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Minimum wage increase in Québec: some employers are flexing their muscles

On May 1, 2017, the minimum wage in Québec was raised from $10.75/hr to $11.25/hr. Although not as substantial as the increases that have recently been implemented in other North American jurisdictions, this raise is still significant when compared with the average annual increase implemented in the province for the past 10 years. Some employers … Continue reading

Butt out! (ergonomically speaking): British Columbia Court of Appeal outlines management and union rights in employee accommodations

On February 28, 2017 the British Columbia Court of Appeal issued a decision that should be welcomed by unionized employers dealing with accommodating employees.  In Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers’ Union, 2017 BCCA 100 the issue was whether the employer was able to deal directly with its unionized employees when attempting to accommodate those … Continue reading

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear a pay equity case

In October 2016, we informed our readers and clients that the Québec Court of Appeal had unanimously upheld a Superior Court decision finding certain sections of the Pay Equity Act (Act) unconstitutional. The sections of the Act in question are those relating to retroactivity, employee participation in audits and posting of audit results. As was expected, … Continue reading

One step closer to legalization

On April 13th, the federal Liberal government tabled the much anticipated Cannabis Act. While many recreational marijuana users now have reason to rejoice, employers across the country are left with unanswered questions as to how the upcoming legalization will affect the workplace. It’s important to note that although recreational use of cannabis is expected to … Continue reading

Not on the Menu: Ontario Human Rights Commission releases findings from restaurant dress code inquiry in new report

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) recently released the findings from its inquiry on sexualized and gender-specific dress codes in a report entitled, Not on the Menu: Inquiry report on sexualized and gender-based dress codes in Ontario’s restaurants. A series of complaints from restaurant workers prompted the Commission to release a policy position in … Continue reading

Federal Government’s 2017 Budget Proposes Changes to Maternity and Parental Leave

The Liberal Government’s 2017 federal budget (“Budget 2017”) proposes changes that affect maternity and parental leaves and associated Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits. Currently, EI combined parental and maternity benefits are available at the benefit rate of 55 per cent over a period of up to 12 months. Budget 2017 proposes that this option continue to … Continue reading

Signed on the Dotted Line in Time? The Court of Appeal addresses the timing of an employee’s execution of her employment contract.

Employers have long been advised to ensure that a new employee agrees to and executes his or her written employment contract before starting work. Otherwise, there is a risk that the employment contract will be held to be unenforceable on the basis that there was no “consideration” provided to the employee in exchange for entering … Continue reading

Probation pitfalls and the Employment Standards Act (British Columbia)

Probation is common for new employees.  Probationary periods can provide employers the opportunity to assess new hires in the real work environment.  If an employee is not suitable, the employer may have the opportunity to end the relationship in the early months of employment with little or no liability.  There are a number of potential … Continue reading

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
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