Project manager sentenced to 3.5-year jail term in Metron swing stage collapse

January 31, 2016 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith, Christina Hall, and Shane Todd

“… [A] significant term of imprisonment is necessary to reflect the terrible consequences of the offences and to make it unequivocally clear that persons in positions of authority in potentially dangerous workplaces have a serious obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that those who arrive for work in the morning will make it safely back to their homes and families …” – R. v Vadim Kazenelson, 2016 ONSC 25 (CanLII), para. 45

These scathing words were written by Justice MacDonnell in the January 11, 2016, sentencing decision in R. v Vadim Kazenelson. In this decision, Kazenelson, a construction project manager, was sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for five convictions of criminal negligence relating to the collapse of a swing stage that led to the death of four construction workers in Ontario. Kazenelson had earlier been found guilty of committing these offenses following a trial. read more…

Managing the risks posed by distracted driving

December 20, 2015 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

We’ve all seen it. Maybe when looking around while stuck in stop-and-go traffic on a highway. Maybe when noticing that a car in front of us doesn’t move when the traffic light turns green. It’s the distracted driver—texting away on his or her handheld device instead of paying attention to the traffic and road conditions.

Distracted driving has become one of the most dangerous hazards on our roads today. In most provinces in Canada, fatalities caused by distracted driving have now exceeded the fatalities caused by both impaired driving and speeding. The Canadian Automobile Association has published statistics noting that a driver texting on a cell phone is 23 times more likely to be involved in an accident or near accident than a nondistracted driver. read more…

Legal haze: accommodating employees who use medical marijuana

November 22, 2015 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 1 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess

One of the hot topics discussed during the recent Canadian federal election was the possible legalization of marijuana. The Liberal Party, which won the election, took a position in favor of legalization as part of its platform.

As the country waits to see whether the new government will put forward legislation to legalize marijuana, Canadian employers continue to navigate the complicated issues that arise in their workplaces when their employees have medical prescriptions permitting their use of marijuana. read more…

BYOD: privacy issues for Canadian employers

November 15, 2015 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

by Lorene A. Novakowski

Bring Your Own Device, or BYOD, programs are increasingly popular in Canada, as they are in the United States. Under a BYOD program, employers require or expect employees to use their own mobile devices for business purposes. The practice raises privacy concerns as well as concerns about ownership of company data and the ability to retain company data when an employee departs.

In August 2015, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s federal government together with those of British Columbia and Alberta jointly issued a paper considering the privacy implications of BYOD programs. The paper also provides useful recommendations for employers. read more…

Project manager convicted of criminal negligence

October 04, 2015 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith and Shane D. Todd

As another reminder of the importance of health and safety in all workplaces all across Canada, we report on the continuing legal saga involving the December 2009 fatalities at Metron Construction.

On June 26, 2015, Vadim Kazenelson, the project manager overseeing a construction project for Metron, was found guilty of five counts of criminal negligence in relation to a quadruple fatality on the project. As we approach the end of the Metron saga, we look back on the accident, the charges that flowed from it, and the impact on health and safety advice for employers. read more…

Employer permitted to post employee photos in workplace

August 16, 2015 - by: Alexis Charpentier 0 COMMENTS

by Alexis Charpentier

The right to privacy is constantly evolving. And that has implications in the workplace. Just how far employees’ privacy rights extend is constantly at issue. Recently an arbitrator in Quebec had to decide whether employees’ privacy rights extended so far that they could object to their employer’s decision to post their photos, together with their performance metrics, at their workstations. read more…

Occupational health and safety due diligence defense alive and well

June 21, 2015 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent case involving charges against a company under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act has confirmed that the defense of due diligence is alive and well. The defense of due diligence—which may allow employers to avoid a conviction under occupational health and safety legislation—can be difficult to establish. Even in cases where a worker is injured as a result of his or her own misconduct, the defense cannot always be made out. But in the right factual circumstances, it is still possible to successfully advance the due diligence defense notwithstanding the high standard applied. read more…

Drug testing does not always violate fundamental rights

by Marie-Gabrielle Bélanger

In Canada, the criteria for allowing random drug or alcohol testing in the workplace are very limited because these tests are regarded by our courts as an invasion of an employee’s privacy. But what about requiring targeted testing of an employee suffering from an addiction? read more…

Health and safety laws broadened to cover unpaid positions

January 18, 2015 - by: Carla Oliver 0 COMMENTS

by Carla Oliver

Ontario recently broadened the definition of “worker” under its Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). The broadened definition is consistent with a trend across Canada. read more…

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…

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