Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ontario Employment Law: Wrongful Dismissal and Retirement Benefits

In Reinzo v. Washington Mills Electro Minerals Corporations, the Court of Appeal for Ontario answers an important question as concerns an employee's entitlement to benefits during the notice period in a wrongful dismissal action: Do they include employer contributions to the Canada Pension Plan and any employer contributions to Registered Retirement Savings Plan?

The Court's answer: A resounding "yes". After awarding a wrongfully dismissed middle manager with 32 years of service 24 months of pay, the Court turned to benefits, holding as follows:

The appellant [employee] is also entitled to the value of all benefits that would have been available to him during this 24 month period but for the termination of his employment, including all applicable dental and health benefits, employer contributions to the Canada Pension Plan, employer contributions to the appellant’s Registered Retirement Savings Plan and wage increases.
Even though this is a 2005 judicial decision of the Court, it is noteworthy that the Court of Appeal for Ontario's holding on a wrongfully dismissed employee's entitlement to benefits has not been overturned. This means that employers cannot "cherry pick" which benefits to pay a wrongfully dismissed employee; it must pay the value of all benefits that would have been available to the employee during the notice period but for the termination of employment without exception.

If you believe you have been wrongfully dismissed, please contact a lawyer who can advise as to your rights and entitlements both under the Ontario Employment Standards Act and at common law.

- Robert Tanha, Toronto

Visit our Toronto Law Firm website: www.wiselaw.net

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