In another good news development for employers, the Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to appeal in Oudin v Le Centre Francophone de Toronto.
Last year we reported on the decision of the Court of Appeal for Ontario which upheld a summary judgment decision that found a notice-only termination provision that did not mention the extension of benefits coverage to be enforceable. The underlying decision of Justice Sean Dunphy had rejected the plaintiff’s argument that the existence of any potential interpretation that might entail a hypothetical future contravention of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 was sufficient to render a termination provision invalid. Instead, Justice Dunphy focused on the reasonable expectations of the parties. The Court of Appeal held that Justice Dunphy’s decision was entitled to deference and he had not erred in determining that the termination provision was enforceable.
As noted in our overview of significant cases and trends in 2016, the Oudin decision caused a great deal of debate amongst the employment law bar as to whether it represents a return to a more common sense approach to interpreting employment law contracts. The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to refuse leave to appeal is a further positive development for employers, and one that makes the underlying Oudin decision even more significant.