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Archive for ‘Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions’

CEO Dismissal Is Not a Wrongful Termination

In a recent Alberta ruling, a Society was found to have wrongfully terminated a management contract with a company when it dismissed the company’s chief executive officer for breach of the management contract, but there was no wrongful dismissal as the CEO was not an employee, but an independent contractor.


The Society operated an annual music festival in Alberta. In order to manage its festival, the Society consistently hired a separate organization to manage the festival. Part of that organization’s management of the festival was providing consultants to serve on the festival’s board of directors. These consultants included all . . . [more]

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

Successor Employer Case Calls for Flexibility in Fixing Notice

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

This article will consider the Court of Appeal for Ontario’s recent decision (2022 ONCA 454) calling for a flexible approach to calculating reasonable notice when an employee is dismissed by a successor employer. For employers, this approach might spell a somewhat longer notice period than they would have otherwise anticipated.


The employee worked for the company from 2011 until 2019, when her employment was terminated without cause. The only event of note during this period happened in 2016 when, as part of the fallout from creditor protection proceedings, . . . [more]

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

Concurrent Jurisdiction Upheld in Human Rights Case

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

“I can’t hear you!”

When a litigant hears this from a court, tribunal or other decision maker, it either means that someone needs to speak up, or there is a problem with jurisdiction. Difficulties of the first variety are easy to fix, while those in the second category can be insurmountable. In the labour world, complainants sometimes appear to have more than one forum at their disposal, and while sometimes this is the case, it isn’t always, and the consequences of choosing the wrong one can be costly. In a recent . . . [more]

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

Employer Haphazard Furlough a Constructive Dismissal

In a recent decision by the Court of Queen’s Bench of New Brunswick, an employer was found to have constructively dismissed its employee when it haphazardly told him he was to be “furloughed” and sent him home without pay for an indefinite period of time. The employer’s behaviour was not a legitimate temporary layoff but was instead a clear breach of its obligations under its employment contract. While the employer may have intended to temporary layoff the employee in response to the serious repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic on its business, its careless verbal notice and failure to provide a . . . [more]

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

Classic Rock Song Sums Up Law in Family Status Complaint

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

The Rolling Stones’ 1969 song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” nicely highlights the difference between a preference and a requirement. This distinction also plays a critical role in the outcome of a family status discrimination claim in which a municipal employee’s request for altered hours arose out of and was ultimately defeated by choices she made.

In his decision, 2022 CanLII 51865, Ontario labour arbitrator Brian Sheehan traces the evolution of family status jurisprudence, and concludes that while an employee’s self-accommodation efforts are relevant, they . . . [more]

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

LTD Rejection and Flawed Medical Note Not Grounds to Deny Employee Disability

In a recent case, the employer dismissed the employee when she did not return to the workplace following an allegedly unauthorized medical absence. However, the employer had improperly denied the fact that the employer’s medical absence was tied to her suffering from an adjustment disorder with associated anxiety and depression, a disability that had been diagnosed by a medical professional.

As a result, the labour arbitrator in the case found that the employer had unjustly dismissed the employee by discriminating against her disability. The arbitrator ordered the employee to be reinstated to her position, and to be compensated for the . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Biting the Hand That Feeds: The Problem of Sick Leave Abuse

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

Sick leave abuse is notoriously hard to catch. As a form of workplace fraud, one such incident can rupture the trust at the centre of even a long-standing employment relationship, prompting the employer to emphasize deterrence over rehabilitation when it imposes discipline. An Ontario arbitrator recently considered the plight of an employee who wrongfully entered a pandemic leave program that was designed to help facilitate isolating at home when required. When his ulterior motives came to light, even his long period of service could not tip the scales in favour of . . . [more]

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

Dismissal for Cannabis Fuelled Safety Incident Upheld

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal and Student-at-Law, First Reference Editor

In Canadian Pacific Railway v United Steelworkers – TC Local 1976 (“Canadian Pacific”), an employer’s dismissal of an employee who committed a safety infraction while intoxicated with cannabis was upheld as reasonable. The safety-sensitive nature of the workplace, the employee’s history of intoxication and the lack of any connection to medical or addiction issues were key factors in a labour arbitrator’s decision to uphold the employee’s dismissal. . . . [more]

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

Misgendering Students Can Be Professional Misconduct

In the so-called culture wars these days, there can be highly politicized debates around transgender rights and the proper use of pronouns. In Ontario, these debates are without legal basis, as gender identity and gender expression are protected grounds under the Human Rights Code.

Under some misguided notion of challenging students to think critically, there are teachers who reiterate the talking points of both sides of such culture wars, but do so at their own peril.

A recent decision by the Discipline Committee in Ontario College of Teachers v Teal illustrates the regulatory context in the educational setting.

The . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Unfair Treatment Not Always Violation of Human Rights

Written by Lewis Waring, Paralegal, Student-at-Law, Editor at First Reference

In Nguyen v Central Stampings Limited (“Nguyen”), an employee’s feeling that an employer’s conduct derived from discriminatory intent due to his sex was not sufficient to obtain compensation for violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code. . . . [more]

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

The Milgaard Story’s Importance for the Presumption of Innocence

David Milgaard is reported to have passed away this weekend at the age of 69. He spent 23 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit.

Milgaard was convicted in 1970, and spent the ages of 16 to 39 in prison, following the discovery of a nurse’s body in the snowbank. His appeal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal was dismissed the following year, and the Supreme Court of Canada refused him leave to appeal. That same year, a pattern of sexual assaults committed by Larry Fisher came to light, which matched the offence in question. . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Use It or Lose It: Trademark Management

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

Businesses that have a registered mark, name or symbol have to properly manage it if they seek to maintain their brand image as a source of economic value and stability. The value of proper trademark management is the key takeaway in the recent Federal Court decision Milano Pizza Ltd. v 6034799 Canada Inc, 2022 FC 425. In that decision, poor trademark management came back to haunt the plaintiff’s pizzeria. . . . [more]

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