How is an Employment Contract defined under the Civil Code of Quebec?
What are its key elements?
What’s important for you to know?
In this article, we will break down the notion of an Employment Contract so you know all there is to know about it!
Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!
Let’s dig into our labour laws in Quebec!
Are you ready?
Let’s get started!
What Is An Employment Contract
An “employment contract” under the Civil Code of Quebec is a contract where one person or company (known as the employer) agrees to pay another person (known as the employee) compensation in exchange for services.
In other words, an employer pays an employee a salary, compensation, or remuneration to benefit from the employee’s services and knowledge for a certain period of time.
In Quebec, just like many other jurisdictions, an employment contract can be for a specific period of time or for an undefined period.
Article 2085 Civil Code of Quebec defines the employment contracts as follows:
A contract of employment is a contract by which a person, the employee, undertakes, for a limited time and for remuneration, to do work under the direction or control of another person, the employer.
Here are the key aspects of Article 2085 CCQ:
- Employee does work
- For a limited time
- For remuneration
- Under the direction and control of the employer
Let’s look further at what a contract of employment entails in Quebec.
Quebec Employment Contract Duration
The Civil Code provides for two types of employment contracts:
- Fixed term employment contract
- Indeterminate term employment contract
A fixed-term employment contract is a type of contract where the employment has a clear start date and end date.
For example, an employer may hire an employee for one year after which the employment contract will terminate.
On the other hand, an indeterminate term employment contract, also known as “permanent employment”, is a type of employment contract that has a clear start date but does not have a defined end date.
As a result, under this type of contract, the parties must provide one another legal notice as required by law should they wish to put an end to the contract.
Employer And Employee Obligations
Under the Quebec labour laws as stipulated in the Quebec Civil Code provides for various obligations that employers and employees must respect.
Here are some of the obligations incumbent on the employer:
- The employer must allow the employee perform his or her work
- The employer must pay the salary or compensation established in the contract
- The employer must protect the health, safety, and dignity of the employee
On the other hand, the employees have the following obligations:
- The employee must do his or her work with prudence and diligence
- The employee must act faithfully and honestly
- The employee must not use any confidential information obtained from the employer in the context of this or her work
The employer employee’s obligations towards the employer will continue for a reasonable period of time following the termination of the contract.
Information about the reputation and privacy of others shall be protected “permanently” after the termination of the contract of employment.
Termination of Employment Contract
Article 2091 of the Civil Code provides the legal basis in the Quebec substantive law as to how the parties may terminate an indeterminate employment contract:
- By providing a notice of termination to the other party
- Given in a reasonable time taking into account the nature of employment, specific circumstances, and the duration of the period of work
Furthermore, the Civil Code further states that if an employer terminates the employment contract abusively or there was insufficient notice given to the employee, the employee will not lose his or her rights to an indemnity for the injury suffered.
There are other reasons why an employment contract may be terminated as well:
- Death of an employee
- Death of an employer (if the employer is an individual)
- For a serious reason
The notion of competition is also specifically addressed in the Civil Code where the Quebec legislature considers that it is an important substantive aspect of an employment relationship.
Article 2089 CCQ indicates that the parties may provide for non-competition provisions in their contract where an employee is prohibited from competing with the employer in any capacity (even through an incorporated company or another enterprise).
What’s important is that the non-compete provision must be sufficient to protect the legitimate interest of the employer by being:
- Limited in time
- Limited in place
- Limited in type of employment
The law imposes that the employer has the burden of proof, in the event of a dispute, that the non-compete clause is legally valid.
Quebec Employment Laws
In addition to the Civil Code of Quebec, there may be various employment laws that may be applicable to an employment contract.
One major piece of legislation that employers and employees should be aware of is the Act Respecting the Labour Standards (also known as the Labour Standards Act).
Under the Labour Standards Act, employees are provided further protection under law.
As a result, employers should be well aware of the application of the Labour Standards Act to ensure they remain compliant with their obligations when dealing with an employee subject to the Act.
There are also various regulations and legislation that may apply in Quebec to employment contracts that go beyond the scope of this article.
Top employment lawyers and law firms in Quebec can provide the proper legal advice, guidance, and consulting to help employers and employees navigate the laws respecting employment in Quebec.
“Employment Contract” In Quebec Takeaways
So, what are the important elements you need to know about Employment Contracts under the Quebec laws?
How does the Civil Code in Quebec define an “employment” contract?
Employers need to have a good understanding of the employment laws in Quebec when hiring employees in Quebec.
Employees should be mindful of their rights under the law but also their obligations towards their employers.
If there’s an employment matter, issue, or dispute, it’s important to consult with an experienced and qualified employment lawyer in Quebec for legal advice.
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Employment Contract In Quebec Labour Laws
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