Topic: Québec

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Quebec Labour Tribunal rules on decision to terminate a high paid employee

The Tribunal administratif du travail recently released Major c. Nova DM Média Canada inc., 2016 QCTAT 4423, which clarified an employer’s burden of proof to demonstrate that an employee was laid off as part of an administrative reorganization rather than dismissed not for good and sufficient cause.

In this decision, administrative judge François Caron relied on Selianov c. ABPTS inc., 2010 QCCRT 0138, in order to explain the burden of proof in the context of redundancy dismissals. Selianov established that in case of dismissal, the employer must prove, on a balance of probabilities, that the economic … Continue Reading

A new model of discrimination?

Last December, the French government passed a bill decreeing that models must now obtain a medical certification in order to be able to work in France. Companies found not to be respecting the new law will be liable to a fine of more than 75,000 euros (approximately $CAN 108,000 at the current exchange rate) and their directors could also be forced to serve up to six (6) months in prison. France is not the first country to adopt a law banning unhealthy models. In 2012, the Israeli government passed a similar law. In some other countries like Spain, Italy and … Continue Reading

The Duty to Accommodate Employees Suffering from Drug Addiction or Alcoholism in Quebec

Alcoholism and drug addiction have been recognized as diseases pursuant to the definition of a “handicap” established within the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.  Therefore, an employee suffering from limitations related to his or her addiction is afforded protection against discrimination guaranteed by the Quebec Charter in Article 10.

What does it mean to accommodate an employee with a handicap in the workplace? The Supreme Court of Canada answered this question in 2008 in the Hydro-Québec case. It stated that the duty to accommodate ends where the employee is no longer able to fulfill the basic obligations … Continue Reading

Improper Comments on Social Networks: A Serious Cause Justifying Dismissal?

The employment contract of a “Montreal Impact Academy’s U14” team coach was recently terminated as he made racist comments on his private Facebook page following the defeat of France against Portugal in the Euro 2016 final. In a news release, the Montreal Impact shortly dissociated itself from these comments, considering that they were totally unacceptable and against the fundamental values of the club and of the Academy.

This case is interesting in that it raises the issue of whether an employer can lawfully dismiss an employee having an improper conduct on the Internet. It serves as an accurate example of … Continue Reading

Damages to the Reputation: A Serious Motive for Termination?

What constitutes a serious motive to terminate an employee under a fixed-term employment contract? Recent events in Quebec raise this question as the province’s former deputy premier Nathalie Normandeau was dismissed by her employer, a Quebec City radio station, even though her contract expired in August 2019. This occurred after the deposition of seven criminal charges against the former politician by the Permanent Anticorruption Unit (“UPAC”), including corruption, fraud toward the government, conspiracy, breach of trust and use of forged documents. These accusations are part of the investigations conducted by UPAC in Quebec regarding political financing in exchange of public … Continue Reading

Uber and its drivers in Quebec: Who are they?

The saga opposing the multinational Uber to taxi drivers has been raging in the province of Quebec for nearly two years. We have witnessed a multiplication of public interventions coming from both camps in order to rally to their respective cause both the government and the majority of the population.

Taxi drivers, represented by a strong lobby, mainly argue that all taxi-like drivers should be submitted to the same rules such as holding a class 4C driver’s licence and being part of a professional association subjecting them to precise rules and norms of conduct. At the opposite end of the … Continue Reading

What Protection do Employees have Against Race Discrimination?

Discrimination in Quebec’s labour relations is mainly covered by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. Both protect an employee from being wronged by his employer based on race or ethnical differences. They offer employees a broad scope of protection namely with regards to hiring, dismissal, apprenticeship and conditions of employment.

As the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recently reminded, “race discrimination” is subtle and can take various forms. In the light of the foregoing:

“(…) it should be kept in mind that discrimination is not usually practiced overtly or even

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Une entente de principe dans le secteur de l’automobile au Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean

Le lock-out sévissant depuis bientôt trois (3) ans dans le secteur de l’automobile au Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, un des plus longs conflits de travail au Québec, est terminé! En effet, une entente de principe est intervenue le 14 janvier 2016 entre le Syndicat démocratique des employés de garage du Saguenay‑Lac‑Saint‑Jean (CSD) (le Syndicat), représentant dans le présent conflit environ quatre cents (400) salariés de garage et la Corporation des concessionnaires automobiles du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean-Chibougamau (la Corporation), une association d’employeurs dont vingt-cinq (25) concessionnaires automobiles sont impliqués dans le conflit.

La loi spéciale

Rappelons que devant l’impasse du présent conflit, le Ministre … Continue Reading

What implications does a change in the ownership of a business have for employment?

