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The articles listed below are intended to provide readers with general information. They should not be regarded or relied upon as legal advice or opinion.

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Arbitrator Determines Termination of Nurse for Addiction-Related Narcotics Theft Discriminatory but Reinstatement not an Appropriate Remedy

April 17, 2019

In the recent case of Humber River Hospital v. Ontario Nurses’ Association, (December 2018) an arbitrator considered the complex issue of addiction-related narcotics theft by a nurse. The issue was whether the Hospital had failed in its duty to accommodate when it terminated an emergency room nurse with a drug addiction who had stolen narcotics from the Hospital and used them while at work. The union grieved her termination on the basis that the termination was discriminatory, since her conduct stemmed from an addiction disability, and argued that the Hospital had failed in its duty to accommodate. The union also…

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Bill 66 receives Royal Assent – More changes to ESA now in effect

April 11, 2019

Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2019, received Royal Assent on April 3, 2019. As discussed in a previous Focus Alert (see Ontario’s workplace laws continue to be the target of change as the government introduces Bill 66), Bill 66 is omnibus legislation that amends, in part, the Employment Standards Act, the Labour Relations Act and the Pension Benefits Act.   Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) The following ESA amendments came into effect on April 3, 2019: ESA Poster Employers are no longer required to post the ESA poster in the workplace. Employers are still required to provide the most recent version…

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Ontario government launches public sector compensation consultations – wages to be “modest, reasonable and sustainable”

April 9, 2019

On April 4th, the Ontario government announced that it would be consulting with public sector employers and collective bargaining agents “on how to manage compensation growth in a way that results in wage settlements that are modest, reasonable and sustainable.” The government further stated that the feedback received would directly inform the next steps taken to manage growth in public sector compensation costs. The announcement came roughly one week following the release of the 2018 Public Sector Salary Disclosure, more commonly known as the “sunshine list”. As most people are aware, the sunshine list sets out the names and salaries of public…

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“Context is everything” – arbitrator interprets “serious illness” in Ontario Nurses’ Association Collective Agreement

March 27, 2019

Many employers in the health care sector will be familiar with collective agreement provisions that operate to convert vacation leave pay to sick leave pay where an employee’s vacation is interrupted by “serious illness”. These types of provisions have been hotly-contested between employers and unions for well over twenty years. The recent decision in Peterborough Regional Health Centre and Ontario Nurses’ Association (December, 2018) represents a positive step forward in how such provisions will be interpreted. It should be noted that Emond Harnden’s own Raquel Chisholm represented the Health Centre in these proceedings. The controversial language that was the subject…

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Federal Government appoints expert panel to advise on further changes to the Canada Labour Code

March 26, 2019

Bill C-86, which received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018, will introduce a number of significant changes to the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). The Bill C-86 changes to the Code are not yet in force and will come into force on a date to be ordered by the Governor in Council after the government holds regulatory consultations this spring and summer. These changes relate to hours of work and breaks, vacations, equal treatment based on employment status, termination notice and leaves of absence (for more detail see Federal Government Proposes Significant Amendments to the Canada Labour Code in Bill C-86)….

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Ontario Court of Appeal: No tort of harassment in Ontario

March 21, 2019

In a landmark decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal set aside a lower court decision and held that there is no freestanding tort of harassment in Ontario. In Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General) (March, 2019) the appellate court was provided its first opportunity to consider the existence of the tort of harassment in Ontario. The resulting decision is very positive for employers and corrects a handful of lower court decisions that recognized harassment as a stand-alone cause of action. By way of background, in 2005 Mr. Merrifield was employed by the RCMP as a Constable. He was promoted to Corporal in…

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Ontario government seeks feedback on pay transparency reporting

March 15, 2019

As many readers of Focus will recall, the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 (the “PTA”) received Royal Assent on May 7, 2018 and was scheduled to come into force on January 1, 2019. Following the election of the new government, the coming into force of the PTA was deferred indefinitely by Bill 57 (see Ontario’s omnibus legislation impacting pay transparency, collective bargaining in the fire sector and pensions receives Royal Assent). Recently, the government released a consultation paper in order to seek feedback on the proposed pay transparency reporting requirements. By way of background, the purpose of the PTA is to…

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Ontario introduces legislation to overhaul health care – lays foundation for health “Super Agency”

March 7, 2019

On February 26, 2019 the Ontario government introduced Bill 74, An Act concerning the provision of health care, continuing Ontario Health and making consequential and related amendments and repeals. Short titled “The People’s Health Care Act, 2019”, the legislation is intended to improve Ontario’s health care services by integrating service providers and coordinating the delivery and accessibility of health services. The most salient features of the proposed legislation relate to the creation of the new health agency, Ontario Health, and the broad authority of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (the “Minister”) to “integrate” health service providers. If passed,…

