New workers’ compensation insurance rates will affect Ontario employers

April 02, 2017 - by: David Marchione 0 COMMENTS

by David Marchione

Across Canada, workers’ compensation programs are designed to protect employees who suffer work-related injuries. These act as insurance programs administered by various agencies across all Canadian jurisdictions. These insurance regimes are collectively funded by employers who pay premiums according to a number of factors, including their payroll and history of workplace injuries along with the occupational risks associated with their industry or employee classifications. In Ontario, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is the province’s agency responsible for worker’s compensation.

On November 14, 2016, the board of directors for Ontario’s WSIB approved a new rate framework that will completely change the way the WSIB charges employers for workers’ compensation coverage in that province. The new system is a product of research and consultation that began in 2010, when the WSIB appointed Professor Harry Arthurs to review a number of issues related to the financial situation of the WSIB.

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Quebec City shootings: What can we learn from this tragedy?

February 02, 2017 - by: Brian Smeenk 1 COMMENTS

By Brian Smeenk

Six innocent men were shot in the back while praying in a Quebec City mosque on January 29. The apparently racially motivated act of violence makes us all pause to reflect. How could this happen? In a peaceful city like that? In a peaceful country like Canada? What is happening in our society that would give rise to such hateful violence?  Flag of Quebec

Perhaps we can all learn something from such a tragedyincluding HR professionals, business managers, and even lawyers. Canadians and Americans alike.

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Taking the high road: Marijuana at work could trigger obligations to question

January 22, 2017 - by: Cory Sully 0 COMMENTS

by Cory Sully

While access to medical marijuana has increased in Canada over the last few years, the consumption of medical marijuana has arguably become less taboo with the new Trudeau government’s pledge to eventually legalize and regulate this substance.

In the summer of 2016, the government made the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR), which allows individuals to legally consume marijuana for medical purposes if they meet certain criteria. The ACMPR is designed to allow individuals to access and use marijuana, notably by producing their own cannabis or designating someone to do so for them.

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Strangers at the table: Employers may need to accept observers in collective bargaining

December 11, 2016 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

In Canada, collective agreements are generally accessible to the public. Canadian jurisdictions provide mechanisms to file collective agreements with government authorities, and it is not uncommon for the union or the employer to post their agreement on the web. However, the process of bargaining itself is private and typically carefully guarded by the parties. This allows for a free flow of information between the parties in order to achieve better negotiations.

In a recent case, a Canadian labor board was faced with a difficult question: What happens when one side tries to bring “observers” to the negotiation table? Surprisingly, the board ruled that observers could have a seat at the table.

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New developments in Canadian law on gender identity and expression at work

December 04, 2016 - by: Clayton Jones 0 COMMENTS

by Clayton Jones

In Canada, legislative developments continue to occur regarding the issues of gender identity and gender expression and have gained much attention in recent months. This is due in part 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 at work, including ensuring that discrimination against transgendered employees isn’t 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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