Court of Appeal Agrees with $25,000 Award for Loss of Apprenticeship

June 07, 2010 - by: Derek Knoechel 0 COMMENTS

By Derek Knoechel

As we reported in an article last year, courts across the country are generally following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Keays v. Honda Canada: Punitive damages should be awarded only in exceptional cases, and moral damages should be limited to actual losses resulting from the employer’s conduct. That has left Canadian courts assessing employees’ actual losses. But the result can be a double-edged sword. Other damages may flow – as was the case when the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled in Marchen v. Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. that an apprentice who was wrongfully dismissed was entitled to $25,000 for loss of his apprenticeship.

Apprentice agreement
In November 2002, Dams Ford Lincoln Sales Ltd. (Dams) entered into an apprenticeship agreement with a Mr. Marchen. Under the agreement, Marchen was to work and take courses to become a qualified automobile collision repair journeyman. In exchange, Dams was to provide adequate training, so far as the facilities and the scope of the business would permit. The training program was expected to take approximately four years. Dams wasn’t required to keep Marchen employed for the entire period but only so long as work was available.

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Advertising Requirements Before Hiring Foreign Worker

May 31, 2010 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

In our January 4, 2010, article titled Obtaining a Work Permit in Canada: The Labour Market Opinion Process, we explained that in order to get a work permit for a foreign worker, an employer in Canada generally must first obtain a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from the Department of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (Service Canada). In order to obtain a positive LMO, Canadian employers must prove that they have made reasonable efforts to fill the position with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. This article discusses Service Canada’s advertising requirements relating to this “reasonable efforts” obligation.

Service Canada’s minimum advertising requirements were recently modified. And note that the requirements are slightly different for the Province of Québec. If you are hiring an employee who will work in Québec, make sure you follow the Québec rules.

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Categories: Employment Law / Immigration

Employee Awarded $500,000 for Bad Faith Termination

May 24, 2010 - by: Donna Gallant 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

As we reported four weeks ago (Shocking Arbitration Decision in Ontario), a prominent Canadian arbitrator recently ordered the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to pay more than $500,000 in damages, finding that it failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth about an employee’s medical condition and fired her for sick leave fraud. The question is whether the door to higher damage awards in Canadian labor relations just got a whole lot wider.

What happened?
On February 19, 2004, the grievor (a 23-year employee with a clean record) underwent arthroscopic surgery as a result of a workplace knee injury. On February 24, her surgeon wrote a note authorizing her to be off work for four weeks to recuperate.

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Ensuring the Ongoing Strength of Canada’s Retirement Income System

May 17, 2010 - by: Lyne Duhaime 0 COMMENTS

By Lyne Duhaime

There are lots of recent activities in the pension field at the federal level in Canada. The government’s actions in the past 12 months constitute the most important reform of federal pension laws since the 1980s. Here’s a quick overview.

It started on January 9, 2009, when the government of Canada released a discussion paper titled “Strengthening the Legislative and Regulatory Framework for Private Pension Plans Subject to the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985.” This was followed by a series of public meetings across Canada. They were led by Ted Menzies, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance. Concerned stakeholders had the opportunity to make their views known to the government by speaking at one of the public meetings or by making written submissions. The government received a wide range of advice.

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Do Age-Based Early Retirement Programs Violate Human Rights Code?

May 10, 2010 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Ralph Nero and Ida Martin

Are pension plans that provide age-based early retirement programs discriminatory? In a decision that may be important across Canada, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has recently answered no.

In Kovacs v. Arcelor Mittal Montreal, Kovacs argued that he had been discriminated against on the basis of his age by not being able to participate in the early retirement program being offered by the employer, Arcelor.

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Prehiring Credit Checks Restricted in Alberta

May 03, 2010 - by: Lorene Novakowski 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski

Employers are often tasked with creating systems to reduce employee theft or fraud. Such systems can include many things including credit checks on potential employees. Recently, Mark’s Work Wearhouse in Alberta was stunned to learn that such credit checks weren’t permissible in the circumstances — even when a number of other measures had failed. As such, it agreed to stop conducting prehiring credit checks.

Facts
Faced with in-store theft or fraud, Canadian national retail chain Mark’s Work Wearhouse instituted a series of measures to deter employees. When other measures weren’t successful, it started collecting credit check information on its applicants.

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Shocking Arbitration Decision in Ontario

April 27, 2010 - by: Donna Gallant 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

The latest price tag for terminating an employee based on inadequate investigation and preconceived notions of guilt is $500,000. In a searing decision, an Ontario arbitrator found that the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain the truth about an employee’s medical condition before it fired her for alleged sick leave fraud.

According to the arbitrator, the GTAA’s high-handed and capricious conduct amounted to a breach of trust and the GTAA was held accountable for the devastating effects the termination had on the grievor’s mental and financial wellbeing.

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Happy Headhunting for Employers

April 26, 2010 - by: Gulu Punia 0 COMMENTS

By Gulu Punia

Successful headhunting can add significant value. But employers must be careful that they don’t become the hunted. As with any hunt, there are risks that may not be obvious. In the employment context, a Canadian employer may be on the hook for extended severance or risk an action from the previous employer for inducing a breach of the employment contract. The good news is that reasonable precautions can minimize these risks and result in happy hunting.

Recognition of previous service
One of the biggest risks for Canadian employers comes from an employee who’s recruited from secure employment. Such an employee may claim that previous service must be recognized by the new employer. This is particularly troublesome when the recruit is fired.

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Employee Fired for Disseminating Inappropriate E-mail at Work

April 19, 2010 - by: Alix Herber 1 COMMENTS

By Alix Herber

While many employees are allowed to access and use the Internet and e-mail on company computers for “limited” personal use, it’s not uncommon for them to misuse this privilege. In Poliquin v. Devon Canada Corporation, the Alberta Court of Appeal was asked whether an employee could be fired for cause because he used his employer’s computer and Internet access to view and disseminate pornographic and racist materials in violation of the employer’s code of conduct. According to the Alberta Court of Appeal, the answer was yes.

Facts
Poliquin worked for Devon Canada for 26 years supervising between 20 and 25 employees. When he was fired for using the company’s computer to view and transmit pornographic and racist materials, he sued Devon Canada.

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Religious Accommodation Versus Gender Equality

April 12, 2010 - by: Dominique Launay 0 COMMENTS

By Dominique Launay

In the province of Quebec, a woman was asked to leave two different French classes in Montreal. The woman, a recent immigrant from Egypt, refused to remove her face cover. After being allowed to sit at the front of the class (so all men were behind her) and make presentations with her back to the class, she asked the three men in the class to move away from her and refused to sit around a U-table with them to converse in French. The case made headlines in Canada and illustrated the tension between gender equality and religious rights.

Human rights decisions
That tension flared into more debate in Quebec with two new rulings by Quebec’s Human Rights Commission.

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