Expansive Interpretations of Occupational Health and Safety Laws Changing

November 20, 2011 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind Cooper

Recently, courts across Canada seem to be expanding the application and coverage of occupational health and safety legislation, providing broad and liberal interpretations of legislation. But that may be changing. The decision in Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. Sheehan’s Truck Centre Inc. is being welcomed by many as an indication that the protective purpose of the regulatory scheme cannot override the actual words used in the legislation.

Employee run over
A company that owned and operated a highway tractor-truck sales business offered units for sale in its parking lot. While the company was expanding the parking lot, four employees were directed to move a number of the trucks in the parking lot from one area to another. The movement was required to facilitate paving work relating to the expansion.

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Workers’ Compensation Mental Stress Claims May Be Expanded

November 13, 2011 - by: Bill Duvall 0 COMMENTS

By Bill Duvall

Employers in Canada have taken comfort from the fact that most provincial workers’ compensation agencies provide benefits for workplace mental stress only in very limited circumstances. But that comfort may be threatened, at least in British Columbia. Earlier this month, the B.C. government introduced legislation that, if passed, will expand workers’ compensation coverage for mental stress claims.

Current experience
As it stands now, a worker in B.C. is entitled to compensation for mental stress not resulting from an injury for which the worker would otherwise be entitled to compensation only if the mental stress is an acute reaction to a sudden and unexpected traumatic event arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment. In addition, the condition: read more…

Categories: Workers' Compensation

Sports Agency and Former Employee Take (non) Competition into Courtroom

November 06, 2011 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Hollywood’s portrayal of sports agencies presents a world that is dramatic and cut-throat, with ambitious sports agents competing for the chance to represent talented athletes. A recent court decision in Alberta brought this competitive business into the courtroom when a sports agency squared off against a former employee. It also provides several important lessons of broad application to many employers operating in Canada.

Background

Richard Evans switched from the practice of law into sports agency in 2000, and he signed an employment contract with The Sports Corporation (TSC). He was put in charge of TSC’s “Czech-Slovak pipeline.” That was a network of contacts through which TSC recruited Czech and Slovakian hockey players. Evans became the primary TSC contact with these Czech and Slovak recruiters.

By the spring of 2006, relations between Evans and TSC had disintegrated. As the end of his six-year contract approached, Evans decided to split from TSC. He started his own sports agency. But TSC asked him to leave before the end of the contract. Several of the Eastern European contacts transferred their relationships from TSC to Evans’ new company.

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Post-Termination Disability Benefits Reduce Severance Pay

October 26, 2011 - by: Hadiya Roderique 1 COMMENTS

By Hadiya Roderique

Severance obligations can be costly for Canadian employers since most employees are entitled to notice of termination or substantial pay in lieu of notice. A tricky issue is the impact of post-termination income on the obligations of the terminating employer.

Canadian employees are often under the mistaken impression that they have an unconditional entitlement to a large lump-sum severance payment even if they were to quickly start a new job and even if they receive other income during the notice period.

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Ex-Employee to Pay Employer

October 25, 2011 - by: Lyne Duhaime 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime
When an employee in Canada fails to fulfill his functions as expected, the ultimate consequence is a termination of employment “for cause,” which implies that no notice or other severance is paid to him by the employer. The Superior Court of Quebec recently went further.

In Valeurs mobilières Desjardins inc. v. Beaulne, an investment advisor was also ordered to pay his former employer, Valeurs mobilières Desjardins inc. (VMD), $141,233.96 with costs. Why? To compensate VMD for amounts it had to pay a client who suffered damages because of the advisor’s failure to follow the client’s instructions.

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Notice of Termination: Must Be Clear, No Distinction for Unskilled Workers

October 16, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Keri Bennett

Historically, the character of employment or level of position has been an important factor in determining appropriate severance payments in Canada. Unskilled or lower-level employees have typically been entitled to less severance than more highly skilled and higher-level employees.

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Canadian Courts Split on Post-Employment Restrictions

October 09, 2011 - by: Thora Sigurdson 0 COMMENTS

by Thora A.Sigurdson

Canadian courts continue to struggle with clauses in employment contracts that contain post-employment noncompetition and nonsolicitation clauses, known as “restrictive covenants.” This is an important issue in Canada, where there is no concept of “at will” employment, and all employees are deemed to have some form of employment contact. But not all terms are equally enforceable.

The recent split decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Globex Foreign Exchange Corporation v. Kelcher, 2011 ABCA 240, provides an interesting reminder of the uncertainty in the law in this area. It also provides good lessons to those who want employees to agree to such restrictions.

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Good News on Maximum Length of Stay for Intra-company Transferees

October 02, 2011 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

It’s common for companies to fill executive positions in Canada and the United States with one executive. That person is based in the United States and commutes to Canada on a regular basis to provide services to the Canadian affiliate.

Since such executives are providing services to a Canadian company, they can’t qualify as business visitors in Canada. Instead, they need a work permit. Although not difficult to obtain under the NAFTA exemption for intra-company transferees (citizens from other countries in the same situation can also obtain work permits under another non-NAFTA exemption), these work permits are time limited. But on September 19, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada issued a new Operational Bulletin (OB 346) that allows employers to “recapture” the foreign workers’ time not spent in Canada.

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Categories: Immigration

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Can Canadian Employers Fire Employees for Complaints about Management?

September 25, 2011 - by: Ian Campbell 0 COMMENTS

By Ian Campbell

There seems to have been an increase in cases where employees in Canada directly or publicly have challenged their supervisors or senior management. Maybe this is because of an increasing belief in their actual or perceived rights.

Of course employees have the right and should be encouraged to raise legitimate workplace concerns in appropriate circumstances. But recent decisions have confirmed that it’s not acceptable for employees to do so in a manner that is either disrespectful or unfairly undermines management’s integrity or reputation.

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Categories: Termination

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Forced Landing of Air Canada Pilots over the Age of 60

September 15, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime and Emilie Paquin-Holmested

On February 3, 2011, the Federal Court of Canada issued a decision in Vilven v. Air Canada, the prolonged legal battle of two Air Canada pilots who challenged the company’s mandatory retirement policy for pilots who reach the age of 60.

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