Generally speaking, your employer can fire you whenever they want, but they need to give you notice of termination. (There are exceptions to this general rule. For example, if you’ve done something seriously wrong, your employer can fire you for “just cause”. In this case, the employer doesn’t have to give you notice of the dismissal.)
If the general rule applies and you’re entitled to notice of termination, there are two ways the employer can do this:
- They can warn you in advance they plan to let you go. This advance warning is called the “notice period”.
- They can let you go right away. But then they have to pay you out. That is, they have to give you the money you would have earned during the notice period. This money is called “severance pay”.
Under the law in BC, there is a minimum notice (or pay) your employer must give you depending on how long you’ve been in the job. You may be entitled to more, as — unless you have an employment contract that says differently — the notice you get must be “reasonable”.
Learn the minimum notice periods and how much notice is reasonable in our page on if you are fired.