September 25, 2012 Articles

Tales from the Great White North: Terminations in Canada

"At will" employment is unheard of above the 49th parallel.

By Karen M. Sargeant – September 25, 2012

I have often had American employers ask me if I know what I’m talking about. And that question always comes when they are asking if they can terminate an employee’s employment. The first shock comes when I explain that there is simply no concept of “at will” in Canada. The second shock comes when I explain how high the cause threshold is. The next shock comes when I explain that without cause, an employee is entitled to reasonable notice or pay in lieu of reasonable notice, the same notice that an employee who was affected by a downsizing would be entitled to. And the last and biggest shock comes when I explain just how much that notice or pay in lieu of notice can be.

The following explains just how complicated, and expensive, the termination landscape in Canada can be.

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