It depends. A valid written employment contract can limit an employer’s obligation to provide notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice, provided it complies with the minimum requirements under the applicable employment standards legislation. All Canadian employees are legally entitled to receive, at a minimum, notice of termination or pay in lieu of notice in accordance with applicable employment standards legislation, if their employment is terminated without just cause. Under Ontario and federal legislation, employees may also be entitled to statutory severance pay. Federal legislation also requires that the termination of employment not be “unjust”.
If there is no valid contract of employment limiting an employee’s entitlement upon termination to those minimums under the applicable employment standards legislation, or some amount great than that, the employee may claim reasonable notice under the common law. Generally speaking, the common law entitlements to reasonable notice are more onerous than the statutory minimums under the applicable employment standards legislation.