Recent B.C. decision on secondary picketing at non-striking facility

October 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by David T. McDonald

About 15 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada changed the law on secondary picketing in Canada. That decision, RWDSU Local 558 v. Pepsi-Cola Canada Beverages (West) Ltd., 2002 SCC 8, ruled that secondary picketing was generally lawful unless accompanied by wrongful conduct such as violence or blockading. This meant that union members and striking employees could picket businesses that were not part of a labor dispute in an effort to put pressure on the struck employer.

The Pepsi-Cola decision left it open for governments to enact laws that restrict the ability to picket places other than the struck location. The laws vary across Canada. The British Columbia Labour Relations Code is an example of a law that prohibits secondary picketing.

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Justice system failed the victims of Radiohead stage collapse

October 08, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Norm Keith

On September 5, 2017, Justice Nelson of the Ontario Court of Justice stayed all charges against the accused in the deadly stage collapse at the Radiohead concert in Downsview Park on June 16, 2012. These charges under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) are the latest in a series of serious regulatory and criminal charges across Canada that have been stayed for unreasonable delay as a result of the Jordan decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Radiohead, a British band, was scheduled to perform at a concert in Toronto at Downsview Park. A number of hours before the start of the concert, the stage superstructure collapsed. Scott Johnson, a drum technician was fatally injured. Others were seriously injured.

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Discipline for off-duty cocaine use justified in safety-sensitive workplace

June 25, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Rosalind H. Cooper

A recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30, has confirmed that employers have the ability to take disciplinary action against employees for drug and alcohol use in safety-sensitive workplaces.

The worker in this case was employed in a mine where a drug and alcohol policy had been implemented. The policy required workers to disclose any dependence or addiction issues and to make such disclosure in advance of any incident occurring. If employees followed the policy, they were offered treatment for their addiction. If disclosure was not made and an incident occurred and the employee subsequently tested positive for alcohol or drugs, he or she could be terminated.

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Nonunionized federal employees in Canada insulated from without-cause dismissals

August 07, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Christopher Pigott

A sharply divided Supreme Court of Canada recently overruled the Federal Court of Appeal and held that, subject to narrow exceptions, federal employers are not entitled to terminate nonunionized employees without cause (Wilson v. AECL). This prohibition applies even if the employer is willing to provide generous notice and severance pay. read more…

When is a suspension not a suspension? When it’s a constructive dismissal

April 05, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by David G. Wong

When is a suspension not a suspension? Sounds like the start of a bad joke. However, in a recent decision, the Supreme Court of Canada explained that in certain circumstances a suspension will be deemed to be a termination. read more…

Supreme Court of Canada reshapes labor law (again)

March 08, 2015 0 COMMENTS

by John D.R. Craig, Christopher D. Pigott, and Brandon Wiebe

In the January 2015 decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), the Court found, for the first time, that Canadian workers have a constitutional “right to strike.”

In reaching this conclusion, the Supreme Court overturned almost 30 years of case law that had expressly established that the guarantee of freedom of association in section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not protect strike activity. read more…

Punitive damages awards increasing in Canadian employment cases

March 31, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By David McDonald

In wrongful dismissal cases in Canada, punitive damages awards are available only in exceptional situations. That’s what the Supreme Court of Canada said in 2008 in Honda Canada v. Keays. The employer’s conduct in the course of termination must be proven to be harsh, vindictive, reprehensible, and malicious. Despite this high threshold, a number of recent trial decisions show how Canadian courts are becoming more open to providing employees with punitive damages awards. read more…

Workplace computer porn: court rules employees’ privacy rights limit police

November 04, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Jennifer Shepherd

On October 19, 2012, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) issued its ruling in R. v. Cole. The court held that a person’s right to be protected against unreasonable searches was breached when the police looked at computer files the employer had given them without first obtaining a search warrant.

Facts

A Sudbury high school provided one of its teachers, Richard Cole, with a laptop to be used for the purpose of teaching. While reviewing students’ computer files, Cole discovered nude photos of an under-age student and copied them onto the hard drive of his work laptop. read more…

Canada’s Top Court to Decide If Human Rights Tribunal Can Award Legal Costs

October 11, 2010 0 COMMENTS

By Ida Martin

This December, the Supreme Court of Canada is set to hear a case involving the issue of whether the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has the authority to grant legal costs to a successful complainant. In an area of law where legal costs often dwarf the actual amount of any award, the Supreme Court of Canada decision could have major ramifications for human rights litigation across Canada.

Audio Conference: Operating in Canada: New Dos and Don’ts for Employers

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Blowing Holes in Collective Agreements

October 04, 2010 0 COMMENTS

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested and Dominique Monet

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Québec (Procureur général) c. Syndicat de la fonction publique, recently struck down a clause in a collective agreement. The clause in question prevented certain employees from challenging discipline through grievance arbitration. The Court declared the clause void because it contravened a statutory minimum standard.

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