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Video Surveillance of Employees and Issues of Evidence

The use of surveillance cameras in the workplace in Canada is quite common. Often, surveillance cameras are installed to deter theft, vandalism, assault, harassment and suspected criminal or improper activity. However, many employees question the right of employers to record them in the workplace and state that it is a breach of their privacy. Do employees’ privacy rights compete with employers’ needs to ensure that his or her employees do their job, come in at the right hours, and don’t behave inappropriately?

This case involves a union’s application to exclude video footage from the admissible evidence in a recent grievance . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

British Columbia Employment Standards Reforms Coming

On December 10, 2018, the British Columbia Law Institute (BCLI) released its final report on their independent Employment Standards Act review. The British Columbia labour minister responded to the report by pledging action in 2019 to implement certain of the 71 recommendations found in the BCLI final report. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Federal Omnibus Bill Employment Law Changes Passed

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018, and other measures received royal assent December 13, 2018. This new law extensively amends the Canada Labour Code, makes changes to the Employment Insurance Act, the Wage Earner Protection Program Act and introduces a federal Pay Equity Act. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Employment and Labour Law Related Changes in Ontario Bill 66 and More

On December 6, 2018, the Ontario Conservative government introduced Bill 66 – An Act to restore Ontario’s competitiveness by amending or repealing certain Acts in the legislature. Bill 66 impacts several employment and labour related laws, such as the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995. This blog post outlines the Bill 66 changes and my thoughts on these continuous employment and labour law government driven changes. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Changes to ESA and LRT Passed, EHT Exemptions and Provincial Income Tax

1. Employment Standards and Labour Relations law changes

On November 21, 2018, the Ontario conservative government gave third reading to Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018, effectively rolling back many employment and labour law changes brought in by the previous Liberal government Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148). Bill 47 although passed is awaiting royal assent to become law. Most of the provisions will come into force at a later date, on January 1, 2019. To summarize certain key employment standards provisions: . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Federal Government Omnibus Bill Includes Employment Law Changes

Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures received first reading on October 29, 2018. Bill C-86 is another omnibus budget Bill that, if enacted, would among other things, make changes to the parental leave EI benefits under the Employment Insurance Act (again), significantly amend the Canada Labour Code (again), introduce pay equity legislation and amend the Wage Earner Protection Program, among other Acts. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Smelling of Alcohol Not Reasonable Cause to Test for Drugs

A British Columbia Arbitrator recently held in a preliminary award that an employee who reported to work smelling of alcohol did not provide the employer with reasonable cause to test that employee for drugs.

What happened?

. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Ontario Bill Tabled to Repeal Liberal Employment Standards Reforms

On October 23, 2018, the Conservative Ontario government tabled Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 to repeal certain amendments made by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (introduced as Bill 148) that implemented reforms and more job protections under the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. In addition, Bill 47 repeals Ontario Regulation 375/18 dealing with public holiday pay and makes changes to the apprenticeship program.

Bill 47 is divided into three parts. Schedule 1 deals with changes to the Employment Standards Act, schedule 2 deals with changes to the Labour Relations Act . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Careful, Lawyer’s Communications Are Not Always Protected

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently found that the communications and conduct of the employer’s lawyer regarding sexual harassment investigation were not privileged and could be referred to in the employee’s Statement of Claim in the litigation against the employer

What happened?

A long-service employee (employed since 2002), while being placed on a performance improvement plan (PIP), raised allegations that her supervisor was bullying and sexually harassing her. In response, her employer:

  • Conducted an investigation but failed to interview the complainant employee during this process;
  • Concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated.
. . . [more]
Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation

Workplace Accident Is Not Enough to Prove Employer Committed General Duty Offence Under OHSA

Following a fatal workplace accident, the Alberta Court of Appeal provided a more comprehensive framework for the actus reus requirement of the general duty provision in Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and clarified that the mere occurrence of a workplace accident does not prove the employer committed a violation.

Fatal workplace accident – Did the employer violate its “general duty” to ensure the health and safety of an employee?

During a “tripping out” procedure on December 20, 2010, at an employer’s drilling rig, an employee suffered a workplace accident and died from blunt cranial trauma and multiple cranial . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions

Why a Scent-Free Policy Not a Solution in the Detection of Cannabis Impairment

There is a recent article that suggested that implementing a scent-free or fragrance-free environment policy would help employers know if their employee is high at work from cannabis use, and what actions to take when they catch them high at work.

Most people are familiar with smoking dried cannabis in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes or water pipes-but people can consume cannabis in many forms, including: “vaping”; eaten in cannabis-infused foods called “edibles” (e.g., cooking oils and drinks); applied as oils, ointments, tinctures, cream and concentrates (e.g., butane hash oil, resins and waxes); and of course, ingested as oral pills and oral . . . [more]

Posted in: Case Comment, Miscellaneous, Practice of Law, Practice of Law: Practice Management, Substantive Law, Substantive Law: Judicial Decisions, Substantive Law: Legislation