Topic: North America

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Employers may be justified in requesting an independent medical examination as part of the procedural aspect of the duty to accommodate

  Jurisprudence on independent medical examinations (IME) in the context of the employer’s duty to accommodate is sparse.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently provided much-needed guidance in Bottiglia v Ottawa Catholic School Board.  In Bottiglia, the Court held that in certain circumstances, an employer may be justified in requesting an IME as part … Continue reading

Employer ordered to pay $141,000 for tort of harassment and intentional infliction of mental suffering at the workplace

In a previous post on this blog, we discussed how an employer’s non-compliance with workplace harassment and violence provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act resulted in a $70,000 fine ordered against the employer. Recently, the Superior Court reminded employers of the importance of ensuring that a harassment-free workplace is maintained and that all … Continue reading

Now you see it (now you don’t), or do you?  Can an employer retract an offer of employment?

The retraction of an accepted offer of employment can create significant legal challenges for an employer.  The BC Supreme Court recently reaffirmed that, absent an express contractual provision to the contrary or just cause, a pre-employment retraction of an accepted offer of employment constitutes termination of employment entitling the individual to reasonable notice or damages … Continue reading

Mitigation Income and Wrongful Dismissal Damages – The Court of Appeal Muddies the Waters

The Wrongful Dismissal – What Happened? Esther Brake worked for McDonald’s for over twenty-five years, first in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland, and then as a restaurant manager in Ottawa. She had received nothing but excellent reviews for years, but in 2011 she was suddenly told her performance was inadequate and that she had two options: accept a … Continue reading

Toronto firefighters in hot water over vulgar tweets

Two Toronto firefighters found themselves fighting to get their jobs back after some vulgar tweets on their personal Twitter accounts landed them in hot water. The cases of Matt Bowman and Lawaun Edwards demonstrate the importance of ensuring employees understand the reach of their social media accounts. After a National Post article exposed both firefighters … Continue reading

ContractorCheck Canada App

Employee or contractor? The ContractorCheck Canada application (App) is a practical tool developed by the Norton Rose Fulbright employment and labour team. It is designed to help employers accurately determine the status of their workforces and whether they should be considered contractors or employees. Defining employees versus contractors can be sometimes challenging; improperly classifying them … Continue reading

Application for interlocutory injunction preventing implementation of random drug and alcohol testing of TTC employees denied

  In Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v Toronto Transit Commission, 2017 ONSC 2078, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 (ATU) unsuccessfully argued that the implementation of the random drug and alcohol testing of its members should be withheld until the conclusion of the main arbitration hearing addressing the validity of the new drug and alcohol … Continue reading

Misclassification of Workers under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148)

On May 23, 2017, the Ontario Government released The Changing Workplaces Review: An Agenda for Workplace Rights Final Report.  The report reviewed numerous aspects of our workforce and the legislation that applies to it.  A portion of the report included a statistic that found a significant increase in the number of individuals that are self-employed … Continue reading

Dismissed employee failed to mitigate by choosing retraining over applying for comparable re-employment

In Benjamin v. Cascades Canada ULC, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reviewed the law surrounding an employee’s duty to mitigate their common law reasonable notice damages arising from wrongful dismissal. In such cases, the onus is on the employer to establish a failure to mitigate, and that onus requires the employer to establish that … Continue reading

Preparing for the changes to Ontario’s vacation entitlements proposed in Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act

  Currently, employees covered by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) are entitled to at least two weeks of vacation time after completing 12 continuous months of employment (whether active or inactive). Vacation pay is addressed separately from vacation time, and employees are currently entitled to at least 4% of their wages as vacation pay.  … Continue reading

Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act proposes key reforms for bargaining unit review

  Under the current Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”), once a bargaining unit is certified, any changes to the composition of the bargaining unit are voluntary. Bill 148 proposals, if passed, would amend the LRA to provide that: the Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) can review the structure of a bargaining unit if it is … Continue reading

Overtime Entitlement Did Not Extend to Time Spent at Labour Management Meetings

In Fabrene Inc. v International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 2922 employees who were Union Grievance Committee (“UGC”) members unsuccessfully argued that the hours they spent attending Labour Management meetings on their days off constituted compensable overtime. Factual Background The UGC members worked 12-hour day shifts on Monday and Tuesday, 12-hour night … Continue reading

Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 proposes considerable changes to equal pay for equal work provisions

The recently released Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act (Bill 148) proposes considerable changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), including a number of new equal pay for equal work provisions. If passed, Bill 148 would considerably expand the current ESA equal pay provisions, which only contemplate equal pay between the sexes. In particular, the proposed … Continue reading

Bill C-4: One step forward, two steps back

On June 19, House Government Bill C-4, « An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act », received Royal Assent after an interesting showdown between the Government and the Senate. The objective of this Bill, which constituted an electoral … Continue reading

A new criterion for unreasonableness: The obligation for adjudicators to demonstrate their consideration of progressive discipline

In a recent decision of the Federal Court of Canada, the Court had occasion to apply the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Wilson v Atomic Energy of Canada ltd (Wilson) for one of the first times. In his decision, Justice Diner found that it was unreasonable for an adjudicator not to consider both the … Continue reading

Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act proposes a 32% increase in the minimum wage

The Ontario government has proposed to increase the general minimum wage to $14.00 per hour on January 1, 2018, and to $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2019. Additionally, the special minimum wage rate for students under 18, liquor servers, hunting/fishing guides and homeworkers will remain in effect, with increases by the same percentage as … Continue reading

Tougher Penalties for ESA Non-Compliance under Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Tougher Penalties for ESA Non-Compliance under Ontario Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 The proposed Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) represents the first major overhaul of Ontario’s employment and labours in over two decades.  While many of the Bill 148 amendments are aimed at enhancing the substantive rights of workers, … Continue reading

An important decision on the implementation of drug and alcohol policies in safety-sensitive workplaces issued by the Supreme Court of Canada

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a much awaited judgment on an appeal from an Alberta Court of Appeal decision in the Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. case. Mr. Stewart (the Appellant) worked in a mine operated by the Elk Valley Coal Corporation, driving a loader. As a means to ensure safety in … Continue reading

Summer Dress Codes

With summer fast approaching appropriate summer dress codes are back in the spotlight. Frequent discussion takes place regarding the degree to which an employer can determine what an employee is permitted to wear. Inappropriate work attire can be problematic to deal with for employers.  What is appropriate summer work attire in a given workplace, and … Continue reading

DOL takes first step to rescind Obama-era persuader rule

After announcing the withdrawal of two union friendly administrator interpretations issued by the Obama Administration, the US Department of Labor delivered another blow to unions by announcing that it will take public comment beginning June 12, 2017, on a proposed rule to rescind the Obama-era version of the persuader rule which requires companies to report  … Continue reading

Corporate Human Rights 2017 Benchmark shows companies at relatively early stage in implementing UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights 

The Corporate Human Rights 2017 Benchmark is a pilot project led by a not-for-profit company backed by a number of global investment management firms, governmental departments in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and various international foundation.  The overarching goal of the Benchmark is to create the first open and transparent public benchmark of corporate … Continue reading

Unauthorized Access of Records – Nurse’s Job Saved by Late Apology

The BC Labour Relations Board recently upheld the reinstatement of a nurse who, on multiple occasions over an extended period, accessed private health authority records for personal reasons and without authority.  The Board upheld the arbitration award that ordered her reinstatement based in part on the nurse’s 11th hour apology.  The decision illustrates the challenge … Continue reading

Ontario Government intends to introduce proposed legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

Earlier today Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn unveiled the government’s formal response to the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report and the special advisors’ 173 recommendations for change to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA). Wynne’s Liberal government has not embraced all of those recommendations.  … Continue reading
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