When you hire new employees, how do you make sure they are made aware of policies and procedures within the company? How do you make sure they know what is expected of them as an employee within your company? The Company Handbook is how.
Important topics to be covered in the Handbook vary depending on your business, but all employers are required to have certain policies such as an Non-Discrimination Policy, a Harassment Policy, and a Workplace Violence Policy. The Handbook should also set out the compliant procedure, inform of any benefit programs, scheduling vacation days, performance review, cell phones and internet use in the workplace, in addition to any dress codes within your company. These are just a few of a number of topics that should be set out.
Everything that an employee will need to know should be contained within that Handbook. Additionally, you will want to make sure the employee signs an Acknowledgment that they have read and understood the Handbook so that there is no misunderstanding if the relationship is terminated later on.
The Employee Handbook is just as important as having new employees sign Employment Contracts. This can protect your Company from any issues down the road if an employee attempts to claim that they were not aware of a company policy.
Creating an Employee Handbook can be time consuming, but once it’s done, it is just a matter of updating required sections like updating the Ministry of Labour poster that was released on January 1, 2018.
When we are looking to sign a contract, it is easy to become lost in the business details to ensure that the key contract terms reflect business discussions and expectations.
Although it is important to ensure that the key contract terms are accurate as you enter into a new contractual relationship, what happens if things do not work out as planned after you have signed on the dotted line? Do you know where the exits are in the contract if you need to terminate and get out of the agreement?
An important section of the contract that can be overlooked is the termination provision. A termination clause sets out different scenarios of when the parties may end their legal relationship and stop fulfilling their obligations under the agreement. The scenarios can be crafted creatively to cover or offset certain risks if the agreement is indeed terminated.
For example, one party who is investing a lot of money early in the relationship may only allow the other party to terminate the contract at will after a certain period of time has passed so that the investing party has sufficient time to recoup their investment before the agreement is terminated at will. Another example is to impose a longer termination notice requirement on the terminating party so that the non-terminating party has enough time to get their operations in order by the time the agreement ends.
If you have any concerns of getting out of a contract or if you are contemplating entering into a new contract and need help in navigating the exit signs, we are here to assist and happy to answer any questions you may have.
Michelle Eames, LLB, LLM
Often we are asked by clients to register Construction Liens for them. This generally is not a problem, except for when we find out that the day of last attendance at the construction site was 44 days ago. Why is that a problem? Because of the due diligence searches that law firms do before registering a Construction Lien. Sometimes the property cannot be located on the online Registry System (Teranet) as the address known to the client is different than how it was inputted into Teranet. For this reason you need keep an close eye on your timelines and ensure you give enough notice to the ones preparing the Liens.
You have 45 days from the date of last attendance to register your Construction Lien in the Land Registry Office. If you are outside of your 45 days, then your Lien has expired and your course of action would be suing in the Court system. If you have registered the Lien within the 45 days, you then have another 45 days to perfect your Lien by issuing and registering a Certificate of Action.
Currently, Construction Liens are commenced through the Superior Court, even if the amount you are seeking is under $25,000.00. For many, this may not be worth it as only a lawyer can attend on these matters and not a paralegal. They may choose the Small Claims Court jurisdiction if the amounts are lower than $25,000.00 to recover their losses as it is more cost effective.
Good news: On December 5, 2017, Ontario passed legislation to improve the efficiency of the Construction Lien process and referring Liens under $25,000.00 to the Small Claims Court.
When will this come into effect? We aren’t sure, however, this is great news for our clients with smaller lien amounts and is more cost effective for them.
Christine Allan, Law Clerk