Employment Law

Employment law refers to the area of law that governs the employment relationship between an employer and employees in a non-unionized workplace. In Canada, most employment relationships are regulated on a provincial basis. In fact, the Government of Canada estimates that approximately ninety four percent (94%) of all Canadian workers are provincially regulated, with the other six percent (6%) of Canadian workers being federally regulated.

The difference between being federally regulated or provincially regulated is important. It impacts what rights and obligations parties have in the workplace. Federally regulated workplaces are generally covered by the Canada Labour Code which governs many aspects of the employment relationship at the federal level. On the other hand, provincially regulated workplaces are generally covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000. These pieces of legislation govern the employment relationship and impose certain terms into the employment relationship such as: minimum wage, vacations, hour of work, public holidays, entitlement to leaves such as parental leave, overtime, and notice and severance upon termination of employment.

In addition to the statutory framework, the common law also imposes rights and obligations on employers and employees. One of the most common issues that we encounter in our practice relates to the termination of an employee's employment which may become or be characterized as a "wrongful dismissal", a "constructive dismissal", or an "unjust dismissal". In those situations, the common law may provide the employee with a right to enhanced "reasonable notice" of their termination over and above the statutory minimums. The amount of "reasonable notice" that an employee may be entitled to will vary depending on a number of factors and requires a relatively nuanced analysis and balanced consideration. 

In the event that you require legal advice with respect to a wrongful dismissal case or other advice with respect to the rights and obligations that apply in your workplace, we would be pleased to speak with you and ask that you please contact us at your convenience.