Courts usually treat incentive compensation as part of the compensatory damages owed in lieu of common law reasonable notice of dismissal. However, if the employment contract and/or the incentive plan unambiguously extinguish entitlement to incentive compensation upon notice of dismissal, the agreement(s) will generally prevail over the common law entitlement. In O’Reilly v. IMAX Corporation, the Ontario Court of Appeal once again stressed the importance of using precise language in bonus or stock option plans to deny, or otherwise limit, employee entitlement to incentive compensation during the reasonable notice period. Continue Reading Avoiding the Cost of Imprecise Language in Incentive Compensation Plans

We’re pleased to share The Globe and Mail article, How co-working spaces expose companies to new legal risks. “Sharing office space with other companies and entrepreneurs can be an attractive option for growing businesses,” the author notes. But, as Jordan Kirkness points out, “when you’ve got your employees working in a work space that they share with other businesses, the potential for passing personal information, confidential information, on to the wrong person is just so much greater.” Jim Holloway cautions entrepreneurs about openly collaborating: “You know the old saying walls have ears? Well that’s true and it’s even worse when there are no walls”.

Our own Space for Agility series explores the many risk factors employers need to be aware of before considering co-working solutions as part of their real estate strategy. Please click here to read the most recent article in the series: Making Co-Working Work.

To ring in the New Year, we highlight the ten most significant developments in Canadian labour and employment law in 2019. Continue Reading Top 10 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2019

On December 10, 2019, Bill 132: Better for People, Smarter for Business Act, 2019, received Royal Assent. Bill 132 amends many existing statutes to modernize outdated and ineffective regulatory requirements, aiming to increase regulatory efficiency. Amendments to the Ontario Pension Benefits Act (“PBA”) will give rise to the following key changes:

  1. Electronic Communications: Members of a pension plan are generally deemed to consent to the receipt of certain documents in electronic form. Electronic documents containing personal information must be sent in a secure format. Plan members will have the ability to opt out of receiving documents electronically at any time.
  2. Biennial Statements for Missing Members: The Financial Services Regulatory Authority (“FSRA”) now has the authority to waive the requirement to provide periodic written statements to missing members. To waive the requirement, FSRA must be satisfied that the plan administrator is unable to locate the member after making reasonable efforts to do so. Waivers are automatically revoked if the plan administrator receives contact information for the missing member.
  3. Family Law Matters: FSRA now has the authority to make rules respecting the processes for spouses to obtain a statement of imputed value, and for the transfer of a lump sum from a spouse’s pension plan.
  4. Conversion to Jointly Sponsored Pension Plans: Employers may apply for FSRA’s consent to transfer assets from a single employer pension plan into a jointly sponsored pension plan. If the application for registration of the jointly sponsored plan is not received by FSRA within 90 days after the application for consent is made, the application for consent is deemed not to have been made. FSRA has the ability to waive or vary certain provisions of the regulation with respect to conversion in appropriate circumstances.
  5. Plan Administrators: A board of trustees may now act as the administrator of a single employer jointly sponsored pension plan. Where a board of trustees is appointed as the plan administrator, the pension plan document or agreement must set out the powers and duties of the board of trustees.
  6. General Compliance & Rule Making Authority: Amendments to the “regulation scope provisions” of the PBA confirm that FSRA’s rules, and FSRA’s future amendments to those rules, may simply be adopted prospectively without revising the regulation.

The PBA amendments will come into force upon the date of proclamation, which has yet to be determined.

Co-working or shared working spaces are increasingly being used to keep up with the volatile and ever-changing business landscape. From gig workers and freelancers to project teams, modern workforce needs are being met through the short-term nature, reduced costs, and diverse and agile environments that these innovative workplaces offer. We’re pleased to share our timely report, Making Co-working Work, co-authored by Emily Harbison, which explores the many risk factors employers need to address to make co-working work.

We’re pleased to share a recent Canadian HR Reporter article, “Whistleblowers fear job loss, disclosure, retaliation”, with insight from Andrew Shaw. The article discusses the reasons why employees may be reluctant to report instances of wrongdoing by coworkers or members of management and what employers can do to facilitate legitimate complaints being brought forward. The article is accessible here.

On November 7, 2019, Bill 124: Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, received Royal Assent. The Act imposes compensation restraints on certain public sector employees with the aim of giving employers in the broader public sector a measure of predictability as to their future payroll cost increases. Continue Reading Wage Caps in Store for Ontario’s Broader Public Sector

In City of Toronto v. CUPE, Local 79, the Ontario Divisional Court reaffirmed that employers may provide less compensation to an employee who works reduced hours due to a disability without violating the Human Rights Code (“Code”). In this case, the employer discontinued its past practice of permitting employees working part-time hours to remain in the full-time bargaining unit. The change meant that the grievor, who worked part-time hours as an accommodation for his disabilities, suffered a reduction in his benefit entitlements. The Court held that the reduction to the grievor’s benefit entitlements was not discriminatory under the Code. Continue Reading Less Benefits for Less Work is Not Discrimination – Reaffirmed by Divisional Court

On October 17, 2018, Canada legalized the production, distribution and sale of recreational cannabis. Several classes of cannabis became legal including fresh and dried flowers, seeds, plants and oils for recreational purposes. At the time, the federal government set a staggered date for legalizing cannabis derived products, such as edible cannabis, to allow for public consultation. Continue Reading Eating Your Greens – Cannabis Edibles, Extracts and Topicals Become Legal

Monday, October 21, 2019 is federal election day.  Under the Canada Elections Act, employees who are eligible to vote are entitled to three consecutive hours of time off to vote without a reduction in pay. The three consecutive hours must fall within the open hours of local polling stations, which are as follows: Continue Reading Time Off to Vote: Employee Voting Entitlements on Federal Election Day