Employees For Keeps: Some Best Practice Suggestions for Employee Retention in Small and Family-Run Businesses

Both economic and cultural factors strongly suggest it is better to hire employees, to the greatest extent possible, “for keeps”.  This is particularly challenging with today’s low unemployment rates. Employee turnover is expensive, imposing monetary costs (as much as $100,000 for a single employee) as well as leading to a “downward spiral” in  worker morale and negatively impacting workplace culture, “fracturing” work teams and preventing them from optimizing their potential. In consequence, employee retention is crucial for the success of small and family-run businesses.

Bankrupt spelled in scrabble tiles.

When Insolvency Meets Arbitration: The Supreme Court’s Ruling in Peace River v Petrowest

A natural tension exists where a company that is subject to insolvency proceedings (such as bankruptcy) is also a party to an arbitration agreement. In such cases, there may be conflicting decisions issued by the arbitrator and the insolvency court, or there may be disagreement about which forum has the authority to hear the dispute. The modern view has tended to be that agreements to arbitrate should be honored, consistent with the principles of party autonomy and freedom of contract. Insolvency procedures, however, favour a centralized judicial process and can override certain pre-insolvency agreements in order to achieve objectives in the best interests of creditors. In a much-anticipated decision, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently weighed in on these conflicting principles in Peace River Hydro Partners v. Petrowest Corp.,[1] and, in doing so, addressed a key intersection of insolvency and arbitration law.