Canada’s employment laws are determined by federal, provincial or territorial legislation with only a few minor exceptions.
Canadian human rights law forbids discrimination based on legally defined grounds, such as race, gender, age, religion or disability. Other protected classes may also be included.
Employers are required to give employees at least 30 days’ notice and pay in lieu of notice when dismissing them “without cause.” In certain jurisdictions, an additional advance notification may be necessary when group layoffs or mass terminations are planned.
Employment at will
Canada and the United States share many common employment standards, such as minimum wage, overtime rates, and severance pay. Nonetheless, they also differ in some key areas.
Canada’s employment laws tend to be very union-friendly, which is beneficial for both employees and employers. Employees have the right to join a union, while employers must bargain fairly in good faith.
Canada does not recognize an “Employment-at-Will” doctrine. Therefore, boilerplate American job offer letters cannot be used here because they violate Canadian employment laws and standards.
Furthermore, human rights legislation safeguards against discrimination in the workplace. Generally speaking, these laws prohibit discrimination based on race, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ancestry or place of origin and other grounds.
Restrictive covenants are often included as part of employment agreements, such as non-competition and non-solicitation clauses.
Canada’s courts tend not to uphold overly broad or restrictive non-compete clauses. Instead, they consider the geographic and temporal scope of a restriction before determining its reasonableness.
Canadian courts tend to be more forgiving with non-solicitation and confidentiality covenants. Although these tend to be more enforceable than non-competition covenants, they still must meet stringent clarity and certainty requirements.
Employers should carefully review their use of restrictive covenants to guarantee they adhere to Canada and other country’s laws. This includes assessing whether they can rely on choice of law/exclusive venue provisions, state-specific carveout or “savings” clauses, among others.
Constructive dismissal is the term used to describe an employment situation which has become untenable, making it impossible for a reasonable employee to continue working there. This could be due to discrimination, harassment or other negative work conditions.
To establish constructive dismissal, an employee must show that their employer either knew about or failed to provide a solution for the hostile working environment. This can be challenging to prove and necessitates conducting an extensive investigation of the workplace.
Courts often consider whether an employer made significant modifications to the essential terms of an employment contract, or if there are multiple incidents which demonstrate they did not intend for it to be binding when made. If an employee failed to resign within a reasonable amount of time after these significant alterations or incidents occurred, courts are likely to hold that they accepted these modifications without objection and thus no constructive dismissal has taken place.
Canada’s employment laws are determined at the provincial level and may differ by province. Employers must deduct and remit taxes to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), similar to how IRS works in America.
Telework is a form of workplace flexibility that permits employees to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their job from an approved alternative location, such as home or a telework center. This trend has gained momentum in several countries, particularly the United States where remote workers are becoming more commonplace.
Telework can be advantageous to both employers and employees alike, however it also has some drawbacks. One is that it isolates employees from coworkers and other people who can assist with tasks. Furthermore, it may lead to work-related distractions. It is essential to maintain good communication with coworkers and use technology effectively so you stay focused on the task at hand.