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How Do I Terminate an Employee in British Columbia?

An employer may choose to terminate an employee for various reasons: lack of work, decrease in sales, organizational restructuring, poor performance or inappropriate conduct. Whatever the reason, the company must ensure that it follows legislated termination procedures and payments.

Terminated employees in British Columbia are entitled to written notice or compensation based on length of service, as specified in the Canada Labor Code, B.C. Employment Standards Act and/or collective agreement.


Things You’ll Need

  • Employment Documents
  • Termination Letter
  • Record of Employment


Steps in Terminating an Employee in British Columbia

How Do I Terminate an Employee in British Columbia?

1. Identify the reason for termination

Determine if there is an alternative recourse such as job coaching, transfer, relocation or job sharing. If the termination is for cause, ensure that you have followed the disciplinary process and you have sufficient documentation to support your action.


2. Check the appropriate legislation covering your company

Federally regulated businesses such as transportation, communication, banks and Crown corporations are covered by the Canada Labor Code. All other employees are covered by the B.C. Employment Standards Act. If your employees are unionized, refer to the collective agreement for any provisions pertaining to termination.


3. Calculate the required written notice and severance pay

Consult your senior management if the company wants to offer more than legally required. You may need to consult a lawyer if any payment over the legal requirements is necessary based on common practice.


4. Draft the termination letter indicating the effective date, any payments due to the employee, and other provisions with regard to benefits coverage and outplacement services

Have the termination letter approved by the appropriate company authority. If applicable, notify the Minister of Labor and the trade union representing the employees.


5. Arrange a meeting with the employee and present the termination letter

Give him enough time to review the letter’s contents and seek legal advice if he so desires.


6. Process final payments including any outstanding wages such as vacation pay, statutory holiday pay and overtime worked

Issue a Record of Employment to the terminated employee.


Tips and Warnings

  • Termination meetings can be very emotional, so be prepared with a box of tissues, a glass of water and arrangements for the employee’s ride home. Termination is not an easy task. Diligent preparation will help prevent costly legal mistakes and allow the employee to leave with dignity.
  • The terminated employee may file a case of illegal dismissal if he considers the termination and its conditions unacceptable. Be prepared to offer more compensation or face the prospect of a lawsuit.


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