Photo of Ajanthana Anandarajah

Ajanthana Anandarajah advises employers in a wide range of labour and employment law matters, providing practical legal and business advice to both domestic and international private and public sector clients. Ajanthana has appeared before administrative tribunals and the Ontario Court of Justice in Ontario. She joined the Firm in 2019, after completing her summer and articling term with the Ministry of the Attorney General, Ministry of Labour.

Last week, the Ontario Government amended O.Reg. 228/20 to extend deemed infectious disease emergency leave (“IDEL”) under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA“) from January 2, 2021 to July 3, 2021.
Continue Reading Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Further Extended to July 3, 2021

Last week, the federal government passed Bill C-44, Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1 (“Bill C-44″), introducing a new administrative monetary penalty system under Part IV of the Canada Labour Code (the “Code“) and broadening the authority of inspectors, among other things.
Continue Reading Increased Inspection Powers and New Administrative Penalty System under Canada Labour Code

Last week, the Government of Canada passed the Regulations Amending the Employment Equity Regulations (the “Amended Regulations“) introducing new pay transparency measures, effective January 1, 2021. The Amended Regulations aim to clarify and improve the data gathering processes that govern the reporting of salary data by federally regulated employers with 100 or more employees.
Continue Reading Regulations Amending the Employment Equity Regulations Create Additional Salary Reporting Obligations on Federally Regulated Employers

Last week, the Ontario government passed its latest budget bill, Bill 229: Protect, Support and Recover from COVID-19 Act (Budget Measures), 2020 (“Bill 229”). Bill 229 implements initiatives contained in Ontario’s 2020 budget through amendments to existing statutes.

Amendments to key employment statutes include:

Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019:

Bill

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General), 2020 SCC 28 (“Fraser“) raises fundamental questions about how allegations of discrimination under human rights legislation and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter“) will be adjudicated in the future. At a minimum, employers should carefully review distinctions drawn under workplace policies, practices, and benefits plans—particularly distinctions between full-time employees, part-time employees, and employees on a leave of absence—to ensure those distinctions do not disproportionally impact women with children.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Revisits Workplace Discrimination in the Context of Pension Service Buy-Back

At common law, employers have a right to terminate an employment relationship, subject to reasonable notice of termination. When an employer breaches this implied duty, employees are entitled damages for wrongful dismissal, which presumptively include damages for lost incentive compensation unless an employer unequivocally ousts that right in an employment agreement or incentive plan. In Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that absent “absolutely clear and unambiguous” language in the employment agreement or the incentive plan restricting such entitlement, incentive compensation is considered part of the damages owed in lieu of common law reasonable notice.
Continue Reading SCC Reminds Employers of the Costly Implications of Imprecise Language in Incentive Compensation Plans

On July 17, 2020, the federal government announced that it would extend the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program (“CEWS”) until December of 2020, and proposed several significant changes that will, among other things, allow more employers to access subsidies.

On July 20, 2020, the federal government introduced Bill C-20, An Act respecting further COVID-19 measures, to extend and adapt the CEWS program. On July 21, 2020, Bill C-20 received its third reading, and is expected to receive royal assent very soon. If passed, Bill C-20 will retroactively impact the CEWS program, generally commencing with the fifth qualifying period which commenced on July 5, 2020 (subject to a “safe harbour” discussed below).
Continue Reading Federal Government Extends & Amends Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program

There is a presumption that an employee is entitled to common law reasonable notice upon termination of employment without cause. Employers may rebut this presumption through an enforceable termination clause that, at the very least, provides Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) minimums, and displaces an employee’s right to common law reasonable notice.

In the past year, the Ontario Court of Appeal made it clear that it will find as unenforceable a termination clause where even the slightest imprecision could result in an unlawful contract. This trend started in Andros v. Colliers Macaulay Nicolls Inc., where the Court narrowly interpreted a failsafe clause as applying only to the first part of a termination clause but not the second. In Rossman v. Canadian Solar Inc., the same Court concluded that savings provisions, such as a failsafe provision, cannot save employers who attempt to contract out of the minimum standards prescribed by employment standards legislation. And most recently, in Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc., the Court struck down a valid “without cause” termination sub-clause because the “for cause” termination sub-clause was unenforceable. In short, the Court concluded that where one of the sub-clauses is unenforceable, the entire termination clause must fall and it will not be saved by a severability clause.


Continue Reading Another Termination Clause Bites the Dust