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Ottawa Employment, Elder and Municipal Law Blog

Getting fired and employee rights in Ontario

No one likes to lose a job, for whatever reasons. But when an employer fires an employee in Ontario, there are certain rules that must be followed, according to the Employment Standards Act. The law protects certain employee rights.

Employees would do well to keep calm and dignified when their boss breaks the news to them. Doing so will bode well for any future meetings between employee sand former employers. Workers asked to sign any documents should hold off until they can obtain legal counsel, especially if they feel they have been terminated unjustly. Those who are given severance packages should read any documents off the job site, especially if they are upset by the news.

Elder abuse cases rampant in Ottawa nursing homes since 2012

An investigation by a major Ottawa newspaper shows there is something very wrong at the capital's long-term care facilities. The 27 residences are home to some of Ottawa's most frail citizens -- the elderly. These Ontario homes have been the sites of elder abuse, ranging from sexual abuse, improper care resulting in death and violence.

Some of the reports show residents left sitting in their own excrement, some not being fed and some being given the wrong medication. The newspaper said that 163 cases of abuse have been reported along with 17 deaths resulting from noncompliance with legislation that governs these facilities. All told, there were more than 2,000 cases of noncompliance in these facilities in the same time period. In 2017 alone, there have been 400 citations, so things aren't getting better, according to the newspaper report.

Employee rights: Drug and alcohol tests in Ontario workplaces

Random drug and alcohol tests in the workplace are usually against the law. In Ontario, human rights laws state that employers don't have the right to test for drugs or alcohol use just because an employee is suspect. It is against the worker's employee rights. The testing must have some connection to carrying out a job safely and in the right manner. 

Even if the job is one that involves using heavy machinery, an employer would need a good reason to test for alcohol or drugs, and it's never all right to be asked to take such a test at a job interview. There are instances, however, when an employer might be allowed to ask an employee to undergo such testing. If an employer has reasonable cause that a worker is on the job under the influence of alcohol or drugs or an employee got hurt on the job, an employer might have just cause for asking an employee to undergo testing.

Wrongful termination in Ontario: Facts on getting the axe

Being fired inappropriately has happened to many employees. There are right and wrong ways an Ontario employer can go about letting an employee go, and those who believe they are the victims of wrongful termination have some recourse under the law in Canada. Knowing the facts about being dismissed can be beneficial for those who find themselves victims of the employment axe.

There are certain instances when it's illegal for an employer to fire an employee -- because of a disability, for instance. However, an employee with a disability can be fired for other reasons that have nothing to do with his or her disability such as for conduct that is inappropriate. But firing an employee for exercising his or her rights is against the law.

Ontario responds to elder abuse in Indigenous communities

The treatment of elderly people in Indigenous communities has been an ongoing problem. Ontario is addressing the elder abuse issue with the introduction of new resources under its Ontario Action Plan for Seniors (OAPS). The plan aims to assist the elderly in finding the help they might need. In addition, through the Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Strategy, the province will be supporting elder abuse prevention and education - to the tune of $1.4 million over four years - which aims to create awareness.

In fact, Ontario will be investing $155 million over three years through the OAPS. The money is earmarked to help Indigenous seniors with wellness and resiliency issues, which experts say is crucial for the health of Indigenous communities overall. Ontario has already invested funds into its Long-Term Strategy to End Violence Against Indigenous Women, and the OAPS is an extension of that program.


On November 27, 2017, the Ontario government passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which received Royal Assent. Bill 148 makes significant amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the "ESA"). Certain amendments are already in force, with other amendments coming January 1, 2018, and throughout 2018 and 2019. This blog will focus on the changes to the ESA.

Ontario employment contracts: The good and not so good

Contracts are becoming more mainstream in the working world. Employment contracts in Ontario define exactly what an employee's position entails and stipulate for how long. Contract work can be highly lucrative, yet many people still seek out permanent positions rather than work on a contractual basis.

Employers looking to hire contract workers are often looking for people with experience who can take the reins with minimal to no supervision and little to no training. Mature workers might fit the bill. Working under contract may give individuals the chance to work for more than one company at a time. Results are what matter and what independent contractors usually deliver in the hopes of further work.

Employee rights: Employees with disabled family members

When an employee has a family member who is disabled, there may be times when his or her work life is affected because they're taking care of that person. It may be that an employer in Ontario may have to accommodate those employees as part of their employee rights. In fact, a Human Rights Adjudication Panel in the Northwest Territories set a precedent by siding with a mother in the case of her disabled son.

The woman's employer knew the woman had a son with special needs and made allowances for her to care for her child by giving the woman a leave during the child's breaks at school one year. The woman asked for the same consideration the next year. This time, her employer wasn't so accommodating, even though she brought in letters from doctors regarding her son's special needs.