Canada’s online legal magazine.
CBA Banner

Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Demotion Led to Constructive Dismissal

In Ciszkowski v Canac Kitchens, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice concluded that a long-term employee was constructively dismissed when he considered himself demoted upon his return to work from heart surgery. This demotion due to his disability created a serious erosion of the working relationship. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

The Civil Jury Trial Cheatsheet

Subject to limited exceptions, all parties litigating in Superior Court have the right to have the issues of fact tried, or the damages assessed, or both, by a jury.

Despite this fundamental right, civil jury trials are much more rare than trials conducted by judge alone.

A recent decision of Mew J., provides an excellent, comprehensive, summary of the law on civil jury trials including the law pertaining to the fundamental right to a jury trial and a detailed discussion of the law pertaining to a judge’s discretion to strike a jury notice.

The decision is a useful read for . . . [more]

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

Clear Language Trumps Fairness When Interpreting Multiple Collective Agreements

A 7 year battle over a day of paid personal leave has finally reached a conclusion.

The dispute centred around the interpretation of the collective bargaining agreement governing a unionized employee of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The employee, during the span of one fiscal year, moved from one position within the Agency to another. Each position was in a different bargaining unit with its own collective agreement. Each collective agreement entitled workers to one paid personal day per fiscal year. The employee took a personal day under each agreement (in the same year). The Agency refused to . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Email Could Not Be Covered Under Solicitor-Client Privilege

An Ontario court has compelled an employer to produce an email message between HR staff and counsel in the wrongful dismissal case of Jacobson v Atlas Copco Canada Inc. The Superior Court of Justice found the employer failed to show that the message involved seeking or giving legal advice; thus it could not be protected by solicitor-client privilege. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Releases Annual Report

Ontario Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish just released his first annual report.

It is an interesting read for anyone interested in access and privacy issues.

Topics include details on some noteworthy access and privacy decisions, open government, police body cameras, sharing of CPIC information with US border officials, contents of police record checks, and comments on personal health privacy.

It also contains stats on complaints and appeals. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law

Ontario Ministry of Labour Blitz

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour made headlines last week when they began an annual blitz on potentially abusive employers. The purpose was to target employers who take advantage of workers by failing to adhere to the requirements outlined in the Employment Standards Act. The targeted industries, according to the Ministry, include fitness and recreation, restaurants and janitorial services. The Ministry’s goal is to hold employers accountable for respecting employee entitlements such as minimum wage, eating periods and overtime pay.

The crackdown comes on the heels of amendments to the Employment Standards Act that came into force recently. The amendments, which stem . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

A Meaningful Mediation Avoiding Remedial Costs

The issue of remedial costs, previously discussed here, posed one of the few checks on the growing power of insurance companies in Ontario for motor vehicle collisions.

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently released its decision in Ross v. Bacchus, reversing the trial judge’s award of remedial costs against the insurer for failing to comply with its obligations under the Insurance Act. Justice Doherty stated,

[51] Insurers, like any other defendant, are entitled to take cases to trial. When an insurer rejects a plaintiff’s offer and proceeds to trial, the insurer risks both a higher damage award

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Web Site Accessibility Standards in Ontario

The Regulation on Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) provides, in s. 14, that ‘large organizations’

‘shall meet the requirements of this section in accordance with the following schedule:
1. By January 1, 2014, new internet websites and web content on those sites must conform with WCAG 2.0 Level A.’

Are your clients or other large organizations you know of complying with this obligation? Have they sought your advice on how to comply?

I ask not in order to send in the forces of order (‘not my department’, as we say in government), but . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

When Unions Fight

Headlines get made when employers and unions wage labour war. Teachers fighting provinces, police officers fighting cities and postal workers fighting Canada Post all make for great news. Inter-union fighting makes less noise but is also fascinating when it ends up before labour tribunals. A recent case provides a great example of what happens when unions “raid” each other (“raiding” is when one union attempts to sign up members represented by another union).

The story seems to start here, with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) talking to its membership (Toronto area airport screeners) about . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

WSIB Proposing Significant Changes for Employers

Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is proposing significant changes to the employer Rate Group Classification System and premium rate-setting processes. Consultations are underway, and the board expects to start implementing the proposed changes starting in 2018, with full implementation by 2021. The “Proposed Preliminary Rate Framework” aims to simplify the system and make it fairer. . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Privacy Torts as the Next Best Alternative

Which laws exist to protect patients from snooping eyes of health care providers?

Disciplinary hearings were held over the past few weeks in Ontario for nurses who looked at patient files without authorization. Despite the knowledge of several of these instances, there has never been a successful conviction of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) since coming into force a decade ago, and some people are starting to ask why.

One of the major challenges is the regulatory regime itself, which is particularly unwieldy and requires prosecution by the Attorney General. The Health Minister has already promised to simplify . . . [more]

Posted in: Education & Training: Law Schools, Substantive Law: Legislation

Filing Suit Amid Suspension Isn’t Wilful Resignation

When the New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission decided unilaterally to place its executive director David Potter on indefinite paid suspension, the employee challenged the decision in court. The commission took the position that Potter’s legal challenge meant he had resigned, and cut off his pay and benefits. The case went to the Supreme Court of Canada and in Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, the Supreme Court concluded that Potter was constructively dismissed and did not voluntary resign his position. The central issue was whether and in what circumstances a suspension with pay of a non-union . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions