Employee Layoffs at Canada’s Big Banks

Employee layoffs, particularly within the context of Canada’s big banks, raise important considerations for both employers and employees. In the wake of a multitude of economic challenges, rising interest rates, and global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the banking industry has implemented significant workforce restructuring. In light of the recent announcement from Toronto Dominion (TD) and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), which followed similar announcements from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Scotiabank Canada, of mass layoffs in light of bad loans and post quarterly results, many Canadians stand to lose their jobs.

Legal Requirements for Employee Layoffs at Big Banks

When it comes to employee layoffs at Canada’s big banks, it is important for employers to comply with the Canada Labor Code and any industry-specific regulations that may apply. The banking industry is subject to oversight by regulatory bodies such as the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), which may have additional requirements and considerations regarding workforce restructuring and employee layoffs.

In addition to statutory requirements (including the Canada Labour Code), big banks must also consider any contractual obligations outlined in individual employment contracts that may impact the layoff process. Failure to comply with these legal obligations can result in costly litigation and damage to the bank’s reputation. The Canada Labour Code provides for a complaint process for employees who have been unjustly dismissed.

Like any other employer, the big banks must ensure that any employee layoffs are conducted in a non-discriminatory manner, in accordance with human rights legislation under federal and provincial jurisdictions. Employers must be mindful of the potential for discrimination based on factors such as the protected grounds listed in human rights legislation, including age, gender, race, or disability, amongst others, and ensure they take steps to ensure any layoffs do not amount to discrimination under the relevant legislation. Failure to do so could expose them to a human rights claim.

Employee Rights and Protections If Your Employment is Terminated 

Employees at Canada’s big banks facing layoffs are entitled to certain rights and protections under the law. Employees need to understand these rights to make sure that if their employment is terminated they’re receiving what they are entitled to under law. 

Under employment standards legislation, employees are entitled to notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice, as well as severance pay in certain circumstances. Additionally, as discussed above, employees have the right to be treated fairly and in a non-discriminatory manner throughout the layoff process.

Employees should also be aware of any rights or entitlements provided for in their individual employment contracts. An employment contract may govern entitlements after termination of employment, depending on whether or not it is legally enforceable.   

If you have had your job with one of Canada’s big banks terminated, you should have an experienced employment lawyer review your employment contract and any severance offer before you consider accepting it. Depending on your employment contract and how it was drafted you may be entitled to significantly more than you have been offered.

If you have had your employment terminated at one of Canada’s big banks contact the lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today for advice as to your legal rights.