Freedom of expression during collective bargaining: What are the limits?

by Stéphane Fillion and Laïla Tremblay

In Canada, many cases have considered and limited an employer’s freedom of expression during collective bargaining. But what about the freedom of expression of the employees during that period? Is it similarly limited?

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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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Seasonal employee not bound by noncompetition clause

March 26, 2017 - by: Matthew Larsen 0 COMMENTS

by Matthew Larsen

A British Columbia court recently explored a novel issue – whether a noncompetition clause is enforceable against a seasonal employee.

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‘I quit … oh wait, I didn’t mean it!’

March 19, 2017 - by: Stefan Kimpton 0 COMMENTS

by Stefan Kimpton

Employers don’t often enough think about the consequences of a heat-of-the-moment resignation. It is generally assumed that when an employee says “I quit” or storms out of the workplace, the employment relationship has come to an end and the employer owes no further obligations to the employee.

Think again. As a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice – Johal v Simmons da Silva LLP, 2016 ONSC 7835 – reminds us, employers ought to exercise caution before accepting a resignation from an employee who quits suddenly following an emotional outburst at work. For the resignation to be valid, it must be clear and unequivocal. Most importantly, it must reflect the employee’s intention to resign.

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Ontario court awards 3 types of damages in sexual harassment case

March 12, 2017 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

by Hannah Roskey

An employee who was repeatedly sexually harassed by her coworker sued her employer after being terminated. In addition to normal damages for wrongful dismissal she was awarded $60,000 for “moral damages” by the trial judge, plus damages for the employer’s violation of human rights laws.

In Doyle v. Zochem Inc., 2017 ONCA 130, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently upheld this award and dismissed the employer’s appeal. This decision is a stark reminder of the importance of properly investigating employee complaints. It also confirms that moral damages and damages under human rights laws may both be awarded to an employee, without being characterized as “double dipping.”

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Corporate director, 69, not allowed to pursue human rights claim because he isn’t employee

March 05, 2017 - by: Cindy Switzer 0 COMMENTS

by Cindy Switzer

In a recent decision – Peterson v. The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of BC, 2017 BCHRT 21 (CanLII) – the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal considered whether a corporate director who was told he could not serve a second term on the company’s board because he was over 69 years old, ought to be protected by human rights legislation.

The tribunal concluded that the applicant, a director on the board of an insurance company, was not entitled to protection from age discrimination under the British Columbia Human Rights Code because he was not in an employment relationship with the company.

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Blurred lines: Managers may have right to bargain collectively

February 26, 2017 - by: Valérie Gareau-Dalpé 0 COMMENTS

by Valérie Gareau-Dalpé

In several jurisdictions across Canada, the issue of unionization of managers and supervisors is a thorny one. In many cases, unionization is restricted to “employees,” a definition from which managers are excluded. In the province of Québec, the exclusion is based partly on the potential for conflicts of interest in having managers collectively bargain their own conditions of employment.

In two surprising decisions, the Tribunal administratif du travail of Québec (Tribunal) has questioned the constitutionality of this managerial exclusion under Quebec’s Labour Code. While the decisions stem from an administrative tribunal and have yet to make their way to various appeal processes available through courts, as the case may be, they could have ramifications in other provinces.

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Tech companies: Canada is open—here are some immigration considerations

February 19, 2017 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

by Gilda Villaran

The Government of Canada prides itself on its positive attitude toward immigration and openly welcomes international talent. There are no restrictions preventing the issuance of work permits based on citizenship, and there is no reason to believe that Canada will change the way it views immigration in the immediate future. Not to suggest that Canada is lax about national security; of course, appropriate screening measures are in place to ensure the population’s safety. But once regular security checks are performed, Canada issues (and will continue to issue) work permits to those who meet the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its regulations.

Given the uncertainty that many employees of U.S.-based companies are now facing, the option of establishing a Canadian subsidiary to expand the organization’s footprint and relocate those employees who find themselves affected by the immigration policies of the current administration is gaining traction. From a Canadian’s perspective, we certainly welcome you in our country. Among other Canadian cities, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and Waterloo are already home to many flourishing international tech companies.

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Employer rules for temporary foreign workers in Canada

February 12, 2017 - by: Stéphane Aublet 0 COMMENTS

by Stéphane Aublet

A work permit is generally issued based on a specific job offer made by a particular Canadian employer (or an employer doing business in Canada). As such, the employer commits itself to providing the foreign worker with wages, working conditions, and employment that are similar to the terms set out in the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) application submitted to Service Canada.

If the employment is exempt from the LMIA (for example, transfer within a company, North American Free Trade Agreement professional, etc.), the employer commits to providing the foreign worker with wages, working conditions, and employment that are similar to the terms set out in the offer of employment submitted via Immigration Canada’s Employer Portal.

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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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