U.S. Companies in Canada: How to Survive the Employment Law Minefield

    Companies Turn to Human Resource Outsourcing to Ease Growing Pains

    TORONTO, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - While opening an office in Canada is an exciting
way to expand into new markets, companies unfamiliar with the differences
between the Canadian and American employment landscape can face many
challenges. To ensure the transition into Canada is successful, it is vital
that a company understand the legislative differences between Canada and the
U.S., and the consequences of overlooking those differences.
    There are two major differences when it comes to American and Canadian
employment environments: cultural and legislative. The history of social
welfare in Canada has led to higher labor standards in areas such as
employment insurance, collective bargaining, workers' compensation, leaves and
terminations. For example, it pays to be aware that in Canada most employees
are entitled to up to 52 weeks protected maternity/parental leave, and
"at-will employment" does not exist.
    Companies who fail to adhere to Canada's employment laws can find
themselves in time consuming and costly litigation. As of June 2008, employees
in Ontario have better access to publicly funded legal resources, more time to
file a complaint, and can win larger settlements through the Human Rights
Tribunal. Employees can also file complaints against an employer through
Employment Standards Tribunals, again at no financial cost to the employee but
at a significant burden to the employer.
    The good news is that there are many resources available to assist new
companies in Canada to navigate the employment law minefield. Companies can
get information from government bodies, and can hire an employment lawyer or a
Human Resource Manager well versed in Canadian legislation. However, for
companies who lack the time and funding, or prefer more flexibility, another
solution is to use a total Human Resource Outsourcing Provider. This is
distinct from a Functional Human Resource Outsourcer that specializes
primarily in one area of HR, such as job placement or payroll.
    A total Human Resource Outsourcing Provider is the solution for a company
needing Canadian expertise in all areas of Human Resources and employment.
Such a company will build and implement a Human Resource infrastructure that
is not only in compliance with Canadian legislation, but fits with the needs
and culture of a U.S. company in Canada.
    Another valuable option for new companies in Canada is a total HR
Outsourcing Provider that can offer Third Party Employment services, becoming
the employer of record for some or all employees if a company lacks the
infrastructure to be an employer themselves. This employment can be short term
or long term based on the company's needs. As the employer, the Third Party
Employer should ensure all employment laws are adhered to and should handle
employee payroll, tax remittance, workers' compensation, registration,
separation paperwork, performance management and conflict resolution, while
keeping day-to-day management of the employee in the client company's hands.
    Navigating the Canadian employment law landscape is certainly possible
with education and aligning yourself with the right partners.

    About HR Options

    HR Options is a total Human Resource Outsourcing Provider in Canada and
the U.S. with a proven track record. HR Options' expert consultants offer
Human Resource Consulting Services and Third Party Employment Services that
complement each other, and are cost effective and flexible in accordance to
client needs. www.hroptions.ca

For further information:

For further information: Kathryn Benson, Senior Consultant, at
1-866-859-4157, kbenson@hroptions.com

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