Managing Employee Resignations: Practical Considerations for Ontario Employers

Employee resignations are a fact of life for employers. While handling employee turnover is never fun, here are some practical considerations for Ontario employers when managing employee resignations.

Understanding Employee Rights and Notice Periods

In Ontario, employees are generally required to provide notice of their resignation, though the length of the notice period can vary. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) does not specify a minimum notice period for resignations, but it is common practice for employees to give at least two weeks’ notice. Employers should review employment contracts and company policies to determine if specific notice requirements are outlined. We discussed resignation notice periods in depth in our recent blog post

Handling the Resignation Professionally

When an employee resigns, it is crucial to handle the situation professionally and respectfully. While employees leaving, especially good ones, can be disappointing, it’s important to not take resignations personally.  Acknowledge the resignation in writing, thank the employee for their service and confirm the details of their departure, including their last working day. This sets a positive tone and helps maintain goodwill, which can be beneficial for future references or potential rehiring. We discussed accepting resignations, and when resignations are valid, in our recent blog post. 

Conducting Exit Interviews

Exit interviews provide valuable insights into the employee’s experience and reasons for leaving. These interviews can highlight areas for improvement within the organization and help reduce turnover in the future. Prepare a set of questions that address the employee’s role, their reasons for leaving, and any suggestions they may have for improving the workplace. Ensure the conversation is constructive and confidential.

Transition Planning

A well-thought-out transition plan is essential to minimize disruptions. Begin by identifying critical tasks and responsibilities that the departing employee handles. Assign these duties to other team members temporarily or start the recruitment process for a replacement. If possible, arrange for the departing employee to train their successor or provide detailed documentation of their work processes.

Communicating with the Team

Transparency is key when an employee resigns. Inform the team about the departure promptly and professionally, ensuring you communicate the transition plan and how their roles might be affected. This helps manage any uncertainty and maintains morale. 

Protecting Company Interests

When an employee resigns, it is important to safeguard company interests, particularly regarding sensitive information and intellectual property. Ensure the departing employee returns all company property, including laptops, phones, and access cards. Review any non-disclosure or non-compete agreements to ensure compliance and remind the employee of their obligations.

Finalizing Administrative Tasks

Whether it’s onboarding or offboarding, employee transitions mean paperwork! This includes calculating final pay, including any outstanding vacation pay, bonuses, or commissions. Ensure the Record of Employment (ROE) is issued within five days of the last day worked. Update internal records and inform relevant departments, such as payroll and IT, to deactivate accounts and access.

Reflecting on the Resignation

Finally, take time to reflect on the resignation and its impact on the organization. Consider whether the resignation was a one-off or part of a broader trend that needs addressing. Use the feedback from the exit interview and any observed patterns to improve workplace policies, culture, and employee satisfaction.


Managing employee resignations effectively is a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy and productive workplace. By handling resignations professionally, planning transitions carefully, and protecting company interests, employers can navigate this challenging process smoothly and ensure their organization continues to thrive.

Maintaining open communication, conducting insightful exit interviews, and reflecting on the broader implications of resignations can turn these transitions into opportunities for growth and improvement.

If you have questions about how to handle employees’ resignations please reach out to us today. 

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