Hindsight is 20/20 – Employer obligations under the workplace violence provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act

Subject:Occupational Health and Safety - October 19, 2016

Employers across the province are likely aware that they have a duty to take certain steps to protect their employees...

Blame the Lawyer? Drawing Best Practices for In-House Counsel from the Jurisprudence

Subject:Employment Law, Human Rights, Workplace Investigations - September 14, 2016

A recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision provides a rare opportunity to directly draw lessons and best...

Courts Weigh in on ‘Independent’ Contractor Relationships in Construction

Subject:Employment Law Update - July 29, 2016

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently rejected a company’s argument that different rules should...

No Room Left for Doubt: Ontario Introduces New Workplace Harassment Obligations

Subject:Occupational Health and Safety - March 31, 2016

Workplace harassment has been at the forefront of labour and employment law over the past several years, particularly...

AODA: Overcoming Common Pitfalls

Subject:AODA - March 08, 2016

Although the AODA has been around for 10 years, the AODA Accessibility Standards were developed, and are being phased...

2015 in Review: Developments in Canadian Labour and Employment Law

Subject:Year End Update - January 18, 2016

2015 was a busy year for those following developments in labour and employment law.  Along with groundbreaking...

Experience Rating Revolution: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the WSIB’s Overhaul of How Employers Fund the System

Subject:Workers' Compensation - January 12, 2016

The Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance system is about to undergo one of the most important changes in decades....

Ontario Court Continues Trend of Large Punitive Damages Awards

Subject:Employment Law - November 20, 2015

Since 2008, Courts have wrestled with wrongful dismissal claims in which employees make claims of entitlements to...

Significant Penalties in New Compliance Regime for Temporary Workers

Subject:Immigration Law - October 13, 2015

The Canadian Government has announced further changes to the foreign worker system that come into effect on December...

When Can a Terminated Employee Reject an Offer of Re-Employment?

Subject:Employment Law - September 25, 2015

Does a terminated employee have a duty to accept an offer of re-employment after termination? This issue was recently...

Ontario Government Announces Details of the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan

Subject:Employment Law - August 31, 2015

Recently, the Ontario Government provided new details regarding the Ontario Retirement Pension Plan

Drug Dependency and Denial: Alberta Court of Appeal Rules Denial not a Shield to Discipline

Subject:human rights - August 27, 2015

A recent case from the Alberta Court of Appeal sheds light on how Canadian courts will treat post-termination...

Project Manager Convicted of Criminal Charges in Christmas Eve Swing Stage Collapse

Subject:Occupational Health and Safety - July 14, 2015

The tragic Christmas Eve 2009 swing stage collapse which led to the deaths of four workers and the serious injury of...

OH&S Due Diligence Roundup: The Latest Word from the Courts

Subject:Occupational Health and Safety - May 29, 2015

In recent months, the Ontario Court of Justice has issued a number of decisions which shed some light on the level of...

Employer Not Required to Bridge Terminated Employee to Retirement

Subject:Employment law - April 20, 2015

Counsel for terminated employees frequently plead as part of their claim that employees with long service should...

Superior Court Applies the “Johnstone Test” for Family Status Discrimination in Wrongful Dismissal Action

Subject:Human Rights - February 04, 2015

We have written before on the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal in Johnstone v Canada (Border Services) (see...

2014 in Review: Developments in Canadian Labour and Employment Law

Subject:Labour and Employment Law - January 14, 2015

In 2014 we saw some significant changes to Canadian labour and employment law.  New judicial decisions and...

The Clock is Ticking on AODA Compliance

Subject:AODA - December 08, 2014

Private sector employers must file an Accessibility Report by December 31, 2014 pertaining to compliance with the...

Employer Failed to Trigger Employee’s Duty to Mitigate – Court of Appeal

Subject:Employment Law - October 30, 2014

The Court upheld a significant award of damages for constructive dismissal because the employer did not offer to...

Terra Firma No More: Supreme Court Changes the Ground Rules on Contracts

Subject:Employment Law - September 29, 2014

The recent Supreme Court decision in Sattva Capital Corp v Creston Moly Corp  signifies a major shift in the...

More Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Subject:Immigration; temporary foreign workers - September 19, 2014

The Temporary Foreign Worker program continues to be under fire in the media, and the Government has released some...

How to Avoid Employer Liability under Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Subject:Anti-Spam, Privacy - August 25, 2014

Canada's new anti-spam legislation (CASL) exposes new vulnerabilities for employers.

Going Global: Ontario Superior Court Grants Severance Pay Based on Non-Ontario Payroll

Subject:Employment Law, Employment Standards, Wrongful Dismissal - August 08, 2014

A recent French language decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice indicates that more employers could be...

Store Closing is not “Business as Usual”

Subject:Labour Relations, Collective Bargaining - July 03, 2014

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Walmart violated the statutory freeze in Québec's labour...

Privacy Class Action Certified against Employer

Subject:class actions, privacy - June 27, 2014

Heightened vigilance is the order of the day.  In the wake of a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court,...

Gloves Come Off: Sky High Damages in Human Rights Cases

Subject:Human Rights - June 05, 2014

Human Rights Tribunals across the country have been issuing damage awards which have raised the eyebrows of the...

Court of Appeal in Wal-Mart Case Scales Back Historic Punitive Damages Award

Subject:Wrongful Dismissal - May 26, 2014

Ontario's Court of Appeal has reduced the record $1Million punitive damages awarded at trial in Boucher v....

More Updates

HR Blog

Landon Young named to the Best Lawyers in Canada 2017 list

October 17, 2016

We are proud to announce that our Managing Partner, Landon Young, has been selected again by his peers to the Best Lawyers in Canada 2017 list.

AODA Customer Service Standard Changed July 1

July 22, 2016

Welcome back from your early summer vacation - Changes to the Customer Service Standard under the AODA came into effect on July 1. Employers must revisit their Customer Service Standard policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant with these changes.

Court of Appeal Gives Mark-Fabricating Teacher an "F"

June 22, 2016

When is a single, serious instance of misconduct just cause for termination, particularly for a long-service employee? In Fernandes v. Peel Educational, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal were both asked to determine if a teacher’s misconduct gave rise to just cause for termination.  They came to very different conclusions.

Putting on the Brakes: The Limits of the Common Employer Doctrine

June 10, 2016

Many businesses and organizations now consist of multiple, separate corporations, organized for tax, liability, and other legitimate commercial purposes.  Although in some contexts such structures prevent any liability from flowing between the constituent elements, in wrongful dismissal cases such a structure can often come under attack, as plaintiffs attempt to draw unrelated elements of the same organization into litigation to access assets or because of confusion over the correct party to name.

After the Accident: Pitfalls to Avoid for Employers after Workplace Accidents

May 27, 2016

The obligations on employers, constructors and other workplace stakeholders once a workplace accident occurs are heavy.  The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires that these parties take positive actions immediately from the time that an accident occurs.  These actions can have important implications for later legal proceedings.  Failing to comply with these obligations is itself a breach of the Act and can lead to legal liability distinct from and in addition to any liability flowing from the accident.

It Takes Two to Tango: Superior Court Rules on Employees’ Duty to Facilitate in the Accommodation Process

May 16, 2016

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court addresses the limits on the employer’s procedural duties in the accommodation process with respect to an employee on a long-term absence from work due to disability.

Ryan Conlin Speaking on OHS in the Daily Commercial News

May 06, 2016

Read the Daily Commercial News's report on Ryan Conlin's presentation at this year's Partners in Prevention occupational health and safety conference held on April 26. 


