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Notice Periods

The Purpose of Notice Periods


"Notice Periods" in the area of employment law refer to the time that an employee would need to seek and obtain somewhat similar new employment after being terminated. "Notice Periods" must be honoured by the employer if they are going to terminate the employee "without cause."

To terminate an employee in Ontario "without cause" is not illegal. "Without cause" means that the employer merely wishes to bring the employment agreement to an end. Perhaps the company has been sold, has been restructured, the function that an employee was performing is no longer needed, or the company decided that the function will be performed differently, such as outsourced to a supplier. 

The purpose of "Notice Periods" in Ontario employment law is that they are to give the employee a reasonable amount of time, such that most employees in their position could seek and obtain similar employment at another company. 


How Notice Periods are Calculated

The determination of a reasonable amount of time can first be looked at by referencing what is set out as a minimum amount of time, as defined in the Employment Standards Act.

However, that is only the minimum amount of time that the employer must give, such that if they did not do so, they could be fined or punished in various ways by the Ontario government. The actual “Notice Period” is usually much longer than the minimum.


The determination of a proper "Notice Period" requires a review of the employee’s history, status, age, and even the situation in the marketplace for similar employment. This requires a review of many factors, as well as a review of the law.

Although sometimes a notice period is discussed as one month for each year of employment, this is not necessarily the case, as it may be longer or shorter in various circumstances.


The amount of notice that should be given, either paid or unpaid, is often resolved by negotiation or mediation.


For a no charge consultation, and to obtain a full evaluation, opinion, and legal advice contact DeRusha Law Firm.

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