Labour & Employment Law Blog

Ontario’s Mass Termination Rules Tighten

The COVID-19 pandemic has created situations where many employees no longer work out of a traditional office space but out of their homes or other places not located within the employer’s physical workplace. This change is probably here to stay with a large number of workers in the Canadian workforce to be permanently classified as “remote workers.”

The Ontario government has indicated that they want to tighten Ontario’s mass termination rules with respect to notice of termination to ensure that remote workers are included. Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), there are specific rules that apply when an employee is terminated as part of a mass termination. A mass termination occurs under the ESA when 50 or more employees are terminated from an employer’s “establishment” within a four-week period. In the case of a mass termination, an employee could be entitled to 8, 12 or 16 weeks notice of termination, depending on the number of employees who were terminated. An “establishment” is defined under the ESA to be a location at which the employer carries on business. The Ontario government wants to widen the definition of what is an establishment under the ESA to include remote workers and other employees who work from home so that they also may partake in the enhanced notice of termination provisions under the ESA for mass terminations.

These changes are part of a lot of other proposed changes in support of workers that the Ontario government as set out in the Working for Workers Act for 2023. The Working for Workers Act, 2021 and 2022 is already in place. We have written about these other expanded supports for employees in our recent blog entitled Ontario Government is Introducing Legislative Changes to Increase Worker Protections.

Our Thoughts

We are not sure if this law will change what is already taking place. In any event, this law will ensure that remote workers are included in the above scenarios and, as such, this legislation is probably a positive move on the part of the Ontario government.

However, we want to be clear with our readers that this legislation is probably not the total of what an employee terminated in the above situation is entitled to. This is because these amounts as set out in the ESA are statutory minimum notice periods. To remind our readers, terminated employees are entitled to notice of termination at common law which is typically a greater than what is set out under the ESA. The length of reasonable notice under the common law will be determined by looking at various different factors including age, length of service, position with the employer and the ability to find alternative new employment.

The bottom line is that employees should not just take the amount they will receive under the ESA even if this amount is increased because they were terminated in a mass termination situation or not. They need to speak with an employment lawyer to determine if they are entitled to common law notice as well.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.