Last Updated January 03, 2017
- Whenever the following words occur in the <Company name> Employee Handbook, they have the following meaning, unless a contrary intention appears or unless such meaning is inconsistent with the context:
- An italicized word means that its definition can be found on this page.
Previous Revisions to this Page
- Click here to view previous versions of this Employee Handbook Terms & Definitions Page.
The purpose of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) is to ensure that all Ontarians have fair and equitable access to programs and services and to improve opportunities for persons with disabilities. The Act will eventually cover all of the following areas:
- Customer Service Standards
- Information and Communication
- Built Environment
The Customer Service Standard was the first standard to become law as regulation. This standard provides guidelines and examples of how persons with disabilities can be served and accommodated when accessing services or participating in programs.
The next three standards - Information and Communication, Employment, and Transportation have been combined under one regulation, the Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR) . This is now law and the requirements are being phased in between 2011 and 2021. In addition to the standards listed above, there are also the General Requirements that apply across the IASR.
An individual who is not an employee of the Company and who is contracted to perform temporary services for the Company through a Staffing Agency.
Refer to Human Rights Code
Insert your Company Legal Name or list of applicable subsidiaries to which the Employee Handbook/Manual apply.
Company property that includes, without limitation, the following:
- Intellectual property
- Technology Tools
- Company equipment, vehicles or machinery
- Desks, furniture, chairs, filing cabinets
- the Company premises, including individual offices and common areas
- Work spaces
- Credit cards
- Parking passes
- Security passes or Company identification
- Copies or digital copies of the Company’s corporate records, files, financial documents, client lists, or any other materials that belong to the Company or relates to the business, Company Stakeholders, or operations of the Company.
- All printed, written, electronic, and digital information, memory devices and all copies of any of them which contain Confidential Information or otherwise belong to the Company.
Individuals who have a formal relationship with the Company, whether existing, former, currently associated with, or in communication with to form a relationship that includes, without limitation, the following::
- Job Applicants
- Board members
- Individuals who have an online relationship with the company, including:
- Newsletter or blog subscribers
- Survey participants
- Connections through the Company's Social Media accounts, for example as friends, followers, connections or fans;
- Other stakeholders directly associated with the Company.
Information about the Company that is or may be disclosed to you, known by you, or developed by you (alone or with others) as a consequence of or through your Engagement with the Company, which information:
- Is not generally available to the public other than as a result of a disclosure by you.
- Is not generally known in the industry in which the Company has conducted or currently conducts business, or may in the future conduct business
- Could put the Company at a competitive disadvantage if improperly communicated
- Cannot be communicated due to contractual or legal obligations — such as employee personal information
- Should not be shared externally or with Staff unless there’s a legitimate business or legal reason to do so.
Confidential Information includes, without limitation, the following:
- The Handbook
- The business and trade secrets of the Company
- Intellectual property, Work Product and other assets of the Company;
- Login and passwords including to Technology Tools, Electronic Communication tools and any other site, or service that is subscribed to, or provided by, the Company
- Sales and marketing information including existing and potential customers, members, or users of the Company and any information or lists concerning same, including customer credit card information and cloud-based services including newsletter or survey applications’ distribution lists;
- Business plans and strategies of the Company;
- Technologies and products owned, licensed or developed by or for the Company and research and development plans in respect of same;
- Pricing, billing methods and revenue models of the Company;
- Product design and processes;
- Lists or databases relating to Company Stakeholders, including Payroll, employee databases, customer or prospect lists;
- Private or personal information of Company Stakeholders including information relating to payroll, Human Resources, credit card information, and contract details;
- Information about Staff including private and personal information, HR information including performance and compensation;
- Information about Job Applicants who have applied to the Company;
- Schedules, estimates and proposals;
- Security information;
- Contracts and contract negotiations;
- Financial statements and accounting data;
- Non-public financial information;
- Non-public technical information;
- Company-related legal proceedings or controversies.
An experienced professional who is not an employee who provides expertise for a fee and provides services in an advisory capacity. Services are paid via an invoice through Accounts Payable. At times, a Consultant may occupy a seat in the Workplace and may be required to adhere to Staff Policies if contractually obliged to do so by the Company.
Collaboration and face-to-face time are key ingredients for running our business successfully. We need to know that Staff will be at work during certain periods so that we can make contact for the purposes of brainstorming, decision-making, information dissemination, and making the most of creativity.
We encourage you to set up meetings during these times, and we ask that you schedule personal appointments and incidental absences outside of Core Hours where possible.
You're expected to be in the office during our Core Hours, as follows:
- 9:30 am to 11:30 am
- 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm
An individual who reports directly to someone else. For example, a director has 5 managers who report directly to the director. The managers are considered the director's direct reports. However, the individuals who work for each of the 5 managers are not the direct reports of the director.
Discrimination is defined as any form of unequal treatment based on Protected Grounds, that results in disadvantage, whether imposing extra burdens or denying benefits. It may be intentional or unintentional. It may involve direct actions that are discriminatory on their face, or it may involve rules, practices or procedures that appear neutral, but have the effect of disadvantaging certain groups of people. Discrimination can be obvious, or it may occur in very subtle ways. Discrimination needs only to be one factor among many factors in a decision or action for a finding of discrimination to be made.
Discrimination because of association
Discrimination or harassment because of a person’s association, relationship or dealings with a person based on that person's Protected Grounds under the Code. It includes actions taken against a person who has objected to discriminatory comments aimed at another group.
Comments or actions against a person or group motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on Protected Grounds under the Code. It includes, but is not limited to, hate crime, hate propaganda, advocating genocide, telephone/electronic communications promoting hate, and the display of hate through any notice, sign, symbol or emblem.
A negative, hostile or unpleasant Workplace or an unequal work environment due to comments or conduct that tend to demean a group identified by one or more Prohibited Grounds under the Code, even if not directed at a specific individual. A poisoned work environment may result from a serious and single event, remark or action.
Any Company digital platform or method where digital communication may take place that includes, without limitation, the following:
- The Company website
- Web conferencing
- Job boards
- Digital marketing or advertising sponsored by the Company
- Social Media
An individual working for the Company who is paid directly through the Company's payroll system, deducted statutory deductions, and receives a a statement of remuneration paid, such as aT4.
employee eligible for standard benefits: An employee who has successfully completed their probationary period and where their employment agreement identifies them as being eligible for benefits, and where their benefits waiting period has passed
regular employee: An employee who is hired in a longer-term capacity and is anticipated to successfully complete the probationary period
full-time employee: An employee who is scheduled to work a Standard Work Week
part-time employee: An employee who is consistently scheduled to work less than a Standard Work Week
temporary employee: An employee who is hired for a pre-established period, perhaps during peak workloads, for special projects, as summer employment, or to provide vacation relief
casual employee: An employee who works occasional and irregular hours on an as-needed basis
Note that the term "employee" is not capitalized in the Handbook to facilitate readability.
The period of active employment or other formal relationships with the Company, including as an Independent Contractor, Consultant, Volunteer, Agency Staff. The term "Engagement" is often used in place of "employment" to clarify that the subject matter, topic or policy is applicable to all Staff, not just employees.
The contract signed between a Staff Member and the Company that sets out the formal terms and conditions of your Engagement. For example, an employment agreement or an independent contractor agreement. The term "Engagement Agreement" is often used in place of "employment agreement" to clarify that the subject matter, topic or policy is applicable to all Staff, not just employees..
- Everyone, also referred to as "All Staff" or “Staff” or “Staff Members”. Refers to the aggregate of all individuals providing services to the Company including, but not limited to, the following:
- Staff Member, also referred to as an individual: Refers to any individual providing services to the Company including, but not limited to, the following:
The Employee Handbook document
- Even if someone does not clearly object to harassing behaviour, or if they appear to go along with it, do not assume they have agreed to this behaviour. It could still be considered Harassment.
Always err on the side of caution. What one person finds offensive, another may not. It’s the perception of the receiver of any gesture or verbal message which may be deemed objectionable or unwelcome, that determines whether something is acceptable or not.
Where definitions overlap, the Code prevails.
Harassment as defined by
Ontario Human Rights Code
Workplace Harassment as defined by
Occupational Health and Safety Act (‘OHSA’)
Harassment is defined as a course of comments or actions towards a Company Stakeholder based on Protected Grounds, that are known, or ought to reasonably be known, to be unwelcome. It can involve words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating, demeaning or unwelcome.
