Bill 47 brings new constructive dismissal risks for Ontario employers

Reversal of new employment standards changes seen as victory for employers, but rolling them back may not be easy for some
By Seth Holland
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 03/06/2019

The employment standards changes that Ontario’s previous Liberal government enacted caused a lot of uproar and upheaval for employers in the province. And just when everyone was starting to adjust to the changes, the new Progressive Conservative government reversed many of these changes when it took power. The reversal is widely seen as positive for employer, but those who have already implemented the previous changes and their HR departments may face headaches if they want to go back to the way things were – including possible constructive dismissal claims.

Flexibility, operational nimbleness, efficiency, profit and productivity maximization — these are the hallmarks of today’s most successful organizations, and in particular those that challenge for business on a global scale. For employers, living and breathing those values means making difficult operating decisions, especially when it comes to competing in sectors that face cyclical swings in business.

To account for rapidly-shifting economic conditions or to capitalize on key opportunities, business owners, managers and HR professionals are more focused than ever before on deploying their human capital in innovative ways to achieve operational goals. Sometimes that means shifting talent to new positions, changing their terms of work or making other employment alterations that make sense for the company — asking an employee who has long worked flexible hours and multiple days a week from home to be in the office from 9-to-5, Monday through Friday, for example.