Compliance deadline for the Customer Service Standards under AODA just a few short weeks away

Time Published on December 20, 2011

January 1, 2012 is the deadline for compliance with the Customer Service Standard under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (“AODA”).

Tag aoda

When is a lay-off actually a termination?

Time Published on December 14, 2011

Employers in Ontario must be cautious before implementing “temporary” layoffs.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

The Ministry of Labour taking an active role to combat workplace violence and harassment

Time Published on December 06, 2011

Just over a year ago, the workplace violence and harassment provisions were added to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Although there have only been a few cases that deal directly with these new provisions, from the period of June 15, 2011 to March 31, 2011 the Ministry of Labour has reported that there were 600 orders issued pertaining to workplace violence and 1,100 orders issued related to workplace harassment.

Tag occupational health and safety

It's Party Time: Planning a Safe and Liability Free Office Holiday Party

Time Published on November 29, 2011

As we roll into December, many employers will be hosting an office holiday party for their employees. While these events are a great way to thank employees for their hard work in the past year, they can also open up employers to serious liability.

Tag employment law

Supreme Court of Canada Rules in Favour of Postal Workers in Pay Equity Human Rights Decision

Time Published on November 21, 2011

The claim was filed 28 years ago by female employees of Canada Post with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”), alleging discrimination due to discrepancies in pay between workers in clerical positions, which were female dominated, compared with those in the male dominated postal operations group. 

In a 2005 decision, Tribunal awarded the workers $150 million in damages plus interest. The Tribunal’s decision was overturned by the Federal Court in 2008 and this was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court overturned the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision on Thursday.

Tag employment law

Changes to Privacy Legislation: Impact on Employers' Handling of Employee Information

Time Published on November 15, 2011

The federal government has re-introduced legislation to amend the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA).  Bill C-12, Safeguarding Canadians’ Personal Information Act, which was introduced on September 29, 2011, had been previously introduced in Parliament in 2010, but failed to be passed into law because of the intervening federal election.

Tag employment law,  privacy

Credibility Key in Avoiding Aggravated/Punitive Damages

Time Published on November 07, 2011

The employee complained that he had experienced constant verbal harassment at work during the course of his seven year employment. The verbal abuse experienced by the employee included nicknames and comments regarding his sexual preferences, mental capacity and Palestinian background. Although the trial judge found the comments to be “reprehensible”, in the final analysis, the trial judge held that they were not severe enough to constitute a separate actionable wrong in the form of intentional infliction of nervous shock.


SCC Weighs in on Costs Awards in Human Rights Complaints

Time Published on November 01, 2011

In a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court dealt with the issue of awarding legal costs in a human rights complaint.  This decision provides a good reminder to employers and employees of the significance of legal costs in such proceedings.  Read about this decision and the practical implications in our Latest Update.

Tag human rights

OLRB Does not Have "Superpowers," Divisional Court Holds

Time Published on October 31, 2011

Ontario’s Divisional Court has overturned a decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board (the “OLRB”), in which the OLRB took jurisdiction as arbitrator over a grievance in the construction industry under section 133 of the Act.

Section 133 provides that, “despite the grievance and arbitration provisions in a [construction industry] collective agreement,” a party may refer a grievance to the OLRB, instead of to a private arbitrator under the collective agreement.

Although the collective agreement’s time limits for referring a grievance to arbitration had expired several months before the union applied to the OLRB pursuant to section 133, the OLRB found that it could take jurisdiction over the grievance.  The OLRB has, over several decades, issued decisions which either broadly or strictly interpreted its power to take jurisdiction over a grievance under similar circumstances.

Tag labour relations

Employer Hit Hard for Discontinuing Disability Benefits Shortly After Termination

Time Published on October 20, 2011

Employers who only provide the minimum amounts required by employment standards legislation after termination are gambling. Sometimes this approach can result in cost savings, but it can also end in a costly damages and legal costs award as occurred in the case of Brito v. Canac Kitchens. Read our Latest Update for more information about the case, and what to do to protect your organization from such awards.

Tag employment law,  wrongful dismissal litigation

Don't Miss our 25th Annual Employers' Conference

Time Published on October 19, 2011

New: Preview VIDEOS for This Year’s Seminars

Tag stringer llp announcements

A New Way to Deal with Frivolous Human Rights Complaints Quickly and Cost Effectively

Time Published on October 19, 2011

Among the amendments to Ontario’s human rights system in the past few years was the creation of a summary hearings procedure under Rule 19A of the Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal) Rules of Procedure.  This can save employers time and money as it provides a formal mechanism to dismiss frivolous claims early on in the process.

In summary hearing, there are two main issues that the Tribunal will examine: (1) whether the allegations can be reasonably considered to amount to a violation of the Code, or (2) whether there is a reasonable prospect that the applicant can prove, on a balance of probabilities, that his or her Code rights have been violated.

Tag human rights

Human Rights Tribunal finds undue hardship test met

Time Published on October 17, 2011

In a recent application to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Tribunal found that an employer facing an economic downturn including mass lay-offs had met the test of undue hardship and did not have to accommodate an employee returning to work from disability leave.

The applicant was laid off on the eve of his return to work following a lengthy medical leave. At the time of the layoff, the company was experiencing a company-wide downsizing due to major financial trouble. The employer reduced its staff from 31 to 17 during this period. The length of service of the other terminated employees was comparable to the applicant.

Tag human rights

Ryan Conlin and Landon Young both presented at the first annual Health, Safety & Environment Conference and Trade Show

Time Published on October 11, 2011

Ryan Conlin and Landon Young both spoke at the first annual Health, Safety & Environment Conference and Trade Show at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on September 27th and 28th 2011.

Landon Young spoke to attendees about what to expect when an occupational health and safety inspector visits an employer’s premise.  Among his recommendations, Landon emphasized the importance of cooperation with the Inspector, how to respond to onerous orders and how to handle Inspectors’ post-accident investigations.

Tag occupational health and safety,  stringer llp announcements

Joe Morrison Speaking at the Infonex Human Resources Management for First Nations

Time Published on September 14, 2011

Joe Morrison will be presenting at two sessions during the Infonex Human Resources Management for First Nations Conference on September 15.

Tag first nations,  stringer llp announcements