Civil Law

In simple terms any litigation which is not Criminal or Family Law constitutes Civil Law and is dealt with in the Civil Court. For claims up to $35,000.00 any legal proceeding is to be brought in the Small Claims Court. For claims in excess of $35,000.00 the claim is to be brought in the Superior Court of Justice. Claims for collections, wrongful dismissal, property disputes and the like are brought in the Civil Courts. Information on a number of civil proceedings are set out below.

Employment Law

Employment Law often refers to labour management issues where there is a union and there is a negotiated agreement. It also refers to issues pertaining to employer and employee relationships. These relationships may be governed by a variety of statutes including the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act to name two. Legislation governs working conditions, wages, vacations, minimum wages and the like.

Thomson & Tuer provides services to both employers and employees with respect to employment matters including appearing before the Labour Relations Board on employment matters.

Wrongful Dismissal

Most contracts of employment are oral and are for an indefinite term. An employer has the right to terminate an employee without cause however, the employer may have to either give notice or pay compensation to the employee if the employee is terminated without cause. Cause may be insubordination, theft, drunkenness or impairment on the job. In addition, where an employer has given notice to the employee of the employer’s dissatisfaction with the employee’s performance and where appropriate warnings have been given the employer may terminate the employee for cause or, put in another way, without having to pay any compensation.

The Employment Standards Act provides for minimum notice periods. The notice periods are dependent on two factors. The first factor is the length of employment of the employee and the second factor is the size of the employer, that is, how large is its payroll. Under the Employment Standards Act an employee is to be given notice of the pending termination of their employment. Essentially the employee is given one week’s notice for every year’s work to a maximum of eight weeks. Where the employer has a payroll in excess of 2.25 million dollars annually the employer has to give additional notice for compensation in lieu of notice.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Employment Standards Act regarding notice the Courts retain the jurisdiction to grant additional notice beyond that stipulated by the Employment Standards Act. The amount of notice is dependent on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the age of the employee, the nature of the position, length of time the employee has been employed by the employer, availability of similar employment in the existing locale.

We are prepared to provide advice with respect to wrongful dismissals and the amount of compensation that an employer may have to pay or an employee may expect to receive.

An employee who is seeking compensation for wrongful dismissal in excess of that stipulated by the Employment Standards Act has a duty to look for work to reduce the amount of lost income as a result of the loss of one’s employment. This is referred to as mitigating your loss.

Construction Lien

Where work is done on property to improve the value of the property the person or business that undertook the work is entitled to a lien on the property for payment of the invoice for the work done. To have a lien the person who has done the work must register a lien against the title of the property on which the work was done within 45 days of the date of last work. If the amount owing is not paid within 90 days of the date of last work the person who registered the lien must commence an action in order to collect the money owed and to preserve the registered lien. If an action is not commenced within 90 days of the date of last work the lien is lost.

Not only do you have to register the Claim for Lien when you commence your action you have to register a document called a Certificate of Action against the title of the property. If you do not commence your action and register the Certificate of Action on title within 90 days of the date of last work the Claim for Lien is no longer valid. This does not mean that you cannot sue the person who owes the money, however, the security that is provided by the land is lost.

Property Disputes

Disputes between adjoining land owners concerning boundaries lines, the ownership of a strip of land giving access to property or the blocking of access to property are not uncommon. Thomson & Tuer has extensive experience with respect to these matters.

It may be, that if you have been using a portion of property for ten or more years on the understanding that you were the owner of the property and have excluded all others from using the property that you may have acquired title to that property or conversely your title or right to enter on that property may have been extinguished. Property disputes are usually complex and require a clear analysis of the facts to determine the implacability of the law.


If you are owed money and the debtor is not paying it may be appropriate to take steps to collect the debt. These steps may range from sending a demand letter to initiating litigation and obtaining a Judgment to garnishing wages and seizing and selling assets.

It is important to note that you cannot take steps to collect on a debt, unless you have some security documentation that permits you to take steps without going to Court without a judgment. It is, however, important to note that sometimes the cost of collecting a judgment exceeds the cost of obtaining the judgment because the debtor has hidden assets or is unwilling to pay the amount of the debt.

For further information regarding any type of Litigation contact Thomson & Tuer.


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