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Bill C-86 Introduces New Pay Equity Act

January 18, 2019

On October 29, 2018, the federal government tabled Bill C-86, an omnibus bill aimed at implementing further aspects of the government’s Budget 2018. The Bill received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018 and will come into force on a date to be ordered by the Governor in Council. The Bill contained provisions to modernize the Canada Labour Code, which we have discussed in a previous Focus Alert (Federal Government Proposes Significant Amendments to the Canada Labour Code in Bill C-86). The bill also introduced a new Pay Equity Act (the “Act”) for federally regulated employers. This Focus Alert provides a…

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January 15, 2019 – New drone safety regulations announced following Gatwick kerfuffle

January 15, 2019

TOP STORY Minister Garneau unveils Canada’s new drone safety regulations   DECISIONS On board service managers – Air Canada v CUPE, AC Component – 2019 CanLII 96 (CA LA) Air Canada implemented the On Board Service Managers program (“OBSM”) – union filed multiple grievances alleging, amongst other things, demotion without just cause, interference with representation rights, improper use of crew rest facilities – OBSM program designed to enhance customer service – program imposed new workplace assessment process – union challenged program and results – arbitrator ruled that OBSM was valid program – allowed grievances in part – OBSM was reasonable,…

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Ontario Court of Appeal upholds constructive dismissal – without pay suspensions must be justified

January 2, 2019

In its decision Filice v. Complex Services Inc., the Ontario Court of Appeal provides useful guidance on the question of when an administrative suspension of a non-union employee will amount to constructive dismissal. Mr. Filice, the plaintiff employee, worked as a supervisor for a security contractor to casinos in southern Ontario, beginning in 1999. In 2007, Mr. Filice came under suspicion of theft, after an audit by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO”). The AGCO, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the employer initiated separate investigations into the matter. The employer suspended Mr. Filice without pay while its investigation was…

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Ontario’s omnibus legislation impacting pay transparency, collective bargaining in the fire sector and pensions receives Royal Assent

December 17, 2018

On November 15, 2018, the Ontario government introduced Bill 57, the Restoring Trust, Transparency and Accountability Act, 2018 (“Bill 57”). Bill 57 received Royal Assent on December 6, 2018. Bill 57 amends over 40 statutes in Ontario and contains significant changes to, among other things, pay transparency, interest arbitration in Ontario’s fire sector and pension administration and benefits. Bill 57 “defers” Pay Transparency Act, 2018 Bill 57 defers the coming into force of the Pay Transparency Act, 2018 (“TPA”) to an unspecified future date. Although not in effect, the TPA would prohibit employers from seeking compensation history information about applicants…

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December 14, 2018 – Service director conjures illness to avoid work, doesn’t make termination disappear

December 15, 2018

TOP STORY Air Canada and CUPE (JL) – 2018 CarswellOnt 19737 Termination grievance – Service director with 7 years of service and a 10-day suspension and final warning on record was terminated – abuse of sick leave – grievor was magician and performer – booked show conflicting with work schedule – attempted to make conflict work – day before conflict, grievor came down with neck pain – booked off – now free due to sick leave, performed at show on conflict day – just cause established, grievance dismissed – grievor’s record showed prior issues, demanded his “exemplary conduct” – grievor misled employer by…

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British Columbia Court of Appeal considers application of Workers Compensation Act to out-of-Province injury suffered by non-resident employee

December 13, 2018

A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (the “BCCA”) highlights the complexities that may arise when applying workers compensation legislation to out-of-province injuries and non-resident employees. In Air Canada v. British Columbia (Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal) (October, 2018), the claimant, Ms. Zechel, was a flight attendant employed by Air Canada. Although she resided in Winnipeg, her flight assignments originated and terminated at the Vancouver International Airport. Most of Ms. Zechel’s working hours were spent aboard flights in airspace outside of British Columbia (“BC”). In May 2012, while flying outside of BC airspace, Ms. Zechel detected an acrid odour…

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Ontario’s workplace laws continue to be the target of change as the government introduces Bill 66 – Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018

December 12, 2018

Ontario continues its workplace law reform with the introduction of Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, 2018. Introduced on December 6, 2018, Bill 66 is omnibus legislation that proposes regulatory amendments to a number of statutes including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”) and the Pension Benefits Act. The proposed amendments in Bill 66 remove a number of regulatory burdens on employers relating to items ranging from the posting of ESA information to the merger of pension plans. Employment Standards Act ESA Poster The ESA currently requires the Minister of Labour to publish a poster setting…

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