When layoff becomes termination: Getting it right from the start

Navigating the complex rules that determine layoffs and terminations
By Amandi Esonwanne
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/08/2014

The term “layoff” is often used interchangeably with “termination” and “dismissal,” but the fact is that, legally, it means something quite different. While the term more accurately refers to a temporary arrangement — either until there is work again or at least providing the opportunity to see if there will be more work before finalizing things — employers can get into trouble if they treat what is in reality a termination as a layoff.

If an employer has a business where the work schedule can be uneven and laying off employees is a possibility, it needs to be on top of the applicable legislation in its jurisdiction — or the wording of its collective agreement, if it’s a unionized workplace. Employment lawyer Amandi Esonwanne takes a look at layoffs, terminations, and the importance of getting it right from the start.