On September 16, 2021, I published a post titled “Hope for Ontario's Employer Bar: The ONSC's Decision in Rahman v. Cannon Design Architecture Inc.” The artwork I selected for that post was the iconic “HOPE” poster used in 2008 by the Obama campaign when the then-US Senator was running for President.
“Hope” was an appropriate word to describe the employer bar’s reaction to the Superior Court’s decision in Rahman. In that case, Justice Sean F. Dunphy of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice had held that an employee’s sophistication and the fact that she had retained independent legal advice were factors in the determination of whether a contractual termination provision ought to be enforced as written.
Justice Dunphy further held, following the approach more commonly employed in British Columbia (see my commentary in my post Employment Law Isn't Real) that, “Every contract – including this one – must be interpreted with a view to giving expression to the mutual intention of the parties as expressed in the words used by them.”
The employee in the Rahman case appealed Justice Dunphy’s decision to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
And, just as “Hope” left Washington on January 20, 2017, hope for the employer’s bar was “trumped” when the Court of Appeal released its decision in Rahman v. Cannon Design Architecture Inc., 2022 ONCA 451 (CanLII).