Employment Law

IFS to acquire Copperleaf Technologies for $1B: Employee rights

A photo of code on a laptop near a window. (Photo: James Harrison / Unsplash)

What’s going on at Copperleaf?

Copperleaf Technologies Inc. (Copperleaf) has entered into a “definitive agreement” to be acquired by IFS AB, a Swedish enterprise software giant, for approximately $1 billion.

In a recent news release, the Vancouver-based tech firm said IFS will pay $12 per share for all of its issued and outstanding common shares.

“This transaction is a great milestone in [our] journey,” Amos Michelson, Chair of Copperleaf, said in the release.

“It’s evidence of IFS’s belief in our organization and recognition of our success, and rewards our shareholders with attractive cash consideration, providing immediate value and liquidity for their shares.”

Copperleaf expects the deal to close in the third quarter of 2024. Following the completion of the transaction, the company’s shares will be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).

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The announcement comes roughly a year after IFS acquired Quebec tech startup Poka Inc.

As Copperleaf prepares to come under new management, here are a few things that non-unionized employees need to be aware of.

Who pays severance if IFS doesn’t keep certain Copperleaf employees?

If Copperleaf’s acquisition by IFS results in you losing your job, then Copperleaf must provide you with full severance pay.

In Canada, the “seller” of the business is responsible for providing proper compensation to staff who lose their job.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains the rights workers have when their employer sells the business on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

If IFS provides you with an employment offer, and you have a good reason for why you don’t want to accept it (i.e. different hours or pay), you might be able to get full severance pay from Copperleaf.

Even without a good reason you can still get severance, but it’s very likely that you will only receive your minimum entitlements.

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How is severance pay calculated?

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

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

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 determine their severance entitlements.

If your company doesn’t provide you with the correct amount, you have been wrongfully dismissed and should seek legal counsel immediately.

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

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Can IFS make major changes to the jobs of Copperleaf employees?

In Canada, non-unionized employees at Copperleaf don’t have to accept substantial changes to their job that IFS might try to enforce.

Major modifications, such as a demotion, longer shifts, or reduced pay, are illegal.

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 contacting our firm.

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New employment contracts for Copperleaf staff

If you work for Copperleaf in Canada, and you receive a new employment contract from IFS, take the time to carefully review it before signing it.

In many cases, these agreements take away key protections that would otherwise be available to non-unionized employees, including:

  • Eliminating past service: The new owner might attempt to reduce or eliminate your years of service with your previous employer. Don’t sacrifice your seniority. Length of service is a key factor when determining how much severance pay you are entitled to.
  • Reducing severance pay: Some employers try to use a termination clause to reduce your severance entitlements to the bare minimum. Instead of months of pay, you might only receive a few weeks’ pay if you are fired without cause or let go.
  • Ability to make changes: The new owner might attempt to add a clause that gives them the right to change aspects of your job (i.e. hours or pay) without your permission or lay you off without penalty.

Employers in Canada can’t legally force non-unionized workers to sign a new employment contract immediately or a few days after receiving it.

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Do Copperleaf staff still have the same workplace rights with a non-Canadian owner?

Yes. Companies outside of Canada can’t use employment contracts to get out of Canadian employment standards legislation.

While IFS is based in Linköping, Sweden, the enterprise software giant still has to adhere to the same employment laws that Copperleaf was required to follow for its Canadian staff.

Received a job offer? Speak with an employment lawyer

Before accepting a new employment contract, have the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP review the agreement to make sure your workplace rights are protected.

Our lawyers in B.C., Alberta, and Ontario have successfully represented tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals.

We can help you better understand the terms of the contract and advise you on how best to navigate the situation.

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