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U.S. Employers: There is No At Will Employment in Canada

Posted by Stacey Duggan

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Apr 10, 2014 8:41:00 AM

describe the imageAmerican Companies “At Will Employment Policy” and Canada’s “Reasonable Notice Policy”

We see it all the time in the movies. An employer at odds with a worker shouts out ‘You’re Fired’, the employee gathers their things, leaves the building and that’s the end of it. What you don’t see is the work the HR department then has to go through determining pay in lieu of notice, severance package and a possible wrongful dismissal suit. 

In the U.S. many employment relationships are considered to be ‘at will’ or, in other words, can be terminated by either party without cause or notice without the worry of retribution. In Canada no such relationship exists so hiring a Canadian employee can be much more complicated.

Canadian law states that an employer can terminate an employee without cause but they are required to provide ‘reasonable notice’ or compensation in lieu of this notice.

Minimum requirements for ‘reasonable notice’ vary from province to province and will depend on the tenure of the employee. If an employee has been with the company for less than three months the issue of termination is less complicated so often Canadian companies will refer to this as the “probationary period” and assess the employees ‘fit’ and ‘competence’ for the position before the three months end.

When terminating a Canadian employee without notice or pay in lieu, there must be evidence of ‘Just Cause’. Just cause can be used for certain serious acts such as theft or harassment or employees can be fired as a result of a series of minor incidents.  For the latter dismissal, the employer must document that they followed a progressive discipline policy of increasing severity.

A solid employment agreement is essential when it comes to outlining notice and probationary periods as well as other regulations when it comes to employment standards in Canada. An essential step to take before engaging with an employee in the great white north is to consult a company in the know, preferably one well versed in Canadian employment law.

The Payroll Edge is a Canadian based Professional Employment Organization (PEO) or Employer of Record (EOR) as it’s called in Canada. We take on the responsibility of employment compliance when it comes to hiring north of the border so you can focus on expanding your business presence in Canada rather than learning a whole new set of rules and regulations.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you!


12 Things an American Company Looking to Hire a Worker in Canada Needs to Know

Topics: workforce compliance, EOR, Employer of Record, Canadian Employer of Record, American Business in Canada, Regulatory Compliance, Canadian EOR, Employment Agreements

How Outsourced HR Management Services Can Improve Your Business

Posted by Stacey Duggan

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Jul 22, 2013 9:00:00 AM

Outsourced HR ManagmentBusinesses often try to make do without an in-house HR department, rationalizing that since human resources employees don't directly contribute to the bottom line of the company's operations, they're superfluous. The truth is the work done in the human resources area of your company is essential to your company's functioning and success.

Your business success depends entirely on the people working for you, and by neglecting this critical people part of your business, you open yourself up to running into not only personnel and management trouble, but maybe even trouble with the law.

Here are three areas that demonstrate why HR management is essential.

Employee Relations

From the moment you post a job listing for a position in your company, you need systems in place to help your employees to help you. You need up-to-date HR policies, job descriptions, employment agreements, and orientation materials and handbooks.

Once your employees are hired, you need to be prepared to deal with sensitive issues like disciplinary misconduct, lay-offs, and terminations, and possibly employee outplacement. You must stay on top of the legislative changes that could affect the way you work with your employees to ensure you are always in compliance with the law.

Employee Training and Development

As an employer, it's your responsibility to provide a workplace that is safe,respectful and accessible. Some laws mandate particular attention in certain areas, including the development and implementation of proper training, monitoring and testing for:

  • Health and Safety
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Workplace Violence and Harassment
  • Workplace Claims Management
  • Compliance with AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act)
  • Compliance with WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Material Information System)
  • Workplace Inspections
  • Hazard Identification
  • Slips, Trips, and Falls

The Health & Safety of a workforce should be priority to any employer, but often gets pushed to the back burner as the day to day tasks of regular operations take precedence. Fines and penalties can quickly add up for a business owner who doesn’t take the time to ensure their health & safety due diligence. Not to mention the very real possibility of a workplace injury due to an untrained or improperly trained employee.

Regulatory Compliance

Compliance with the Ministry of Labour, The Employment Standards Act, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act also falls under the responsibility of an HR department. Keeping up to date with the ever evolving rules and regulations, customizing paperwork and manuals and acting as a liaison with these government agencies is time consuming and takes expertise that few companies have in house.

Even when an HR department is thorough with their compliance, incidents with employees are bound to take place. Does the person acting as HR know how to conduct a workplace investigation when a worker is injured or handle an audit from the MOL? What if an employee claims harassment or needs to take a leave of absence, does the acting HR person know the proper steps to take?

Unfamiliarity with the minefield of HR can be extremely costly not just from a monetary point of view but when considering employee morale and reputation as well.

The Outsourcing Option

Any of these areas can directly impact your bottom line, but the costs of hiring on-staff HR management can be difficult to justify from an ROI perspective. And delegating the HR administrative load to other staff members puts a counter-productive strain on existing resources and productivity bandwidth. Thankfully, there is a way to ensure effective management of these staffing issues without having to add an HR Manager to your headcount.

HR can be outsourced. The Payroll Edge, for instance, handles all of the above for hundreds of companies as an ala carte solution or as part of its integrated payroll processing service, providing a completely hands-off HR management solution for busy business owners. And it does it for much less than hiring a full-time HR person or retaining expensive lawyers or HR consultants.

You don't have to spend your time and worry on HR Management, The Payroll Edge takes it all off your hands, freeing you to focus on what you do best – run your business.

7 Signs It's Time to Outsource Payroll

Topics: Outsourced HR Management, Employee Policies, Employee Training and Development, Employee Relations, Compliance, HR Management, Regulatory Compliance

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