Compensation & Benefits

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.

Scope

The Act imposes

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

We’re in a period of unprecedented transformation, driven by technological development, globalization and significant demographic changes. Our world is hyper-connected, and the pace of change is rapid, bringing social and political transformation and creating profound global shifts in expectations. Global employers must evolve at speed to meet these disruptive forces head-on and to thrive in

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

The Supreme Court of Canada will decide if an employee is entitled to payments owed in the event of a corporate acquisition despite the fact that the employee resigned over a year before the triggering event. On January 31, 2019, the SCC granted leave to appeal in Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Limited. The employee asserts that he is entitled to over $1 million in profits following the acquisition of his former employer – even though he had resigned 13 months before the transaction. If the SCC decides in the employee’s favour, employers may face more challenges (and increased litigation) when seeking to enforce limiting clauses in employment agreements.
Continue Reading

The #MeToo and Times Up movements have led to significant cultural shifts and a collective call to action to end sexual harassment and related forms of exploitation. Since many of the high profile allegations involved abuse of power and quid pro quo demands in the context of employment relationships, the impact on employers has been profound.
Continue Reading

To mark International Women’s Day, we’re pleased to share an article from our US colleagues on recent efforts to close the gender pay gap, including salary history bans in the US and global efforts toward transparency reporting. The article, authored by Todd BoyerCaroline Burnett and Elizabeth Ebersole, can be accessed here.

Overtime class actions are in the headlines again. On February 22, 2019, a class action claim seeking damages of over $100 million was filed against Flight Centre, an Australia-based travel services provider with stores in Canada and internationally. The claim alleges that Flight Centre systematically failed to pay overtime to its retail sales employees, referred to as “travel consultants”, requiring them to consistently work more than their scheduled hours, and implemented policies that fail to comply with the overtime entitlements under employment standards legislation.
Continue Reading

The world is facing another year of unprecedented change making uncertainty the new normal for global employers. We are watching geopolitical crises play out on the global stage with a global economic slowdown waiting in the wings. Global employers must navigate a course through this highly charged, shifting competitive landscape which is compounded by the

KERPs (Key Employee Retention Plans) and KEIPs (Key Employee Incentive Plans), otherwise referred to as “pay to stay” compensation plans, are commonly offered by employers to incent key employees to remain with the company during an insolvency restructuring proceeding when so-called “key employees” may be tempted to find more stable employment elsewhere. However, courts will carefully scrutinize these plans because there are multiple competing interests as well as the overall policy objective of maximizing recoveries from the restructuring which can be diluted through overly generous incentive plans. Employers who are contemplating restructuring under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act  (CCAA) should be aware of the framework for assessing KERPs or KEIPs recently established by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
Continue Reading