Benefits during the notice period

Employers should be aware that not only is the statutory minimum notice usually not good enough, but it involves more than just wages
By Lisa Stam
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 04/12/2017

The various employment acts and codes across the country set out the minimum statutory requirements for providing termination notice or pay in lieu of notice. The required minimum statutory notice period will range from one to eight weeks, depending on the length of service of the employee and the province. Courts will almost always award more in a successful wrongful dismissal suit than the minimum required by statute, known as the common law amount. But what are an employer’s legal obligations during the notice period besides payment of wages?

As every HR professional already knows, terminating an employee’s employment without cause in Canada comes at a price. And termination “for cause” is almost always impossible in the absence of fraud, violence, or selling the owner’s first-born child.

Employment statutes in Canada require an employer to pay wages or salary for the notice period, as well as to continue benefit contributions. In Ontario, for example, the Employment Standards Act requires an employer to continue the employee’s wages and to “continue to make whatever benefit contributions would be required to be made in order to maintain the employee’s benefits under the plan until the end of the notice period.”