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So You’ve Been Fired in Ontario, Now What?

Being fired, terminated, or dismissed from your employment is never easy and will almost always have some level of an emotional impact. When it comes to a without cause dismissal in Ontario, it is important for an employee to know what steps to take when faced with the dismissal of their employment. If an employee is not prepared, they may miss out on compensation owed to them without realizing it or miss out on an opportunity to obtain a greater offer from the now-former employer. Both employees and employers should familiarize themselves with the Employment Standards Act, as it outlines various legislative minimums when it comes to employee compensation and notice of pay in lieu of compensation. 

Clarifying the Type of Dismissal

If you have been fired in Ontario, the first thing to do is to clarify whether the dismissal is with or without cause. Normally, this should be specified in a termination letter, but on some occasions, the termination letter may be left unclear or a termination letter may not be provided at all. In these instances, you will have to look at whether the former employer has provided a notice period or pay in lieu of notice or not upon the dismissal.

If notice or pay in lieu of notice was provided, the employer likely intended to dismiss the employment without cause. If the employee does not receive entitlements upon their dismissal, the employer may be alleging just cause. It is important to note, however, that just cause is difficult to prove and such an argument would be undermined if the decision for termination was unclear or ambiguous.

The Full and Final Release

Employers will often provide an employee with a full and final release upon the dismissal of their employment, in other words. A full and final release serves as an agreement not to bring a claim or any other form of legal action against the employer related to the employee’s employment.

While employees cannot be forced to sign a full and final release, as the signature must be provided voluntarily and not under duress, employers may sometimes provide extra compensation on top of any dismissal entitlements in exchange for the employee signing.

Once a full and final release has been voluntarily signed, it can be extremely difficult to have it set aside if the employee later decides they want to bring a claim against the company. As such, you should never sign a full and final release immediately upon being terminated or dismissed and instead should first have your employer’s dismissal offer reviewed by an employment lawyer. The dismissed employee may be entitled to more than the employer has offered.

Gathering Documents After Having Been Fired in Ontario

Upon being fired in Ontario, it is useful to gather any documents that may be helpful in the event the employee later decides to bring a wrongful dismissal claim or human rights application against the employer. Having documentary evidence makes it easier to prove any allegations rather than relying on subjective credibility.

Contact Us

If you are an employee whose employment has been fired, terminated or dismissed, or an employer that has terminated an employee, and want to know more about your rights and options, 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, visit our CLO program page for our strategic solutions.


Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as, or should be construed as legal advice, and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call 1-(800)771-7882, or email [email protected].