In Quebec, many legal consequences must be considered when the alienation or concession of a business occurs, especially those that are related to labour relations. More specifically, what implications does a transfer as such have on the alienated or licenced business’ employees? In order to answer this question, it is of utmost importance to first determine whether the relevant situation occurs in a unionized environment or not.

Unionized employees

If the employees that work for the alienated business are unionized, section 45 of the Labour Code[1] is henceforth applicable and provides that the alienation or the operation – by … Continue Reading

Moyens de pression des enseignants québécois : attention!

En novembre l’an dernier, la Fédération des syndicats de l’enseignement (ci-après « FSE ») faisait connaître ses demandes syndicales en vue de l’année de négociation nationale qui débutait pour les enseignantes et enseignants québécois (ci-après « les enseignants »). Parmi ses demandes, se retrouvaient entre autres : plus d’autonomie pour le personnel enseignant, du temps et des services pour les élèves (diminution du ratio maîtres-élèves, pondération des élèves avec troubles de comportement, ajout de ressources enseignantes, etc.) et une meilleure équité pour les jeunes enseignants et pour celles et ceux à statut précaire.

Afin de faire entendre leurs revendications, plusieurs … Continue Reading

What protection from discrimination do employees have on grounds of gender in Quebec?

The Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Quebec Charter) provides the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of sex. In the employment context, this protection has a wide scope that extends notably, but without limitation, to hiring, to the conditions of employment and to dismissal.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) defines sex discrimination as :

“(…) practices or attitudes that have, whether by design or impact, the effect of limiting an individual’s or a group’s right to the opportunities generally available because of attributed rather than actual characteristics.” (Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd.

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Notice rights – what rights do employees have to notice on termination of employment?

In Canada, particularly in the province of Quebec, the length of notice of termination to which an employee is entitled is fairly generous. In Quebec, the right to notice is mainly governed by two pieces of legislation, namely the Civil Code of Quebec (CcQ) and the Act respecting labour standards (LSA). While the provisions of the CcQ apply to all parties bound by a contract of employment, the LSA provides labour standards for specific categories of employees.

Notice of termination under the LSA

Under the LSA, an employer must give written notice to an employee before terminating his contract of … Continue Reading

Managing Medical Marijuana in the Workplace in Canada

Federal regulations permit access to marijuana for medical purposes, and the use of marijuana can become a complicated issue in the workplace. Importantly, the Supreme Court of Canada recently ruled that patients approved under the regulations should have access to all forms of cannabis products, including edible or topical cannabis products, as opposed to only marijuana in dried form. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, and given the health risks associated with smoking, employees who are medically authorized to use marijuana may choose to rely on alternative means of administering their doses, such as by brewing marijuana leaves in tea … Continue Reading

Québec: what protection from discrimination do employees have on the grounds of sexual orientation?

Canada and particularly the province of Quebec are generally known to be “friendly” towards the rights of the LGBT community, including within the realm of employment.

It is interesting to note that the Supreme Court of Canada held in 1995 that although sexual orientation was not specifically listed as a ground for discrimination in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms[1] (hereafter the Canadian Charter), it nonetheless constituted an analogous ground on which claims of discrimination may be based[2]. The same Court went further three years later in deciding that provincial human rights legislation that omitted … Continue Reading

What right do employees have to a minimum wage in the province of Quebec?

The majority of workers in the province of Quebec are entitled to receive the minimum wage established by the provincial government. The right to the minimum wage is set out in the Act respecting labour standards, which applies to most provincially-regulated employers and employees.

Certain categories of workers have clearly been exempted from the minimum wage requirement under the Regulations respecting labour standards:

  • students employed in a non-profit organization having social or community purposes (such as a vacation camp or a recreational organization);
  • trainees under a programme of vocational training recognized by law;
  • trainees under a programme of
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What protection do employees have against discrimination on the ground of age in Québec?

Both the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Québec Charter) as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canadian Charter) provide for the right not to be discriminated against on the ground of age. In the context of employment, the Québec Charter prohibits discrimination based on age with respect to the hiring, apprenticeship, duration of the probationary period, vocational training, promotion, transfer, displacement, laying-off, suspension, dismissal or conditions of employment.

Discrimination based on age occurs in the workplace when a distinction, exclusion or preference is made based on a person’s age or because such person belongs to … Continue Reading

Employment vs. Vocation: Is a Priest an Employee?

A specialized tribunal in Quebec recently decided in Dubois v. Diocèse de Trois-Rivières[1] that a parish priest was neither in the employment of the diocese that appointed him nor the parish corporation for which he was selected to perform his services. Tasked with determining whether an employment relationship existed under the Quebec Occupational Work and Safety Act (the “Act”), the Tribunal concluded that the relationship was a spiritual one and effectively denied the priest’s claim.

