Nova Scotia to give up to 16 weeks unpaid leave to victims of domestic violence

Victims of domestic violence in Nova Scotia would be able to take up to 16 continuous weeks of unpaid leave under legislation introduced Thursday by the Liberal government.

Labour and Advanced Education Minister Labi Kousoulis said amendments to the Labour Standards Code would ensure that victims will not lose their jobs when they need leave to seek help.

“This leave will provide support for those seeking safety from their abuser and allow victims the time they need to address the complex situation of domestic violence without the added stress and fear of losing their job,” said Kousoulis.

Kousoulis said the legislation would also provide 10 intermittent days to allow victims to seek out services and supports and includes a confidentiality provision for all employee information.

“I don’t even want the individual to have to provide a doctor’s note,” he said.

Kousoulis said individuals would “on their own word” be able to fill out a simple one-page form that they would provide to an employer. He said they wouldn’t have to provide details of their situation.

The changes would allow victims leave to seek medical attention, to obtain help from victim services organizations, to get legal help, and to relocate either temporarily or permanently.

The leave would also cover situations where an employee’s child is the victim of domestic violence.

According to the department, Manitoba, Ontario, and the federal government provide five paid days as part of their legislation. Alberta provides 10 days _ all unpaid _ while Quebec introduced a bill only last week that provided 26 weeks with two paid days.

Kousoulis said the province hasn’t ruled out paid leave days at a future point, but it wants to consider more information before potentially doing so.

“We want to get data back on how would a paid leave be different from an unpaid leave for individuals and also see how much time is being taken off,” he said.

Kousoulis said he has also written to federal officials to ask that Employment Insurance be extended to people who are in situations involving domestic violence, although he said he hasn’t heard back since making the request two months ago.

The minister said consultations on the bill with the business community were based on unpaid leave and he felt it was better to bring the bill forward now and potentially make additions, rather than hold it up for more consultations on paid leave.

Opposition critics were quick to praise the government’s move as a “good first step,” but they also questioned why a paid leave provision wasn’t included.

NDP critic Tammy Martin wondered how effective the change would be, especially for lower wage workers.

“The minister talked about going to see a lawyer,” said Martin. “How can they afford to see a lawyer let alone buy groceries if they are taking time off without pay?”

Interim Progressive Conservative leader Karla MacFarlane also wondered why the bill was brought forward now if pay provisions will eventually be added.

“The bill is incomplete,” said MacFarlane. “They say they want to ensure that there is economic stability _ well, prove it. It doesn’t say that in the bill yet.”

Miia Suokonautio, executive director of YWCA Halifax, said her organization took part in the consultations and believes the changes brought forward by the government “signal something quite positive.”

But Suokonautio said the government will have to consider whether it’s enough to provide job protection when there is a lack of income protection.

“What we don’t want … is a protection that only benefits upper middle class white women. We want something that will support Indigenous women, African Nova Scotian women and women with disabilities, all of whom we know earn less than white women in this country.”

The province also moved Thursday to amend the Insurance Act in order to ensure insurance companies can’t deny coverage to people in vulnerable situations.

Finance Minister Karen Casey said the current legislation around homeowners’ policies is unclear about whether or not coverage would be provided if the damage was caused by someone listed on the policy.

“This will make a huge impact for all Nova Scotians, especially women, who are disproportionately affected by domestic violence and or abuse,” said Casey.

She said Nova Scotia was joining British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, and Quebec in addressing the issue.

Illegal home builders put buyers at risk!

Press Release:

Tarion Warranty Corporation is recognizing Fraud Prevention Month with a strong warning to consumers that an illegally built home in Ontario may come with devastating consequences, including a home that may be unsafe to inhabit or a builder who, once paid, abandons the project altogether.

“When it comes to the largest investment of a family’s life, namely a newly built home, it pays to know that your builder has the technical and financial wherewithal to complete the job and that you have the protection of a warranty if anything goes wrong,” said Howard Bogach, Tarion’s president and CEO. “If builders are not registered with Tarion, they are building illegally and won’t provide warranty protection that is legally required in Ontario.”

