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Can I Be Fired Without Cause in Ontario?

Losing a job is never easy, but it is even more difficult if you are fired through no fault of your own. This type of dismissal leaves some employees wondering – “Can I be fired without cause?” – and the answer is, typically, yes.

When can an employee be fired without cause?

In Ontario, an employee working in a non-unionized environment can be fired without cause at any point of their employment. Whether this is for a change in business needs, shortage of work, restructuring, or another reason, employers have the right to decide if they no longer want to retain an employee’s services. It is important to note that employers are typically not obligated to provide a reason for the dismissal and can end the employment relationship at any time – provided that they adhere to their legal requirements.

What are my entitlements if I am fired without cause?

In a scenario where an employee is fired without cause, employers must provide the employee with the appropriate amount of termination notice or pay in lieu. The appropriate amount of termination notice in Ontario is established in the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), so long as the employment agreement limits the employee’s entitlements to the ESA.

If the employment agreement does not have a termination clause which limits the notice period to the ESA, the employee would be entitled to common law reasonable notice, which then depends on several factors. Some of the most common factors are known as the Bardal Factors, however, there are hundreds of factors which could be deemed relevant and would affect the determination of the reasonable amount of notice under common law.

What if my dismissal was discriminatory?

If an employee believes that they have been fired without cause, and that there was a discriminatory motivation behind the dismissal, the employee may be able to bring an action with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”). If the dismissal was based on any of the protected grounds found in Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the dismissal may be found to be discriminatory, and the employee would then be entitled to damages.

Contact Us

If you are an employee who would like to have your termination package reviewed or feel that you have been discriminated against, or an employer who needs assistance with a termination package, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at 1 (800)771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with same day response, visit our CLO Program page for our strategic solutions.