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Ministry of Labour Announces Results of Compliance Blitz

Late last week the Ontario Ministry of Labour posted the outcome of its recent blitz focused on temporary foreign workers and young workers. For the purpose of the blitz, workers under 25 were classified as “young workers.” Both categories of workers are considered to be vulnerable by the Ministry of Labour. 

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Ontario Minimum Wage Increase

Ontario is raising the general minimum wage from $11.25 to $11.40 on October 1, 2016.  This is the third consecutive year it has increased.
 

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Compliance Alert: Increase to Minimum Wage and Ministry of Labour Announces New Employment Standards Blitz

The Ministry of Labour has announced a targeted compliance blitz focused on “repeat violators” of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ESA). The blitz will take place during both September and October 2016. Although the Ministry did not define “repeat violators,” it is safe to assume that it refers to employers who have been prior recipients of compliance orders or successful claims under the ESA.

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Court of Appeal Reverses Trial Judge, Finds Cause and Awards Costs to Employer

In the fall of 2014, Justice Lemon of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decided that a private school had wrongfully dismissed a teacher who had committed academic fraud by submitting grades he knew to be inaccurate and then lied about it when confronted.  The decision seemed all the more egregious as, in addition to awarding the teacher 12 months’ salary and benefits, the Court also found the teacher became disabled following the termination of his employment and was entitled to disability benefits in addition to $130,000 of legal costs awarded on a substantial indemnity basis. 

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Ontario Court of Appeal Upholds Enforceability of Notice-Only Termination Provision

In a good news decision for employers, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently dismissed an appeal of the summary judgment decision of Justice Sean Dunphy which upheld a termination provision that permitted the employer to terminate the employee by providing the “minimum notice required under the Employment Standards Act”. Notably, the termination provision in question in Oudin v Le Centre Francophone de Toronto did not include any reference to severance pay or continuation of benefits, which employee counsel will typically argue renders a termination provision invalid. Copies of the Court of Appeal’s decision and the underlying decision of Justice Dunphy can be found here and here, respectively.

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Ontario Court of Appeal Weighs in on Terminating Fixed Term Contracts

In May of last year we gave our readers an update on a recent Ontario decision regarding early termination of a five year fixed contract, Howard v. Benson Group Inc.  Mr. Howard’s employment was terminated without cause after only 23 months of service.  He brought a claim for payment of the remaining 37 months of the term.  Justice MacKenzie of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to determine on a motion for summary judgment whether an early termination clause in a five year term agreement was enforceable and if not, what damages were owed to the plaintiff?  Was he entitled to payment for the remaining term of the agreement or would it suffice for the employer to give him reasonable notice of termination?  At a motion for summary judgment, MacKenzie J. found that the without cause termination clause was ambiguous and thus not sufficient to limit Mr. Howard to his Employment Standards Act, 2000 ( “ESA”) minimums.  He then went on to determine that the fixed term agreement did not have any other language that would displace the common law presumption of reasonable notice.  Thus, Mr. Howard was entitled to reasonable notice of termination and not to payment for the remaining term of the contract.  MacKenzie J. also held that Mr. Howard had a duty to mitigate his damages by seeking new employment.

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Jun 30, 2016
AODA Update: Changes to the Accessible Customer Service Standard for Ontario Employers

On July 1, 2016, a number of changes under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) will take effect. The changes will consolidate the following two regulations under the AODA:  (1) Ontario Regulation 429/07 – Accessibility Standards for Customer Service (the Customer Service Standard);  and (2) Ontario Regulation 191/11 – Integrated Accessibility Standards.

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Less Than Perfect Termination Clause Upheld

As employers have discovered in recent years, although termination clauses are a best practice, former employees will do whatever they can to set them aside following termination.  In many cases, courts have set termination clauses aside, despite the apparent intent of the parties, where they are not drafted perfectly.  A recent case, Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., 2016 ONSC 1412 suggests that the very high standard imposed on employers may have lessened somewhat.  

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Aug 21, 2015
Does the Charter Trump Human Rights?

A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal has interesting implications when it comes to competing rights, particularly when some of those rights are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Reminder: Ontario’s Minimum Wage to Increase

As a result of amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) last year, on October 1, 2015, the general minimum wage in Ontario will increase from $11 to $11.25 per hour. Industry-specific minimum wages for liquor servers, homeworkers, students, and hunters/fishers are also set increase.

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