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Archive for ‘Practice of Law’

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

Alberta Rolling Back Certain Employment Standards and Labour Relations Reforms

On May 27, 2019, the Alberta government tabled Bill 2, An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business to make amendments to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code. This involves rolling back certain measures that were implemented by the previous government and adding in new rules. According to the government, the proposed Open for Business Act would reduce unfair burdens on businesses and give workers more rights in unionized workplaces.

Employment Standards Code changes

1. Introducing a $13 per hour minimum wage rate for students under 18:

This change is not part of Bill 2, but . . . [more]

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

The Rule of Law and Prosecutorial Discretion

The SNC Lavalin controversy, and in particular the allegation that the former Attorney General was improperly pressured by the Prime Minister’s Office to resolve the prosecution in favour of the defendant, has raised widespread concern about to the state of the rule of law in Canada. This is remarkable, as the rule of law does not often attract this degree of public attention. Canada is generally highly respected in the global community for its legal order.

One of the precepts of the rule of law is that all citizens are subject to the same law administered without bias by an . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law

In Praise of the Honourable Justice Clement Gascon

Recently, the Honourable Justice Clement Gascon of the Supreme Court of Canada addressed his momentary absence from work on May 8th, 2019.

For over twenty years, I have been dealing with a sometimes insidious illness: depression and anxiety disorders. This is an illness that can be treated and controlled, some days better than others. On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8, affected both by the recent announcement of a difficult and heart-rending career decision and by a change in medication, I conducted myself in an unprecedented and unaccustomed manner by going out without warning and remaining out of touch for

. . . [more]
Posted in: Practice of Law: Future of Practice

Manitoba Accessible Employment Standard Enacted

On May 1, 2019, the Manitoba’s Accessibility Standard for Employment became the second standard enacted by Regulation (70/2019) under The Accessibility for Manitobans Act which aims to remove and prevent barriers in employment practices to meet the needs of employees and job applicants with disabilities.

The Accessibility Standard for Employment requires larger organizations and businesses with 50 or more employees to implement and document accessible employment policies, measures and practices (i.e., recruiting, performance review, career development etc.). They must also make these available to the public upon request in an accessible format, and provide reasonable accommodation to employees . . . [more]

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

British Columbia Employment Standards Changes

On April 29, 2019, the British Columbia government tabled Bill 8, Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2019 to significantly update the Employment Standards Act and incorporate some recommendations from the BC Law Institute, as well as from the BC Employment Standards Coalition, the BC Federation of Labour and feedback from workers, employers and the public. Further recommendations from these reports will be considered at a later date and proposed legislation tabled.

The ESA has not been significantly updated for 15 years and there are several areas where changes are needed and overdue. However, the government will be implementing the updates in . . . [more]

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

Under the Circumstances, the Employee Cannot Claim He Did Not Receive Written Notice

The New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board had to decide whether or not the employee received the written notification that he had been dismissed for cause, as required under the Employment Standards Act, and whether the employee is entitled to the statutory notice.

What happened?

The employee worked for the employer as a meat cutter for more than five years.

One day, the employer called the employee back into the office to fire him. The employer handed the employee a copy of the termination letter that contained written reasons for the employee’s dismissal. However, the employee stormed out without . . . [more]

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

Ontario Budget 2019-20 Summary of Interest to Employers and Other Measures

On April 11, 2019, the Ontario government tabled its 2019-20 fiscal budget, “Protecting What Matters Most” that sets out a five-year path to a balanced budget. The budget anticipates deficits of $11.7 billion for 2018-19 and $10.3 billion for 2019-20, and projects a modest surplus in 2023-24.

According to budget documents, the government has already reduced the deficit by $3.3 billion, going from $15 billion to a projected $11.7 billion for the 2018-19 fiscal year. The government is planning to further reduce the deficit by $1.4 billion in the 2019-20 fiscal years, lowering it to $10.3 billion. The . . . [more]

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

Ontario Bill 66 Given Royal Assent and Impacts Employment and Labour Law

An amended version of the Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019 (introduced as Bill 66) was enacted into law on April 3, 2019, which revises several pieces of legislation, including the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act. . . . [more]

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

Another Quebec Law on the Religious Neutrality of the State

On March 28, 2019, the Coalition Avenir Quebec government tabled Bill n°21: An Act respecting the laicity of the State to fulfill an election promise to ensure the religious neutrality of the state and prohibit many public sector employees from wearing religious symbols at work. The proposed legislation is being studied in parliament at this moment.

After the failed attempts of the Parti Québécois with its charter of values in 2014, and the Liberal Party with Bill 62 in 2017 with an Act to foster adherence to State religious neutrality and, in particular, to provide a framework for requests for . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation