The CLC does not contain as such a provision requiring that termination with notice be justified by a fair reason. However, this is implied from the division XIV of the Code on "unjust dismissal". This division provides for the right of an employee who has completed 12 consecutive months of continuous employment and is not covered by a collective agreement to make a complaint of unjust dismissal to the competent authority which may order reinstatement or compensation if the dismissal is found to be unjust. (sec. 240 and 242 CLC)
Complaint of unjust dismissal are not available to employees who have been laid off because of lack of work or because of the discontinuance of a function (sec. 242 (3.1) CLC)
Sec. 94 (3) CLC:
"Prohibitions relating to employers:
No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall
(a) refuse to employ or to continue to employ or suspend, transfer, lay off or otherwise discriminate against any person with respect to employment, pay or any other term or condition of employment or intimidate, threaten or otherwise discipline any person, because the person
(i) is or proposes to become, or seeks to induce any other person to become, a member, officer or representative of a trade union or participates in the promotion, formation or administration of a trade union,
(ii) has been expelled or suspended from membership in a trade union for a reason other than a failure to pay the periodic dues, assessments and initiation fees uniformly required to be paid by all members of the trade union as a condition of acquiring or retaining membership in the trade union,
(iii) has testified or otherwise participated or may testify or otherwise participate in a proceeding under this Part,
(iv) has made or is about to make a disclosure that the person may be required to make in a proceeding under this Part,
(v) has made an application or filed a complaint under this Part, or
(vi) has participated in a strike that is not prohibited by this Part or exercised any right under this Part; (...)"
In addition, under the CLC, the following situations constitute invalid grounds for the dismissal of an employee:
- the employee has participated in proceeding or inquiry (filing a complaint, testifying) regarding occupational and health and safety matters. (sec. 147 CLC)
- the employee is pregnant or has requested maternity or parental leave (sec. 209.3 CLC);
- garnishment proceedings may be or have been taken against the employee (sec. 238, CLC);
- the employee has been absent due to illness or injury(sec. 239 CLC);
- the employee is absent from work due to work-related illness or injury (sec. 239.1(1) CLC).
In addition, see the general prohibition of discrimination including in employment matters contained in the Canadian Human Rights Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. H-6: see sec. 3 on grounds of discrimination together with art. 7 on discriminatory practice in employment that prohibits an employer from refusing to employ or continuing to employ an individual on a prohibited grounds of discrimination.
See also sec. 14.1 on prohibition of retaliation for filing a complaint of discrimination.
(The prohibited grounds of discrimination are the following: race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex (which includes pregnancy or child-birth), sexual orientation, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered
Note that this Act only applies within the realm of federal jurisdiction; each provincial and territorial government has enacted its own anti-discrimination legislation.
New in 2017: Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (S.C. 2017, c. 3)