Severance Package Reviews in Calgary, Alberta


In the evolving landscape of employment and labor law, severance packages have become a critical component for both employees and employers in Calgary, Alberta. This article delves into the intricacies of severance packages, their negotiation processes, and the legal framework governing them in Alberta.


A severance package is a collection of pay and benefits offered to an employee upon termination of their employment. It often includes several elements such as:

  • Continuation of salary: Typically for a specified period based on years of service.
  • Benefits continuation: Like health and dental insurance.
  • Outplacement services: Assistance in finding new employment.
  • Retirement benefits: Including pension plans or RRSP contributions.
  • Stock options or bonuses: If applicable.

What Constitutes an Ideal Severance Package in Alberta?

An ideal severance package in Calgary should align with the industry standards and the employee’s tenure and role in the company. It should not only comply with the minimum standards set by Alberta’s Employment Standards Code but also reflect the value the employee brought to the organization. A generous severance package often includes:

  • Extended salary continuation
  • Continued benefits
  • Additional retirement contributions
  • Career transition services

The ideal package varies significantly depending on the seniority and unique circumstances of the employee.

The impact of signing severance packages ‘just like that’ in Alberta
The impact of signing severance packages ‘just like that’ in Alberta

Negotiation of Severance Packages in Alberta

Is It Normal to Negotiate?

Negotiating a severance package is quite standard, especially for mid to high-level positions. Employees in Calgary can negotiate for better terms than initially offered, and employers are often open to reasonable negotiations to ensure a smooth transition and maintain a positive company image.

How to Approach Negotiation

  1. Understand Your Worth: Assess your contributions, tenure, and the circumstances of your termination.
  2. Know the Law: Familiarize yourself with Alberta’s employment laws.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: Consult with an employment lawyer to understand your rights and enhance your negotiation strategy.
  4. Prepare a Counteroffer: Make a reasonable counteroffer considering industry norms.
  5. Negotiate in Good Faith: Maintain professionalism and open communication throughout the process.

Severance Review & Negotiation in Alberta Employment Law

Alberta’s Employment Standards Code sets the minimum standards for severance pay, also known as termination pay, which is usually one to eight weeks of pay depending on the employee’s years of service. However, common law entitlements can be significantly higher, especially for long-term or senior employees.

Legal Considerations in Severance Packages in Alberta

  • Employment Contract: The contract may stipulate specific severance terms.
  • Common Law Entitlements: These are often more generous than statutory minimums.
  • Wrongful Dismissal Claims: If the severance package is inadequate, the employee might claim wrongful dismissal.
  • Release Agreements: Employees are often required to sign a release waiving their rights to sue the employer.

The Role of Lawyers in Severance Review in Alberta

Employment lawyers in Calgary play a pivotal role in reviewing and negotiating severance packages. They can:

  • Assess Fairness: Determine if the offer meets or exceeds legal requirements.
  • Negotiate Improvements: Advocate for better terms based on the employee’s unique situation.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure the package complies with both provincial and federal laws.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding Your Rights: Employees should be aware of their rights under Alberta employment law.
  • Negotiation Is Common: Negotiating a severance package is a standard practice.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consulting with an employment lawyer can significantly influence the outcome of a severance negotiation.

Severance packages are more than just a financial arrangement; they represent the culmination of an employment relationship. Understanding, negotiating, and reviewing these packages within the framework of Alberta’s employment laws ensure fair and respectful treatment of employees during the challenging transition of employment termination. As the employment landscape continues to evolve, so does the importance of comprehensively understanding severance packages and the laws that govern them.

The impact of signing severance packages ‘just like that’ in Alberta