Further developments in Canadian law regarding gender identity and expression in the workplace

December 04, 2016 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

In Canada, continuing legislative developments continue to occur regarding the issues of gender identity and gender expression and have gained much attention in recent months. This is, in part, due to the increased acknowledgement of the challenges faced by transgendered people including in the workplace.

One of the results is that employers are being required more than ever to pay attention to the issues of gender identity and gender expression in the workplace, including ensuring that discrimination against transgendered employees is not tolerated and that workplace accommodations are implemented as appropriate.

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OHS prosecutions: When the regulator mischaracterizes a party’s role

October 30, 2016 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

When a person applies for a job, the job generally comes with a title that an employer believes to be descriptive of the role and reflective of the duties and responsibilities of the position. In many cases, an employer’s assignment of a job title to a particular role is done without a great deal of detailed thought.

It is important to remember, however, that occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation in each Canadian jurisdiction sets out the obligations of various individual parties regarding health and safety in the workplace. While the specifics of the legislation vary somewhat between jurisdictions, generally speaking, “supervisors,” “employers,” “constructors,” and other groups each have defined obligations under health and safety legislation that are triggered by virtue of their particular role in relation to the workplace.

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Medical assessment gives reasonable grounds for employee surveillance

October 09, 2016 - by: Mikaël Maher 0 COMMENTS

by Mikaël Maher

Surveillance may be an effective way for an employer to confirm or dispel their doubts about the legitimacy of a disability claim. But when is it legally permissible in Canada? In the recent decision Centre de santé et de services sociaux de la Vallée de la Gatineau v. Martin [1], the Quebec Superior Court weighed in on this issue. It set aside a 2013 arbitration award that excluded video surveillance evidence. Despite a medical assessment finding that the disability claim was fake, the arbitrator had ruled that the employer did not have reasonable grounds to undertake the surveillance. The court disagreed.

Generally, the employer’s right to undertake surveillance is limited in Canada, to protect the fundamental right to privacy of all employees. Courts and tribunals have ruled that before initiating a surveillance operation, an employer must have reasonable grounds for conducting it. Even if there are reasonable grounds, surveillance must be done in the least intrusive manner possible. read more…

Mandatory employee medical examinations—employer gets it right

September 11, 2016 - by: Chuck Harrison 0 COMMENTS

by Chuck Harrison

A recent labor arbitration decision in Canada provides a guide for employers to “get it right” when balancing occupational safety and health obligations against employee privacy rights. read more…

Reconsidering random drug and alcohol testing in Canada

July 10, 2016 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

Random workplace drug and alcohol testing is generally prohibited by Canadian employers in Canada. However, there are limited circumstances in which it may be permitted. A recent decision of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Suncor Energy Inc. v. Unifor Local 707A, provides some further guidance for employers operating in Canada. And provides them with a glimmer of hope. read more…

Benefits beyond age 65?

June 26, 2016 - by: Marc Rodrigue 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

The laws that generally provided for mandatory retirement in Canada have been eliminated. Across Canada, with very few exceptions, employees generally cannot be forced to retire at age 65. But can their benefits be cut off at age 65?

Even if employers are permitted to cut off benefits to workers 65 and older under human rights antidiscrimination laws, are they contractually entitled to do so? Recent labor arbitration decisions indicate that if employers don’t properly contract to cut off benefits, they may not be entitled to cut off benefits at all.

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Overcoming the hurdles in managing workers’ compensation claims

June 12, 2016 - by: David Marchione 0 COMMENTS

by David Marchione, OHS Consultant/Paralegal

Many employers struggle to efficiently manage workers’ compensation claims. Most provincial experience rating programs established by workers’ compensation boards are based on two things: claim costs and claim duration. Thus, a failure by an employer to efficiently manage a claim can result in increased costs and increased duration of the claim, thus leading to a negative impact on the employer’s experience rating. The situation is further complicated by the fact that managing a worker’s return to work often becomes more difficult as time passes. read more…

Healthcare workers’ longer hours don’t necessarily increase health, safety risks

May 15, 2016 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

Most employers know that there are restrictions under employment standards legislation regarding maximum hours of work for their employees. In certain circumstances, it is possible to exceed these daily or weekly maximums. However, care must be exercised when doing so in order to avoid a breach of the employer’s duties under occupational health and safety legislation. This issue was explored in the recent Ontario decision of Durham (Regional Municipality) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees. read more…

Workers’ comp changes for post-traumatic stress disorder claims

April 03, 2016 - by: Brandon Wiebe 0 COMMENTS

by Brandon Wiebe

A second Canadian province, Manitoba, recently amended its Workers Compensation Act to create a rebuttable presumption that claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are work-related. But Manitoba’s law is novel in that it applies to all workers, regardless of occupation. read more…

Workplace health through a new lens: steps to promote psychological well-being

February 14, 2016 - by: Cathy Chandler 0 COMMENTS

by Cathy Chandler

The workplace can play an essential role in helping individuals maintain positive mental health. However, it also can be a stressful environment that may contribute to mental health issues and illness. In a 2009 study three out of 10 Canadian employees reported that their work environments were not psychologically safe or healthy. Mental health is an important occupational health and safety issue, but many organizations have no system or process in place to address workplace psychological risks and stressors.

Employers’ legal obligations

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