More Time, More Money: New, Unique Employment Standards Act Leaves Proposed by Legislature

May 03, 2016

There are currently two Bills before the Ontario legislature which would designate new leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.  Outside of introducing the new leaves and obligations on employers, these Bills could be the canary in the coalmine for further extensive increases to leave entitlements under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Fixed-Term Fiasco: Employee Profits off of Termination of Term Contract

April 26, 2016

Canadian employees are presumptively entitled to “reasonable notice” of termination.  Although this entitlement can be limited to some extent by contract, an employee will generally be entitled to some advance notice of the end of their employment. If advance notice is not given, then the employer can satisfy this obligation by making a payment equivalent to the earnings the employee would have received over the notice period. However, the law is very different with respect to fixed-term contracts.  The catch is that absent contractual language limiting the employee’s entitlements on early termination, the employee is entitled to pay in lieu of the balance of the fixed term.

Human Rights Tribunal Rules on Family Status Protection for Infrequent and Unexpected Childcare Obligations

April 20, 2016

A recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario decision confirms that family status protection may require employers to accommodate employees’ sporadic or unexpected absences to fulfill childcare obligations.

Employer Liable for Disclosure of Employee Confidential Medical and Employment Information

April 08, 2016

The law has become increasingly sensitive to the need for the protection of personal information from public disclosure.  This is of particular concern for employers, who often possess a wealth of personal information about their employees.  With this possession comes responsibilities that can trigger legal liability if not fulfilled. In the recent case of St. Patrick’s Home of Ottawa v CUPE, an arbitrator was asked to deal with the ramifications of an unauthorized disclosure of employee medical and employment information in a unionized workplace.

Yes, the AODA Applies to Construction Employers

March 30, 2016

A common misconception among construction employers is that the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”) only consists of the Customer Service Standard and does not apply to construction employers. 

Federal Court of Appeal Rules on When Federal Employers Must Appoint a Workplace Violence Investigator

March 22, 2016

The Canadian law on workplace violence and harassment continues to develop, particularly in relation to the duty to investigate. Employers should take note of the legislative requirements in the jurisdictions in which they operate. Recently, the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on the issue of when federal employers must appoint an impartial investigator under the Canada Labour Code.

New Protections for Children in the Entertainment Industry

March 14, 2016

Recently, the Protecting Child Performers Act, 2015 came into force. The Act outlines protections for child performers in both the live entertainment and recorded entertainment industries.

Tip Protection for Servers – New Changes to the ESA

February 29, 2016

The Ontario government has passed a bill to provide protection for servers and other employees who commonly receive tips and other gratuities.

DNF: Waiver Fails to Protect Self-Insured Employer from Injured Employee’s Court Action

February 08, 2016

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Act regime is predicated on the categorization of employers within its scheme.  Some employers do not need to be insured at all.  If they choose not to be insured the Act gives their employees the right to bring a civil case against them for injuries suffered in the course of employment.  A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision clarified the law surrounding the eligibility of employees to make such a claim.

New Limits on Criminal Records Checks

February 03, 2016

The Ontario Government has passed legislation which imposes new restrictions on criminal record checks. All employers that rely on such checks should take note.

Probationary Panacea: Divisional Court Affirms Rights of Employers to Dismiss Probationary Employees without Reasonable Notice

January 28, 2016

Probationary periods are often essential tools for both employers and employees to determine the viability of a new employment relationship.  In recognition of this, the Employment Standards Act provides for a three-month period in which no minimum notice is required for termination.  However, in some professions this period may not be sufficient for the parties to properly assess a new employee’s suitability for a position.

Ryan Conlin Speaks to the National Post re Metron

January 13, 2016

Ryan Conlin comments to the National Post regarding the recent Metron sentencing decision.

Judge Imposes Jail Time on Metron Construction Site Supervisor

January 13, 2016

Those involved with occupational health and safety law have followed with interest the ongoing saga of Metron Construction. This sad story began with the collapse of a hanging swing stage at a western Toronto apartment building, resulting in the deaths of four workers and serious injuries to another. Various prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Criminal Code have resulted in the imposition of over $1.5 million in fines and surcharges on the various corporations and individuals involved in the accident.

Jumping to Conclusions Proves Costly for Employer

January 08, 2016

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court is a reminder to employers that dismissal for just cause must be based on solid ground. Relying on vague acts of misconduct will not suffice, and policies must be properly implemented and consistently enforced.

