Alberta workers’ compensation: a refocus

December 03, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Theodore Fong

This year has seen many developments in the labor and employment fields in Canada. One recent development concerns the Alberta Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), one of several public agencies across Canada to administer an insurance plan for injured or ill workers. Its no-fault insurance system has been in place for nearly a century and covers over 1.8 million Albertans working for over 160,000 employers.

In 2016 the Alberta government commissioned a panel to evaluate the entire workers’ compensation system. The objective was to examine how the system was keeping up with the realities facing today’s employers and workers. For instance, occupational causes of injuries are becoming increasingly complicated since workers now often have multiple employers (sometimes simultaneously) and complex medical conditions are more frequent today.

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Single mom wins rotating shift job—then wants days only—and court agrees

July 26, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Christian Paquette

Did an employer discriminate against a single mother when it required her to work the regular shift rotation job she’d applied for? An Alberta court was recently asked to rule whether an arbitrator was right in deciding against the employer. The court in SMS Equipment Inc. v. CEP, Local 707 agreed that the employer’s decision was discriminatory. The employee was entitled to work straight day shifts to accommodate her family situation. read more…

Appeal Court Overrides Extravagant Jury Award in Wrongful Dismissal Case

June 19, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess

Canadian employers that fear large jury awards in wrongful dismissal cases can breathe a little easier in the wake of a recent Alberta Court of Appeal decision. In Elgert v. Home Hardware Stores Ltd., the court of appeal said a $500,000 jury award for aggravated and punitive damages in a wrongful dismissal case was too high, reducing it to $75,000.

Background
In the spring of 2002 the Home Hardware Distribution Centre in Wetaskawin, Alberta, fired Daniel Elgert without notice. He had worked for Home Hardware 17 years and was a supervisor at the distribution center when two female coworkers made sexual harassment complaints against him. Following the complaints, Home Hardware immediately suspended Elgert and engaged in what the court of appeal described as a perfunctory investigation that presumed his guilt.

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Security Company Failed to Protect One of Its Own Working Alone

April 11, 2011 0 COMMENTS

By Jennifer Shepherd and Katie Clayton

Do you have employees working alone? If so, you may be required to assess your workplace and take measures to reduce risks of possible harm to workers. Indeed, many Canadian provinces require such action. A recent Alberta case demonstrates the tragic outcome that can befall a worker if you fail to conduct a hazard assessment, as well as the significant monetary and criminal penalties your company may face as a result.

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Permanent Immigration from United States to Canada

December 20, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Gilda Villaran

How can an American resident become a Canadian citizen? Only permanent residents of Canada can apply. Therefore, one must start with applying for permanent resident status. There are various ways to become a permanent resident of Canada. This article will focus on those who apply in the “economic class.”

For those applying in the economic class, there are federal programs that are applicable across Canada as well as provincial programs that may facilitate the process.

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Is Requiring Single Parent to Work Night Shift Family Status Discrimination?

July 19, 2010 1 COMMENTS

by Ralph Nero and Ida Martin

Can an employer require a single parent to start occasionally working the night shift? A recent board of arbitration decision out of Alberta answered — yes. This Alberta decision is the latest in our coverage of decisions wrestling with the workplace application of discrimination on the basis of family status. (We also have reported on the Falardeau decision, and the Power Stream decisions. See our posts titled To What Extent Must Employees’ Family Obligations Be Accommodated and What Happens When Child Care and Work Conflict — More Guidance for Employers.)

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Prehiring Credit Checks Restricted in Alberta

May 03, 2010 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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More Amendments to Human Rights Legislation in Canada

September 28, 2009 2 COMMENTS

by Katie Clayton and Farrah Sunderani

Over the past couple of years, human rights legislation across Canada has undergone a period of transition. This comes as a response to growing dissatisfaction with outdated statutes and the lengthy processes in place to resolve complaints.

Amendments to the British Columbia Human Rights Code were proposed in 2002 and set the stage for other provinces to follow suit. Modifications to Ontario’s Human Rights Code followed in 2008, and those changes closely mirrored those put in place in British Columbia. Now it seems that Alberta is next in line.

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Employee’s Blogging Justified Firing — But Dismissal Overturned Anyway

August 17, 2009 0 COMMENTS

Social networking sites and blogs are growing phenomena that present challenges to employers. Internet blogging allows people to publicly express their opinions like never before. Sometimes the viewpoints expressed affect the employment relationship.

Canadian case law on this topic is just starting. There are only a few decisions where injurious blogging concerning workplace-related matters warranted discipline. Unlike many U.S. employers, Canadian employers cannot terminate employees at will. They must establish a “just cause” for dismissal. Unionized employers must follow the disciplinary procedure set out in the union agreement.

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Limits Placed on Videotaping Picket Line Activities

June 30, 2009 0 COMMENTS

In October and November 2006, members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 were on strike and picketing at Palace Casino, located at one of Canada’s largest malls — West Edmonton Mall. Striking union members pointed a video camera at the entrance of the casino, recording the image of everyone who crossed the picket line to enter the facility.

They also took still photographs of some individuals who were crossing the picket line.  Signs placed in the area suggested that the images of persons crossing the picket line would be placed on a “CasinoScabs” website and that by crossing the picket line individuals were providing their consent for this purpose. The union also placed some of the pictures on posters and in union newsletters.

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