LLP has been certified by the New York State CLE Board as an accredited provider in the state of New York. This program is appropriate for both experienced and newly admitted New York attorneys. 

**While CLE credit may be pre-approved in certain jurisdictions, final CLE accreditation approval is anticipated, but not guaranteed.

To view the complete roster of presenters for each regional program, click here.  

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Special thanks to our articling student Mario Lofranco for contributing to this update.

In a previous blog post, we discussed the proposed changes that Bill 149 would bring to several employment statutes, building on the Working for Workers Acts, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Bill 149 received royal assent on March 21, 2024, passing key changes to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000, the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act, 2022, the Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trades Act, 2006, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997.

Key Changes

  • Job Postings: Ontario employers will be required to include information about the expected compensation or the range of expected compensation for a position in their publicly advertised job postings. Employers will also be required to disclose in job postings whether they used AI in the hiring process (i.e., if AI was used to screen, assess or select applicants for the position). We expect these requirements to be further clarified in future regulations, including as it relates to the definition of “artificial intelligence” and potential exemptions to these disclosure requirements. These changes will come into force on a date to be named by future proclamation.
  • Canadian Experience Class: Employers will be prohibited from including in job postings or any associated application form any requirements related to Canadian experience. As with above-noted changes, exemptions may be outlined in regulations and the requirement will take effect on a date to be specified by future proclamation.
  • Tips and Tip Policies: As of June 21, 2024, employers with policies on tip-sharing will be required to post them in a conspicuous location at the workplace and to comply with prescribed methods regarding the payment of tips to employees.
  • Deductions: TheESA now expressly prohibits employers from making deductions from an employee’s wages where a customer of a restaurant, gas station or other establishment leaves the establishment without paying for the goods or services. This provision entered into force on March 21, 2024.
  • DPWRA Amendments: The Ontario government will be able to prescribe rules for determining compliance with minimum wage requirements and limitations on recurring pay periods and pay days for digital platform workers covered by the DPWRA. This provision will enter into force at a later date, once the other minimum wage provisions of the DPWRA come into force.  

Takeaways for Employers

Ontario employers should review their current practices to ensure compliance with these amendments. In particular, employers should prepare to revise their publicly-available job postings in light of Bill 149’s upcoming disclosure requirements as it relates to pay information and the use of AI in their hiring process. We will continue to monitor legislative developments related to Bill 149, including the publication of relevant regulations. Please contact a member of our team for more information on these issues.

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Special thanks to co-presenter Sarah Mavula.

Quebec’s Bill 96 significantly expanded existing French language requirements under Quebec’s Charter of the French language, including new translation requirements for a wide range of employment documents. Similarly, the treatment of commercial standard form contracts (or contracts of adhesion) must now be translated into French first, even if the parties agree to proceed in a language other than French, such as English. 

This video is tailored to employment counsel, HR, and advertising and marketing professionals, as well as business professionals seeking to expand their business and workforce in Quebec.

In Part 2 of our series on Bill 96, our Canadian Employment & Compensation and International Commercial lawyers outline obligations for organizations doing business in Quebec, and employers operating in Quebec (including federally-regulated employers), along with enforcement measures and trends since the implementation. 

Click here to watch the Part 2 video.

In case you missed it, watch Part 1 of our two-part In Focus video series on Quebec’s Bill 96: Trademarks Plus Advertising & Marketing featuring presenters Jeremy Hann, Stephanie Vaccari and Sarah Mavula where we discuss the specifics of the new requirements outlined by Quebec’s Bill 96, including how copy must appear on products and product packaging, and what the rules mean for businesses’ trademark portfolios. Watch this episode and learn what you need to know before the June 1, 2025 deadline.

Click here to watch the Part 1 video.

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In this 75-minute “quick hits” style session, our team provided practical advice to Canadian in-house counsel and human resources leaders and addressed what to keep top-of-mind for 2024.

Among other topics, we discussed:

  • Key legislative developments including:
    • The progress and implications of Ontario’s latest “Working for Workers” legislation
    • Implications of Pay Transparency Legislation in British Columbia and the rest of Canada
    • An update on implementing the changes imposed by French Language Legislation in Quebec and the Federal Jurisdiction
  • Significant case law developments impacting:
    • Alberta’s new “tort” of harassment
    • Discrimination based on family status in British Columbia
    • Termination provisions in Ontario
    • Changes to the substratum rule 
  • Immigration developments and lessons learned in 2023
  • Best practices for managing generative AI in the workplace 
  • Navigating key Competition Act changes

Apply our 2024 Canadian Employer Checklist to set priorities for the year ahead, and contact our team with any questions.

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Special thanks to our articling student Ravneet Minhas for contributing to this update.

Federal employers should be aware of recent amendments to the Canada Labour Code, which increased the minimum termination notice period for federally regulated private sector employees.[1] The changes came into force February 1, 2024 and provide employees who have completed at least three years of continuous service with a longer notice period if terminated without cause.

Previously, employers had to provide a minimum of two weeks’ notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice to an employee who had completed at least three months of continuous employment with the employer.

Continue Reading Reminder for Federal Employers: Changes to Termination Notice Period in Effect NOW
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Special thanks to presenters Andrew Boyd, Andrew Morreale and Haran Viswanathan.

Tune in to our latest quick chat where we outline what employers need to know about Canada’s augmented mandatory reporting rules for tax in certain transactions. This is tailored for tax professionals, lawyers, compliance officers, General Counsel, and Canadian business leaders involved in drafting and reviewing contracts (purchase agreements, minutes of settlement, etc.).

These rules are important for employers to bear in mind because they potentially create reporting obligations in the context of employment law settlements where interpretations may presume a tax benefit.

In this In Focus video, our Canadian Tax and Corporate Transactions lawyers discuss how common contractual protection clauses could trigger an early reporting requirement and expose taxpayers to significant penalties if they fail to report to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Click here to watch the video.

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“Stay-or-pay” clauses, a growing practice in the US, involve penalizing employees who break the tenure of their employment contract. Check out this recent article from Human Resources Director, “Stay-or-pay clauses in Canada? Experts weigh in on the U.S. trend of charging employees who quit” with insight from our own Andrew Shaw.

Click here to view the article.

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To wrap up 2023, we have highlighted the key developments in Canadian labour and employment law, with a focus on Ontario.

1. Ontario’s Working for Workers Acts

In 2023, the Ontario government continued building on previous legislation by passing Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023, and introducing Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. These two bills are the latest in a series of legislative changes expanding employee rights which started with Bill 27 and Bill 88, passed in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023, received royal assent on October 26, 2023. Some of its key changes include:

  • The inclusion of remote employees in the head count for mass termination thresholds under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA“);
  • An increase from $1.5 million to $2 million in the maximum fine that may be imposed on a corporation under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act; and
  • An expansion of eligibility criteria for reservist leave to include employees in treatment, recovery or rehabilitation for an illness or injury resulting from participation in certain reservist operations or activities.

Please consult our previous blog post for more detailed information on this Bill.

If passed, Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, which carried second reading on November 23, 2023 and was referred to a standing committee on social policy, would also introduce significant changes to a number of Ontario employment-related statutes. Among them, the Bill would require employers to disclose pay information in job postings (i.e., expected compensation or a range of expected compensation), and whether they use artificial intelligence in the hiring process. Additionally, and in an effort to eliminate discriminatory requirements towards immigrants, employers would also be prohibited from requiring Canadian experience. For more information on these changes, please read our previous blog post on the topic. 

2. Legislative Push for Pay Transparency in Canada

The past year has also seen a growing pay transparency trend, both in Canada and abroad, intended to help bridge the pay gap for historically-disadvantaged groups. Among the latest developments in this area, British Columbia passed the Pay Transparency Act, creating new obligations for employers to disclose certain pay information in publicly-advertised job postings, and to prepare annual pay transparency reports if they qualify as a “reporting employer” under the legislation. This new law also prohibits reprisal against employees for discussing or inquiring about their pay or for asking the employer to comply with its statutory pay transparency obligations.

Other provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island have passed similar legislation. We covered this pay transparency trend in greater detail in two blog posts, accessible here and here. Ontario is also expected to amend the ESA to require the disclosure of certain pay information in job postings as part of Bill 179, as discussed above.  

3. New Tort of Harassment

Alberta recently became the first Canadian province to recognize the tort of harassment. The development is significant because it departs from Ontario and British Columbia, which have declined to recognize the tort.

In Alberta Health Services v Johnston2023 ABKB 209, the Alberta Court of King’s Bench recognized the tort of harassment because the harm in question could not be adequately addressed by any existing torts.  In this case, Alberta Health Services (“AHS”) and two of its senior employees sued Mr. Johnston for defamation, invasion of privacy, assault and harassment. Mr. Johnston, an online talk show host and mayoral candidate, used his talk show to frequently criticize the AHS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He referred to the AHS as Nazis and suggested that they should be subject to violent attacks. He targeted one AHS employee, Ms. Nunn, by sharing photos from her social media accounts, attacking her family and alleging she was an alcoholic.

The Court awarded Ms. Nunn, among other things, $100,000 in general damages for harassment.

In recognizing the tort, Justice Feasby canvassed existing case law across the country and found that no existing torts squarely addressed the harms caused by the harassment in question. Justice Feasby determined the tort of harassment exists where a defendant has:

  1. Engaged in repeated communications, threats, insults, stalking, or other harassing behaviour in person or through other means;
  2. That he/she knew or ought to have known was unwelcome;
  3. Which impugn the dignity of the plaintiff, would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of his/her loved ones, or could foreseeably cause emotional distress; and
  4. Caused harm.

Besides the tort of harassment, other legal avenues that victims of harassment-related claims may pursue include human rights claims, occupational health and safety claims, a complaint with the police and, in Nova Scotia, an application for a cyber-protection order.

Employers should be aware of the legal remedies that may be available to victims of bullying and harassment, including the newly recognized tort of harassment in Alberta. More information can be found on our blog post here.

Continue Reading Top Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2023