Employment Law

Canadians willing to delay retirement if hours, stress reduced, survey finds


As a growing number of Canadians inch closer to retirement, a recent survey from Statistics Canada (StatsCan) found that more than half are willing to keep working — if their employer is open to making some modifications.

According to StatsCan’s June Labour Force Survey, 55.1 per cent of respondents would extend their working life if they were able to transition to part-time employment.

When it came to the specific changes that employees would like made, researchers found:

  • Nearly 49 per cent would stay on the job if they could work fewer hours without it affecting their pension
  • 43 per cent will keep working if they can transfer to a less stressful or physically demanding position
  • 37.6 per cent are open to extending  their career if they are offered “more interesting work”

The survey also revealed that 34.2 per cent of Canadians would be motivated to keep working if their boss gave them a raise.

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If you are thinking about putting off your retirement, here are a few things that non-unionized employees in Canada need to be aware of.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains the rights that older employees in Canada have on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

Your boss can’t make major changes to your job without your consent

In most cases, employers in Canada can’t make major modifications to a non-unionized worker’s job unless they get approval from the individual.

This includes employees working full-time, part-time, or hourly in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C.

Exceptions: There are some situations where your boss might be able to alter the terms of your employment without breaching your rights:

  • You signed an employment contract that gives the company permission to make changes to your job
  • Your employer gave you reasonable notice of the modification

When significant adjustments are made to the terms of your employment without your consent, there is a very good chance that you can treat it as a constructive dismissal.

In this situation, the law allows you to quit your job and pursue full severance pay.

If you believe that you have been constructively dismissed, don’t resign before speaking with an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

• Job changes in Ontario: Employee rights
• Changes to your employment in B.C.
• What happens when your job is changed in Alberta?

How is severance pay calculated?

Severance for non-unionized employees in Canada can be as much as 24 months’ pay.

The amount of compensation you are entitled to is calculated using several factors, including:

  • Age
  • Length of service
  • Position at the company
  • Ability to find new work

To figure out how much you could be owed, use our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians understand their severance entitlements.

If your company doesn’t provide you with the correct amount, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact our firm immediately.

We regularly resolve wrongful dismissal claims and can help you secure proper severance.

• Should I negotiate my own severance package in Ontario?
• Negotiating severance in Alberta: Employee rights
• Severance negotiations in B.C.: What employees need to know

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Your boss can’t force you to accept a new employment contract immediately

Many non-unionized workers in Canada believe that they have to sign a new employment contract from their employer as soon as possible. However, this isn’t true.

If your boss provides you with a new agreement, don’t sign anything before speaking with our firm.

The company can’t legally force you to accept it immediately or even a few days after it was provided to you.

Employment contracts often take away key protections that would otherwise be available to you.

Your employer might add a clause that allows them to limit your severance package to a few weeks’ pay or make substantial changes to your job.

We can review the agreement and make sure that your workplace rights are properly protected.

• Starting a new job? Here’s how an employment contract could limit your rights
• ’60 days or more’: Is it an enforceable termination clause?
• Employment Law Show: 5 things to know about employment contracts

Validating a new agreement

In order to validate a new employment contract, employers in Canada must provide non-unionized workers with an additional “benefit”.

Potential benefits could include:

  • A signing bonus
  • Extra vacation days
  • More flexibility working remotely

If your company didn’t include an additional benefit in the new agreement, or you aren’t sure that one has been provided, don’t sign anything before contacting Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Your boss can’t force you to retire

In Canada, it’s illegal for non-unionized employees to be discriminated against based on protected aspects, including:

If your boss is pressuring you to retire, document their attempts. Keep any letters, emails, or text messages that show how the company is influencing you to step down.

In this situation, it’s very likely that you would have grounds for a constructive dismissal claim as well as a human rights complaint.

An experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP can inform you of your legal options and help you secure the compensation you deserve.

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Filing a human rights complaint

In addition to a constructive dismissal claim, non-unionized employees in Canada can file a human rights complaint if they experience harassment or discrimination at work.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Alberta Human Rights Commission, and B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, are examples of organizations that are responsible for dealing with complaints pertaining to their province’s human rights legislation.

Successful human rights complaints can result in compensation for the individual who experienced discrimination.

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Your boss can’t fire you for refusing to retire

Firing a non-unionized employee in Canada for refusing to retire is discriminatory and violates their human rights.

However, employers can let staff go for any reason, as long as:

  • They are provided full severance pay
  • The reasons for their dismissal aren’t discriminatory

This is known as a termination without cause. If one or both of these conditions aren’t met, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should take legal action.

Fired “for cause”?

It would also be illegal for your boss to fire you for cause if you refused to retire, which would mean no severance package or access to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

Considered the “capital punishment” of employment law, it’s reserved for the worst kinds of workplace transgressions, such as serious insubordination, theft, or assault.

Not only does the company have to prove progressive disciplinary measures were applied, but that a lesser penalty wouldn’t be acceptable, which is very hard to do.

Severance pay for provincially regulated employees
Rights to severance for federally regulated employees
Employment Law Show: Facts about the termination process

Lost your job? Speak with an employment lawyer

If you are fired or let go for any reason, or believe your human rights have been violated, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have helped tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals resolve their workplace issues.

We can review your situation, enforce your rights, and ensure that you receive the compensation you are legally entitled to.

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