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Paddi Riopelle’s Recent Retirement

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July 1st, 2019

On behalf of the team at HR Off-Site, we would like to congratulate Paddi Riopelle on her recent retirement!

While Paddi will be missed by those at HR Off-Site, her retirement is extremely well-deserved. Paddi’s leadership, vision and sense of integrity have been the driving force behind HR Off-Site’s success. She has fostered incredible client relationships over the past several years and she has been an inspiration to her team.

After more than 35 years of dedication to the field of HR, we hope retirement brings Paddi many years of fun, relaxation…and meditation! We wish her all the best in this new and exciting chapter!

It’s business as usual for the rest of us at HR Off-Site! We look forward to supporting your business with all your HR needs.

Best Wishes,

The HR Off-Site Team
Julia, Anne Marie and Sarah


Employer Requirements by Number of Employees

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A: Under 5 Employees


What You Should Know About the Ontario Employment Standards Act: most recent copy of the Ministry of Labour’s poster is to be given to each employee.


Occupational Health and Safety Act (green book):  post a copy in the workplace.


Health and Safety Policy:  develop, post and review annually.  Also required to develop a program to implement the policy.  The policy must be signed by an Officer of the company.


WSIB “In Case of Injury – 1234”: poster is to be prominently displayed in the workplace.
First Aid requirements:
*First aiders must hold at least a St. John Ambulance Emergency First Aid Certificate.
*Employers need to assess their workplace to ensure they always have First Aiders available to provide first aid to injured workers.
*First Aid Station with a First Aid Kit:  specific contents outlined on WSIB website.  First Aid kit must be in the charge of a worker who is a holder of a valid First Aid Certificate.
*The valid first aid certificates of qualification of the trained workers on duty must be posted.
*An inspection card with spaces for recording date of most recent inspection of first aid kit with inspector signature must be posted.


Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS):  workplaces with hazardous materials are required to identify the hazardous materials; ensure proper data sheets on the materials are readily available; containers are properly labeled;  ensure employees are properly trained in handling and use of these materials.  All workplaces must train employees in WHMIS.


Violence and Harassment in the Workplace:  as of June 2010, the Ontario Health and Safety Act requires employers to assess the risk of workplace violence and to put programs in place regarding workplace violence and harassment, including preparing and posting policies; developing and maintaining programs to implement policies; and training employees on the policies and program.


Accessibility for Ontarions with Disability Act (AODA):  as of January 1, 2012 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act legally requires all organizations, both public and private, that provide goods and services either directly to the public or to other organizations in Ontario (third parties) and that have one or more employees to i) provide accessible customer service to persons of all ability levels ii) to meet the requirements of the Integrated Accessibility Standards and iii) have in place a workplace emergency plan for employees with disabilities.


Worker and Supervisor Basic Health and Safety Training: As of July 1, 2014 all employees and supervisors are to complete mandatory basic occupational health and safety awareness training.


Leaves of absence Under Employment Standards Act:  employers must offer the following leaves to eligible employees:  Pregnancy and Parental Leave; Family Medical Leave; Reservist Leave; Organ Donor Leave; Family Caregiver Leave; Critically Ill Child Care Leave, Crime Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave.
B: 5-20 Employees all of A plus the following:


Health and Safety Representative:  Workplaces with more than 5 but less than 20 employees must select, from among themselves, one person to be a health and safety representative.


First Aid Requirements:  First Aiders must hold at least a St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid Certificate. Contents of First Aid Kit change with 5-15 employees.
C: 10+ Employees all of A & B plus the following:


Pay Equity:  must achieve and maintain pay equity for employees.
D: 15-200 Employees – all of A & C plus the following:


First Aid Requirements:  must have available a stretcher and two blankets in addition to the contents for the First Aid Kit.  First Aiders must hold at least a St. John Ambulance Standard First Aid Certificate. Contents of First Aid Kit change with 15-200 employees.
E: 20 – 50 Employees – all of A,C & D plus the following:


Health and Safety Committee:  employers with 20 or more employees must have a Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) consisting of at least 2 persons (one worker rep and one management rep, both certified) who meet on a regular basis to deal with health and safety issues.  A JHSC is a forum for bringing the internal responsibility system into practice.


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act Additional Requirements:  document in writing policies, practices and procedures for providing accessible customer service; notify customers that documents are available upon request; provide information if requested to a person with a disability in a format that takes into account their disability.
F: Over 50 Employees – all of A,C, D & E plus the following:


Leave of absence under the Employment Standards Act:  Personal Emergency Leave.


