Ontario labor and employment laws to undergo significant amendments

June 13, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Sophie Arseneault and Christian Paquette

In Canada’s most populous province, labor and employment matters are governed by two fundamental statutes: the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Ontario Labour Relations Act (LRA). The ESA sets out minimum rights and obligations of employers and employees in the province. The LRA governs a host of matters regarding labor relations from certification and collective bargaining to unfair labor practices and decertification.

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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…

Duties more important than titles when determining eligibility for overtime

August 03, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Marc Ouellet

The issue of overtime has become a major concern for employers in the wake of class actions on the subject in Canada. The Québec Act Respecting Labour Standards (ALS) provides exemptions from the right to overtime including for employees in managerial positions. In Skiba v. Playground, L.P., the Court of Appeal of Québec recently clarified which employees may be exempt as “managers” in Quebec. While the applicable statutes vary across Canada, the fundamental principles applied are similar. Thus this decision may have persuasive value outside of Quebec. read more…

Overtime Class-Action News

October 25, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Donna Gallant

The much-awaited appeal decision in Fresco v. CIBC was released in September. The appeal court declined to interfere with the original decision of Justice Lax. She had denied Dara Fresco’s bid to bring a class action against CIBC for unpaid overtime.

This is one of three high-profile cases we have been following, in which employees are seeking to bring class actions for millions of dollars in unpaid overtime. In any class action the one bringing the suit must show that there are common issues, the resolution of which will advance the litigation for everyone. It has become clear that the “common issues challenge” is very much alive when it comes to overtime claims.

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Toronto’s G20 Summit — Lessons for Employers about High-Security

June 14, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Patrick Gannon

The G20 Summit of world leaders will be in Toronto June 26-27. The summit is expected to draw considerable attention and thousands of protesters from around the world. Like the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, there will be intensive security measures and lots of potential disruptions.

As the summit will be held at a convention center in the downtown core, it gives rise to many issues for downtown employers. And employers outside the downtown area will be affected too, given that the central hub for commuter trains is in the highest security zone. What can employers expect and how should they respond when faced with this kind of massive, high-security event in their neighborhood? 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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To What Extent Must Employees’ Family Obligations Be Accommodated?

February 01, 2010 1 COMMENTS

By Dominique Launay

Your employee is a single parent. He has to drop his children off at school each morning. They can’t be dropped off earlier than 9 a.m. He has to be back at the school by 5 p.m. to pick them up from their after-school care. He has no family to assist him. Is he covered by the family-status protections in some provinces’ human rights legislation? Do you have to accommodate him?

Increasingly, tribunals are being required to examine this issue: What is an employer’s accommodation obligation where an employee’s needs relating to his family status conflict with employment requirements?

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Overtime Class Action Against KPMG Settled

October 07, 2008 0 COMMENTS

by Karen Sargeant

As we reported earlier this year, 2007 saw three overtime class action lawsuits in Canada — a $651 million class-action lawsuit filed against the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), followed quickly by a $20 million class action against KPMG and then a $350 million class action against a second major Canadian Bank, Scotiabank. Another class action, for $250 million, was filed against CN Railway in March 2008.

In September, the Ontario Superior Court approved a settlement of the KPMG case, making it the first of the class-action lawsuits to be settled. To resolve the class action, KPMG agreed to an overtime redress plan.

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