Bill 148: Review & Compliance Check

We invite you to join Baker McKenzie’s Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto on February 28, 2018 as we review key changes under Ontario’s Bill 148 and provide practical guidance to assist you in meeting the new legislative requirements. For the event details and to register, please click here

Ontario employers face a number of new challenges in 2018 as a result of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”). To help employers navigate the many changes under Bill 148, we have outlined the key changes that employers need to be aware of. We have also indicated planning actions to consider in view of these changes.
Continue Reading Bill 148: Key Changes & What to Do About Them

Last week, Employment and Social Development Canada confirmed that new Employment Insurance (“EI”) parental, maternity and caregiving benefits will come into force on December 3, 2017. The new EI benefits were proposed in Federal Budget 2017 (see our previous blog post here) to support employees who need time off work due to life events. The key changes are outlined below.
Continue Reading December 3 Brings New EI Parental, Maternity & Caregiving Benefits

In its recent decision in North v. Metaswitch Networks Corporation, the Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that a severability clause could not be used to “rewrite” or “read down” a termination provision to make it comply with the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”). Instead, the Court of Appeal held, where any part of a termination clause is void, the entire provision must be struck and the severability clause becomes inoperative. This case is a reminder to employers that there are no shortcuts when it comes to drafting your employment agreements—termination provisions must be carefully drafted to limit termination liability without breaching local employment standards.
Continue Reading Severability Clause Cannot Save Illegal Termination Provision, Court of Appeal Rules

We recently wrote about the Ontario government’s proposed changes to the province’s employment standards and labour relations legislation – see our blog posts here and here. On June 1, 2017, the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Kevin Flynn, introduced legislation to affect these changes.
Continue Reading Early Approval Across Party Lines for ESA & LRA Amending Legislation

The Ontario government has announced that it will introduce legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, in the coming days to reform the province’s employment standards legislation. The announcement follows last week’s release of the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report which contained a myriad of recommendations for reforms to benefit employees.[1]

The key changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) that the government has indicated will be included in the proposed legislation are summarized below.
Continue Reading Ontario Responds Quickly to Strengthen ESA

In the recent decision of Covenoho v. Pendylum Ltd., 2017 ONCA 284, the Ontario Court of Appeal put an end to any debate about the enforceability of termination provisions in employment agreements that may violate minimum employment standards legislation in the future. The takeaway for employers from the case is as simple as it is noteworthy: a termination provision that breaches minimum employment standards legislation in the future – even if compliant at the time of the employee’s termination from employment – is void and therefore will not be enforced.
Continue Reading Into the Void: Potential Future Violations of ESA Sufficient to Set Aside Employment Contract

On March 22, 2017, the Canadian Federal Government released Budget 2017: Building a Strong Middle Class (“Budget 2017”) which proposes more flexible parental, maternity and caregiving leaves and Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits to support employees in balancing work and their family responsibilities.
Continue Reading Federal Budget Changes to Parental, Maternity & Caregiving Leaves

Earlier this year, we wrote about the US Department of Labor’s (DOL) publication of the Final Rule, which significantly increased the minimum salary an employee must earn to qualify for the “white collar” exemption and the highly compensated employee exemption under federal law (see our blog post here). However, on November 22, 2016, a 

On July 27, 2016, an Ontario court certified a class action against Just Energy, a natural gas and electricity retailer, in which 7,000 of its sales agents claimed they were misclassified as independent contractors.

The case, Omarali v. Just Energy, is the first of its kind to be certified in Canada. If the sales agents are successful, the company could face large liabilities relating to unpaid wages (including overtime, vacation and public holiday pay) and unremitted income taxes and other required deductions.
Continue Reading First in Class: Independent Contractor Class Action Certified in Canada