Canada’s online legal magazine.

Archive for ‘Case Comment’

Two WSIA Actions Dismissed With Many Lessons Learned

Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice just dismissed two actions regarding claims under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. The Court confirmed the decision of the Vice-Chair of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, and similarly concluded that D lost her right of action under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. Additionally, D’s family member also lost her right of action under the Family Law Act, as this claim was derivative in nature and dependent on D’s claim. The Court made a strong comment about . . . [more]

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

Business Justifications Shield Employer in Reprisal Complaint

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

Under Ontario’s occupational health and safety legislation’s reprisal provisions, the employer in 2023 CanLII 73671 was able to show that its actions weren’t motivated by any ill-will toward the employee for filing a harassment complaint against her manager. The case offers a reminder to employers of the value of maintaining evidence that can show a chronology of key events. What on its face may appear to be nefarious retaliation may actually be the outcome of a planned organizational decision that was made for a valid business reason. . . . [more]

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

Google Search Engine Service Is Subject to PIPEDA

Written by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

On September 29, 2023, the Federal Court of Appeal decided that Google’s search engine service is subject to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). Both Laskin J.A. and Gleason J.A. rejected all of Google’s arguments and swiftly dismissed Google’s appeal. However, there was a dissent in this case-Webb J.A. would have allowed the appeal. . . . [more]

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

Employee Claim for Constructive Dismissal Was Dismissed Since It Was Without Merit

Written by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

In August 2023, the Court of King’s Bench of Alberta dismissed an employee’s claim of constructive dismissal because it turned out that, on the evidence presented, the claim would not succeed at trial and was without merit. More specifically, the employee could not show that his employment contract was unilaterally changed to his detriment, or that the employer’s conduct demonstrated that it no longer intended to be bound by the terms of the employment contract (including the company Code of Conduct). Rather, the employee’s accusations of mistreatment . . . [more]

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

Medical Evidence Ignored in Appeal Tribunal Decision

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

The recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case 2023 BCSC 1513 (CanLII) concerns the appropriate decision-making process of the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal when it must make a compensation decision in the face of multiple medical reports. . . . [more]

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

Employer Pays the Price for an Unclear Termination Clause

Written by Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, PhD, Content Editor, First Reference Inc.

In September 2023, the Alberta Court of Justice decided that the employer’s termination clause in the employment contract was unclear and ambiguous. As a result, the court found that after the employee was terminated without notice, the unclear clause did not extinguish the employee’s common law entitlement and “oust” the implied term in his employment contract. The employee was indeed entitled to common law reasonable notice, and he did not fail to mitigate his damages. . . . [more]

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

Sexual Harassment Analysis Clarified by Top Court

By Daniel Standing, LL.B., Content editor, Frist Reference Inc.

A recent wrongful dismissal decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, 2023 BCCA 354, sheds significant light on the factors that can rightly be considered when assessing whether conduct amounting to sexual harassment provides just cause for termination, and the legal viability of a global award of damages. The decision is helpful to employers who might otherwise be tempted to take the complainant’s side and obtain an apology from the alleged wrongdoer. . . . [more]

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

Adding Insult to Injury

Written by Daniel Standing LL.B., content editor, First Reference Inc.

An injured employee may see the employer’s accident-reporting forms and processes as a waste of time and secondary to their seeking medical treatment, but the collection of such information is critical to the employer keeping its safe workplace obligations. When a British Columbia employee knowingly ignores the accident-reporting rules and puts up barriers to the employer finding out what happened, discipline is not far off, as the employee learned in 2023 CarswellBC 2094. . . . [more]

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

Sometimes an Apology Is Not Enough

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

An apology can be the difference-maker pointing toward rehabilitative potential, but in the worst misconduct cases, it’ll take more than an a simple mea culpa for an employee to get back their foot back in the door for another chance. Take the recent case of 2023 CanLII 77866 (ON LA), for example. Although the supervisor in that case sought reinstatement and apologized, his actions and other things he said told the opposite story. There are several nuggets of wisdom for employers in this case that touch on the value . . . [more]

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

When Colours, Animals and Work Don’t Mix

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

If there’s a main lesson in 2022 BCHRT 129 (CanLII), it’s to use a person’s name instead of animals and colours when referring to them. The reason? When racial slurs are issued at work, the buck stops with the employer, who could find itself vicariously liable along with the perpetrator employee for discriminatory practices The case also presents a best practice for employers who may be able to limit their liability with a rapid and effective investigation. . . . [more]

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

Mismatched Job Title and Duties Spark Dispute

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

When someone is hired for a particular job, but their duties don’t totally align with what the job was to entail, disputes can arise. One way trouble can manifest itself is on the pay stub, like in 2023 BCEST 51. There, a worker was hired as a construction project manager but ended up working mainly as a labourer, including long hours of overtime. Under British Columbia Employment Standards Act, he was entitled to overtime pay only if he met the definition of employee; those characterized as managers were excluded, . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Massive Payout to Defamation Victims

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

2023 ONSC 2740 (CanLII) is a defamation case of epic proportions, both for the scope and turpitude of the statements made and in the number of victims. It’s also a strange case, in that the defendant only knew one of the 53 plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs, based all over North America, were mostly strangers to each other. . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions