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Cassels Brock Wins Appeal Which Restores Important Principle of Employment Law


On September 19, 2018, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Wood v. CTS of Canada Co. The decision restores the important distinction between common law reasonable notice and the minimum notice provisions of the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”).

After CTS closed a plant, terminated employees brought a class action arguing that CTS should have provided the prescribed Form 1 notice of mass termination to the Ministry of Labour when they provided working notice more than 14 months before the closure. The motions judge agreed and invalidated more than 14 months of working notice.  At the time, this was viewed as a significant encroachment on the distinction between the minimum notice requirements of the ESA and the implied obligation to provide reasonable notice at common law.

Cassels Brock represented CTS in the appeal and successfully argued that the motions judge erred on the Form 1 issue. Associate Chief Justice Hoy concluded that Form 1 notice is only required for the statutorily prescribed period highlighting that the purpose of the ESA is to provide minimum standards, and not to impose further requirements which could affect common law notice.

CTS was represented by Timothy Pinos, Kristin Taylor, Caitlin Russell and Pamela Hinman. A copy of the decision is available here.

RELATED EXPERTISE: Employment & Labour | Litigation