To wrap up 2021, we have highlighted key developments in Canadian labour and employment law, with a focus on Ontario:

  1. Bill 27 – Working for Workers Act: On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government passed the Working for Workers Act, 2021, (the “Act“) which introduces significant changes to Ontario’s employment law, including:
    • A Right to Disconnect from Work Policies: Employers subject to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA“) with 25 or more employees must have a written policy which outlines employees’ right to disconnect from work. The term “disconnecting from work” means not engaging in work-related communications (g. emails, calls) and not sending or reviewing any messages, so that employees are free from the performance of work outside of normal working hours. Employers have six months from December 3, 2021 implement the policy.
    • No Non-Compete Agreements: Employers subject to the ESA are prohibited from entering into non-compete agreements with employees. Non-compete agreements are those that prohibit the employee from working for or running a competitive business after the employment relationship has ended.

There is an exception to the prohibition on non-competition agreements in the event of a sale or lease of a business and for executive-level employees.

This amendment to the ESA is deemed to be in force as of October 25, 2021, and all non-compete agreements entered into before this date will remain unaffected. Non-solicitation, confidentiality, and assignment of intellectual property agreements are still permissible.

The Act brings about a number of additional changes that will be relevant for employers which are fully summarized here.

  1. Ontario severance pay obligations are based on global payroll: In Hawkes v Max Aicher (North America) Limited (“Hawkes”), Ontario’s Divisional Court ruled that the $2.5 million payroll threshold for triggering the severance pay provisions under the ESA are based off of an employer’s global payroll. This means that many employers who were not paying severance pay will now have to do so.

Please see our full blog on the decision here.


Continue Reading Top 10 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2021

And we thought 2020 was a doozy! In terms of continuing challenges, unprecedented questions and shifting legal landscapes, 2021 delivered.

Between maintaining business continuity and keeping your workforce safe, we know there’s been little time to track the rapidly changing labour, employment, and human rights law landscape in Canada.

This two-part webinar series is designed

On December 2, 2021, the Ontario government passed Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021, introducing significant changes to workplace laws. The most significant changes include:

  • Right to Disconnect from Work: Employers, subject to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), with 25 or more employees, must have a written policy for disconnecting

We are pleased to share a recent SHRM article, “Ontario Court Rules Severance Pay Is Based on Global Payroll,” with quotes from Andrew Shaw. The article discusses the recent unanimous ruling by Ontario’s Divisional Court—a branch of the Superior Court of Justice in Canada’s largest province—that more employers in Ontario will now have to take

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination and photo ID to access certain public settings and facilities. In response to the requirement, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) published a Policy Statement (“Policy”) clarifying the implications of vaccination mandates on human rights

Under the Ontario Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), employers with a payroll of at least $2.5 million are required to provide statutory severance pay when dismissing an employee with 5 or more years of service. But how is an employer’s “payroll” actually calculated?

Over the years, there have been conflicting decisions around the calculation of the

On July 9, 2021, the Ontario government announced that the province will enter Step Three of the Roadmap to Reopen on Friday, July 16, 2021, five days earlier than expected. Under Step Three, the following is permitted to operate:

  • indoor dining with no limits on the number of patrons per table with physical distancing and

On June 24, 2021, the Ontario government announced that the province will enter Step Two of the Roadmap to Reopen two days earlier than expected, at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, June 30, 2021. Under Step Two, the following is permitted to operate:

  • essential and other select retail at 50% capacity;
  • non-essential retail at 25% capacity;

On June 7, 2021, the Government of Ontario filed amendments to several Regulations made under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). The majority of the amendments relate to the reporting of workplace accidents.

Employers in Ontario should review their current incident reporting policies and procedures regarding critical injury or fatalities in the workplace to