Through his appeal to the Tribunal, the priest was seeking compensation for the pulmonary disease and asthma, the state of general anxiety and depression, … Continue Reading

Pénurie de travailleurs spécialisés au Québec : Le Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité et de l’inclusion met à jour sa liste des professions en demande dans la province

Depuis 2012, le Ministère de l’immigration, de la diversité et de l’inclusion (MIDI) publie annuellement une liste des professions spécialisées en demande dans la province.

Les employeurs désirant embaucher des travailleurs étrangers dans les professions qui font partie de cette liste verront leurs démarches facilitées. En effet, ces employeurs seront exemptés – pour les professions visées à la liste précitée – des efforts de recrutement normalement rendus obligatoires par le processus d’Étude de l’impact sur le marché du travail (EIMT).

Une EIMT constitue ultimement une approbation émise par Emploi et Développement social Canada (ESDC) … Continue Reading

Collective consultation on redundancy – what obligations do employers have?

In the province of Québec, the concept of “redundancy” shall be understood as terminations of employment or layoffs (individual or collective), all as stated in and within the meaning of section 82 and following of the Act Respecting Labour Standards (the ALS).[1] That being said, employers have no formal and legal obligations with regards to collective consultations on redundancy.

Indeed, and in non-unionized workplaces, employers are under no obligation with regards to employment termination or layoff preliminary procedure or consultation other than to give the individual or collective notice pursuant to the ALS (the distinction between the individual … Continue Reading

Religious and other personal beliefs – what protection is granted to employees in Québec against discrimination?

The Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms (Québec Charter) as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canadian Charter) confer a right to freedom of religion and prohibit discriminatory practices based on religion.

Under the Québec Charter and Canadian Charter, the expression “freedom of religion” has been construed in a broad sense. Indeed, Canadian courts have often held that a belief or practice does not need to be rooted in an official religious dogma in order to be protected; rather, as long as the person who entertains such a belief or practice is sincere and undertaking it … Continue Reading

Harassment complaint in the workplace and internal investigations: Does procedural fairness apply?

In a recent case, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned a Court of Quebec judgment and found that procedural fairness standards applicable to administrative law are not applicable to internal investigations into complaints of psychological harassment in the workplace.


The appellant was a college professor who was dismissed for psychological harassment of some of his colleagues. The respondent was selected to investigate two complaints of psychological harassment filed on behalf of two colleagues against the appellant, in accordance with the employer’s psychological harassment policy. Following her investigation, she found the complaints were substantiated.

The appellant took action against … Continue Reading

Employeurs canadiens et travailleurs étrangers: méfiez-vous du statut implicite!

Pour les employeurs canadiens qui ont recours au Programme des travailleurs étrangers temporaires, il faut bien souvent demander l’émission favorable d’une Étude d’impact sur le marché du travail. Il s’agit d’une confirmation de la part des autorités selon laquelle l’offre d’emploi temporaire formulée à un étranger a une incidence neutre ou positive ou, à tout le moins, qu’elle n’aura aucune incidence négative sur le marché du travail.

L’analyse porte notamment sur les efforts de l’employeur visant à recruter des canadiens, mais également sur la conformité du salaire offert à l’étranger en regard du marché du travail canadien.

Certains employeurs croient … Continue Reading

Social Media in the Quebec Workplace

No need to reiterate the omnipresence of social media in our daily environment. Whether it is reading the mayor of Montreal’s latest tweet, browsing a friend’s pictures of his or her newborn on Instagram, or expressing dissatisfaction on our Facebook walls, there exists a multitude of reasons to get lost online.

Through their “social” character, social media gives the possibility to people to share more or less private information to a large public. As a direct consequence, it may occur that an employer gets his or her hands on information that would otherwise have been out of reach. In this … Continue Reading

Les tests de dépistage en milieu de travail

Les tests de dépistage au sein des entreprises québécoises sont devenus pratique courante au cours de la dernière décennie. Ceci a forcé les tribunaux à se pencher à plusieurs reprises sur la question de savoir si ces tests contreviennent aux droits fondamentaux des employés. De manière générale, ils ont conclu que les tests de dépistage de drogue et d’alcool obligatoires reliés à l’emploi contreviennent, sous réserve d’exceptions, au droit à la vie privée et à l’intégrité des candidats ou employés.

Selon la jurisprudence, ce n’est donc qu’en de rares occasions que l’employeur peut imposer des tests de dépistage de drogue … Continue Reading