Free labor or future liability? Unpaid internships in Canada also pose issues

July 14, 2013 - by: Julia Kennedy 0 COMMENTS

By Julia Kennedy

With each summer comes a wave of new graduates and returning students looking for ways to gain career experience. This summer, the media spotlight has been focused on the nature of unpaid internships in the United States and Canada. They are no longer limited to the not-for-profit sector. It’s probably a good time for employers in Canada who have some sort of internship program to reassess whether what seems like free labor is actually a liability in disguise. read more…

Another Gong Sounds for the End to Mandatory Retirement

January 15, 2012 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph N. Nero and Keri L. Bennett

Following the earlier lead of many Canadian provinces, the federal government has now outlawed mandatory retirement for federally regulated employers such as banks, telecommunications companies, airlines, and railways.

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Canadian Decisions Blur Distinction between Employees and Independent Contractors

June 12, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Keri Bennett

Employers in Canada have typically understood employees and independent contractors to fall into distinct legal categories. However, recent court and labor board decisions indicate that the traditional definition of “employee” continues to expand.

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Canadian Corporate Directors’ Liability for Unpaid Wages in a Unionized Environment

March 14, 2011 - by: Kevin O'Neill 0 COMMENTS

By Kevin O’Neill

Employment standards acts (ESAs) across Canada impose certain personal liabilities on directors or officers regarding unpaid wages of a company. The potential amounts and the circumstances in which such personal liability may arise vary from one jurisdiction to another.

In British Columbia (BC), the ESA imposes liability on directors or officers for up to two months of unpaid wages for each affected employee. However, a recent BC Employment Standards Tribunal (EST) decision indicates that officers and directors of unionized employers may have a sound defense against liability for awards issued against their corporation.

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Do Age-Based Early Retirement Programs Violate Human Rights Code?

May 10, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Ida Martin

Are pension plans that provide age-based early retirement programs discriminatory? In a decision that may be important across Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has recently answered no.

In Kovacs v. Arcelor Mittal Montreal, Kovacs argued that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his age by not being able to participate in the early retirement program being offered by the employer, Arcelor.

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Overtime Class Action Claims: The Second Wave?

March 15, 2010 - by: Sara Parchello 0 COMMENTS

By Sara Parchello

Overtime class actions in Canada aren’t dead. If you thought that last year’s court decision refusing to certify the class action against one of Canada’s largest banks, CIBC, meant the death of such lawsuits in Canada, think again.

These lawsuits — in which one or several employees act as a “representative plaintiff” to start a large claim against their employer on behalf of other similarly situated employees — are still showing up, claiming that overtime was worked but never paid. Several recent legal developments in this area, both in Canada and in the United States, should give Canadian employers renewed cause for concern.

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Vancouver 2010: Are You Prepared?

February 15, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Katie Clayton and Farrah Sunderani

With the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games having just begun, there will be several implications on the workplace. Past Olympic cities have reported high levels of absenteeism – both approved and unapproved – for employees wishing to attend the events, partake in the activities, or volunteer.

Employers outside Vancouver may face similar challenges – where employees call in “sick” in order to tune in to their favorite event. And then there are the transit disruptions in Vancouver itself. How will employers manage them while meeting client expectations and maintaining productivity? All of this while at the same time supporting the Olympic Spirit!

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Remote Control: U.S. Employees Based in Canada

October 26, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Stephen Acker and Julia Kennedy

Gone are the days when a white-collar job always meant going into the office and occupying a cubicle from 9 to 5. New information technology and network capabilities have made the home office and telecommuting, if not commonplace, at least attainable for many. Employers have realized that they can have access to skilled employees from anywhere on the continent without the headaches of relocation or satisfying immigration laws. While the benefits of remote employment arrangements may be debatable, access to a rare skill set will often outweigh employers’ concerns about supervision.

And so we are in the age of the remote employee.

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Beware the Unpaid Intern in Canada

June 15, 2009 - by: Sara Parchello 3 COMMENTS

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the current economic climate is that there are fewer jobs to go around for students. Summer and graduating students who have relied on summer jobs for experience and training are finding few opportunities out there.

To solve this problem, many students and graduates are reaching out to companies to offer their services on a gratuitous basis as unpaid “interns.” The mutual benefit seems obvious — especially if an unpaid internship blossoms into a full-time paying job.

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How Will Your Business Respond to Family Day?

January 29, 2008 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk, formerly with McCarthy Tetrault

A new statutory holiday, Family Day, has been declared in the province of Ontario. It will be celebrated on February 18. In subsequent years, it will fall on the third Monday of each February.

Employers should begin considering how their organization will respond. In particular, employers should begin reviewing existing employment contracts and collective agreements to determine whether they will treat Family Day as an additional holiday for employees.

Many employers already provide employees with more contractual public holiday rights and benefits than required by the minimum employment standards laws of Ontario – the Employment Standards Act (ESA). For example, a number of employment contracts and collective agreements provide “floater days” in addition to the original eight statutory holidays.

Employers should be aware that under the ESA, if the provisions of an employment contract or collective agreement provide a “greater right or benefit” than those provided by the ESA for the same subject matter, the contractual provisions apply and the ESA doesn’t apply. read more…

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