Bogach emphasized that every builder in Ontario must be registered with Tarion and must enroll all newly built homes in the warranty program. It’s the law. And almost all municipalities across Ontario are supporting it by sharing their building permit information with Tarion. An additional 15 municipalities have partnered up with Tarion to educate consumers who opt to take out permits in their own names as opposed to using a builder licensed by Tarion.

Illegal builds are more than just a bad idea. They can be expensive for homeowners and builders alike. Last year, for example, Ontario provincial courts set down 117 convictions related to illegal building, and illegal builders paid almost $400,000 in fines for proceeding without proper registration, warranties, or permits. In 2016, one builder even went to jail.

Bogach expects this price tag to increase in 2018 because the fines themselves have increased. Beginning in 2018, builders found in violation of the law will face fines up to $50,000 – up from $25,000 – as well as imprisonment for one year, less a day (twice the previous jail time). Corporations building new homes will face the heaviest penalties with maximum fines of $250,000, up from the previous $100,000. Even directors and officers of these delinquent companies are subject to penalties up to $50,000.

For the homeowner, risks are also high. Unregistered builders do not necessarily comply with Ontario Building Code specifications and the new owner can fall victim to poor craftsmanship, including such dangerous and costly elements as electricity and plumbing. There is also the risk that an illegal builder will take a buyer’s deposit and then abandon the build.

In keeping with its mandate of consumer protection, Tarion advises prospective buyers of new homes to recognize the following signs that a builder may be operating illegally. Builders:

  • Say they built the house for themselves but then decided to sell it.
  • Say they offer their own warranty and the homeowner doesn’t need Tarion’s warranty.
  • Say the Tarion warranty is too costly (sometimes quoting $10k when in fact the maximum cost is $1800 plus taxes.)
  • Offer the consumer a brief contract or, worse, no contract at all.

About Tarion Warranty Corporation

For more than 40 years, Tarion has been enhancing confidence in the new home buying experience. Tarion is a private, not-for-profit corporation that administers the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, and backstops the warranty coverage. We set the standards for builder licensing and after-sales service and step in when your builder cannot or will not fulfill the warranty obligations. Since 1976, Ontario’s new home warranty program has registered close to two million homes and paid put hundreds of thousands of dollars in warranty claims. Our mandate is to serve the public interest, and is what guides us every day.

SOURCE Tarion Warranty Corporation

www.tarion.com

 

‘Alberta’s Top Employers’ for 2018 are announced

Leading in the new economy:

CALGARYFeb. 21, 2018 /CNW/ – After two years of tough economic adjustment, Alberta employers are once again creating a lot of new jobs.  While it might be too early to talk about a recovery, the province is expected to lead the country this year in economic growth.  Alberta employers are once again raising the bar when it comes to progressive working conditions and forward-thinking HR policies.  The best of these were recognized today, as winners of this year’s “Alberta’s Top Employers” competition were announced.

“It’s hard not to be impressed by the resilience of the Alberta economy – and the employers that call this province home,” says Richard Yerema, Managing Editor of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project at Mediacorp Canada Inc., which manages the competition.  “When you look at the range of industries represented by this year’s winners, you can see the outlines of the new economy in Alberta.”

“In addition to providing their staff with training and skills development, many of this year’s winning organizations are placing more emphasis on health and wellness,” says Kristina Leung, Senior Editor at the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project. “Having a healthy workforce is a strong driver of productivity, which is important for organizations looking for ways to fuel long-term growth.”

Some notable initiatives that the editors highlighted this year:

  • Lafarge Canada of Calgary identifies future leaders through an 18-month leadership development program, which is offered to high-potential employees, that includes a series of in-person course modules together with assignments and projects.
  • Edmonton-based ATB Financial prioritizes the health of its employees through a variety of initiatives including a Wellness Leadership Committee, a network of wellness champions and various wellness challenges that address topics such as sleep health, nutrition, physical health and mental health.
  • Getty Images of Calgary supports employees who are new mothers with maternity leave top-up payments, to 100% of salary for up to 15 weeks, as well as parental leave top-up for fathers and adoptive parents.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines provides a range of opportunities for employees to volunteer with charitable initiatives each year – through their ‘WestJet Cares for Kids’ program, the airline has donated over 65,000 flights to children in need.
  • To encourage employees to stay healthy, the City of Edmonton provides a $1,100 health spending account as part of its health benefits plan, allowing employees to top-up coverage to meet their individual needs.