Reduce, Reconsider, Restore: Court of Appeal Strikes Down Reduction of Notice Period Due to Economic Circumstances of Employer

December 15, 2015

Notwithstanding the best wishes of employers, there are times when employees have to be let go for purely financial reasons. In particularly dire circumstances, these dismissals can often be an important part of cost cutting to ensure that a company remains a viable ongoing concern. However, a recent matter heard by the Ontario Court of Appeal clarified that an employer’s financial circumstances do not alter the reasonable notice to which an employee is due.

Ontario Government Ramps Up AODA Enforcement - Is Your Organization Compliant?

November 30, 2015

The Ontario Government announced an audit blitz this fall pertaining to compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”). The blitz, which runs from October through to the end of December, is targeting large retailers with 500 or more employees.

Turning of the Tides? Record Setting Human Rights Damage Award Overturned in British Columbia

October 20, 2015

Over the past few years, we have seen a number of cases in Canada where human rights tribunals have awarded record setting damage awards. In many of these cases, the damages have greatly exceeded what a Court would be prepared to award in a wrongful dismissal case. A recent judicial review decision out of British Columbia, University of British Columbia v. Kelly, has set aside one such damage award.

Dial “D” for Dismissal: Employee Fired after “Pocket-Dial”

October 15, 2015

Most people have received (or sent) a “pocket-dial”, which is an unintentional cell phone call that is made by a phone when it is in a person’s pocket. In a recent decision from Alberta, an employee’s pocket-dial revealed that he was performing work for his own personal business on company time, leading to his dismissal for cause.

New OLRB Rules Make Responding to Construction Industry Applications for Certification Even More Difficult

September 17, 2015

A small change to the Ontario Labour Relations Board's response form may have a significant impact on employers' ability to respond accurately in an already brief response window.

Court Precludes Terminated Employee from Relying on Employer’s Apology

September 17, 2015

A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice demonstrates the little known "Apology Act" may apply in straightforward or perhaps interesting ways in employment law.

Court finds Abandonment for Failure to Return to Work or Provide Medical

September 09, 2015

Disability management is a challenging issue for HR professionals. An employee with a disability may require an extended absence from work due to their medical condition. Where an employer provides disability benefits, the employee will be required to show that they meet the definition of disability under the insurance policy, which will require the disclosure of medical information. A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court addresses the issue of when an employee is considered to have abandoned their employment where they fail to comply with requests for medical information and also refuse to return to work.

What Employers Need to Know about Opinions from Non-Doctor Health and Medical Professionals

August 31, 2015

The recent admission of a large number of new health professions to those recognized in the Ontario Regulated Health Professions Act, which governs who can provide medical services in Ontario, raises fresh questions for employers as to what they should do with medical documentation from health care or medical practitioners who are not traditional doctors

Workplace Investigations – Will Yours Survive Tribunal Scrutiny?

July 28, 2015

Workplace investigations have been an increasingly important topic for HR Professionals in the past few years.  Employers have a duty to conduct workplace investigations in response to employee discrimination and harassment complaints. Failure to investigate or faulty investigations can expose employers to liability.  Ensuring that workplace investigations are conducted properly is key to avoiding such liability.

Supreme Court to Review Definition of “Unjust” Dismissals for Federal Employers

July 23, 2015

The Supreme Court of Canada has announced that it granted the employee in Wilson v Automic Energy Limited leave to appeal.  While a final decision is likely more than a year away, that decision has the potential to finally resolve one of the most vexing questions facing employers of non-unionized employees in the federal sector.

Workplace Policies Key in BC Court of Appeal Decision Upholding Just Cause Dismissal

June 19, 2015

A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal found just cause for dismissal of a long service employee existed for a single incident of misconduct.

Double the Previous Record Awarded in Damages for Sexual Harassment

June 15, 2015

A recent decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has doubled the previous Canadian record for general damages.

Ontario Court Awards Dependent Contractors over Two Years of Notice

June 10, 2015

A recent decision by the Superior Court of Justice underscores the heavy potential cost for an employer that attempts to retain workers as independent contractors – and finds itself on the wrong side of the line.

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