Termination Without Cause: Overview

Termination of employment in Ontario can occur in two different ways: (i) termination without cause; or (ii) termination for cause. An employee who has been terminated without cause is presumed to be entitled to reasonable notice of dismissal or pay in lieu of notice of dismissal (a.k.a. a severance package). In contrast, an employee who has been terminated for cause because of a serious act of misconduct is not entitled to notice of dismissal or a severance package.

Phil White is an employment lawyer practicing in Toronto. He can be reached at pwhite@grosman.com or 416.364.9599

Phil White is a Toronto employment lawyer. He can be reached at pwhite@grosman.com or 416.364.9599.

The majority of terminations of employment in Ontario are without cause. The employer does not need a good reason to end the employment relationship and, therefore, is not required to prove that the employee did something wrong in order to justify its decision to dismiss the employee. Instead, the employer simply exercises its right to end the employment relationship by providing the employee with reasonable notice of dismissal. 

Typically, an employee who is dismissed without cause does not receive advanced warning of the termination of employment. Instead, the employee is notified in a termination meeting that his or her employment is being terminated effective immediately. The employer provides the dismissed employee with a termination letter that provides an offer of a severance package. The purpose of the severance package is to compensate the employee for the employer’s failure to provide the employee with proper notice of dismissal.

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