First published in 2006, Alberta‘s Top Employers is a special designation that recognizes Alberta employers that lead their industries in offering exceptional places to work. Employers throughout Alberta were evaluated by the editors at Canada’s Top 100 Employers using the same criteria as the national competition: (1) Physical Workplace; (2) Work Atmosphere & Social; (3) Health, Financial & Family Benefits; (4) Vacation & Time Off; (5) Employee Communications; (6) Performance Management; (7) Training & Skills Development; and (8) Community Involvement. Employers are compared to other organizations in their field to determine which offer the most progressive and forward-thinking programs. The annual competition is open to any employer with its head office in Alberta; employers of any size may apply, whether private or public sector.

Founded in 1992, Mediacorp Canada Inc. is the nation’s largest publisher of employment periodicals. Since 1999, the Toronto-based publisher has managed the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project, which includes 18 regional and special-interest editorial competitions that reach over 15 million Canadians annually through a variety of magazine and newspaper partners. Mediacorp also operates Eluta.ca, the largest Canadian job search engine, which includes editorial reviews from the Canada’s Top 100 Employers project and is now used by almost 7 million users in Canada each year. Together with Willis Towers Watson, Mediacorp also hosts the Top Employer SummitCanada’s largest conference for senior-level HR professionals.

The full list of Alberta’s Top Employers for 2018 is attached. The winners were announced in a special magazinepublished in the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal this morning. Detailed reasons for selection, explaining why each of the winners was selected, with hundreds of additional stories and photos, were also released this morning and are accessible via the competition homepage.

Alberta’s Top Employers
2018 Winners

Agriculture Financial Services Corporation / AFSC, Lacombe
Alberta Blue CrossEdmonton
Alberta Central, Calgary
Alberta Health Services / AHS, Edmonton
Alberta Investment Management Corporation / AIMCo., Edmonton
Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan / ASEBP, Edmonton
Alberta Securities Commission / ASC, Calgary
Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund Board / ATRF, Edmonton
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Boyle
AltaGas Ltd., Calgary
ATB Financial, Edmonton
Beaver Municipal Solutions, Ryley
Bennett Jones LLP, Calgary
Bethany Care Society, Calgary
BioWare ULC, Edmonton
Bow Valley College, Calgary
Calgary Airport Authority, The, Calgary
Calgary Co-operative Association Limited, Calgary
Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1, Calgary
Capital Power Corporation, Edmonton
CapitalCare Group Inc., Edmonton
Champion Petfoods LP, Edmonton
Chandos Construction Ltd., Edmonton
Collins Barrow Calgary LLP, Calgary
Connect First Credit Union, Calgary
Covenant Health, Edmonton
DIALOG, Calgary
Duncan Craig LLP, Edmonton
DynaLIFE Dx, Edmonton
Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No.7, Edmonton
Edmonton Police Service, Edmonton
Edmonton Regional Airport Authority, Edmonton
Edmonton, City of, Edmonton
Enbridge Inc., Calgary
EPCOR Utilities Inc., Edmonton
Fillmore Construction Management Inc., Edmonton
Fountain Tire Ltd., Edmonton
Getty Images, Inc., Calgary
Graham Group, Calgary
Graycon I.T., Calgary
Hallmark Tubulars Ltd., Calgary
Health Quality Council of Alberta, The, Calgary
Inter Pipeline Ltd., Calgary
Kenway Mack Slusarchuk Stewart LLP, Calgary
Keyera Corp., Calgary
Lac La Biche County, Lac La Biche
Lafarge Canada Inc., Calgary
Lakeland CollegeVermilion
Legal Education Society of Alberta, The, Edmonton
NAIT / Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton
National Energy Board, Calgary
Olympia Financial Group Inc., Calgary
PCL Construction, Edmonton
Pembina Pipeline Corporation, Calgary
Rogers Insurance Ltd., Calgary
Rohit Group of Companies, Edmonton
SAIT, Calgary
Shaw Communications Inc., Calgary
Shell Canada Limited, Calgary
Silvacom Ltd., Edmonton
Stuart Olson Inc., Calgary
SysGen Solutions Group Ltd., Calgary
Travel Alberta, Calgary
UFA Co-operative Limited, Calgary
United Way of Calgary and Area, Calgary
Univar Canada Ltd., Calgary
University of CalgaryCalgary
Valard Geomatics Ltd., Edmonton
WestJet Airlines Ltd., Calgary
Workers’ Compensation Board – Alberta, Edmonton

