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Scotiabank cut its workforce: What do employees need to know?

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Termination is an extremely stressful experience for employees, especially when it comes to understanding what you are owed by your employer. This can be even more true for people who work at federally regulated employers. This includes businesses like banks such as Scotiabank, or RBC, telecom businesses, or businesses in international or cross-provincial travel.  Employees who work for federally regulated employers are governed by the Canada Labour Code (“the CLC”) instead of provincial Employment Standards Acts, which apply to provincially regulated employers.

The CLC sets out the minimum amount of notice, or pay in lieu of notice owed to employees. It also sets out how much additional money, called severance, is due to each employee. While these are the minimum requirements under the statute, employees can be owed much more under the common law (or judge-made law). Judges will assess how long it will take the employee to find another comparable job considering factors like age, education, and length of service. This is often significantly more than the minimum amounts required by the CLC. Each employee’s employment contract impacts whether they can claim this higher amount under common law (this is why having a contract reviewed before starting a job is so important!)

When federally regulated employers fire many people at once, there are additional requirements placed on them by the CLC, including that they must provide each terminated employee with a statement of benefits which details their vacation benefits, wages, severance pay, and any other benefits and pay arising from their employment.

Given the news that Scotiabank has recently terminated 3% of its global workforce, it is especially important for employees to be aware of all of the factors impacting their entitlements after being let go. 

If you have been fired from a federally regulated job, like a bank,  much of the commonly available information online may not apply to you. As well, it is key to keep in mind that after termination, many employers ask employees to sign off on paperwork in order to receive additional monies. It is very important to understand the full value of your specific case before signing away your rights. An employment lawyer can help with making sure you have all the information you need as you navigate this difficult situation.

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