Employment Law

Aurora Cannabis lays off 700 employees, permanently closes five facilities

Aurora Cannabis lays off over 700 employees and closes five facilities

Aurora Cannabis announced on Tuesday that it is slashing its workforce and closing multiple facilities in an effort to realign its operations. The cannabis industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, along with a lack of retail opportunities in Canada.

The Edmonton-based marijuana company is laying off its selling, general and administrative staff by 25 per cent, effective immediately. An additional 30 per cent will be let go over the next two quarters, and will include production staff.

In all, around 700 employees will be fired, and five facilities will be permanently closed.

Michael Singer, Aurora Cannabis’ executive chairman and interim chief executive, stated that the move was not merely a cost cutting exercise.

“We have undertaken a strategic realignment of our operations to protect Aurora’s position as a leader in key global cannabinoid markets, most notable Canada,” he said in a statement.

Severance Pay Facts

Aurora Cannabis employees in Ontario, British Columbia or Alberta who have been laid off or terminated have employment rights, especially concerning the severance pay they are owed.

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All non-unionized employees should consult with an employment lawyer to understand their entitlements to severance pay if they have been let go from their position as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A company cannot “suspend” their legal obligations due to the current coronavirus outbreak.

If a non-unionized employee is let go from their job, they must be provided with the proper amount of severance pay.

Many companies may assume that their employees are largely unaware of their own employment rights, whether under a provincial legislation or common law. On the other hand, it is also quite plausible that employers are legitimately unaware of their obligations to workers during the termination process.

How to properly calculate severance pay

Another common misconception concerns how severance pay is calculated. Many believe that severance pay is comprised of a week or two weeks for every year of service an employee has with the company. While this formula does hold true when determining an individual’s MINIMUM severance pay amounts, they are often entitled to more.

Most workplaces in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta are governed by their respective Employment Standards legislation. These rules set the least amount of compensation that an employee should receive when let go from their job.

When reviewing a person’s complete severance package entitlements, it is crucial to do so using “common law” methods. Our court system determines what compensation a worker should receive once they have lost their job. For non-unionized employees, the main factors of termination pay are age, length of service, position, and ability to find new work. When considering all of these factors, an employee could be entitled to up to 24 months of severance pay. 

Use our helpful Severance Pay Calculator to determine your severance pay range. A consultation with an employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP will help you understand your rights, and get the compensation you deserve.

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