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Best Practices When Laying Off Staff Members

Updated: Dec 2, 2020

COVID-19 has had an extreme impact on employment across Canada. Since March, many employees have been temporarily laid off, with some having no concrete answer as to whether they will be able to return to work after the pandemic is over.

Below are some tips for employers on best practices when laying off staff members.

1. Be professional.

It’s best to have a meeting face-to-face, but amid COVID-19 it may be difficult to have that discussion in person. Opt for video conferencing through a platform like Zoom or Face Time. This will help you and your employee have a better conversation about why they are being laid off. Keep in mind that it’s generally recommended to terminate someone earlier in the week, rather than on a Friday afternoon.

2. Be prepared.

Ensure you are up to date on all Ministry of Labour or Employment Standard issues, as you will be required to meet the minimum standards as an employer. Don’t be afraid to consult with an employment lawyer to help guide you through the process. Make sure you have a second person with you as a witness during the meeting in case anything escalates. Take notes during the meeting in order to update the employee’s file and ensure you issue a Record of Employment (ROE), along with a letter of notice with information on their final pay after the meeting.

3. Protect yourself.

Make sure the employee no longer has access to technology devices, company files, social media logins, building keys, and so on after the meeting. You can also escort the employee back to their desk to grab their belongings and walk them out.

4. Offer resources.

You can offer your employee resources to help them in their next steps, like information on outplacement services. These services can help employees who have recently been laid off with coaching, resume editing, and interview tips. You can visit for information on those services here.

Click here to watch President of Marc Belaiche, CPA, CA discuss this topic.

Want more entrepreneurial tips? Check out the Toronto Entrepreneurs Conference & Tradeshow YouTube Channel for more!

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