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What is Constructive Dismissal in Canada?

Constructive Dismissal in Canada

Changes within the workplace are commonplace, but not all of them will trigger a constructive dismissal claim. In fact, many of these changes may even be reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. However, when an employer makes major changes without consent or notice, it can be a sign that the employment relationship is coming to an end.

Often, an employee will feel that they have no choice but to quit their job as a result of these intolerable working conditions. In this situation, an employee may want to resign and claim constructive dismissal in order to secure their severance package. But, before making that move, an employee should seek advice from a qualified Toronto constructive dismissal lawyer.

A claim for constructive dismissal involves proving that your employer made significant and unilateral changes to your employment contract (i.e. your job duties, salary and expectations) which rendered those terms intolerable. This is an extremely complicated and risky legal process that requires the support of an experienced employment law firm.

In Canada, employers are required to respect their employees’ statutory rights. This includes the obligation to provide a workplace free of harassment and violence. Additionally, the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and common law interact to offer a broader scope of protection for employees, allowing a constructive dismissal claim when statutory minimums are respected but the essence of the employment contract is altered.

What is Constructive Dismissal in Canada?

While there is no clear definition of “significant” under the ESA, courts will look at several factors when determining whether an employee has been constructively dismissed. For example, a change in work hours / shift (e.g., moving from 9 to 5 to overnight shifts) or a demotion are both examples of significant changes that could be considered constructive dismissal. Similarly, a significant reduction in compensation, such as a pay cut of more than 10% could also trigger this claim.

To help mitigate the risk of a constructive dismissal claim, employers can implement strategies to ensure their workplace culture is respectful and legally compliant. Providing regular training for HR teams can help prevent unintentional breaches of employment contracts and create a positive working environment.

When changes are made that may be considered a constructive dismissal toronto, an employee has 90 days from the date of termination to file an unjust dismissal complaint with the Labour Program of Canada. If the complaint cannot be resolved at the workplace, it will be referred to the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

At Achkar Law, we are committed to helping both employees and employers understand their rights and obligations under the laws of Ontario. We provide clear, practical advice and strong representation to ensure that our clients’ best interests are protected. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with an experienced employment lawyer in Toronto. We can discuss your specific issues and develop a strategy to move forward. We are focused on finding creative and effective solutions that meet our clients’ needs. We can work with you to resolve your employment matters as quickly and painlessly as possible.


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