Topic: North America

Subscribe to North America RSS feed

Failure to Implement Workplace Harassment and Violence Policies can be Costly for Employers

Recent enforcement action under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) serves as a stark reminder of an employer’s obligation to implement workplace harassment and violence policies and programs in the workplace.  A security company (the “Company”) was recently fined $70,000.00 for non-compliance with orders issued under OHSA. After receiving information about a workplace injury … Continue reading

Ontario Human Rights Tribunal: Subjective belief can trump facts

Chodha v. 1352866, 2016 HRTO 1241 demonstrates that human rights tribunals will consider an employer’s bona fide subjective belief in deciding whether the employer has provided a reasonable explanation for apparently discriminatory conduct. Indeed, the employer’s belief may take precedence over factual circumstances, as they did in this case. The case involved the termination of … Continue reading

Upon Further Review… Minister of Labour Announces Major Review of Alberta’s Employment and Labour Laws

On March 13, 2017, the Alberta government announced that they would be proceeding with a review of Alberta’s workplace laws, including the Labour Relations Code and the Employment Standards Code. In a public mandate letter addressed to Arbitrator Andrew C.L. Sims, Q.C., the Minister of Labour identified a number of specific considerations that will form part … Continue reading

Ontario Ministry of Labour Clarifies the Definition of a Critical Injury

In January of 2017 the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued a clarifying statement on the definition of a Critical Injury under Regulation 834 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  This clarification will be of interest for all employers facing a potentially reportable injury in the workplace.  While not binding, it illustrates what the Ministry … Continue reading

Employer’s egregious conduct in the course of a dismissal attracts both moral damages and human rights damages

The Court of Appeal for Ontario has recently issued a decision that should serve as a stark reminder to employers to treat employees respectfully and in good faith throughout the termination process. Where an employer’s behaviour dips below a threshold level of decency during the course of a termination, the employer may find itself exposed … Continue reading

New workplace harassment obligations in Ontario

In a new webinar, lawyers from the firm discuss the new requirements for Ontario employers to prevent sexual violence and harassment in the workplace after amendments to Bill 132 came into effect on September 8, 2016. The new requirements revise the definition of “workplace harassment”, impose new requirements for workplace harassment prevention programs and establish new … Continue reading

Ontario’s Labour and Employment Laws May Be Changing:  Waiting for the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report

Over the past month there has been a lot of press and speculation about the status of the changing Workplaces Review and, in particular, when we can expect the final report of the special advisors, former union-side labour lawyer C. Michael Mitchell and former Ontario Superior Court judge and management-side labour lawyer John C. Murray. … Continue reading

Dishonesty in Hiring Process Constitutes Cause for Dismissal

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has confirmed that, in certain scenarios, an employee’s dishonesty in the hiring process will constitute cause for dismissal. The defendant employer, Canada’s leading nuclear energy agency, is required to comply with government rules respecting site access security clearance.  As such, candidates for employment are required … Continue reading

Employment and Labour Law – 2016 Year in Review

Our Employment & Labour  – 2016 Year in Review publication is a summary of common law and civil law cases and monthly developments from 2016, it also compiles a number of important cases and others to watch for in 2017, all of which could potentially have an impact on the management of your human resources. Read about … Continue reading

An Employer’s Limited Access to Medical Documentation for Accommodation Requests

In a policy statement released early last month, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) clarified its position on the scope of medical documentation that employees need to provide when making disability-related accommodation requests to their employers. The policy statement supplements the existing Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability, and reminds employers that … Continue reading

Medical Marijuana and Health Benefit Plans

On January 30, 2017, a Board of Inquiry, formed as part of the Provincial Court of Nova Scotia, issued its decision in Skinner v. Board of Trustees of the Canadian Elevator Industry Welfare Trust Fund, which found that the denial of an employee’s request for coverage of medical marijuana under a health benefit plan amounted … Continue reading

The importance of timely legal advice in occupational health and safety investigations

Seeking legal advice not only allows an employer to ensure that they are conducting a proper accident investigation, but will also be critical in preserving legal privilege – meaning a document is protected as confidential in a legal process and shielded from adverse parties. On May 9, 2016 the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta … Continue reading

New ESA Personal Emergency Leave and Daily Rest Period Provisions for Ontario’s Automotive Sector Now in Effect

On January 1, 2017, amendments to the personal emergency leave and daily rest period provisions under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) came into force with respect to the automotive sector. The amendment added section 4 to O Reg 502/06, “Terms and Conditions of Employment in Defined Industries – Automobile Manufacturing, Automobile Parts Manufacturing, … Continue reading

Women who have suffered workplace discrimination in the RCMP may soon be compensated for decades of mistreatment

Since 2012, two class action lawsuits have been filed against the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).  The lawsuits allege that current and former female officers and employees were subject to systemic gender-based bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, causing the affected women to suffer physical and psychological damage, personal expense, and loss of income, … Continue reading

Alberta employers kick-start 2017 with a big win in the Styles appeal

Following the SCC’s decision in Bhasin, there was uncertainty regarding the application of the common law duty to perform contractual obligations in good faith to the employment law context. The Court of Appeal of Alberta’s decision in Styles provides clarity on the application of Bhasin in the context of both termination and entitlement to bonuses … Continue reading

Small Businesses and the AODA: New Requirements as of January 1, 2017

Over the last few years, large Ontario employers have been busy implementing changes to their practices in order to meet new accommodation requirements under the Accessibility of Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). As of January 1, 2017, Ontario employers with fewer than 50 employees must now meet additional obligations with respect to employment standards and … Continue reading

Mining Industry Highlight: Failure to Provide Written Procedures Leads to $55,000 Fine for Employer

Following a Ministry of Labour investigation, a mining company was fined $55,000 on October 26, 2016 after an employee was injured at a mine in Northern Ontario. The employee, an underground mechanic, was replacing an axel on a mining vehicle when an 878-pound tire fell and injured him. Fortunately, three other employees were nearby to … Continue reading

Legislation proposing to add “genetic characteristics” to prohibited grounds of discrimination

Recently, a private member’s bill which proposes to add “genetic characteristics” to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Ontario Human Rights Code went through its second reading at Queen’s Park and was referred to the committee stage. From an employment law point of view, if this bill is passed into law, the … Continue reading

New bill proposes accommodation and paid leave for employees facing domestic violence

December 6th marked Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women and Girls. Recent studies suggest that 54% of domestic and sexual violence victims have faced abuse at or near their workplace, placing significant stressors on performance, attendance, and mental health. Employers also feel the effects of domestic violence. Statistics Canada has … Continue reading

DOL to appeal injunction against new overtime regulations

Despite the fact that the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations were set to go into effect on December 1st, the validity of the regulations remains unsettled. We previously reported that on November 22nd, Judge Amos Mazzant of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted a nationwide injunction precluding … Continue reading

OSHA workplace injury and illness tracking will go forward

Last week, a Texas federal judge handed the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) a victory by refusing to grant an injunction that sought to delay the implementation of the Agency’s rule regarding workplace injuries and illnesses. The new rule, entitled “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illness,” requires most employers to submit workplace injury … Continue reading

Back to the Future for Federal Public Service Labour Relations Regime? 

The federal government has moved one step closer to making good on its promise earlier this year to restore the pre-2013 public service labour relations regime.  On November 28, 2016, the government tabled legislation to repeal parts of Conservative Bill C-4 (Economic Action Plan, No. 2, Division 17), dealing with essential services, collective bargaining, and … Continue reading
LexBlog