Canadians love hockey like Americans love football or baseball. Maybe more. So the lockout of the players by the league’s owners has left a lot of Canadian hockey fans in withdrawal. It’s also led to much more reporting about labor negotiations than we would normally see in the media. read more…
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.
On November 27, 2009, in two cases involving Wal-Mart (Plourde v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Desbiens v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp.), the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its much-awaited decision on an employer’s right to close operations for alleged antiunion reasons.
The Supreme Court decisions rule that Wal-Mart could close one of its stores following the unionization of its employees. Essentially, the court confirmed the principle by which an employer can overturn the presumption against it, established by section 17 of the Quebec Labour Code, by simply showing that the decision to close is “real and definitive.” This is possible even though the reasons behind the closing could be viewed as “socially reprehensible.”
Managing absenteeism can be a significant challenge for Canadian employers. A wide variety of factual situations may be complicated by employment standards, privacy and human rights laws, as well as any applicable union agreements.
An example of the potential challenges of implementing an attendance management program (AMP) is the decade-long battle between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. (CMBC) and the Canadian Auto Workers. It involved an AMP covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia.
The face of unionization in Canada is changing. Although it’s declining in the private sector, it’s increasing in the public sector. A few recent decisions by Canadian courts show this trend.
In the last several months, we have posted several blog entries detailing how employers can reduce employment costs and/or increase workforce flexibility in these tough economic times. We have talked about furloughs, work-sharing programs, changing employment contracts, adjusting the size of the workforce and reducing employees’ hours of work.
But all of these discussions have been in the context of nonunion workplaces. What about a unionized workplace â€“ do employers have the same flexibility to reduce hours, shorten the workweek, impose work-sharing programs or set up other cost-saving measures? The answer depends.