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Susan MacMillan is a Professional Support Lawyer in the Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto. Susan is passionate about exploring new developments in Canadian and global employment law and their implications for employers. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Susan had a broad employment law practice at a full-service, national firm. She was also seconded to a Canadian chartered bank as Legal Counsel in the bank’s Employment Law Group. Susan holds an LL.M. from the University of Toronto where her thesis focused on the interaction between seniority rights and the duty to accommodate.

The National Assembly of Quebec has made wide-ranging changes to the province’s labour standards legislation. The amendments were enacted through Bill 176, An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance, which received Royal Assent on June 12, 2018. Employers with operations in Ontario and Alberta, should also be aware that these provinces also made significant changes to their respective employment standards legislation earlier this year.

This is the first of two articles summarizing the key changes in Quebec. This article outlines changes to the scope of liability for directors and officers and new compliance obligations for Quebec employers. The second article will outline changes to leave entitlements. Continue Reading Quebec Makes Broad Changes to its Workplace Standards

Further to our earlier post, the new Ontario government announced today that it has delayed the coming into force of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, which officially came into force on July 1, 2018. The delay is intended to permit the government to assess the regulation of vaping in the province. The existing legislation, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015, remains in effect in the interim.

We will continue to monitor the status of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

The Ontario Superior Court recently pronounced that alleged acts of workplace sexual harassment, including alleged incidents occurring in the workplace, are not connected to employment but are separate matters: Watson v. The Governing Council of the Salvation Army of Canada. Further, the Court held that the employer’s release did not bar claims based on these allegations. Continue Reading Does Your Full and Final Release Cover #MeToo?

Last week, the Ontario Court of Appeal released yet another decision on the interpretation and enforceability of termination clauses: Amberber v. IBM Canada Ltd., 2018 ONCA 571. Recent appellate decisions on this issue have been inconsistent and/or provided less than clear guidelines, see here, here, here and here. In contrast, Amberber is a bright spot for employers. The Court not only reaffirmed the principle that termination clauses must be interpreted as a whole, but also held that courts should not strain to create an ambiguity where none exists. Continue Reading ONCA Upholds Termination Clause and Signals to Courts to Not Create Ambiguity Where None Exists

Following the Senate’s historic vote in favour of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the Federal Government announced yesterday that recreational marijuana will become legal on October 17, 2018. In anticipation of Bill C-45 becoming law, the provinces have begun preparing a framework for regulating the production, distribution, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis. Ontario’s response is Bill 174. With legalization fast approaching, we outline below key aspects of Bill 174 and steps to help employers prepare for the new reality. Continue Reading Cannabis Becomes Legal on October 17, 2018 – Is Your Workplace Ready?

With the newly elected PC majority government, change is the one certainty that Ontario employers can expect. The specifics of what the change will look like have not been spelled out since the PC five-point platform did not touch on areas that directly impact employers. We can nonetheless anticipate that this government will consider initiatives to improve the competitiveness of Ontario businesses, such as the following: Continue Reading The Big Blue Machine Returns: What’s Next for Employers

In Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board  (“Grand Erie “), the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) held that statutory provisions permitting employers to reduce or discontinue employees’ benefits after they reach age 65 is discriminatory and contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (“Charter “). Consequently, employers should review their benefits plans, and consider whether it may be necessary to adjust or eliminate such age-based distinctions. Continue Reading HRTO Rules Legislation Permitting Different or No Benefits For Employees 65+ is Unconstitutional

Recent polling suggests that the June 7th Ontario election is a hotly contested race with the NDP currently holding a lead in the polls and the PCs in second place. We are closely monitoring the election developments to keep you informed as to what a new government will mean for Ontario employers.

Below we outline the NDP’s proposed reforms to employment and labour laws. If pursued, the NDP’s proposed initiatives set out in their platform will significantly impact employers and go well beyond the changes recently introduced by the Ontario government under Bill 148. Continue Reading Another Orange Crush? What to Expect from an NDP Government

The Ontario Government is abandoning its current method for calculating public holiday pay which came into effect under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”). Employers will need to revert back to the previous calculation method, although this reversal is only temporary. Ontario plans to introduce yet another calculation method following a review of the public holiday system, which is proposed to occur later this year. Continue Reading Ontario Reverts Back to Previous Public Holiday Pay Calculation (For Now)

The Ontario government has passed Bill 3, Pay Transparency Act, 2018. The Act imposes requirements on employers to promote equality of compensation between men and women, and to increase the transparency of information regarding compensation and workforce composition. The Act is set to come into force on January 1, 2019. Continue Reading Pay Transparency Obligations Coming But Not Until January 1, 2019