Canadian Employment Laws
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Employment law involves the
legal rights and obligations that regulate all aspects of the workplace
relationship between employers and employees. It includes issues such
- contractual agreements,
- wrongful dismissal,
- health and safety,
- human rights,
- employment standards,
- workers compensation, etc.
A dismissal becomes a wrongful dismissal where the employer dismisses without just cause, and does not provide notice or pay in lieu of such notice as is required at law. What notice is required upon dismissal is determined with reference to one or more of the following: relevant employment legislation, the contract of employment itself, or the common law.
Constructive dismissal occurs where the employer significantly changes a fundamental term of the employment contract without the consent or agreement of the employee, and the employee then rejects that change. Constructive dismissals are very technical, and you will need immediate legal advice to preserve your rights.
Generally, the employer may dismiss for any reason, but if there is no just cause, then to avoid wrongful dismissal, the employer must provide the notice or pay in lieu of notice required by law.
In contrast to wrongful dismissal, termination without cause is lawful if done correctly. Termination of employment without cause occurs where an employee is terminated from their employment, not necessarily because they have done something terribly wrong to the employer, but rather because their employer, for whatever reason, has decided that the employee's services are no longer needed. The reasons for this could vary from economic reorganization to unsatisfactory work performance.
There are a number of options available to an employee who has been wrongfully dismissed. Legal advice should be sought at this point as the laws are complicated.
Workers Compensation Insurance is mandatory for all Canadian employers. Workers' Compensation insurance protects employers from claims resulting from injuries to employees. It protects businesses from lawsuits and provides employees with compensation for on-the-job injuries.
- British Columbia
- New Brunswick
- Nova Scotia
- Prince Edward Island
Ontario Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009
Bill 168 became law on June 15, 2010, and it represents a significant change in how, and to what extent, both workplace violence and workplace harassment are regulated in Ontario. It also broadens the definitions of workplace violence and places new requirements on Ontario employers.
Requirements for Ontario Employers
The law breaks down into a series of steps that every employer must take. These include:
Develop written policies that are posted with respect to workplace violence and workplace harassment.
Conduct a risk assessment for workplace violence.
Develop a workplace violence and harassment program.
Incidents or threats of workplace violence must be reported to the employer or supervisor.
Establish practice of how the employer investigates and manages incidents, complaints, or threats of workplace violence.
Reassess policies and programs.
Train employees in these policies and procedures.
Employee refusal to work where he/she has reason to believe that he/she is in danger of being a victim of workplace violence.
What is workplace violence?
Under Bill 168, workplace violence is defined as:
The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker in a workplace that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker;
An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker; or
A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.
Extended Definition of Workplace Harassment
Bill 168 broadens and extends the definition of workplace harassment beyond what is presently covered under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The Human Rights Code has long prohibited harassment in the workplace based on race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, age, record of offences, marital status, family status, or disability.
Traditionally, harassment that was based on other, non-protected grounds was not actionable, unless the employer had extended additional protection by way of policy or it had agreed, as part of the collective bargaining process with a union, to incorporate broader protection in a collective agreement. Bill 168 changes this because it requires employers to treat harassment based on non-protected grounds in the same manner as harassment based on Code-protected grounds.
Bill 168 defines workplace harassment as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome and not already protected under the Human Rights Code.
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