Accessibility for Ontarians with Disability Act Additional Requirements: i) Document in writing policies, practices and procedures for statement of commitment on how IASR (Integrated Accessibility Standards Requirements) will be met ii) develop multi year accessibility plan.
G. Over 200 Employees – all of A,C,E & F plus the following:


First Aid Requirements: Must have a First Aid room. Contents of First Aid Room and Kit change with over 200 employees.


Breaking Up With Your Employer

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Employment law is at times complex and just a little bit confusing, but it sure has come a long way. The right to “break-up” with your employer is a key element of all provinces’ Employment Standards legislation. Among the most common frustrations expressed by employers is employees who walk away from a job without providing notice. It’s viewed as rather poor form to just pack up, leave and never come back, but quitting a job without giving notice happens more often than one would think. In this day of multiple forms of communication, even a text break-up is better than not showing up.

If you’re an employee and you’re thinking about leaving your job, consider the reasons. Are you feeling stuck or restless? Do you feel as though the job isn’t contributing to your longer-term goals? If that’s the case, there are some things you can do to help yourself. Before you quit, you may wish to:

  • Talk to your manager about how you can improve your skills
  • Network, seek out a mentor, or go back to school
  • Invest in your own career development by selecting and paying for professional development experiences such as training or conferences.

However, if the time is right and you’re ready to make the move, check out your employment agreement first. Be sure you know what your obligations are. Even if you have a written agreement, consider giving your employer a longer notice period. Your goal is to provide reasonable notice. In most cases, one to two weeks of advance warning is considered to be reasonable, unless you’re in a management or key role. You and your employer can come to an agreement on how long the notice period will be, and once accepted, it’s a binding change to your employment arrangement. That way you can expect to continue to do a good job for your remaining time there, and to get paid according to whatever terms and conditions existed at the moment that you gave notice. This can be really helpful if you’re ever in need of a reference. In past rulings, Courts have established that notice periods should allow the employer sufficient time to hire and train replacements with minimal disruption to the business.

If the employer prefers that you leave immediately, you’re still entitled to receive your usual income for the notice period. That means, even if the employer feels it is inappropriate for you to remain in the company for whatever reason, you are entitled to receive payment.

As you leave your job, here are six tips to make the experience respectful:

  1. Put it in writing. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, just say when you’ll be leaving. If you wish, you can include the reason, but it’s not essential.
  2. Tidy your desk or work area and take your personal belongings with you. No one wants to open your drawer to find a handful of gummy bears or a half a dozen end-chewed pens.
  3. Talk to your manager or payroll person to confirm your mailing address. This will make sure your T4 finds its way to you.
  4. If asked, agree to participate in an exit interview. This is a terrific tool that gives you an opportunity to share your perspective. Typically, the information is used to help companies improve their human resources practices.
  5. Say farewell to your colleagues.
  6. Keep your bridges intact. If you’re not leaving on the best of terms or are feeling disgruntled, tell your family, not the world. Don’t impede your chance of securing another position by bad-mouthing your former employer.

Since the circumstances around leaving a job are so variable, if you’re feeling uncomfortable or have questions or concerns, it’s a good idea to seek out professional advice before you make your decision. Consider contacting an employment lawyer or an HR consulting firm. Most HR consultants won’t charge you for quick questions. You might also try speaking with a job coach or employment counsellor at a government-funded employment resource centre such as Job Gym and the Employment Help Centre. If you’re in college or university, your school’s job centre may be able to help. It’s worth the extra effort. Even if you decide to break-up with your employer, life will be easier for both of you if you make the extra effort to try and stay friends.


Turning Crabby Employees Into Happy Employees

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By now moody March is behind us and we’re looking forward to warmer weather and revived spirits. At least one can hope. With hard winter weather creating difficult driving conditions, plant and office closures and many a missed deadline, you and your staff may be under considerable stress. You may have even seen an increase in workplace meltdowns.

So what’s to be done with a crabby workforce? Lots!

