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Can employers end fixed term contracts before the term is expired?

A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Howard v. Benson Group Inc., 2016 ONCA 256, has given employers and employees some guidance on early termination of fixed term contracts. Parties to a fixed term employment contract can specifically provide for early termination and specify a fixed term of notice or payment in lieu of notice. However, if there are no specifications on these points, the early termination of a fixed term agreement by an employer can be considered wrongful dismissal. A dismissed employee in this case will likely be awarded compensation for the remainder of their contract. The ramifications for the employer can be significant.

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