Coming Soon: New Regime for Canadian Temporary Work Permits

March 07, 2011 - by: Isabelle Dongier 0 COMMENTS

By Isabelle Dongier

Foreign workers can be an important source of labor for Canadian employers, permitting them to fill shortages in a variety of professions and industries. In an attempt to better protect vulnerable foreign workers from what the government has called unscrupulous employers and agents, the Canadian government will introduce a new regime for Canadian temporary work permits on April 1.

The new regime has been described as one where “good employers replace bad employers.” It will govern employers hiring temporary foreign workers in Canada — both future applications and renewals of current work permits.

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A Shaved Head and Microwave Food Policy — Human Rights Violations?

February 28, 2011 - by: Sara Parchello 1 COMMENTS

By Sara Parchello

It’s amazing the issues that pop up in front of human rights tribunals across Canada. Recently, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission was asked whether it is discriminatory to fire an employee for shaving her head. On an equally interesting level, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal was asked whether it is discriminatory to discipline an employee for microwaving food that created an odor unpleasant to other employees. Do either of these scenarios constitute a human rights violation? Not surprisingly, the answer is “it depends.”

But it was for a good cause
In the Manitoba case, a waitress shaved her head to support her uncle, who was battling cancer. After she showed up to work with the shaved head, her boss told her that her new look didn’t comply with the restaurant’s dress code. The employer also told her not to return to work.

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Independent Contractors Considered Workers for Health and Safety Purposes

February 21, 2011 - by: Rosalind Cooper 0 COMMENTS

By Rosalind Cooper

For years employers across Canada have struggled with the difference between independent contractors and employees. Individuals believed to be independent contractors are often classified as employees after their relationship ends, leading to liability for employment-related severance and other amounts.

The courts, human rights tribunals, and other administrative tribunals are constantly grappling with this issue. Most recently, the Ontario Court of Appeal had to consider the decision in the context of whether independent contractor truck drivers were workers within the meaning of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

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Employee Stock Options: Get Them Right

February 14, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 1 COMMENTS

By Christopher Ferguson and Stephen Acker

In 2010, Jen-Hsun Huang’s salary was $1. No, he’s not a fresh-faced intern. Rather, Huang is the CEO of Nvidia Inc., the graphics and mobile chipmaker with Intel-sized ambitions.

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Canadian Employers Need to be Careful with Nonsolicitation Clauses

February 07, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Clayton Jones and Derek Knoechel

The common wisdom is that Canadian courts are much more willing to enforce nonsolicitation clauses in employment contracts than noncompetition clauses. While this may often be the case, nonsolicitation clauses will still be closely scrutinized by the courts.

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Accommodation Doesn’t Prevent Corporate Reorganization

January 31, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Jennifer Shepherd and Gulu Punia

It’s a common question. A Canadian employer is restructuring and an absent employee is affected. Can the employer fire the employee if he or she is on disability or other leave? A recent Federal Court of Canada decision, Tutty v. MTS Allstream Inc., has confirmed that the answer is “yes.”

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Workplace Monitoring and Canadian Privacy Rights

January 24, 2011 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Sébastien Lebel and Chris Semerjian

Canadian employers have many ways to monitor and control their business operations. However, new technologies — if misused — may lead to violations of employees’ rights. In particular, this raises the question of the extent of employees’ right to privacy.

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Tech Employee Fired for Egregious Computer Use: Termination Justified

January 17, 2011 - by: Maria Giagilitsis 0 COMMENTS

By Maria Giagilitsis

Along with the extraordinary benefits accompanying today’s rapidly advancing technology comes an increasing vulnerability for Canadian employers who strive to hire the “best of the best” information technology groups.

On the one hand, “wizard like” computer skills are an invaluable asset — they can lead a company’s growth while sharpening its competitive edge. On the other hand, these advanced skills also can be a source of weakness as management struggles to predict the numerous and complex ways in which a technology employee might abuse his or her position and even cause harm to the business.

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Wal-Mart Employee Class Action in USA – Lessons for Canadian Employers?

January 10, 2011 - by: Donna Gallant 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

When the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (San Francisco) affirmed an order certifying the largest employment discrimination class action ever in the United States, Wal-Mart was left facing a class of up to 1.5 million members. Employers were left wondering just how big and powerful these opponents might get.

On December 6, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to a review. U.S. employers are hoping the Supreme Court’s decision will put more restrictions on employment class actions. Canadian employers will want to stay tuned. Class actions south of the border can inspire similar litigation in Canada.

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Ghost of Christmas Past: Firing Union Supporters Can Come Back to Haunt You

January 03, 2011 - by: David McDonald 1 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

Most Canadian employers are familiar with what they can and can’t do when they’re the target of a union-organizing campaign. Labor legislation across Canada prohibits management from terminating or disciplining employees because of trade union affiliation while a union is attempting to gain representational rights. A recent decision from British Columbia, Playtime Peardonville Ventures Ltd. and USW, Local 2952, warns that those prohibitions may continue in a workplace even months after the employees have voted to get rid of the union.

Union decertified in 2009
The United Steelworkers, Local 2952, had represented the employees at Chances Abbottsford, in British Columbia, since 1997. Chances was a former bingo hall that had been converted into a gaming center. It was clear that some employees weren’t satisfied with the representation they were receiving from the union since employees had unsuccessfully tried to leave the union, or “decertify,” in 2005 and 2008. On their third application, which was filed in July 2009, the employees’ decertification efforts were finally successful and the union’s certification was canceled.

Employees later terminated

By the fall of 2009, Chances was having economic troubles. After reviewing its staffing situation, management decided to reduce the workforce by four people. According to management, the people selected for termination were satisfactory employees, but when compared to others, they were viewed as weaker performers. It terminated the employees in late October 2009.

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Categories: Union-Labor Relations

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