SOURCE Mediacorp Canada Inc.

Top 10 Issues For Employers, Issue #7: Obligations When Terminating Without Cause

Top 10 Issues For Employers, Issue #7: Obligations When Terminating Without Cause

Article by Labour & Employment Group
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

This is the seventh instalment in our Top 10 Issues for Employers series. This issue addresses termination entitlements upon a “without cause” dismissal.

OVERVIEW

Understanding an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal is an essential step towards avoiding unnecessary wrongful dismissal claims. Canadian law imposes obligations on employers to provide their employees with certain entitlements in the event of a without cause dismissal. Since there is a very high bar for establishing “just cause” — which generally permits an employer to provide no notice or other entitlements upon dismissal — the vast majority of terminations in Canada will be without cause.

REASONABLE NOTICE OF TERMINATION

In the absence of an enforceable termination clause in a written employment contract, an employee’s termination entitlements will be governed by Canadian common law (with the exception of Quebec, discussed below). One obligation imposed upon employers by the common law is to provide employees with reasonable notice of termination of employment, or pay in lieu of reasonable notice, in the absence of just cause for dismissal.

There is no fixed formula for determining reasonable notice in any given case. There are, however, several factors that courts consider when determining reasonable notice, including the availability of similar employment as well as the employee’s age, length of service, position and level of compensation. In essence, the courts aim to identify, on a case-by-case basis, the length of notice that the employee will need to find alternate work of a similar nature. By way of example, reasonable notice generally ranges from a few weeks up to 24 months depending on the above factors, but there are exceptions.

The concept of reasonable notice signifies actual or written notice. In principle, the employee is expected to continue his or her active employment during the applicable notice period. As an active employee, the individual would usually be entitled to all elements of his or her compensation package during the notice period. However, employers typically provide an employee with pay in lieu of notice or a “package” upon termination of employment rather than actual or working notice. Thus, in the pay in lieu of notice scenario, to mirror what they would have received had they been provided with actual notice, employees are generally entitled to payment reflecting all elements of their compensation package, including, for example, salary, benefits and pro-rated bonus or other incentive compensation (subject to the terms of any applicable policies or plans).

Written employment agreements may modify and/or limit an employer’s common law obligations. In general terms, where there is a proper and enforceable employment contract that specifies what the employee will receive upon termination of employment, then it will be the employment contract — and not the common law — that the employer will rely on in determining an employee’s entitlements upon termination. However, any contract that a court finds as providing less than the employee’s minimum statutory entitlements will be viewed as unenforceable and an employee in such a scenario will be entitled to reasonable notice of termination.

QUEBEC CONSIDERATIONS

Common law principles are not applicable in Quebec. Rather, employers’ obligations are established by the Civil Code of Québec, which provides that an employee can claim reasonable notice (or compensation in lieu of notice) of the termination of his or her employment, such that an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal in Quebec are substantially similar to those of employees in the common law provinces and territories.

That being said, Canadian employers should be aware of the fact that there are unique legislative and other requirements relating to employment in Quebec that are not present in the common law provinces and territories.

STATUTORY MINIMUM STANDARDS

Employment standards legislation in all Canadian jurisdictions sets out minimum notice (or pay in lieu of notice) obligations for employers when they dismiss an employee without cause. It should be emphasized that the statutory minimums prescribed by employment standards legislation with respect to notice and severance are just that — minimum standards. They represent the lowest possible amounts that an employee is entitled to receive on dismissal without cause. An employer cannot contract out of the statutory minimum entitlements.

Generally, an employee’s entitlement to statutory minimum notice of dismissal increases with his or her length of service. For example, in Ontario, employees are generally entitled under statute to one week’s notice (or pay in lieu of notice) for each completed year of employment, to a maximum of eight weeks. Although employees’ entitlement to notice of termination of employment varies slightly from province to province, employment standards legislation across the Canadian jurisdictions currently provide for a maximum statutory notice requirement of eight weeks or less.

Further, many employment standards statutes include enhanced notice requirements for employers that effect a mass termination of employment, which is defined in most provinces and territories as the dismissal of 50 or more employees in a span of four weeks or less (although in several provinces the threshold is as low as 10 employees).

In Ontario and the federal jurisdiction, employment standards legislation also requires employers to provide employees with statutory severance payments (in addition to statutory notice or pay in lieu of notice) in certain circumstances. In Ontario, employees who have five or more years of service at the time of their dismissal are entitled to statutory severance pay, if their employer has a payroll of C$2.5-million or more, or if the dismissal is part of a discontinuance of a business involving the termination of 50 or more employees in a period of six months or less. Severance pay is equal to one week’s pay for each completed year of employment and a proportionate amount of one week’s pay for a partial year of employment, to a maximum of 26 weeks’ pay. In the federal jurisdiction, an employee is entitled to statutory severance pay if he or she has completed 12 consecutive months of employment with an employer before being dismissed. Statutory severance pay in the federal jurisdiction is calculated as the greater of two days’ wages for each year of employment completed by the employee and five days’ wages.

BONUS AND OTHER INCENTIVE AWARDS

Even after the appropriate length of notice has been determined, there are often still disputes over whether compensation for lost bonus or other incentive awards should be included. As mentioned above, when employees are provided with pay in lieu of notice, they are normally entitled to all elements of compensation that they would have received had they remained employed during the notice period, which may include bonus and other incentive awards. However, the terms of any underlying bonus or incentive plans or policies are relevant to the determination of whether compensation for such awards should be included as part of an employee’s termination entitlements. For this reason, employers should ensure they have well-drafted plan documents.

CONCLUSION

Determining an employee’s entitlements upon a without cause dismissal may not always be straightforward. It requires considering whether common law reasonable notice applies or whether a contractual provision (including those which may limit an employee to the statutory minimums) governs an employee’s termination entitlements. If common law reasonable notice applies, the notice period must take into account various factors, including the availability of similar employment as well as the employee’s age, length of service, position and level of compensation. On the other hand, a contractual termination provision must be checked to ensure it is enforceable and that it complies with applicable statutory minimum standards. Finally, it must be determined which elements of compensation will be owed during the notice period, including bonus or other incentive awards.

Investing in well-drafted employment contracts and plan documents at the outset, and ensuring they are regularly reviewed and updated, is a good way to avoid potential pitfalls and bring additional certainty and consistency to the termination process.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Older Canadians forgoing retirement, working through golden years: census

The three months of Bill VanGorder’s retirement were among the longest of his career.

Lured by the promise of relaxation and spare time, the Halifax resident thought he’d relish the opportunity to walk away from an executive position and enjoy the fruits of his labour. But restlessness and a desire to keep contributing drove him back to the job market within weeks, and he was ensconced in a different corporate office three months after relinquishing his old one.

In the four years that followed, a global economic crisis ate into VanGorder’s retirement savings, making the prospect of ongoing work both attractive and inevitable.

Eventually, he decided to go into business for himself, allowing the flexibility of both a stable work life and the perks of retirement _ making VanGorder, 74, a prototype of the new brand of retiree.

The latest census data from Statistics Canada show more and more Canadians are choosing to eschew the traditional retirement age, whether for their health, their finances or just for the fun of it.

