Employment Law

Severance for provincially regulated employees


A provincially regulated employee is a worker whose labour and workplace rights are governed by employment legislation specific to their province.

Examples include:

This legislation establishes the rights and responsibilities for employees and employers in the province, including minimum wage, statutory holidays, health and safety rules, leaves of absence, and severance pay.

Provincially regulated employees make up approximately 94 per cent of Canada’s workforce. The remaining six per cent work for federally regulated employers.

Severance pay for provincially regulated employees

Under common law, provincially regulated employees working full-time, part-time, and hourly in Canada can get up to 24 months of severance pay when they are fired without cause or let go. If you are fired for cause, you are likely still entitled to compensation.

Severance is calculated using a number of factors, including:

  • Age
  • Position
  • Length of service
  • Ability to find new work

Employers often incorrectly calculate severance pay for provincially regulated workers. There is a belief that compensation is one or two week’s pay, or a week for every year of service an employee has with the company.

The truth is that this formula might only cover the minimum amount owed under provincial legislation.

• Severance Pay in Ontario
Severance packages in Alberta
• Understanding severance in B.C.

To figure out how much compensation you are entitled to, use our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator tool through our Pocket Employment Lawyer.

WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains everything you need to know about severance pay on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

All non-unionized employees in Canada are entitled to severance pay during the COVID-19 pandemic if they are terminated or let go from their job. Companies don’t have the option of “suspending” their legal obligations due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Don’t sign on the dotted line!

Do not accept any severance offer, termination papers or exit agreement that your employer may provide you with. Once you sign back these documents, you eliminate your ability to negotiate a fair and proper severance package.

Severance packages for federally regulated employees

Wrongfully dismissed?

If you are a provincially regulated employee who lost your job, there is a chance that you have been wrongfully dismissed. A wrongful dismissal in Canada happens when you are fired or permanently laid off by your employer, but not given a proper severance package.

What you should receive is based on many factors. An employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP can analyze your situation and explain how much compensation you may be owed.

Wrongful Dismissal in Ontario
Understanding Wrongful Dismissal in Alberta
What you need to know about Wrongful Dismissal in B.C.

Changes to your job

Provincially regulated employees don’t have to accept major changes to their job. Large modifications such as a demotion, cut in pay, reduction in hours, or negative change to commission are illegal.

When the terms of your employment are significantly changed, the law allows you to resign from your job and seek full severance pay through a constructive dismissal claim.

Ontario and changes to your job
Changes to your employment in Alberta
Can your employer change your job in B.C.?

Fired? Laid Off?

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Temporary layoffs

Temporary layoffs occur when an employer significantly reduces or completely stops an employee’s employment. There is usually a mutual understanding from both sides that the employee will be called back to work, to the same position, after a reasonable period of time.

It is important for provincially regulated employees to understand that temporary layoffs are considered illegal, unless you agree to the layoff or it is addressed in your employment contract.

You have the option to wait to be called back, or can treat this as a termination through a constructive dismissal and pursue severance.


Provincially regulated employeesdon’t have to tolerate any form of harassment in the workplace, from either coworkers or managers.

Employers must investigate and respond appropriately to allegations of harassment and abuse.

If your employer is creating, or allows for the creation of, a hostile or toxic work environment, this can be grounds for a constructive dismissal.

Contact an employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin today to explore your rights.

Independent contractor? Think again

If you were hired by a provincially regulated company as an independent contractor, there is a significant chance that you should actually be considered an employee.

Employers may misclassify employees as contractors to avoid acknowledging certain employment rights, like minimum wage, vacation and overtime pay, and severance when the individual is fired.

An employer can’t avoid the issue by having their worker sign an employment contract which indicates that they are a contractor rather than an employee. Our legal system provides guidelines for determining whether someone is a contractor or employee.

Use Samfiru Tumarkin LLP’s Pocket Employment Lawyer to find out what you are right now.

Fired for medical reasons

If your medical condition was in any way a factor in your employer’s decision to fire you while you are on leave, you may be able to file a human rights claim. Your employer can’t let you go due to medical issues or a disability.

If a provincially regulated employee is terminated without cause for reasons unrelated to their medical leave or disability, this is legally permissible, as long as the employer provides them with proper severance pay.

An employer can also legally terminate their employee while on medical leave if the worker is:

  • Dismissed for reasons that sufficiently establish just cause
  • The employee’s employment contract has been frustrated

Employment lawyers for provincially regulated employees

Our employment lawyers have helped tens of thousands of individuals across Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. enforce their rights. With employment lawyers in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver, we stand ready to help you solve your workplace issues.

If you are a provincially regulated employee who needs help with an employment issue, contact us or call 1-855-821-5900 to get the advice you need, and the compensation you deserve.

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Our employment lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia are ready to provide you with the advice you need and the compensation you deserve

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Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. We are one of Canada's most experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firms. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.

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