Genetic information is off limits!

August 13, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Michael Adams

Medical examinations of future and present employees are commonly required by Canadian employers to verify a person’s capacity to do the work. However, Since May 2017, however, federally regulated employers can no longer require that future and present employees undergo genetic testing or disclose the results to determine, for example, whether they will be able to do their work in the future.

Indeed, last May, an Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination (S.C. 2017) otherwise known as the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act came into force. The objective of the Act is to protect persons who suffer from genetic disorders or are genetically predisposed to certain diseases from discrimination, including in their employment. The Act implements three significant legislative modifications. It introduces: read more…

More employee benefits on the horizon for Canadians

July 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

The year 2017 may be remembered for its significant changes in matters of labor and employment across Canada. Several jurisdictions are amending their labor and employment regimes, including the federal government. With the introduction of Bill C-44, the federal government has adopted significant reforms to the Employment Insurance Act and the Canada Labour Code.

While federally regulated employers will want to pay close attention, it is worth noting that these reforms are already trickling down to the provincial level. Indeed, some provinces have proposed amendments to their provincial employment and labor legislation, all of which signal a trend toward more employer scrutiny in the labor and employment spheres, as well as a shift toward more employee-friendly rules. Employers should be cognizant of these changes as they are implemented at both the federal and provincial levels.

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Blurred lines: Managers may have right to bargain collectively

February 26, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Valérie Gareau-Dalpé

In several jurisdictions across Canada, the issue of unionization of managers and supervisors is a thorny one. In many cases, unionization is restricted to “employees,” a definition from which managers are excluded. In the province of Québec, the exclusion is based partly on the potential for conflicts of interest in having managers collectively bargain their own conditions of employment.

In two surprising decisions, the Tribunal administratif du travail of Québec (Tribunal) has questioned the constitutionality of this managerial exclusion under Quebec’s Labour Code. While the decisions stem from an administrative tribunal and have yet to make their way to various appeal processes available through courts, as the case may be, they could have ramifications in other provinces.

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Going down the class-action Tran-Canada Highway

October 16, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Kyla Stott-Jess and Mitchell Barnard

The phrase “class action lawsuit” can strike fear in the executive ranks of any large company. The development of class action law in in the employment context has been slower north of the 49th parallel than in the United States. Recently, though, a line of cases has been paving the class action ‘highway’ to increased Canadian litigation in this area. Much of the law to date has focused on certification. For a legal action to be certified, its initiators must prove that it is appropriate for the claims to be brought as a class proceeding. A recent Ontario decision suggests that certification may not provide as much of a speed bump as employers would like. read more…

Further clarification on ‘unjust’ dismissals

December 06, 2015 0 COMMENTS

By Louise Béchamp

As we reported previously, employers in Canada’s federal sector have had the right to dismiss employees without cause with one caveat. Only if the dismissal was not “unjust” within the meaning of section 240 of the Canada Labour Code. In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal determined that a termination without cause was not automatically unjust. The court, however, refrained from setting out a definition of unjust, instead indicating that it would leave it up to adjudicators appointed under the Canada Labour Code to develop its meaning.

In a recent decision, Bernier v. Traversiers Bourbonnais Inc. (available in French only), an adjudicator appointed under the Canada Labour Code has now clarified what an “unjust” dismissal is. read more…

Not all changes equal constructive dismissal

July 05, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by Mathias Link

Employers throughout Canada find it challenging to anticipate exactly when a particular unilateral change to the terms and conditions of employment will be a breach of the employment contract, and thus a constructive dismissal, or whether the change will be reasonable such that an employee is obligated to accept the change or changes. read more…

Insuring long-term disability insurance

October 26, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Richard E. Johnston

In Canada, benefit plans are subject to legislation related to income tax, human rights, and employment standards. However, there is little specific regulation of benefit plans other than pension plans. A key exception is the provision of long-term disability benefits that are not funded under an insurance contract—at least for federally regulated employers such as the banks, airlines, inter-provincial trucking companies, and employers in Ontario. read more…

Did Employer’s Overtime Policy Create Unworkable ‘Catch-22’?

March 29, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Lorene Novakowski and Derek Knoechel

As was noted in an earlier article here, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently certified a class action against the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS). That lawsuit claims $300 million in unpaid overtime involving approximately 5,300 BNS sales staff: Fulawka v. Bank of Nova Scotia (Fulawka). Certification means the claims meet the requirements to use the class-action process. What does this decision mean for other similar claims?

A similar previous case, brought against another large bank, CIBC, had not met the certification requirements. It was ruled that that claim lacked the essential element of “commonality” in the situations of the employees in the proposed class: Fresco v. CIBC (CIBC). The breaches alleged in CIBC lacked the “systemic” nature required to justify certification.

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

November 30, 2009 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 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.

read more…