More than 53 per cent of Canadian men aged 65 were working in some form in 2015, including 22.9 per cent who worked full-time throughout the year, compared with 37.8 and 15.5 per cent, respectively, in 1995, the census numbers show.

At the age of 70, nearly three in 10 men did some sort of work in 2015, twice the proportion of 20 years earlier. Full-time work was at 8.8 per cent, up from 5.4 per cent in 1995.

The shift is even more dramatic for women, a reflection of their escalating role in the workforce. Some 38.8 per cent of senior women worked in 2015, twice the proportion of 1995, while the percentage of women working at 70 more than doubled over the same 20-year period.

The numbers show it’s high time for governments and businesses to re-evaluate the way they view Canada’s senior citizens, VanGorder said.

“One of the great problems we have … is the myth that because our population is older than the rest of the country, that’s a terrible thing and we’re a terrible draw on resources,” he said in an interview.

“What we have is a large group of seniors who are very productive, who want to contribute to the economy, who are able to offer mentorship and leadership to younger people.”

Experts agree that the large pool of baby boomers deferring retirement beyond the traditional age of 65 represent a formidable cohort for governments and employers to contend with.

Demographer David Foot said their impact is not as noticeable as it was when they first began to enter the workforce decades ago, since their ranks have slowly been thinned by health problems and even death. But mounting financial pressures and increasing life expectancy are forcing those that remain to work longer than previous generations.

The average person’s lifespan has increased two years per decade for the past 50 years, said Foot, author of the best-selling “Boom, Bust and Echo,” which anticipated the impact of the aging baby boom.

“It’s stretching out our work life so we’re no longer thinking of retiring in our early 60s any more, and it’s stretching out retirement,” he said. “Many people now have the opportunity to look forward to 20, possibly even longer, years of reasonably healthy retirement.”

That prospect, Foot said, puts a strain on people’s financial resources, particularly in an age when guaranteed pensions are no longer reliable sources of income.

Foot said the current crop of retirees are more likely to have a stable, defined-benefit pension plan, unlike future generations forced to make do with a defined-contribution plan _ if any.

As a result, Foot suggested most working seniors will only defer their retirements by up to five years, and are likely to prefer part-time work _ a trend already borne out by Wednesday’s numbers.

Despite its advantages, however, the aging workforce has yet to be embraced by private enterprise, said Canadian Labour Congress senior economist Angella MacEwen.

While retail operations may have part-time work to offer its aging employees, she said companies with seniors in white-collar jobs need to rethink their approach.

“We haven’t had a discussion about retaining, maybe transitioning people into roles of mentorship, having them work part-time, flexible hours,” MacEwen said.

“They have a lot of valuable skills to contribute, so it would be useful to maintain them in some capacity. But in a lot of cases it’s still a choice between full-time or nothing.”

MacEwen said efforts to accommodate older employees would have benefits for younger staff too, dismissing the notion that the prolonged presence of seniors would pose professional barriers for those hoping to rise through the ranks.

Employing older people allows them to keep participating in the economy, she said, creating more jobs that can ultimately be filled by people of all ages.

VanGorder, meanwhile, wants to see governments focus on providing training opportunities for the types of seniors who are rapidly becoming the norm.

“Some of us older business people have been brought kicking and screaming into the digital age because our businesses depend on (it),” he said.

“Older workers need that kind of retraining, they want it, and they can’t get it.”

 

Mississauga Campus: November 30th – Insurance Specialist Info Session

Mississauga Campus: November 30th – Insurance Specialist Info Session

Insurance Specialists help provide peace of mind. Learn how you can be a part of this fascinating industry on November 30th at the triOS College Mississauga Campus!

Hear from special guest speakers and find out how you can start a career in insurance.

Date: Thursday, November 30th
Time: 12pm – 1:30pm
Location: Mississauga Campus – 55 City Centre Drive, 2nd Floor

– Hear from industry experts
– Meet with instructors
– Tour the facility
– Learn about hiring trends
– Get information about upcoming start dates

Don’t wait. Register now!

Email: info@triOS.com or call 905-949-4955

We look forward to seeing you there!

Source: www.trios.com

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