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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Alberta Court of Appeal helps employers ring in the New Year in Style(s)

January 15, 2017 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess

The Alberta Court of Appeal has released its first decision of 2017Styles v. Alberta Investment Management Corporation, 2017 ABCA 1and it is undoubtedly welcome news (and a nice gift) to employers.

The issue of whether or not a dismissed employee is entitled to bonus compensation during the period of reasonable notice has been a hot topic as of late. In Styles, the Alberta Court of Appeal weighed in and concluded that (1) in the event of a without-cause termination, an employer is not obligated to provide the employee with reasons for the termination; and (2) employees are not entitled to bonus payouts where they have not met the contractual preconditions. Suffice it to say, Styles looks to be ringing in a better 2017 for employers.

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Extraordinary damages not automatic in ‘cause’ cases

November 27, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

In Canada, courts can award two extraordinary forms of damages in a wrongful dismissal action: aggravated damages or punitive damages. In a wrongful dismissal action, employees who are terminated for cause often claim that they should be awarded aggravated and/or punitive damages in addition to reasonable notice damages.

In a recent decision of interest to employers in Canada, Smith v. Pacific Coast Terminals Co. Ltd., 2016 BCSC 1876, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that these types of damages will not be awarded simply because an employer continues to assert it has cause for termination at trial.

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Discharged employees must prove lack of comparable jobs

November 13, 2016 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

by Keri Bennett

Where an employee has been dismissed from a job without sufficient notice, he or she may look to his or her former employer for compensation for any losses suffered. However, the employee has a corresponding duty to try to limit any such losses by looking for comparable employment. A failure to act reasonably in this regard could have a significant impact on any claim the employee might have against the employer.

Not surprisingly given the state of the economy and the unemployment rate, dismissed employees often claim that there are no comparable jobs available and hence the reason they have not managed to secure other employment within the notice period. In Munoz v. Sierra Systems Group Inc., 2016 BCCA 140, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia ruled that where this argument is advanced, it is up to the employee to prove it.

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Can employer use subjective criteria to evaluate workers during probationary period?

July 24, 2016 - by: Paul Cote-Lepine 0 COMMENTS

by Paul Côté-Lépine

There is sometimes uncertainty surrounding the proper scope of evaluation for a probationary employee. Is an employer limited to relying on neutral, objective criteria, or can the employer also consider subjective criteria? According to a Quebec arbitrator in Syndicat des cols bleus regroupés de Montréal (SCFP, section locale 301) c. Montréal (Ville de), an employer is entitled to take into account subjective criteria. read more…

Quebec court upholds cause termination of employee for a single incident of theft

April 17, 2016 - by: Marie-Eve Gagnon 0 COMMENTS

by Marie-Ève Gagnon

Theft of merchandise by employees continues to be a recurring and costly problem for Canadian employers. The courts, however, do acknowledge the seriousness of the issue. Dismissal is often found to be an appropriate disciplinary response regardless of the value of the items stolen or whether the theft is repeated—unless mitigating factors are present that would justify a lesser penalty. read more…

Further clarification on ‘unjust’ dismissals

December 06, 2015 - by: Louise Bechamp 0 COMMENTS

By Louise Béchamp

As we reported previously, employers in Canada’s federal sector have had the right to dismiss employees without cause with one caveat. Only if the dismissal was not “unjust” within the meaning of section 240 of the Canada Labour Code. In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal determined that a termination without cause was not automatically unjust. The court, however, refrained from setting out a definition of unjust, instead indicating that it would leave it up to adjudicators appointed under the Canada Labour Code to develop its meaning.

In a recent decision, Bernier v. Traversiers Bourbonnais Inc. (available in French only), an adjudicator appointed under the Canada Labour Code has now clarified what an “unjust” dismissal is. read more…

How ‘come back to work’ doesn’t always work: offers of re-employment to former employees

October 18, 2015 - by: David McDonald 0 COMMENTS

by David McDonald

In Canada, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia recently issued a decision narrowing the possibility for employers to use re-employment offers to support an argument that an estranged employee has failed to mitigate damages by refusing to come back to work. read more…

Not all changes equal constructive dismissal

July 05, 2015 - by: Mathias Link 0 COMMENTS

by Mathias Link

Employers throughout Canada find it challenging to anticipate exactly when a particular unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment will be a breach of the employment contract, and thus a constructive dismissal, or whether the change will be reasonable such that an employee is obligated to accept the change or changes. read more…

When is a suspension not a suspension? When it’s a constructive dismissal

April 05, 2015 - by: David Wong 0 COMMENTS

by David G. Wong

When is a suspension not a suspension? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. However, in a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Canada explained that in certain circumstances a suspension will be deemed to be a termination. read more…

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