Upgrading your occupational health and safety management systems

May 07, 2017 - by: Cathy Chandler 0 COMMENTS

by Cathy Chandler

Two workers die each day in Canada from a work-related accident or disease. Hundreds more experience a work-related injury, according to the Association of Workers Compensation Boards of Canada 2015 Statistical Report. The statistics are not improving significantly despite an increased focus from regulators, unions, and industry associations on improving occupational health and safety systems. Is the implementation of a more effective occupational health and safety management system (OHSMS) the key to accident prevention?

An OHSMS provides a systematic way to identify hazards and control risks while maintaining assurance that these risk controls are effective. If implemented effectively, an OHSMS will reduce workplace accidents. It will also help organizations avoid costly prosecutions, reduce workers compensation insurance costs, and create a positive safety culture in the organization.

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Probationary clauses: Devil is in the details

by J. Alexandra MacCarthy

In Canada, the legal effect of a probationary clause in an employment contract can be unclear depending upon the facts of the particular case. The Supreme Court of British Columbia recently addressed probationary clauses in employment contracts in Ly v. British Columbia (Interior Health Authority), 2017 BCSC 42.

The plaintiff (PY) was hired by the Interior Health Authority (IHA) as the manager of quality and patient safety and client experience and moved from Vancouver to Kamloops for the position. The offer of employment contained the following clause: read more…

Surprising pro-employer decisions on post-employment restrictive covenants

by Kyla Stott-Jess and Stefan Mirkovic

Employers often place great faith in restrictive covenants to protect their assets when hiring key employees. In Canada however, noncompetition clauses have generally been very difficult to enforce outside of the context of a sale of business. Nonsolicitation clauses have also been carefully scrutinized by judges even though they are more readily enforced.

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To enforce or not to enforce ESA-only termination clauses: That is the question!

April 16, 2017 - by: Sophie Arseneault 0 COMMENTS

by Sophie Arseneault

Employers celebrated the January 2017 decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Cook v. Hatch upholding a termination clause that did not speak to statutory severance pay or the requirement to maintain health benefits during the statutory notice period. A month later, employers were left scratching their heads once again when the Court of Appeal for Ontario (ONCA) responded with its decision in Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd, 2017 ONCA 158, overturning a motion judge’s ruling refusing to invalidate a very similar provision.

Cook v. Hatch

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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.

Facts

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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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