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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

Supreme Court of Canada Refuses to Hear an Appeal on Campbell River Family Status Test

A previous Slaw article (which you can read here) discussed the recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision that confirmed that the stringent test set out in Health Sciences Assoc of BC v Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (Campbell River) to determine if there was a duty to accommodate based on family status and if there is a prima facie case of discrimination based on family status, continues to be the applicable test in British Columbia.

Since this decision, the employee was seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada to address the inconsistency in . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Employee Entitled to Rescind Retirement Notice

The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that an employee had the right to unilaterally revoke her notice of resignation due to changing circumstances, and was wrongfully dismissed when her employer would not allow her to do so.

Quick facts

December 31, 2016, a 64-year-old employee resigned after her employer said it would be implementing a new computer system, citing her concern with learning a new system. The employee’s supervisor offered the employee an opportunity to reconsider and told the employee she could revoke the notice if she changed her mind.

On October 11, 2016, the employer announced it wouldn’t . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Confirmation of Stringent British Columbia Test for Family Status Duty to Accommodate

A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision confirmed that the stringent test set out in Health Sciences Assoc of BC v Campbell River and North Island Transition Society (B.C.C.A., 2004 “Campbell River“) to determine if there was a duty to accommodate based on family status and if there is a prima facie case of discrimination based on family status, continues to be the applicable test in British Columbia. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Years Spent as Contractor to Be Included in Calculation of Reasonable Notice

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court in Cormier v 1772887 Ontario Ltd., 2019 ONSC 587 (CanLII) involved the number of years of service that were included in the calculation of notice, whether a termination clause was valid, and also if inappropriate deductions were made from the employee’s pay.

Quick facts

The employer operated a business across Canada that involved marketing and advertising.

A long-time employee (with almost 23 years of service) was dismissed without cause and claimed $136,577.75 in damages for wrongful dismissal. In her claim, the employee submitted that she was entitled to 24 months of . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Parenting Coordination Unboxed and Repurposed

Parenting coordination was first developed in California in the 1980s as a response to family law cases characterized by elevated levels of conflict and repeated trips to court. The Special Master Program, as it was then known, was established to help parents resolve ongoing child-related disputes through a combination of consensus-building and decision-making, steering parents away from court and providing a more holistic, balanced alternative to the conflict and expense of adversarial court processes.

Under this program, parents were referred to mental health professionals who sought to resolve parenting disputes through mediation but, if mediation failed, were empowered to resolve . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law

Northwest Territories Upcoming Statutory Leave Changes

On May 29, 2019, the Northwest Territories tabled Bill 57, An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act to align with recent changes to certain statutory leaves in the Canada Labour Code and the Employment Insurance Act, as well as to update certain provisions of the Employment Standards Act to better protect Northwest Territories workers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

New Rules Governing Unpaid Interns in Federally Regulated Workplaces

In December 2017, legislative amendments under the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 (introduced as Bill C-63), to Part III (employment standards) of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) to limit unpaid internships in the federally regulated sector to only those that are part of an educational program were enacted but did not come into force right away. On June 8, 2019, the federal government published proposed regulations in the Canada Gazette to extend standard health and safety protections to unpaid interns and to enact supporting regulations regarding limitations to internships under Part III of the Canada Labour Code. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Are Design Flaws in the Court System Like Eye Drops?

The court system is designed by lawyers for lawyers for a bygone era. As technology develops and the numbers of self-represented litigants increase, the design flaws in our paper based court system becomes more apparent.

Recently, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Honourable Heather Smith addressed this issue with the Toronto Star. Justice Smith stated that “there really is no difference walking into a courtroom at 361 University Ave than there was 40 years ago.” Justice Smith further adds that the way paper moves through the court system is madness. “Even digital files . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Technology

Regulations Amending the Canada Labour Standards Regulations

In preparation for the September 1, 2019, coming into force date of the amendments to Part III (Labour Standards) of the Canada Labour Code, the federal government registered in the Canada Gazette, Part II, Volume 153, Number 12, on June 3, 2019, the consequential amendments to the Canada Labour Standards Regulations. This is intended to align the Regulations with the new and amended Canada Labour Code provisions and to support their implementation. Additional housekeeping amendments are also needed to address other editorial and alignment issues. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

A Better Alternative to Family Law Rules of Arbitration

I spent a fair amount time in early 2018 drafting a set of rules for the arbitration of family law cases. This was motivated, firstly, by provisions of British Columbia’s Arbitration Act that require the use of certain commercial arbitration rules unless the parties agree otherwise, and, secondly, by the benefit of creating rules specifically tailored for family law disputes. Although the rules I drafted are written in plain language and cover hearing from children, mandatory minimum levels of financial disclosure and parenting assessments, I’ve become less and less fond of them as time has passed. They’re too long, . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

Workplace Culture That Includes Racism Is Very Costly for Employer

Recently, a Nova Scotia Human Rights Board of Inquiry awarded a record $593,417 in damages, including $105,650 for injury to dignity and $433,077 for wage loss, to a former Halifax transit worker employed as a mechanic who suffered racial harassment and discrimination at work.

In a previous ruling released in March 2018, Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission board of inquiry chair Lynn Connors found widespread racial discrimination and a poisoned work environment at Halifax Transit’s garage. The Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) was found vicariously liable for the actions of their employees.

Connors stated,

“I find based on the facts

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

British Columbia Employment Standards and Labour Relations Reforms Passed

On May 30, 2019, the British Columbia government gave royal assent to an amended version of Bill 8, Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 to significantly update the Employment Standards Act, and royal assent to an amended version of Bill 30, Labour Relations Code Amendment Act, 2019 to provide greater protections for unionized workers. According to the government, the changes will better protect workers, bring greater stability for employers and more durable labour relations. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation