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3. Notice Periods
If your employer chooses to end your job, they must give you a certain amount of notice. The amount of notice you get is determined by three factors, in order of priority:
  1. Provincial employment standards
  2. Your contract or union collective agreement
  3. Common law

Here’s what that looks like in real-life terms.

1. Provincial employment standards
Your employer can never give you less than what an employment standards statute says. So, in B.C., if you’ve been working for your employer for a year, you get at least two weeks' notice, no matter what.

2. Your contract or union collective agreement
If you have a contract (usually written) with your employer that contains an agreement about how much notice you’ll get if you lose your job, your employer must give you what’s in that contract, so long as it’s more than what the statute gives you. This applies for union collective agreements too.

If you have a fixed-term employment contract, your notice period should be until the end of the fixed term, unless there was an early termination clause.

3. Common law
If you don’t have a contract with your employer, then you get what the common law gives you. Since the 1950s, Canadian courts have consistently applied the same variables with no exceptions. They look at your age, your length of service with the company, the kind of job you had (front-line, supervisor, manager, professional, executive, etc.), and how long it would reasonably take you to find another job.

The first three variables are clear-cut. But the last variable – how long it would reasonably take you to find another job – can be very difficult to prove without a huge up-front investment in research. Therefore, the courts most often spend a lot of time on the first three variables.

In all cases, courts will compare your age, length of service, and kind of job against previously decided cases and make a judgment call based on precedents set in similar cases.

Our Severance Package Calculator has indexed most, if not all, major wrongful dismissal cases across Canada and gives you clear information about the ranges of damages awarded by courts in previous cases similar to your own. This critical information allows you to compare your case against precedent and make a solid estimate about what kind of notice you should expect from your employer.




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