Focus Alerts

Our Focus Alerts provide up-to-the minute information about significant cases and other developments in labour and employment law.

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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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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Arbitrator states worker’s use of medical cannabis results in “unacceptable increased safety risk”- grievance dismissed

December 7, 2018

The recent legalization of recreational cannabis has highlighted the fact that there are a number of questions regarding the impairing effects of cannabis and how they may be measured. These questions generally focus on driving under the influence of cannabis and the apparent lack of technology to quickly and accurately measure impairment levels. As a recent arbitration decision from Newfoundland demonstrates, these issues are also arising in the workplace in the context of medically-authorized cannabis use. In Re International Brotherhood Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers’ Assn. Inc. and IBEW, Local 1620 (Tizzard) (April 2018), the grievor alleged that the employer failed to…

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Federal Government Proposes Significant Amendments to the Canada Labour Code in Bill C-86

November 29, 2018

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 introduces a new Pay Equity Act and contains provisions amending the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). The Standing Committee on Finance adopted some amendments to the proposed Pay Equity Actand other provisions of the Bill, while the Code provisions remained unchanged. The amendments were accepted on November 27, 2018 at the Report stage, and the Bill is currently awaiting Third Reading in the House of Commons. In a previous Focus Alert, we discussed on an…

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Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, Receives Royal Assent

November 22, 2018

The Ontario government introduced Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, on October 23, 2018. As discussed in a previous Focus Alert, the Bill proposed amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”) repealing many of the changes implemented by the former Liberal government’s Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Bill 47 received Royal Assent on November 21, 2018. The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs (“Standing Committee”) did not make any changes to the Bill 47 provisions regarding the ESA, as summarized in our previous Focus…

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Federal government introduces significant amendments to labour standards provisions under Part III of the Canada Labour Code as well as proposing new Pay Equity legislation

October 31, 2018

On October 29, 2018, the Federal government introduced Bill C-86, referred to as A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures. Bill C-86 is omnibus legislation that will, if passed, make significant amendments to the labour standards provisions under Part III of the Canada Labour Code as well as introducing proactive pay equity legislation for federally-regulated workplaces. Canada Labour Code Bill C-86 contains sweeping amendments to the labour standards provisions under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”). The Federal government stated that this is part of its commitment to ensuring a modern…

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Ontario government introduces Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 – repeals much of labour-friendly Bill 148

October 26, 2018

On October 23, 2018, the Ontario government introduced Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018. If passed into law, Bill 47 would amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”) to repeal many of the changes implemented by the former Liberal government through Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Readers of Focus will recall the more significant aspects of Bill 148 (which received Royal Assent in November of 2017), which included a significant increase to the minimum wage and equal pay for equal work rules under…

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New PIPEDA Breach Reporting Obligations

September 25, 2018

On November 1, 2018 new mandatory privacy breach reporting requirements will come into effect for all organizations governed by the Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). In preparation, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (“OPC”) has released a document providing guidance on mandatory breach reporting. This guidance is currently in draft form and open for consultation from stakeholders until October 2, 2018, following which a final version of the documents will be published. When to Report a Breach The mandatory breach reporting requirements will only require organizations to report breaches that create a “real risk of significant harm”…

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Court awards damages and an injunction to an employer for defamatory statements made by a former employee

September 21, 2018

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded damages, punitive damages and a permanent interlocutory injunction to an employer and two of its managers due to defamatory statements made by a former employee (hereinafter the “Defendant”) who had previously been dismissed for cause. Sébastien Huard and Justin Dubois, of Emond Harnden, were successful before the Court on behalf of the employer and two members of management (jointly referred to as the “Plaintiffs”). The employer, the Association pour l’intégration sociale d’Ottawa, is a non-profit organization offering services within the City of Ottawa to French-speaking persons with an intellectual deficiency or developmental handicap….

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Federal Government releases report on consultations to modernize Canada Labour Code

September 11, 2018

The Canada Labour Code (“Code”) minimum standards for wages, hours of work, and other general working conditions, were established in the 1960s at a time when standard employment (i.e. full-time employment with decent wages and benefits) was the norm. For the most part, these standards have remained unchanged notwithstanding the dramatic rise in non-standard employment since the 1970s. Non-standard employment includes temporary and part-time work, usually without benefits, and is characterized as being low income, unstable, and precarious. Given this context, the federal government (Employment and Social Development Canada) conducted a ten-month consultation period with a broad range of stakeholders, to discuss how…

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