Disciplining and Terminating Staff

Disciplining Staff

You might consider using the following disciplinary steps to correct unsatisfactory behaviour by an attendant:

  1. oral reprimand and/or warning;
  2. written reprimand and/or warning; and
  3. suspension without pay.

If all of these fail to correct the behaviour, your last resort will typically be termination.

Terminating Staff

Termination means a dismissal or discharge of your employee. A good attempt must be made before the employee is terminated to try to work out day-to-day problems. If all attempts at resolving problems have failed, then dismissal is usually inevitable. Terminating employment can be a sensitive matter, whether it is initiated by the employer or the employee. Many employers put off dismissing their staff because they are afraid of lawsuits or due to sympathy for the employee. Even though dismissal can be difficult, it is sometimes a necessary process. Remember it is likely in the best interests of you and your employee. When you accept a resignation or remove a person from a job, you will need to start the process of hiring an attendant all over again.

Termination During the Probationary Period

You should fully evaluate whether or not a new employee is working out well for you before the end of the three-month probationary period. If you do need to terminate a new employee, the reason for termination, i.e. that she is not performing the job adequately, is more easily understood at this early stage. It is also fairer for the employee to know his/her status with you as early as possible. Remember: an employee who is dismissed during his/her three-month probation is not entitled to termination notice or pay in lieu of notice.

Your Legal Responsibilities

There are rights and responsibilities of both an employer and the employee when a job is terminated, as specified by the Employment Standards Act. Employment can be terminated at any time, but the Act says you must give proper notice, or pay instead of notice. (For more information about notice periods and pay in the event of termination visit the Ministry of Labour website.) It is a legal obligation to provide a Record of Employment (ROE) within five days when an attendant leaves or is terminated. This can be completed online through the Human Resources Development Canada Website.

Record of Employment

Generally, you have to give your employee a Record of Earnings (ROE) within five days of the date he or she stops working for you (do we need to repeat this? Perhaps we shouldn’t say it above?), although new rules may change this deadline. When the employee stops working for you, it is considered an interruption of service, and includes situations where employment ends or the employee leaves because of:

  • pregnancy
  • injury
  • illness
  • adoption leave
  • layoff
  • leave without pay
  • dismissal

Your employee needs the ROE to file a claim for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. It is used to determine if he or she is entitled to EI benefits, and for how long.

Failure to file the Record of Employment (ROE)

When an employee has an interruption in earnings, you have to complete a ROE for EI purposes.

If you fail to file the ROE, you could be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.

Casual Part-Time Staff

You are not required to give notice or file a ROE if an employee is under an arrangement where he or she may elect to work or not work when requested to do so. This could cover an attendant on your back-up roster or someone you might call only at certain times and who would work only if they were available.

Payment in Lieu of Notice & Your Safety

It is not a good idea to rely on continuing service from an attendant to whom you have given notice. Your safety and wellbeing can be put at risk if she/he does not show up for work or if she/he continues inappropriate behaviour. Consider giving notice of termination at the end of her/his last work period with you. An even better idea is to arrange a special meeting. You might, in certain circumstances, consider having another person present while you give notice, serving as both a precaution and a witness. You should tell the employee where and when he can collect his final paycheque, including any termination pay, if applicable. You may also mail the final cheque to your attendant.


Since you can be challenged legally by your ex-employee, ensure that you can prove the allegations that led to the termination, if applicable. It is important that you document all of the events surrounding the termination. It is also a good policy to give the employee a written notice of termination and ask him/her to sign it. You must also provide the employee with a Record of Employment within five calendar days.

Emergency Back-Up Staffing

It is crucial that you plan for the possibility of your attendant(s) being unavailable for work with little or no notice. For example, you could be forced to fire an attendant without notice or your attendant could resign without notice. Always have a plan for emergency back-up staffing. (You may consider calling an agency for assistance if your back-up plan falls through, but this is intended to be a temporary solution.)

For more information on the Direct Funding program, contact CILT:

Centre for Independent Living in Toronto (CILT)
365 Bloor Street East Suite 902
Toronto, Ontario
M4W 3L4

Tel: (416) 599-2458
Fax: (416) 599-3555
TTY: (416) 599-5077
Toll Free:1-800-354-9950

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38-year-old man living with family

Program puts more people with disabilities in control

The Direct Funding Program is being expanded to allow more Ontarians with disabilities to live independently in their homes.

You can read more about this in our News Release.

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