Justice system failed the victims of Radiohead stage collapse

October 08, 2017 - by: Norm Keith 1 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith

On September 5, 2017, Justice Nelson of the Ontario Court of Justice stayed all charges against the accused in the deadly stage collapse at the Radiohead concert in Downsview Park on June 16, 2012. These charges under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) are the latest in a series of serious regulatory and criminal charges across Canada that have been stayed for unreasonable delay as a result of the Jordan decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Radiohead, a British band, was scheduled to perform at a concert in Toronto at Downsview Park. A number of hours before the start of the concert, the stage superstructure collapsed. Scott Johnson, a drum technician was fatally injured. Others were seriously injured.

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Discipline for off-duty cocaine use justified in safety-sensitive workplace

June 25, 2017 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, has confirmed that employers have the ability to take disciplinary action against employees for drug and alcohol use in safety-sensitive workplaces.

The worker in this case was employed in a mine where a drug and alcohol policy had been implemented. The policy required workers to disclose any dependence or addiction issues and to make such disclosure in advance of any incident occurring. If employees followed the policy, they were offered treatment for their addiction. If disclosure was not made and an incident occurred and the employee subsequently tested positive for alcohol or drugs, he or she could be terminated.

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Supreme Court of Canada reshapes labor law (again)

March 08, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by John D.R. Craig, Christopher D. Pigott, and Brandon Wiebe

In the January 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Court found, for the first time, that Canadian workers have a constitutional “right to strike.”

In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court overturned almost 30 years of case law that had expressly established that the guarantee of freedom of association in section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect strike activity. read more…

Quebec employers can’t waive notice period provided by resigning employee without providing notice

October 19, 2014 - by: Mohamed Badreddine 0 COMMENTS

by Mohamed Badreddine

Most employers in Quebec know that under Quebec’s Act Respecting Labour Standards (ALS) and the Civil Code of Québec (CCQ), an employer who wishes to terminate an indefinite contract of employment without serious reason must provide notice or pay in lieu of notice. Employees who wish to resign must also give their employer notice of resignation.

In Commission des normes du travail v. Asphalte Desjardins inc., the Supreme Court of Canada held that when an employee gives notice of resignation, the employer cannot waive the notice period and terminate the contract of employment without providing notice or pay in lieu of notice. read more…

High court rules on noncompete, nonsolicitation clauses in business sale

November 03, 2013 - by: Isabelle East-Richard 0 COMMENTS

By Isabelle East-Richard

A recent Supreme Court of Canada decision arising out of Québec will have broad ramifications across Canada.

In Payette v. Guay Inc. (2013 SCC 45 (September 12, 2013)), the Supreme Court of Canada settled the debate over whether the employment contract provisions of the Civil Code of Québec also apply to noncompete and nonsolicitation clauses set forth in business sale agreements. In so doing, it addressed the distinction between the rules that apply to restrictive covenants found in an employment contract and those found in a contract for the sale of a business. read more…

Supreme Court rejects random alcohol testing policy in dangerous workplace

June 30, 2013 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess, Katie Clayton, and Hannah Roskey

Canada’s highest court has ruled that random drug and alcohol testing in the workplace violates privacy rights. In Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd., the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) considered the validity of a random alcohol testing policy in a unionized workplace. In a 6-3 decision, the SCC agreed with the original arbitration board decision to strike down the employer’s mandatory drug and alcohol testing policy. read more…

Did he quit, or was he fired?

September 09, 2012 - by: Emilie Paquin-Holmested 0 COMMENTS

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested

Generally when employees decide to leave their jobs, they are considered to have quit. But in Canada, if they leave their jobs because the employer substantially changed essential terms of their employment, they are considered to have been constructively dismissed.

The line separating these two notions is often unclear. It’s especially so when terms of employment are changed after a corporate merger or integration. In a recent decision (St-Hilaire c. Nexxlink inc.), the Court of Appeal of Quebec reviewed the principles of constructive dismissal in this very context. read more…

Labor Arbitrators Have More Scope than Courts, Supreme Court Says

December 25, 2011 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

Canadian labor arbitrators are not legally bound to court-made legal rules. Rules of evidence, for example, are more relaxed. Rules of contract interpretation may also vary. But just how far arbitrators can deviate from general rules of law has been an open question.

A recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada took a fresh look at this issue. It confirmed that labor arbitrators will be given lots of leeway by the courts.

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Canada’s Top Court to Decide If Human Rights Tribunal Can Award Legal Costs

October 11, 2010 - by: Ida Martin 0 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin

This December, the Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear a case involving the issue of whether the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to grant legal costs to a successful complainant. In an area of law where legal costs often dwarf the actual amount of any award, the Supreme Court of Canada decision could have major ramifications for human rights litigation across Canada.

Audio Conference: Operating in Canada: New Dos and Don’ts for Employers

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Blowing Holes in Collective Agreements

October 04, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested and Dominique Monet

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Québec (Procureur général) c. Syndicat de la fonction publique, recently struck down a clause in a collective agreement. The clause in question prevented certain employees from challenging discipline through grievance arbitration. The Court declared the clause void because it contravened a statutory minimum standard.

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