Employment Law

Telus layoffs: 150 Ontario call centre employees face relocation or termination


What’s happening at Telus?

Telus has informed approximately unionized 150 call centre employees in Ontario that they must either relocate by October, apply for another role within the company, or agree to be laid off.

This decision, as reported by the Canadian Press, is part of a broader reorganization plan affecting around 1,000 call centre employees across Canada.

More details

  • Return To Office: The reorganization, communicated internally on Wednesday, requires remote customer service agents to return to the office three days a week.
  • Barrie Closure: Telus is closing its Barrie location, which previously housed its Ontario contact centre. According to spokesperson Brandi Merker, this decision came after a “thoughtful review of our real estate.”
  • Voluntary Departure Packages: Those who choose to relocate will receive financial support, and the voluntary separation package.
  • Past Layoff: This move follows Telus’s announcement last August to cut 6,000 jobs and a recent cut in March, citing the need to adapt to a “rapidly transforming industry” and challenges such as regulation and competition.

Union decries “backdoor termination”

The United Steelworkers Local 1944, which represents the affected workers, expressed concern over the relocation requirement. The union described the move as a “backdoor termination” tactic by Telus to reduce its workforce.

Do you have to accept a Voluntary Departure Package?

No, non-unionized employees do not have to accept a Voluntary Departure Package. A Voluntary Departure Package is an offer from your employer to leave the company in exchange for compensation, or severance pay. It is entirely optional and based on your personal situation and career goals.

  • Note: These packages often fall well short of the full compensation non-unionized employees are owed by law. If you decline, you can continue working under the current terms or negotiate different terms with your employer.

Do you have to relocate to a new office?

No. Generally speaking, your employer can’t force you to relocate to another office or workplace if the move significantly increases your commute time or requires major changes to your life.

In Ontario, it is illegal for an employer to make fundamental changes to a non-unionized employee’s job without consent. Significant changes to employment terms, such as location or compensation, can be treated as a termination, entitling the employee to a full severance package. This is called a constructive dismissal.

However, you should not take any action in this situation without first seeking legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

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Severance offers and deadlines

Before accepting a severance offer, double-check the amount using our firm’s free Severance Pay Calculator. It has helped millions of Canadians determine their entitlements.

In addition to your salary, make sure to factor in any other elements of your compensation (i.e. bonuses, commission, etc.).

If your employer’s offer falls short of what our Severance Pay Calculator says you are owed, it’s very likely that you have been wrongfully dismissed and should contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

Non-unionized employees in Canada have up to two years from the date of their dismissal to pursue proper severance pay. An employer’s deadline to sign back a severance offer is not legally enforceable or binding.

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Lost your job? Talk to an employment lawyer

If you are a non-unionized employee, and have been fired or let go for any reason, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.

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

In addition to severance package negotiations, we can assist you on a broad range of employment matters, including:

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

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