Compensation & Benefits

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 Restructuring? Proceed Carefully with Your KERPs and KEIPs!

We’re pleased to share Baker McKenzie’s US Employment & Compensation Law Digest 2018/2019. The Digest outlines recent developments in US law relevant to employers and provides insight on global trends in gender pay, #MeToo, business change, and the modern workforce. In short, it’s an invaluable resource for Canadian companies with operations in the US

On November 15, 2018, the Ontario government introduced legislation to, among other things, delay the January 1, 2019 in force date of the Pay Transparency Act, 2018  (“Act”). Bill 57, Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018, is omnibus legislation to enact, amend and repeal various statutes and is currently at the Second Reading stage.
Continue Reading Ontario Proposes Delay & Rethinking of Pay Transparency Act

In Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board  (“Talos“), 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

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

Employers who include discretionary bonuses as part of their employees’ compensation packages should be aware of the Ontario Court of Appeal’s latest guidance on (i) bonus entitlement for the period up to dismissal and (ii) compensation for the loss of a bonus during the reasonable notice period. This guidance came in the Court’s decision, issued last week, in Singer v. Nordstrong Equipment Limited, 2018 ONCA 364. Our analysis of the lower court’s decision in this case can be found here
Continue Reading Is Your Dismissed Employee Entitled to a Bonus?

On April 1, 2018, employers in Ontario will be subject to the new equal pay provisions under the Employment Standards Act  (“ESA”) brought in by Bill 148. As a general rule, employers can no longer establish distinct pay rates based on a “difference in employment status”, defined as follows:
Continue Reading Compliance Check: Do Your Pay Rates Comply with Bill 148?

The government of Ontario announced today that it will introduce new legislation to require certain employers to track and publish their compensation information. The proposed legislation is part of the province’s initiative to advance women’s economic status and create more equitable workplaces (the initiative is titled “Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment”). Today’s announcement comes on the heels of last week’s budget plan in which the federal government outlined proposed proactive pay equity legislation that would apply to federally regulated employers – see here for our article on the proposed federal legislation.
Continue Reading Ontario Introducing New Pay Transparency Legislation

The Government of Canada released its 2018 budget plan on February 27, 2018, entitled “Equality and Growth”. The budget plan proposes various initiatives aimed at improving women’s equality in the workforce and addressing the gender wage gap. The budget proposes to implement a new parental leave benefit that is likely to have an impact upon both provincially and federally regulated employers. The budget also proposes changes to the federal pay equity regime and online reporting of pay information filed under the Employment Equity Act.
Continue Reading Budget 2018: New Parental Leave Benefit & Pay Equity Regime

Many employers rely on the discretionary nature of their bonus plans to deny bonuses to employees they’ve dismissed. However, in last month’s decision in Singer v Nordstrong Equipment Limited, 2017 ONSC 5906, the Court held that stipulating that a bonus is discretionary in the policy doesn’t necessarily give the employer complete freedom to withhold the bonus. Rather, discretionary bonuses must be awarded through a “fair, identifiable process.”
Continue Reading Is a Discretionary Bonus Really Discretionary?