July 27, 2017

Wrongful dismissal jurisprudence in Canada helps to define the nature of contemporary employment relationships. Consequently, it is crucial for lawyers, employers and employees to stay up-to-date on key developments in this constantly evolving area. In 2016/2017, Canadian courts released a number of groundbreaking decisions touching upon issues such as non-competition, non-solicitation, notice provisions, bonus entitlements, aggravated and punitive damage awards, resignation, fiduciary employees and the enforceability of termination provisions in employment contracts. In this audio conference, join seasoned counsel as they discuss recent key wrongful dismissal decisions and their implications for workplace parties.


Bonus entitlement

  • Styles v. Alberta Investment Management Corporation (Alberta Court of Appeal) and Paquette v. TeraGo Networks Inc. (Ontario Court of Appeal): When will incentive plan language deprive a wrongfully dismissed employee of a claim for bonus amounts which she or he would have otherwise been entitled to receive during the reasonable notice period? Are the holdings in Styles and Paquette compatible? What does the Alberta Court of Appeal in Styles say about the duty of good faith and without cause dismissals?


  • Avalon Ford Sales (1996) Limited v. Evans (Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal): When is it reasonable for an employer to conclude that an employee has resigned? What if an alleged resignation occurs in the “heat of the moment”? How does the duty of good faith and fair dealings inform the Court of Appeal’s analysis of the law of resignation in Avalon?

Fiduciary employees and resignation without notice

  • Consbec Inc. v. Walker (British Columbia Court of Appeal): What test will courts apply to determine if an employee qualifies as a fiduciary? If an employee resigns without giving notice, will an employer be entitled to claim damages for breach of contract? When, if ever, will the courts award damages for a breach of this nature?

Termination clauses

  • Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd. (Ontario Court of Appeal), Oudin v. Centre Francophone de Toronto (Ontario Court of Appeal) and Covenoho v. Pendylum (Ontario Court of Appeal): When will a termination provision in an employment agreement be found unenforceable for failing to comply with the minimum requirements of employment standards legislation? What were the key factual differences in Wood, Covenoho, and Oudin and why did they lead to different outcomes?

Reasonable notice period

  • Munoz v. Sierra Systems Group Inc. (British Columbia Court of Appeal): What evidence should courts rely upon to assess the availability of similar employment for the purposes of calculating reasonable notice? How should reasonable notice damages be calculated when an employee has opted into a compensation structure under which she or he receives no income during certain periods of the calendar year?

Moral damages and punitive damages

  • MD v. Zochem Inc. (Ontario Court of Appeal) and Ram v. The Michael Lacombe Group Inc. (British Columbia Supreme Court): What factors should the courts take into consideration when awarding moral damages? How does the Ontario Court of Appeal in Zochem describe the relationship between moral damages and human rights damages? When will courts award moral or aggravated damages against an employer for falsely alleging an employee’s dishonesty as a cause for dismissal? When, if ever, will such conduct garner an award of punitive damages?