Obtaining a Work Permit in Canada: The Labour Market Opinion Process

January 04, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 2 COMMENTS

By Ingrid Anton and Isabelle Dongier

As we mentioned in a November article, most foreign workers require a work permit to legally work in Canada. And to get a work permit for a foreign worker, the prospective Canadian employer must first obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (also referred to as Service Canada). Although some workers may benefit from an LMO exemption, this article focuses on LMOs – what are they, who needs one, and how they’re obtained.

What is a Labour Market Opinion?
A positive LMO confirms that the employment of a foreign individual in Canada won’t have a negative impact on the Canadian labor market – the foreign worker won’t be taking work away from Canadians. The LMO is not a work permit. It’s a prerequisite to obtaining a work permit.

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Drug and Alcohol Testing – What’s Permitted in the Canadian Workplace

December 28, 2009 - by: Hadiya Roderique 0 COMMENTS

By Hadiya Roderique

Last year we reported on a case where a Canadian employer was ordered to reinstate an employee who had tested positive for marijuana following a verbal altercation with his employer. Why? Because drug addiction is considered a disability in Canada. And individuals who suffer from addiction are protected from discrimination under human rights legislation.

Because drug testing is considered an invasion of privacy, it is allowed only: read more…

Does Temporary Layoff Result in Right to Severance Pay?

December 21, 2009 - by: Derek Knoechel 0 COMMENTS

By Derek Knoechel

In early 2008, the owner of a dental practice, having recently purchased the business, faced some difficult choices. Given what appeared to be a temporary downturn in revenues, the owners decided on a temporary layoff.

While permitted by employment standards laws, the employer in the recent case of Besse v. Dr. A.S. Machner Inc. found out that the courts considered the layoff to amount to a termination of employment. The employment standards law didn’t provide a right to impose a temporary layoff – at least not without triggering all the severance rights the courts normally accord terminated employees.

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Wal-Mart Allowed to Close Unionized Store: Supreme Court of Canada

December 14, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Ouellet and Louise Béchamp

On November 27, 2009, in two cases involving Wal-Mart (Plourde v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Desbiens v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp.), the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its much-awaited decision on an employer’s right to close operations for alleged antiunion reasons.

The Supreme Court decisions rule that Wal-Mart could close one of its stores following the unionization of its employees. Essentially, the court confirmed the principle by which an employer can overturn the presumption against it, established by section 17 of the Quebec Labour Code, by simply showing that the decision to close is “real and definitive.” This is possible even though the reasons behind the closing could be viewed as “socially reprehensible.”

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When Employee Privacy and Social Media Collide

December 07, 2009 - by: Lyne Duhaime 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime

An IBM employee from Quebec made headlines last month when her disability benefits were cut off by the insurance company after it saw pictures of her on Facebook. Despite being off work for depression, the employee had posted photos of herself on vacation at the beach and at a Chippendale’s show. When IBM’s disability carrier saw the photos on Facebook, it cut off her disability benefits. In its view, the employee no longer appeared to be disabled within the meaning of the insurance contract.

This case raises interesting privacy issues. Are photos posted on a social media website personal information? Are employers, disability carriers, and other organizations prohibited from using such information? If not prohibited, are there limitations? Put simply, are employers (or, in this case, insurers) able to use the Internet to collect information about their current or future employees?

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Federally Regulated Employees Required to Cross Another Union’s Picket Line

November 30, 2009 - by: Ida Martin 0 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin

Imagine there is a group of federal government employees that are engaging in a lawful strike. Because of the physical location of your workplace, your employees can’t get to work without crossing the picket line. Your workers are unionized and have decided they won’t cross the picket line of the striking federal employees. As such, they are not at work. Can you require them to cross the picket line? What if there is a clause in your collective agreement that states that the company doesn’t expect members of the union to cross a picket line? Can you still insist?

According to a recent Federal Court of Appeal decision, G.W.U., Local 333 v. B.C. Terminal Elevator Operations’ Assn., you can. Even if your collective agreement states that the union isn’t expected to cross a picket line.

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Federally Regulated Employees Required to Cross Another Union’s Picket Line

November 30, 2009 - by: Ida Martin 0 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin

Imagine there is a group of federal government employees that are engaging in a lawful strike. Because of the physical location of your workplace, your employees can’t get to work without crossing the picket line. Your workers are unionized and have decided they won’t cross the picket line of the striking federal employees. As such, they are not at work. Can you require them to cross the picket line? What if there is a clause in your collective agreement that states that the company doesn’t expect members of the union to cross a picket line? Can you still insist?

According to a recent Federal Court of Appeal decision, G.W.U., Local 333 v. B.C. Terminal Elevator Operations’ Assn., you can. Even if your collective agreement states that the union isn’t expected to cross a picket line.

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Canadian Supreme Court’s Principles Lead to Large Damage Award Against Employer

November 23, 2009 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Katie Clayton and Farrah Sunderani

In our October 12, 2009, entry we looked at the extent to which Canadian courts are following the principles established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Honda v. Keays to awarding bad faith and punitive damages. Last month, an Alberta court was once again put to the test.

On October 13, 2009, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench released its reasons in Soost v. Merrill Lynch Canada Inc. where it followed the Supreme Court’s principles, although this time against the employer.

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Significant Pension Changes Coming

November 16, 2009 - by: Bill Duvall 0 COMMENTS

By William Duvall

After years of consultations, the Canadian government has announced significant changes to the legal framework for federally regulated pension plans. In addition, proposed changes to the Income Tax Act would affect all defined benefit plans whether regulated federally or provincially.

While we can’t cover all the contemplated changes in this article, we do highlight some of the more significant ones we will likely face in the near future.

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Wal-Mart Layoffs Declared Illegal by Quebec Arbitrator

November 09, 2009 - by: Dominique Launay 0 COMMENTS

As we have reported before (January 6, 2009, December 2, 2008, and August 26, 2008), Wal-Mart has repeatedly been dealt blows by Canadian courts and other decision-makers. Most recently, an arbitrator in Quebec has weighed in – and it’s more bad news for Wal-Mart in Canada.

Wal-Mart’s store in Jonquiere, Quebec, was certified by the UFCW, Local 503 in 2004. In February 2005, after unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a collective agreement, Wal-Mart publicly indicated its intention to close the store for business reasons – it couldn’t afford to meet the union’s demands. It then gave employees notice of termination effective May 2005, the date on which the store would cease operations.

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