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Archive for ‘Practice of Law: Practice Management’

Houston, We Have a Problem With Your Termination

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In modern times, employers and investigators alike must be increasingly technologically savvy. Evidence can take on many forms, including texts, emails and information posted to social media accounts. Many employers provide phones to their employees which are password-protected and rely on virtual storage of data in the “cloud.” As the workplace becomes further digitized, and as more offices become mobile or virtual, workplace investigations will increasingly target such elusive electronic data. As illustrated in the recent British Columbia labour arbitration decision District of Houston v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local . . . [more]

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

Employer’s Duty to Protect Against and Investigate Harassment

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

A recent decision of a Human Rights Adjudication Panel, T.M. v Manitoba (Justice), 2019 MBHR 13 (CanLII) has clarified the extent of an employer’s obligation to provide its employees with a safe and respectful workplace. The decision is the first time a complaint of harassment on the basis of sexual orientation was considered in that forum-is a powerful one and is full of important takeaways for employers, employees and workplace investigators alike. . . . [more]

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

Brief Guide to Western and Atlantic Employment Law Changes in 2020

2020 promises to be a busy year in Western and Atlantic provinces with a variety of legislative and regulatory changes impacting employers in various ways. In this article, we provide employers with an overview of some of the key changes that have been announced in Western and Atlantic to assist in compliance. We also mention some changes that employers should anticipate being made in the coming year. . . . [more]

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

Welcome to 2020: A Federal and Ontario Employment and Labour Law Summary

We are almost at the end of the second month of 2020 and have compiled for you a number of upcoming employment and labour law changes and key compliance issues that federally regulated and Ontario employers need to consider in their HR and payroll practices. . . . [more]

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

Application of a Workplace Absenteeism Policy

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Teamsters Local Union 847 v Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, 2019 CanLII 95328 (ON LA), a labour arbitrator upheld the reasonable application of a workplace absenteeism policy. Although the employee’s excessive absenteeism was because the employee tried to better herself and upgrade her training, the employer was still justified in dismissing her. . . . [more]

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

A Tale of Two Legal Services Entities

The Atrium debacle has now moved out of the legal innovation news cycle having been mostly savaged (and rightly so) for its lack of understanding of the market it purported to serve, its inability to learn from the past, and a seemingly waste of investor money. It remains a sad example of how an entity built solely around hype is able to gain huge profile and raise massive amounts of money with no reasonable ROI, while entities doing really good work impacting far more people (on a shoestring!) are largely ignored.

One of the claims made on Twitter during the . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Technology

Alberta Fair Registration Practices of Regulatory Bodies Proclaimed in Force

The Alberta Fair Registration Practices Act is proclaimed in force on March 1, 2020, to speed up the process of newcomers getting their credentials recognized so they can work in the careers they trained for, and remove unfair barriers. . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training, Justice Issues, Legal Information, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Future of Practice, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Saving Clauses Do Not Permit Employers to Contract Out of the ESA

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Editor, First Reference Inc.

In Groves v UTS Consultants Inc, 2019 ONSC 5605 (“Groves”), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (“SCJ”) held that an employer cannot contract out of its obligations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) by including a “saving clause” in its employment contract. Moreover, a contract that attempts to make an employer exempt from its obligations under the ESA is unenforceable, and, in Groves, the SCJ merely applied this uncontroversial principle to what is known as a saving clause. . . . [more]

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

Injured at Work: Tribunal Clarifies the Limits

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor at First Reference Inc.

In a recent “right to sue application,” Decision No. 550/19, the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal considered whether a truck driver who sustained an injury at the workplace a short time after his work assignment ended was entitled to sue the employer. In reaching its conclusion that the right to sue was taken away by legislation, the Tribunal made key findings on the issues of whether the truck driver was a worker or an independent contractor and whether the injury was sustained in the course of the . . . [more]

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

Flexibility to Start or Leave Work Does Not Impact Original Employment Contract

A recent Ontario appellate decision confirms that employer flexibility in granting occasional requests, such as the time to start and end work, does not always modify the original employment contract.

Quick facts

The employee in this case worked as a scheduler from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with earlier morning work on occasion. The employee claimed that she had a verbal agreement with the employer that she was allowed to arrive any time before 10:00 a.m. to allow her to manage her childcare obligations. However, the employer claimed that he had discussed her irregular arrival times with her and told . . . [more]

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

Can a Relationship With a Subordinate Be Cause for Dismissal?

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench recently considered if and when a workplace romance could lead to just cause for dismissal.

Quick facts

The employee was a regional manager for New Brunswick and had been employed by the employer since at least 2002. He was dismissed in May 2017 when the employer became aware that the employee was involved in a sexual relationship with another employee whom he supervised and had failed to report the relationship, as required by policy.

Prior to the dismissal, the employer conducted an investigation which confirmed the existence of the relationship. But it also . . . [more]

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

Refusing Dangerous Work Is Not Only in the Eye of the Beholder

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., Editor, First Reference Inc.

Hassan v City of Ottawa (OC Transpo), 2019 OHSTC 8 confirms the principle that an employee’s belief in a work-related threat that is purely subjective and hypothetical will not allow the employee to invoke the exceptional remedy under the Canada Labour Code to refuse to work.

To legitimately refuse to work on this basis, the employee’s perception of danger must also be objectively reasonable. In this case, the employee’s refusal failed to meet that threshold.

Key facts

The employee was a bus driver working for the City of Ottawa (OC . . . [more]

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