Employment Standards Act awards are minimum entitlements, not damages

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Boland v. APV Canada Inc., 2005 CarswellOnt 532 (Ont. Div. Ct.)

An Ontario court has reversed a lower court ruling that entitlements under the Employment Standards Act cannot be claimed in a civil action and can only be obtained administratively.

Patrick Boland worked for 12 years for a company until it was sold. He was offered a position with the new company, but declined it because his seniority wasn’t recognized. His employment was terminated, and within three weeks he found another job. On termination he received some but not all of the minimum entitlements he was due under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). He launched an action claiming both damages for wrongful dismissal and the balance of his entitlements under the ESA. He did not file any complaints under ESA’s administrative scheme, which caps a successful claimant’s award at $10,000.