Employer cannot avoid contractual obligations

|Canadian Employment Law Today

Coldmatic Refrigeration of Canada Ltd., a wholesaler of industrial refrigeration equipment based in Ontario, coveted the business of Bel-Par Industries Ltd., a competitor based in British Columbia. After its failed attempts to purchase Bel-Air, Coldmatic approached Frank Islip, Bel-Par’s refrigeration-division manager to try to hire him away.

Mr. Islip was interested in joining Coldmatic and had several discussions with George Zafir, Coldmatic’s president and principal shareholder. In May 1999 at the request of Mr. Zafir, Mr. Islip made a written employment proposal to Coldmatic.

In the proposal Mr. Islip indicated that his current salary with Bel-Part was $75,000 and he left blank the new salary to be paid by Coldmatic. His proposal also provided that Coldmatic would supply Mr. Islip with a pickup truck, the style and model of his choice. At the end of the contract Mr. Islip would have the option to purchase the vehicle for the price of $1. The proposal was for a two-year minimum contract.