  •  Plan some fun activities, such as a bowling night, card tournament or pizza night. If that doesn’t work with your workplace culture, find a charity to support and organize fund raising events that can be done at work, during working hours. Social activities give everyone an opportunity to focus on something other than work-related annoyances. Even if the participation rate isn’t the best, those who do participate, and the charity will benefit from a fun time.
  •  Hold a ‘Take your Dog to Work’ day. We love our pets, and having an opportunity to show them off can be an act of kindness to both the pet and the proud owner. Take Your Dog To Work Day® celebrates dogs and promotes their adoption. The next organized TYDTW Day is Friday, June 20, 2014. More information and helpful tips on making this a successful event is available on For maximum impact, combine this fun event with a charity fund-raiser.
  • Consider setting aside a private space where employees can go to nap, meditate or just chill out for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a quiet spot with a bit of privacy will do.
  • Organize a lunch time walking group. A five-minute stretch followed by ten minutes of walking, followed by a glass of water can be invigorating and a healthy alternative to sitting in front of a computer screen or gossiping in the lunch room.
  • Do a spring cleaning. Sort through and store or dispose of unwanted documents and publications (keeping in mind your organization’s document disposal policy), and give work areas a good scrubbing. The clean-up can be done over a few days to keep the activity fresh. 
  • Say a big hello to greet co-workers, especially if you’re a manager. Set a great example by being courteous and friendly. If it doesn’t feel genuine at first, keep at it and sooner or later it’ll become second nature.
  • Talk about it. Open dialogue before behaviours escalate can act as a deterrent and even help smooth over troubled waters.
  • Consider including an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in your benefits offering. EAPs help those experiencing personal and work-related problems access professional help before their productivity is compromised. It is a confidential service that is available to managers and employees alike.
  • Ask for, and listen to feedback. Simply asking your workforce for their thoughts can go a long way to helping them feel included and important to the success of the organization. Give the feedback or idea the right amount of consideration and say thank you. You may be surprised at the great ideas people bring forward.
  • Bring in treats from time to time. Communal dining is a very social activity and the occasional free donuts (or fruit) and coffee can turn a humdrum day into a good day.
  • Encourage chair yoga to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. Even 15 minutes can calm the mind and help your workforce feel better.
  • Bring in the green. Plants are said to improve air quality and add luster and beauty to a space. Some evidence shows that office plants increase productivity, by helping us reduce stress and boost creativity.

All of us are, to some extent, a product of our environment. So, make your business/organization even better by adopting small changes that can improve the at-work experience of your managers and employees. You’ll be rewarded by improved turnover rates, employee motivation or satisfaction scores, and an enhanced level of staff engagement.

Thriving in Constant Change

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Constant change is a fact of life and a hallmark of a thriving business in most businesses and industries. Many companies and their employees are challenged by their need to keep pace with rapid changes in market conditions, in technology and in consumer preferences. The most successful companies are able to go one step further and actually lead these changes.

Research highlights two important findings about change:

  • Companies who don’t manage change well don’t capture the potential impact of initiatives, meaning that their efforts don’t tend to pay off;    and
  • Strength on any one level of the organization, whether senior executives, middle managers, or the frontline workforce, gives companies a better chance of success. Interestingly, no single level was found to be more critical in that respect than any other.

Change affects business performance. It interrupts our flow and it interferes with our sense of security. So, even when it’s good, change can be painful. Not everyone is negatively affected by change and not all change is bad. But, change acts like an extra heart beat; it creates a blip that can be neutral or downright deadly.

Clearly, one of the best ways to position your business for growth is to work on its capacity to anticipate, manage and lead change. The question is how to go about doing that. Before you start the change process, it useful to understand that almost any change can have a significant impact on a business, and to use effective strategic planning methodology to figure out where you are, what’s important to your business, what must be done by when to achieve priority goals, and who’s accountable.

One important key to dealing with change in your company is to understand that people are hard wired to be either resilient, resistant, or somewhere in between. So, start by building an adaptable workforce through purposeful recruiting. Look for candidates with the following qualities: a strong sense of self, a sense of control, solid coping skills and self- efficacy (the belief in his or her ability to succeed in specific situations).

If your change initiative is beyond that point, knowing where each member of your leadership team lands on the embracing change continuum will help you manage them. In turn, having this awareness will also help them manage their teams. Here are a few other tips:

Talk about the upcoming change with your trusted advisors.  Involving others in the thinking behind the change and in the overall vision allows key players time to come to terms with the potential impacts on the financial, infrastructure and people side of the business.

Identify the champions in your company who will facilitate (or at least enable) the change.  These are usually the employees who are the most adaptable and who have embraced change in the past. They can also be informal leaders who are skilled communicators. Communicate early and often with your champions.

Be available for conversation as concerns arise.  This is important throughout the change process, but especially so in the early phases. Regular conversation helps diffuse fear and makes it easier for your team members to work through challenges and develop solutions.

Know that people prefer to know, even if you don’t know all the answers. In the absence of information, employees may fill in the blanks with speculation and/or their own versions of the truth. This can easily derail an entire work unit. Your employees will cope better with uncertainty if they see that you’re being open and honest and telling them everything you can.

Treat your staff with honesty and respect and you might be surprised which employees use the changing environment to shine. For some, this will be an opportunity to be flexible, to showcase skills that might have not been visible before, and take on greater responsibility. Even a small group of people who exhibit these behaviours can ease the transition process and make it seamless to customers.

The Art of Respectful Termination

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Sometimes, despite your best efforts to train, coach and counsel an employee, you need to terminate his or her employment. In a way, termination is like the break-up of a relationship. One party is dissatisfied and wants to end it; while the other party is shocked even though the writing has been on the wall. In an employment relationship, performance reviews, performance improvement plans and/or disciplinary actions that precede termination should make the situation clear, however, breaking up is hard to do. Both parties will likely wind up feeling a little bruised. 

Walk for a few moments in your employee’s shoes. Imagine you’ve been coached for several months and have made multiple attempts to improve. You’ve been asked to change from who you are to the person your manager believes you can be. Envision how hard it must be to dread going to work every day knowing you don’t measure up to the standards of the job or of the manager to whom you report. Would you want to be told over and over again that your enough isn’t enough? 

To paraphrase Kevin O’Leary, from the TV show “Dragon’s Den,” the time to terminate an employee is when you first think of it. While it’s important to coach and develop your workforce, the point is not to be afraid of the decision to terminate someone’s employment. It’s a decision that depends on circumstances, the position, the risk, the employee, the manager, and to a lesser degree on how hard it will be to find a replacement employee. You will lose sleep over it, asking yourself, is it right for the business? Is it right for the employee? Will this employee be better off when their job search matches them with an employer who recognizes and needs their unique talents? 

If terminations are new to you or you could use a refresher; here are a few tips to make this difficult business a bit easier to manage:

  • Review your notes to verify what actions you’ve taken to date. Have you done what is reasonable to help the employee achieve success? Have you smoothed the path to their development or created barriers? Own your piece of this failure and learn from it.
  • Know what the Employment Standards Act minimum standards are, and what common law provisions apply to this unique situation. Get support from a Certified Human Resources Professional or employment lawyer.
  • Think it over. Never terminate on the spot. If the matter is that grave, send the employee home to allow you time to plan your next step. 
  • If termination is the right decision, put it in writing and have three copies of the letter available; two for the employee and one for you to review with them.
  • Plan the meeting, ensuring your chair is closest to the door with a clear exit route. Just in case. 
  • Do the deed in private and at the end of the day when inquiring minds are less likely to pay attention. Always have someone else present during the termination to take notes. 
  • Keep it short. Even when termination is expected, chances are the employee isn’t hearing much of what is being said anyway. 
  • Gently escort the employee to their desk or locker. Be respectful of their space and the emotional impact of the action. Offer to pack up and deliver their personal belongings, if they’re not up to it. Ask for building access cards, keys, electronic devices, and phone and computer passwords before they leave the building. 
  • Always ask the employee if they can make their way home safety. Be sure to offer a taxi service if the employee is too distraught to drive safely.

Terminations are never a pleasant task; but they are often part of being an effective manager. Plan them carefully and be respectful and compassionate. Your employee’s feelings and the company’s reputation is worth the extra steps you take to ensure the termination goes well.

Be A Positive Force At Work

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Everyone’s job is important in some way, to someone. Whether you run your own business, tend a garden, work a machine, assemble parts or answer the phone, your work impacts other people’s work. And that makes it important.

If you employ or manage people, you are charged with an awesome responsibility: leadership. Never take that privilege for granted. Make being a positive force at work your new year’s resolution for 2014.

A good way to start is to remember that each person you work with is a continually developing individual shaped by his or her unique personality, experiences and family circumstances. The way you behave towards them not only makes a difference in their lives, it influences how they treat others in your workplace. Your presence and way of “being” may calm or disturb, create or destroy. You may bring serenity and harmony to the busyness of the day, or you may stir up negativity and resentment. You may be the empathetic friendly face, the supportive leader who is genuinely there in the moment, present and willing to do what it takes. Or, you may be the one who takes misplaced credit or who is always there to offer a backhanded, hurtful comment in the guise of advice or ‘just saying’. It’s up to you.

Consider also the positive forces that could combine to make your workplace better, more than just a place where you have to go to earn money. With your personal contribution, the workday can afford you an opportunity to witness tremendous achievements and moments of ‘personal best’. You have a choice, your role, whether supportive or not, caring or destructive, is up to you.

You may wonder how you can make a difference in an established workplace, with people who have been there forever or who have dominating personalities that leave little room for a different approach. It’s daunting alright, but consider this: what kind of workplace would you be building if you walk away from an unkind comment or refuse to be engaged in a verbal tug of war? Your change of behaviour, your decision to behave with dignity at all times, regardless of circumstances, can be a tremendous catalyst for change.

One of the most powerful ways you can influence the workplace is through what you say, and how you say it. Have you ever blurted out unkind or hurtful words that you immediately wished you could take back? Words hurt, especially when delivered in the absence of compassion, and they have the power to create conflict or calm. So, watch your words.

Beyond what you can do personally, talk to your managers to discuss what can be done from their perspective to create a positive workplace. Think of ways to connect with your team through reading groups or hobbies such as baking, quilting or fitness activities. Everything you have in common will bring you closer to workplace harmony as the topic of conversation moves from gossip to constructive conversation.

You can make positive differences in other ways as well. Look for opportunities to re-balance; schedules, duties, and working hours are often common annoyances. With minor adjustments these dis-satisfiers may become satisfiers. Consider establishing a positive workplace team that is charged with responsibility to encourage harmony through social activities and community contribution. Many not–for-profit organizations, seniors centres and charities welcome volunteers.

Standing tall in the face of overbearing personalities, unkind words and behaviour is empowering for managers and employees alike. Each of us can make a difference by being the voice of reason and demonstrating the unflappable strength of one person deciding to be a positive force at work.

Managing Leadership Turnover

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While there are some variations in the translations of the quote by Greek philosopher Heraclitus  “nothing endures but change” or “the only constant is change,” one thing is certain: workplace relationships and productivity suffer when changes are clumsily introduced.

Among the most difficult changes for employees to handle is a change in their manager. Whether the change is due to a transfer of duties, promotion or departure from the company, reporting to a new boss is worrisome to most employees. Some may even see it as job-threatening. How your employees deal with this depends to a great extent to how safe they feel in their current role.

Generally, employees whose performance has been assessed and for which feedback has been provided are in the best shape. They know their standing in the company and will use that knowledge to help them if they become insecure. Employees who don’t know, or who are on performance improvement plans are often more insecure. They tend to fret more and their fear may compel them to engage in unproductive behaviour such as speculation or gossip.

Fear of change is natural, but there is a lot that owners and managers can do to help their teams during management transitions:

  1. Let staff know of the change as soon as possible. Provide information about timeframes.
  2. Let staff know what they can expect in the immediate future. Be as open as you can be given the circumstances. Consider holding a live five-minute meeting with local staff and sending out an announcement email confirming the information.
  3. Communicate the anticipated impact of the change on the business, customers and suppliers.
  4. State your expectations that team members will continue to work to their usual high standards during the transition.
  5. Explain how you will go about finding a replacement. If you will be recruiting, let staff know the timeline and any interim arrangements that will be made.
  6. Check in with employees frequently. This is especially important during the first few weeks. Just because you haven’t heard anything, doesn’t mean your employees aren’t worried.
  7. Provide periodic general updates on the status of the recruiting process.
  8. When you’ve made your decision, prepare an announcement to introduce the new manager. Whether he or she is from inside or outside the company, use this communication to provide a brief summary of the new manager’s professional background and anticipated contribution to the company in the new role. Some employers use this communication to share some personal information, such as the names of the new manager’s partner and children. This is optional and if you are considering this, be sure to have the new manager’s full consent to do so.
  9. Conduct a thorough on-boarding. Even if the new manager is transferred from within the company, there will be distinct differences in expectations and responsibilities.
  10. Be sure to set goals to ensure that the manager is adapting well to his or her new role. Consider setting a goal related to getting to know the team and ensuring that your employees receive the attention they deserve.

The early days in any new position can be hectic and potentially overwhelming for the manager. Help both your employees and your new manager succeed with open and frequent communication. No matter what kind of business you’re in, this is an important practice. It encourages employees to share their concerns and ideas and helps keep management and frontline staff on the same side.

12 Ways to Tackle Difficult Conversations

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As a business owner or manager, there are times when you need to have a conversation with an employee that you don’t want to have. The topic might be awkward, such as body odour, gossip and poor timekeeping, or a game changer such as unsafe work habits and performance gaps. The cost of avoiding these difficult conversations and leaving these situations unresolved is likely higher than you think. If you’re noticing the problem, chances are other employees and perhaps even your customers are noticing it as well.

According to a 2008 study conducted by the executive development firm CPP Inc., workplace conflict is a nearly universal occurrence, with 85% of all workers spending more than two hours per week dealing with conflict. What does this mean to your business? In financial terms, if you have 24 employees, 20 of them claim to spend at least two hours a week dealing with conflict. That’s 40 hours per week or 2080 hours per year! You’d have to hire one more full-time person just to make up for the productivity lost due to conflict. Given the fact that workplace conflict can also lead to stress, illness, absence from work, harassment, violence, labour complaints and failed plan execution, what is it doing to your customers, your profits and your company as a whole?

One of the keys to preventing and reducing workplace conflict is to deal with situations when you first become aware of them. Taking immediate action often is enough to change an outcome, show leadership and create positive and lasting results. Waiting until the problem is so big that it has to be dealt under unfavourable conditions, such as in response to a complaint or when an accident occurs, puts you at a real disadvantage. By then, you may have become emotionally charged, perhaps full of frustration or anger. In this case, risk is increased and the chances of a positive outcome are reduced.

It doesn’t really matter why we tend to avoid having the conversations we most need to have. The real issue is how to deal with the difficult issues with the least amount of pain. Here are 12 tips for tackling difficult conversations:

  1. Deal with the matter as soon as you become aware of it.
  2. If the topic is sensitive or emotionally charged, prepare the person in advance by letting them know that a meeting is planned and what you will be talking about.
  3. Be gentle. No one likes to be scolded, so be professional and keep your composure.
  4. Be sure to ask questions to clarify the facts of the situation, unless you have first-hand knowledge.
  5. Listen carefully and hold your judgements until you understand all angles of the situation.
  6. Be as direct as possible while using empathy to engage the other person.
  7. Steer clear of small talk. It can minimize the importance of the conversation.
  8. Stay on target and discuss only the matter at hand. Dragging up old gripes and grumbles will divert you from the purpose of the conversation. If the employee brings up other matters, consider scheduling a separate meeting to address those issues.
  9. Share with the employee why the matter is important to you and the business, and what effect their behaviour is having on other employees and customers, as well as the potential employment impact.
  10. Clearly state your expectations. Be specific about what you the person to start or stop doing.
  11. Document the meeting, have the employee acknowledge the content and and provide a copy for their records.
  12. Follow up. This is an important, often overlooked step. It’s tempting to think, “Whew… I’m glad that’s done with,” but you likely won’t know if your expectations have been met until some time has passed and you’ve asked for feedback from the employee and others.

Even in workplaces that boldly encourage engagement, difficult conversations are often avoided. This works to everyone’s detriment. Do yourself and your company a favour and create an environment of early conversation, before difficult enters the equation.

August Civic Holiday

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The first Monday in August, which is often called “Civic Holiday” or “Simcoe Day” is a municipal holiday* generally observed in Ontario. The holiday is mentioned in a number of Ontario statutes within the context of giving time off for specific types of employees or of regulating business hours, etc.  However, because it is not designated as an official public (statutory) holiday in provincial employment standards or retail business holiday legislation, the Civic Holiday is a workday like any other for thousands of Ontario employees.  As a result, public (statutory) holiday rules do not apply and the decision to give employees the day off rests with employers. When employees are given the day off, their employers also decide whether it should be a paid holiday.

Did you know??

The concept of a midsummer holiday for a “day of recreation” in Toronto dates as far back as 1869; the House of Commons in England first established it as a Canadian version of a bank holiday in 1871. In 1875, the Toronto City Council fixed the first Monday in August as a Civic Holiday. The Toronto City Council officially called the civic holiday “Simcoe Day” after John Graves Simcoe, who was appointed the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada on September 12th, 1791. He convened the first legislative assembly and established York (now Toronto) as the capital of the province. Several other Ontario municipalities have chosen to honour a significant local person or organization to help focus the celebration.

*The Municipal Act provides that municipal councils can make by-laws proclaiming a civic holiday and requiring the closing of shops on such a day.