Fasken Martineau adds to its leading Labor, Employment, Human Rights, Pensions and Benefits Client Service Team

March 14, 2014 - by: Brian Smeenk 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Smeenk

Regular readers of Northern Exposure are well aware of the breadth, depth, and strength of Fasken Martineau’s Labor, Employment, and Human Rights Group. Well, our Group just got even broader, deeper, and stronger. And thus even better in our ability to serve any client’s needs, no matter the complexity, urgency, or scope. This is true whether your needs are local, national, or international. read more…

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When can Canadian employment contracts be terminated for ‘frustration’?

March 09, 2014 - by: Marc Rodrigue 1 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Like any contract, an employment contract can be legally “frustrated” and come to an end. Basically, this may happen when it becomes impossible for one of the parties to perform his or her end of the bargain. For example an employment contract can be frustrated when, because of an illness or injury, it becomes clear that an employee is no longer able to work. But it is not easy to define when that will become clear. read more…

More rigorous regime for employers of temporary foreign workers

March 02, 2014 - by: Gilda Villaran 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

As we have repeatedly reported, there have been many changes to Canada’s immigration program in the past year. So many, in fact, that it has been hard to keep track of all the new legislative and regulatory amendments and new administrative measures.

Yet another important change to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program came into effect on December 31, 2013 — one that can’t be overlooked by employers of temporary foreign workers. This is the amendment of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations. read more…

Workers’ comp for injuries from systemic workplace harassment

February 23, 2014 - by: Kyla Stott-Jess 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

A recent Alberta court decision indicates that health problems arising from systemic harassment in the workplace can be covered by workers’ compensation (WCB) insurance. This decision may have ramifications across Canada. read more…

The cost of not providing references

February 16, 2014 - by: Louise Bechamp 0 COMMENTS

By Louise Béchamp

Many employers’ policies preclude them from providing reference letters. Other employers have no policies. And yet others have policies but do not consistently apply them.

The Court of Appeal of Québec’s recent decision in Arsenault (Succession de) v. École Sacré-Cœur de Montréal (available in French only) should give Canadian employers pause for thought before they refuse to provide a reference letter. Such a refusal cost the employer $5,000 in this case. read more…

Employee privacy in the accommodation process

February 09, 2014 - by: Keri Bennett 0 COMMENTS

By Keri Bennett

We all know employees across Canada have an obligation to participate in the accommodation process. That extends to providing proper medical documentation. If an employee fails to provide such documentation, surely he or she could be disciplined. Not necessarily.

Notwithstanding the employee’s obligation to participate in the accommodation process, an Ontario arbitrator has ruled that an employer was not entitled to discipline an employee who failed to consent to the release of personal medical information to support repeat absences over a span of eight years. But there can still be consequences to the employee. read more…

Human rights claim disallowed; victim was part of the harassment

February 02, 2014 - by: Nicola Sutton 0 COMMENTS

By Nicola Sutton

In December 2013 we reported on the allegations faced by the Miami Dolphins that one of its players had been bullied and harassed by his teammates, an issue faced by many employers. Sometimes these issues are complicated when a complaining employee has been or is an active participant in the complained-of behavior.

How do Canadian courts and human rights tribunals deal with these situations? The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal had occasion to consider this recently in Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2). read more…

Can you keep a secret? Court upholds termination for breach of confidentiality

January 26, 2014 - by: Hannah Roskey 0 COMMENTS

By Hannah Roskey

When will an employee’s breach of confidence justify immediate dismissal under Canadian law? A recent decision by the British Columbia Supreme Court demonstrates that clearly drafted employer policies intended to protect confidential information can indeed be strictly enforced. In Steel v. Coast Capital Savings Credit Union, the court upheld the dismissal of a 20-year employee for cause in response to her breach of confidentiality and privacy policies. read more…

Human rights damages awarded by Ontario court

January 19, 2014 - by: Eowynne Noble 0 COMMENTS

By Eowynne Noble

In 2008, Ontario’s Human Rights Code was revised to specifically permit Ontario courts to award damages for breaches of the Code. Before this, it was only the Human Rights Tribunal that had jurisdiction to award damages for human rights violations in Ontario.

Since then, Ontario plaintiffs have made many attempts to obtain human rights damages in wrongful dismissal and other employment-related lawsuits, but none have succeeded until now. For the first time, the Ontario Superior Court has awarded damages for a breach of the Code in Wilson v. Solis Mexican Foods, 2013 ONSC 5799. read more…

Access to information in labor relations: jurisdiction of arbitrators

January 12, 2014 - by: Northern Exposure 0 COMMENTS

By Édith Charbonneau and Antoine Aylwin

One of your unionized employees files a complaint for psychological harassment and requests to access your investigation report several years later. When you refuse, the employee turns to the Quebec information and privacy board to get that access. But does the information and privacy board have jurisdiction, or could a grievance arbitrator have jurisdiction over such access issues? read more…

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