We recently had a record-breaking (for us anyway) attendance to our webinar: “Wrongful Dismissal and the Changes to the Rules of Court.” Its also a topic we blogged about a couple weeks back, and I’d like to share some of the highlights from the webinar with you.
First some background to bring us up to speed. On January 1, 2010 the Rules of Court for small claims will be changing in Canada. Here is a brief highlight of the changes:
- Small Claims court limits have increased from 10K to $25k
- Damages doubled from $50k to $100k for claims under the Simplified Procedure rule
- Other changes to the Simplified procedures rule are being introduced to speed up claims and reduce costs for claimants
In other words, more cases will be processed in Small Claims Court, which don’t require a lawyer, costs will be reduced for a disgruntled employee to pursue a claim against their employer. And now more claims (up to 100K) can now be pursued under the simplified procedure rule that was previously reserved for claims up to 50K. The additional changes to this rule relating to motions for summary judgement, timeframes for discovery, etc will further speed up the legal process for employees who want to “have their day in court.”
These rule changes mean Ontario business could potentially get hauled off to court more often and have bigger judgements awarded against them. However, employers still have plenty of options to keep these costs/risks to a minimum.
- Tighten up your employment contracts. Beyond including confidentiality, non-disclosure, non-compete and IP agreements – have termination clauses included that are specific to each employee, and meet legal minimum standards.
- Have an employee handbook with policies you preach and practice! (Paper trails are your best friend)
- As Elvis said, “Don’t be cruel” when it comes time to terminate. Play fair, play nice, and have a little heart.
Give us a shout if you would like some assistance preparing you business for these changes