Ontario releases new workers’ compensation policy to aid in claims involving pre-existing conditions

November 09, 2014 - by: Cathy Chandler 0 COMMENTS

by Cathy Chandler

Until recently, Ontario was the only jurisdiction in Canada without a specific policy dealing with the effect of pre-existing conditions on claims for workers’ compensation. That has now changed. On November 1, 2014, a new policy of the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Pre-Existing Conditions, came into force. The goal of the policy is to provide decision makers with guidance on how to draw the work-related/non-work-related line when it comes to adjudicating compensation claims involving pre-existing conditions. read more…

Rare costs award granted in human rights complaint

November 02, 2014 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

Although courts routinely order one party to pay the other party a portion of its legal fees, administrative tribunals in Canada very rarely have the power or inclination to do so. That includes human rights tribunals across the country, which very rarely order one party to pay the other’s legal costs even where they have the power to do so.

In Kim Ma v. Dr. Iain G. M. Cleator, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal took the highly unusual step of ordering the complainant to pay a portion of the respondent employer’s legal fees. Why? In this case, the tribunal found the complainant’s conduct to be so egregious that it was the exception to the rule. read more…

BC addresses whether privacy rights include right to remain anonymous

July 13, 2014 - by: Chuck Harrison 0 COMMENTS

By Chuck Harrison

In a recent Canadian case, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board addressed whether privacy rights entitle an employee disciplined for serious misconduct to remain anonymous in an arbitration award. read more…

Employers need to understand injury reporting obligations

June 15, 2014 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind H. Cooper

In most provinces across Canada, occupational health and safety legislation requires that employers and other workplace parties report injuries and incidents to the appropriate government ministry.

While most reporting requirements relate to workplace injuries, there are also requirements to report certain types of incidents regardless of whether there is an associated injury. Most of these legislative provisions require strict compliance with tight reporting timelines. read more…

Hiring new and young staff this summer? Think safety first!

June 08, 2014 - by: Deanah Shelly 0 COMMENTS

By Deanah Shelly

A few summers ago, Ontario employers were surprised by a monthlong young worker safety inspection blitz. During the blitz, Ontario Ministry of Labour inspectors visited 2,024 workplaces across Ontario and issued 5,862 orders. Of those, 105 were stop-work orders, forcing workplaces to stop production until they complied with the listed requirements.

On May 1, 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Labour began yet another blitz — this time for four months and again focused on new and young worker safety. While this blitz is an Ontario initiative, many provinces across Canada are taking similar proactive measures to improve safety in the workplace for this group of vulnerable workers. read more…

Court sends supervisor to jail

April 13, 2014 - by: Antonio Di Domenico 0 COMMENTS

By Antonio Di Domenico

We know that Canadian courts are increasingly more willing to impose significant six- and seven-figure fines on employers convicted of criminal workplace negligence or occupational health and safety violations. Indeed, we reported on two recent examples—Vale Canada Limited and Metron Construction—where the companies were given record fines in these types of cases. read more…

Human rights complaint can hurt your reputation AND your bottom line

March 23, 2014 - by: David Wong 0 COMMENTS

By David G. Wong

Until recently, the damages awarded by Canadian human rights tribunals, courts, and arbitrators across the country for human rights violations were relatively modest. In the past few years, we have seen those awards increase, although not to an outrageous level. But that might all be changing, as two recent decisions out of Western Canada—one out of British Columbia and the other out of Alberta—suggest. read more…

Workers’ comp for injuries from systemic workplace harassment

February 23, 2014 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

A recent Alberta court decision indicates that health problems arising from systemic harassment in the workplace can be covered by workers’ compensation (WCB) insurance. This decision may have ramifications across Canada. read more…

Human rights claim disallowed; victim was part of the harassment

February 02, 2014 - by: Nicola Sutton 0 COMMENTS

By Nicola Sutton

In December 2013 we reported on the allegations faced by the Miami Dolphins that one of its players had been bullied and harassed by his teammates, an issue faced by many employers. Sometimes these issues are complicated when a complaining employee has been or is an active participant in the complained-of behavior.

How do Canadian courts and human rights tribunals deal with these situations? The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal had occasion to consider this recently in Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2). read more…

Can you keep a secret? Court upholds termination for breach of confidentiality

January 26, 2014 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

By Hannah Roskey

When will an employee’s breach of confidence justify immediate dismissal under Canadian law? A recent decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court demonstrates that clearly drafted employer policies intended to protect confidential information can indeed be strictly enforced. In Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, the court upheld the dismissal of a 20-year employee for cause in response to her breach of confidentiality and privacy policies. read more…

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