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Archive for ‘Substantive Law’

Passing the Smell Test: The Duty Accommodate Employees With Scent Sensitivities

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal recently considered the types of accommodations employers are required to make with regard employees with scent sensitivites.

The employee, a teacher with the Coquitlam School District, filed a complaint with the Tribunal alleging that her employer’s failure to provide a scent-free work environment amounted to discrimination on the basis of physical disability, contrary to British Columbia’s Human Rights Code.

In an attempt to accommodate her disability, the School Board and the employee agreed upon an exposure control plan that would allow the employee to take steps to minimize her allergic reaction, including leaving the . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Human Rights Tribunal’s Finding of Disability Discrimination in Employment Overturned

The Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta recently overturned a finding of disability discrimination in employment in the case of Syncrude Canada Ltd v Saunders, 2015 ABQB 237 (CanLII). The Court decided that the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal erred in finding that the employee established a prima facie case of discrimination when the evidence could not reasonably support the conclusion that the employee suffered from a disability or a perceived disability requiring accommodation. . . . [more]

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

Bill C-51 (Anti-Terrorist Act, 2015) Passed by Senate Despite Massive Opposition

Bill C-51 (Anti-Terrorist Act, 2015) has been passed by the Senate despite massive opposition against its privacy unfriendly invasive powers. See, for example, commentary by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, this article by security law professors entitled “Why Can’t Canada Get National Security Law Right“, and this post on Openmedia.ca .

Yet in the United States, the USA Freedom Act was just passed that pulled back a bit on the ability of the NSA to collect domestic data.

There seems to be no evidence that all this invasive spying and data collection actually reduces or prevents terrorism . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law, Technology

New Criminal Background Check Legislation Introduced in Ontario

New legislation has been introduced to impose strict regulations on what information can be released in a police record check. Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Yasir Naqvi, presented Bill 113, the Police Record Checks Reform Act, into the provincial legislature this week. Mr. Naqvi stated that “the main thrust of the legislation is to strictly limit the disclosure of non-conviction information and prohibit the disclosure of non-criminal information such as mental health information”.

This new legislation comes as a response to criticisms of the release of non-criminal information creating barriers for people’s education, employment, volunteering, and other . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

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