Sexual harassment is a subset of Harassment. If refers to a course of comment or conduct based on a Company Stakeholder’s sex or gender that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Gender-based harassment is a subset of Sexual Harassment. It refers to behaviour that polices and reinforces traditional heterosexual gender norms.
Sexual Solicitation and reprisal
Sexually related solicitations or advances by any person who is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the recipient, where this is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. This includes Managers as well as co-workers where one person is in a position to grant or deny a benefit to the other.
Reprisals for rejecting such advances or solicitations are also prohibited.
Workplace harassment is defined as engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or
Workplace Sexual Harassment
Examples of Harassment could include:
- Epithets, remarks, jokes or innuendos related to Protected Grounds
- Showing or circulating offensive pictures, graffiti or materials related to Protected Grounds, whether in print form or using e-mail or other electronic means
- Singling someone out for humiliating or demeaning “teasing” or jokes because of Protected Grounds
- Comments or ridiculing because of characteristics, dress, etc. that are related to Protected Grounds.
Forms of sexual and gender-based harassment could include:
- Making an individual dress in a sexualized or gender-specific way
- Gender-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics or mannerisms
- Suggestive or offensive remarks or innuendoes about members of a specific gender
- Gender-related verbal abuse, threats or taunting
- Making suggestive or offensive comments or hints about members of a specific gender
- Paternalistic comment or conduct based on gender, which undermines a person’s self-respect or position of responsibility
- Making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching, etc.
- Making comments or treating someone badly because they don’t conform with sex-role stereotypes
- Making threats to penalize or otherwise punish
- Propositions of physical intimacy
- Demanding hugs
- Invading personal space
- Leering or inappropriate staring
- Using sexual or gender-related comment or conduct to bully someone
- Using sex-specific derogatory names
- Offensive jokes or comments of a sexual nature about a Staff Member or client
- Display of sexually offensive pictures, graffiti or other materials, including through electronic means
- Showing or sending pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually explicit graffiti, or other sexual images (including on-line)
- Demands for dates or sexual favours.
- Sexual jokes, including passing around written sexual jokes (for example, by email)
- Spreading sexual rumours (including on-line)
- Bragging about sexual prowess
- Asking questions or talking about sexual activities
Workplace Bullying and Psychological Harassment
Workplace bullying and psychological harassment is defined as unwanted conduct, comments, actions or gestures that affect an individual's dignity, psychological or physical health and well-being. Bullying and psychological harassment may result from the actions of one individual towards another, or from the behaviour of a group.
Bullying and psychological harassment are often characterized through insulting, hurtful, hostile, vindictive, cruel or malicious behaviours which undermine, disrupt or negatively impact another’s ability to do their job and result in a harmful work environment for Staff.
Bullying and psychological harassment can take many forms and may occur when the behaviour or conduct:
- Would reasonably tend to cause offense, discomfort, humiliation or embarrassment to another person or group
- Has the purpose or effect of interfering with a person’s work performance
- Creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile or offensive work environment
Examples could include:
Although there can be no exhaustive list, examples of behaviour and impact that may signify bullying or psychological harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Insulting or derogatory remarks, gestures or actions
- Rude, vulgar language or gestures
- Malicious rumours, gossip or negative innuendo
- Verbal aggression and/or verbal abuse
- Shouting or yelling
- Swearing or name-calling
- Glaring or staring
- Outbursts or displays of anger directed at others
- Targeting an individual through persistent, unwarranted criticism
- Public ridicule
- Verbal, written or physical threats and intimidation
- Mobbing and/or swarming
- Misuse of power or authority
- Isolation and/or exclusion from work-related activities
What Workplace Harassment Isn’t
A reasonable action taken by the Company or a Manager relating to the management and direction of Staff or the Workplace is not considered Workplace Harassment. Counseling, performance reviews, work assignments, and the implementation of disciplinary actions are not forms of Workplace Harassment, and don't restrict a Manager’s responsibilities in these areas.
Refer to: AODA - Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2000
A self-employed individual who is not an employee of the Company and who contracts to provide temporary services to the Company to complete a particular piece of work. Services are paid via an invoice through Accounts Payable. An Independent Contractor may occupy a seat in the Workplace and may be required to adhere to Staff Policies if contractually obliged to do so by the Company.
Failure to report back to work after 3 missed consecutive business days without notifying the Company.
Also known as candidate. An individual who has applied for a position with the Company.
The Company has the right to terminate your Engagement, but must provide appropriate notice as outlined in your Engagement Agreement. An exception to the notice requirement applies when there is 'Just Cause' which refers to conduct that is of such a serious nature or extent that it essentially breaks the Engagement relationship, in which case no notice would be provided and termination of Engagement would be immediate.
Often referred to as 'supervisor' or 'boss'.
As it relates to employees: The individual to whom you report to directly and from whom you take direction for your work. A manager is normally the individual who conducts your performance review.
As it relates to non-employees: Your Company liaison, or the primary individual from whom you take direction for your services.
Any improper conduct that involves illegal, fraudulent, dishonest, unethical, or hurtful behaviour, or serious negligence in the performance of your duties.
The following are examples that supplement the policy violation examples outlined in Staff Policies, and is by no means an exhaustive list:
- Breaking the law
- Theft or fraud
- Improper or prohibited use of Company Technology Tools or Electronic Communication tools
- Harassment and Workplace Harassment including bullying
- Punishing or retaliating against an individual for bringing forward, providing information related to, or otherwise taking part in a legitimate complaint
- Workplace Violence including intimidation
- Off-Duty Misconduct
- Disclosing Confidential Information
- Disclosing or using a Company Stakeholder's private information for personal gain or to be hurtful
- Falsifying Company records
- Working less than a Standard Work Week, not including planned or reasonable absences
- Falsifying or failure to record absences
- Falsifying personal information
- Insubordination or failure to carry out reasonable work-related instructions;
- Job Abandonment
Mobile devices are electronic or wireless portable devices that include but are not limited to:
- Wireless Phones
- Smart Phones
- Any portable device that is or includes a camera
- Any portable device that includes video recording capabilities
- Any portable device that includes sound recording capabilities
- Any portable device that includes the capability to connect to the internet
Any conduct, Misconduct, or violation of Staff Policies that occurs when you're off-duty that negatively impacts the Company, its products and services, or Company Stakeholders, including, without limitation, the following:
- Defined as Harassment & Workplace Harassment, Discrimination, Workplace Violence, or bullying against any Company Stakeholder
- Materially and adversely affecting your job performance or the job performance of co-workers, or results in co-workers refusing to work with you
- Materially and adversely affects your professional designation or standing as a member of a professional association
- Divulging Confidential Information to any person or entity that is not authorized to receive that information
- Making libelous, slanderous or maliciously false statements towards or concerning the Company, its services and products, or Company Stakeholders
“Personal activities” are defined as engaging in any activity during a Standard Work Week that is not directly related to one or more of the following:
- Your job productivity
- Your job tasks
- Your job responsibilities
- Company business
- Furthering the interests of the Company
Examples of personal activities include, without limitation, the following:
- Personal Internet use
- Personal Electronic Communication including sending, receiving, or reading personal email
- Using a Mobile Device for personal conversations or other personal messaging activities
- Personal landline phone conversations
- Personal errands
- Extended personal conversations with co-workers
- Reading for personal interest, including newspapers, magazines, novels or Internet sites
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits actions that discriminate against people based on any of the following protected grounds:
- Ancestry, colour, race
- Ethnic origin
- Place of origin
- Creed, including religion
- Family status
- Marital status (including single status)
- Gender identity, gender expression
- Record of offenses
- Sex (including pregnancy and breastfeeding)
- Sexual orientation
A standard used to denote a hypothetical person who exercises “those ordinary qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment which society requires of its members for the protection of its own interest and the interest of others.” The phrase does not apply to a person’s ability to reason, but rather the prudence with which they act under the circumstances.
Our general business hours are 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
- Our Standard Work Week consists of 40 hours and our regular working day consists of 8 hours, excluding an unpaid 30-minute meal break. (Prorated for Regular Part-time Employees).
