Duration and enforceability of restrictive covenants

Reasonalble time periods for non-competition and non-solicitation clauses
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 12/11/2013

Question: What would be a reasonable time period for a non-competition or non-solicitation clause? If an employee agrees to and signs such an agreement, can it still be ruled unenforceable?

Answer: The enforceability of a restrictive covenant depends on many factors, including the wording of the clause, the position of the employee and the legitimate interests of the employer.

A restrictive covenant is a term in an employment contract that expressly limits post-employment activities. The broadest type of restrictive covenant is a non-competition clause — it prohibits an employee from competing with her former employer within a certain geographic area and time period. A non-solicitation clause, on the other hand, prevents an employee from soliciting her former employer’s clients for a specified period, but does not place restrictions on where she may work.