You’ve probably heard it before: before you can terminate an employee who doesn’t have a contract, you must give them at least “reasonable notice” under the common law. The common law general rule of thumb is about 1 month for every year of service they have provided, give or take a number of considerations (e.g. their age, skill level, seniority, ability to find work elsewhere, opportunity to mitigate their damages, etc.). Now, the common law, for quite some time, was capped at around 24 months.
That was, until the 2011 decision of Hussain v. Suzuki Canada Ltd.  O.J. No. 6355. In that case, Syed Hussain had worked for Suzuki Canada for 36 years and was almost 65 years old when he was terminated without cause. He held many different positions (e.g. assistant warehouse supervisor), which was a very important and valuable job. His job with Suzuki was full time and he had only worked there since coming to Canada in 1974. Suzuki decided to terminate his job as a result of restructuring due to economic issues. It tried to give him 9 months’ worth of notice. Hussain sued.
At trial, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had to determine how much notice Hussain was entitled to. With respect to the commonly believed limit of 24 months, the Court held that: ”
4 While there is no cap on the amount of reasonable notice of employment termination to which an employee may be entitled, and each case must be considered on its own particular circumstances, 24 months is usually the higher end of the range unless generally there are exceptional circumstances: Di Tomaso v. Crown Metal Packaging Canada LP, 2011 ONCA 469 (Ont. C.A.), at para. 11.
5 In my view, while each factor on its own may not be exceptional, the combination of all of the above factors amount to the kind of exceptional circumstances that warrant a 26 month notice period.
WOW! 26 months! And then guess what happened? In the recent case of Keenan v. Canac Kitchens Ltd., 2016 ONCA 79, which just came out last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal handed down another 26 month notice of termination judgement. In that case, Lawrence Keenan and Marily Keenan worked for Canac for approximately 32 and 25 years respectively (their average length of service was 28.5 years). They were 63 and 61 years old when they were terminated. They held supervisory, responsible positions. And for their entire working lives they earned income from Canac and relied upon it to support their family. In these circumstances, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge’s finding of 26 months’ notice was reasonable.
Bottom line: say goodbye to the 24 month limit in certain situations. These cases show that Courts will go beyond this upper limit because of the employee’s age and long-standing service, and inability to find replacement work.
Bottom line: an employer dentist can and should limit their liability when it comes to notice of termination by having a experienced dental law lawyer put team members on notice and slowly introduce employment agreements.
Please note that this information is not legal advice and should not be relied upon without consulting an experienced dental lawyer. This information is provided for educational purposes only. If you require legal advice, please contact me.
This has been a long-time in the making… On October 16 / 17, we packed a bus full of dentists to go from Toronto to Niagara Falls to enjoy some great food, wine, and company. In my humble opinion: it was a great success. Everyone enjoyed themselves and I believe new friendships were formed. We visited 4 wineries (Southbrook Vineywards, Pelleteri winery, Trius Winery, Peller Estates) and had a sumptuous five-course meal at Peller Estates before heading to the Casino and then retiring to the Hilton.
FYI, the participants included: Michael Carabash, David Mayzel, Dr. Hans Viergever and Barb Viergever, Dr. Norman Falk and Harriet Falk, Dr. Arthur Train and Ruth Train, Dr. Bob Lubin and Katie Lubin, Dr. Paul Shutsa and Dr. Diane Smith, Dr. Larry Rotman and Shelley Rotman, Dr. Dagmar Justa, Dr. Seema Steffens and Nelson Steffens, Dr. Cesare Franzoi and Deborah Franzoi, Dr. Arsalan Poorsin and Melody Shahidi, Dr. Deborah Williams and Mark Coombs, Dr. Gintare Sungaila and Oscar Valverde, Dr. Marija Ilic and Zvonko Ilic, Dr. Minola Diacicov-Negrini and Sorin Diacicov-Negrini, and Danielle Martin.
Here are some pics… (FYI: notice something in the second last picture? That’s right… “Team Triple P” lives on).
Some might even dare to say: “Now That’s a Group of Internationally Good-Looking People!”
Our friend Julie Lyons-Wolfe of The Handpiece Clinic Inc. has put together a great and FREE seminar for dentists which I will be presenting at. If you live / work in Ottawa and have Friday, September 25, 2015 off, then you should definitely come and get educated (and eat some free food). The details of this event (called “(UN)tied From The Chair Conference“) are as follows:
Where: Orange Art Gallery, 290 City Centre Avenue, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1R 7R7
When: Friday, September 25, 2015.
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Who is it for: Dentists
Who is presenting? Me + Julie Lyons-Wolfe + other professionals
My presentation: Buying / Selling a Practice + Volunteering in Jamaica (of course!)
Why Attend? Get educated, get protected, learn how to save / make money, have fun, meet new people.
Here is more information about the event from Julie Lyons-Wolfe:
I would like to extend to you an invitation to be my guest at the First Annual (Un)Tied From The Chair conference on September 25th.
Held at the prestigious Orange Art Gallery, this invitation only event will feature industry thought leaders from the legal, financial and operations world, who will inform, engage and empower you to take your practice and future to the next level.
Please note that the morning will start off with a meet and greet including coffee and danish. A buffet lunch will also be served at noon. All attendees will also receive a complimentary conference kit at the end of the final session.
You can conveniently reserve your seat at this exclusive even through the following link: http://www.thehandpiececlinic.com/untied-chair-conference/
Many thanks go out to NPT and UWO (particularly Dr. Wally Teteruck, Chair of CE at UWO) for having us present as part of the “Business of Dentistry” program to the 4th year dental students at UWO. Here are the videos of our presentation, where we talk about associate agreements, buying a dental practice, and marketing your practice to attract and maintain patients:
Dentist Associate Agreements:
Buying a Dental Practice
Marketing Your Dental Practice
It was an enjoyable time by all and we wish the dental new grads all the best!
FYI, each student received our “About DMC LLP” booklet and a brochure about our NEW Jamaica Outreach Program (which you can download by clicking on the link below):
David Mayzel is your legal risk manager. He is a trained courtroom lawyer and has spent many years resolving disputes both in and out of court. He knows how to prepare documents and execute transactions in a way that avoids or mitigates legal risks. He can be reached at 416.528.5280. or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Carabash is your business law adviser. He is an entrepreneur at heart who helps you see the big legal picture. He drafts clear and effective agreements that protect your rights while promoting your interests. He can be reached at 647.680.9530. or email@example.com.
Ljubica Durlovska is your transition lawyer. She helps you with staff and associates, maintaining your corporation, and other business matters. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 206 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathan Borrelli is your employment lawyer. He helps you with staff and associates matters, including hirings, terminations, switching staff to written contracts and resolving disputes. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 204 or email@example.com.
Benjamin Kong is an experienced business law clerk. He assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. He can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 207 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Julie Whitehouse is an experienced business law clerk. She assists David and Michael with corporate matters and purchase / sale transactions. She can be reached at 416.443.9280, extension 203 or email@example.com.
David, Michael, Ljubica, Jonathan, Ben and Julie are a truly dynamic team. Their diverse knowledge, skills, and experiences will help you get the best deal possible while promoting your interests and protecting your rights. You can read dentist testimonials here.