Frequently Asked Questions

Canadian Legal questions & answers from KCY at LAW, Ontario employment law specialists.
Learn about common legal terms & phrases below, click on a topic to expand.

What documents do I need to bring to the Lawyers office?

Everything you have related to your incident. The more information you provide to the lawyer at the first meeting, the better the advice the lawyer will be able to provide. To ensure your lawyer thoroughly understands your problem and can provide you with proper legal advice as swiftly as possible, it’s a good idea to put together any relevant paperwork to bring to the meeting, putting it in some sort of order so you can refer to it quickly. What paperwork you need depends to a certain extent on the nature of your problem but there are some pieces of documentation which will always be useful at the first meeting, such as valid photo identification in the form of a driver’s license, a valid health card, and/or any alternate acceptable identification.

If this is an employment consultation as a result of your termination you will need to bring your termination package and any employment contracts you have signed.

Will I have to release personal information to my lawyer?

Absolutely you will. However, it is kept strictly confidential and will not be exposed publically at all. This may include the release of medical records, employment information, and any information relating to income. This information is necessary in order for your lawyer to have access to as many details as possible in order to build the best case on your behalf.

How do I know if my severance package is adequate?

Employees who receive enough written notice of their dismissal are not entitled to any further pay instead of notice (sometimes called “notice pay”). However, employees who are terminated without any, or enough, notice are entitled to notice pay under the Employment Standards Act as well as the common law. Notice pay is intended to put you in the same position you would have been in if you had received proper working notice. Notice pay includes lost wages and vacation pay. It may also include other employment benefits (like bonuses) that would have been paid during the notice period. You have a duty to look for other work with a comparable level of compensation. If you find such work during the notice period, the employer may try to get some of the notice pay back from you – because you won’t be unemployed for the whole notice period that the notice pay covers. This is called a “clawback clause”.

Can my job be changed without my consent?

In certain circumstances, fundamental changes to one’s job will constitute a constructive dismissal and will entitle an employee whose job has been changed to leave his or her employment and provide to him/her what he/she would be entitled to if he/she had been terminated without cause. However, not every change to your job triggers a constructive dismissal. Things like a demotion, reduced responsibilities, a reduction in income, a change in working hours, or a geographic transfer are some examples of what may constitute a constructive dismissal.

What are my legal rights if I am fired through no fault of my own?

Your legal rights arise under both the Employment Standards Act as well as the common law and you need to come to our law firm to get independent legal advice. Please contact us at (905) 639-0999 and ask for Kathy Chitley-Young.

Can an employment lawyer represent me at the Human Rights Tribunal and/or Ministry of Labour?

Yes, and it is a wise decision to do so. Contact our firm and see if your case requires our representation.

What is constructive dismissal?

In employment law, constructive dismissal, also called constructive discharge or constructive termination, occurs when an employee resigns as a result of the employer creating a hostile work environment. Since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is in effect a termination.

What is a limitation period?

All legal proceedings must be commenced within a certain period of time set out by legislation. The time period in which an action can be brought is called a limitation period. Generally, in Ontario, a limitation period is two years, although there are particular statutes that dictate a different limitation period and you need to contact a lawyer immediately so that you are ensured you do not miss a limitation period or you will forever be barred from compensation.

Do I have to pay a retainer fee?

Yes you will be required to provide a retainer fee. Contact KCY at LAW to discuss our fees and services.

What does litigation mean?

Litigation is the process of bringing disputes to court to have them resolved by the court on the basis of evidence presented by those involved in the dispute.

What is a Statement of Claim?

To start the litigation process, the person who has been harmed, the Plaintiff’s lawyer prepares a statement of claim.  The statement of claim describes the facts and the legal reasoning that the Plaintiff says he or she is entitled to compensation from the other person, the Defendant.

How long do I have to file a claim?

For most lawsuits in Ontario, the claim must be issued within two years of the Plaintiff learning about the harm caused by the Defendant.  However, there are different limitation periods for certain types of claims. Your lawyer is in the best position to tell you when the limitation period expires after a discussion about the facts.

What are Examinations for Discovery?

An examination for discovery is an important part of almost every civil lawsuit. It is a process which lawyers for each of the parties questions the other parties, under oath, about the matters involved in the lawsuit. Examinations for discovery help each party find out about the other side’s case in the lawsuit. It is hoped that this will promote settlement of differences and save expensive trial time.

What is a Pre-trial?

Pre-trials allow for the parties involved in the litigation process to further identify or narrow the issues that may be raised during trial. They may also be used as a means to encourage settlement by a judge.