- Our pay is based on adding value to the business and being productive for a minimum of 40 hours per week, except when the work week includes planned or approved absences.
- Expected weekly/daily hours as set out in your Engagement Agreement.
Social media is defined as a subset of Electronic Communication but has a specific and more complex definition that requires additional detail. The Company’s use of the term ‘Social Media’ includes, without limitation, the following:
- Social networking sites including but not limited to:
- the Company's corporate LinkedIn pages
- Video and photo sharing sites
- Blogging, including but not limited to:
- The Company’s blog(s)
- Your personal blog(s)
- Any external blog posts or comments
- Forum, chat, and discussion groups, such as Skype chat
- Online wiki sites such as Wikipedia
- Online classified sites including but not limited to Craigslist
- Other websites that allow for comments to be posted
- Other social, interactive, collaborating or networking sites that are accessible by other individuals with a browser regardless of the requirement of a login or password
Refer to: Everyone
Refer to: Everyone
Refers to the policies and topics included in the What's Expected of You ("Staff Policies") section and sub-sections in the Handbook that all Staff must adhere to as a condition of Engagement if contractually obliged to do so by the Company, in which case a Staff Policies Agreement will be signed.
Refers to the Company's computers, storage, networking and other physical devices, infrastructure and processes that create, process, store, secure and exchange the Company's electronic data.Technology tools include, without limitation, the following:
- Computers and related hardware
- Removable drives, webcams and microphones
- Mobile Devices
- Email system
- External file sharing services
- Cloud based services
- Company Social Media accounts
- Internet connection
- Website hosting
The Company will work to provide accommodations up to the point of undue hardship which occur in situations where:
- All options and recommendations have been considered and it’s determined that no feasible accommodation exists; or
- Accommodation would result in excessive costs that would create a hardship for the Company; or
- Accommodation would result in a safety hazard.
If accommodation is determined to cause undue hardship and to the extent possible, the Company will work to find a fair and equitable compromise that strives to meet the needs of both parties.
An individual who provides unpaid services to the Company
A workplace is not necessarily a building or structure. It's defined as any location where you're engaged in providing services for or on behalf of the Company, which includes, without limitation, the following:
- While on Company premises, working remotely, or working from a home office
- While on Company business
- While being remunerated by the Company
- While using Company Materials, Company resources, equipment, Technology Tools or Electronic Communication tools
- While identifying yourself as a representative of the Company, for example, when communicating or posting online, while at a conference or an external meeting, when driving on behalf of the Company, or during business travel on behalf of the Company
As defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (‘OHSA’):
- The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
- An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
- A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
Examples include but aren’t limited to:
- Beatings, stabbings, suicides, shootings, rapes and any physical contact with intent to harm.
- Any physical contact that causes or could cause physical injury.
- Acts causing psychological trauma such as threats, obscene phone calls, mental cruelty and intimidation and threatening hand gestures or body language.
- Behaviour which gives a person reason to believe that they or any other person is at risk of injury.
- Verbal, written, or telephone threats, including:
- Direct: Direct threats to the victim from the perpetrator, e.g. "I'll hurt you."
- Conditional: Threats of violence to the victim by the perpetrator, if the victim does or doesn't do something, e.g., "If you blow the whistle, I know where you live.”
- Veiled: Non-specific threats from the perpetrator, e.g., "I hope you don't get hurt.”
Violence can come from a number of possible sources including Company Stakeholders, domestic partners, or strangers.
An individual who has a relationship with a Staff Member (Example: a spouse or former spouse, current or former intimate partner or a family member) who may physically harm, or attempt or threaten to physically harm, that Staff Member at work. In these situations, domestic violence is considered Workplace Violence.
Any Company ideas, suggestions, developments, reports, documents, concepts, products, inventions, improvements, designs, devices, technology, programs, processes, methodologies, assemblies of information or data, productions made, perfected, conceived or participated in by you, any Company marketing schemes, business, joint venture or marketing contracts, or any business opportunities prepared, produced, developed, or acquired at your direction or by you, whether or not conceived or made in the Workplace, or during a Standard Work Week, and whether or not you are specifically instructed to make or develop the same.
No revisions have been made to the terminology and definitions on this page