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Jordan Kirkness advises and represents employers in all areas of labour and employment law. Jordan is experienced in litigation, negotiation, and compliance, and he is committed to identifying the most practical, cost-effective and permanent solution in each case. Before joining Baker McKenzie in 2013, Jordan practiced at a large, full-service firm in Vancouver. He has been called to the bar in both British Columbia and Ontario, and he regularly represents employers with operations in multiple Canadian jurisdictions.

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 Bill 132 amends many existing statutes to modernize outdated and ineffective regulatory requirements, aiming to increase regulatory efficiency.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

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

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

Changes to the Canada Labour Code (“CLC” or “Code”) are effective on September 1, 2019, or on a date to be named. To ensure compliance, federally regulated employers should review their policies and practices.

This is part two of a two-part series summarizing the changes.  Part one focused on federal employment standards related to vacation, holiday and leave entitlements.  This part summarizes the remaining changes.
Continue Reading Now Effective: Changes to the Canada Labour Code (Part Two)

Changes to the Canada Labour Code (“CLC” or “Code”) are effective on September 1, 2019.  To ensure compliance, federally regulated employers should review their policies and procedures.

This is part one of a two part series summarizing changes to the Code.  This part focuses on federal employment standards related to vacation, holiday and leave entitlements.  The remaining changes will be summarized in part two.
Continue Reading Now Effective: Changes to the Canada Labour Code (Part One)

Employers often wish to enter new or updated employment agreements with existing employees. The driving force is typically that circumstances have changed, but it can also be that the employer simply wants different or additional terms. However, the employer must give the employee valid consideration, otherwise the new or updated agreement will not be enforceable.
Continue Reading A New Contract for a Current Employee? Consider the Consideration!

The Ontario Court of Appeal has reiterated that, barring exceptional circumstances, reasonable notice for dismissal without cause will not exceed 24 months. The Court partially overturned the lower court’s decision in Dawe v The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, which also ruled on the enforceability of unilateral changes to the employer’s bonus plan.
Continue Reading 24 Months Reaffirmed as the “High End” of Reasonable Notice; Bonus Plan Changes Must Be Accepted by Employee

On April 3, 2019, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019  (Bill 66) received Royal Assent. Bill 66 amends several pieces of legislation in Ontario. The government has stated that the changes are intended to “lower business costs to make Ontario more competitive” and to “harmonize regulatory requirements with other jurisdictions, end duplication and reduce barriers to investment.”
Continue Reading Hot Off the Press: Bill 66 Ushers in More Changes for Ontario Employers