Ontario as a "Right to Work" Province

Time Published on December 20, 2012

For years the term “Right to Work” state has been synonymous with jurisdictions in the American South, where unions have traditionally been weak and unwelcome. Few would have believed that the home of the unionized American auto industry, Michigan, would also one day become a right to work state. But that has just happened. Winds of change are sweeping the American labour landscape. Could these winds shift north and propel Ontario to become a right to work province?

Tag constitutional law,  labour relations

Workwell to Rebrand: No Premium Surcharges in 2013

Time Published on December 19, 2012

George Gritziotis, Ontario's newly appointed Chief Prevention Officer, recently announced that the WSIB would not be assessing penalties (premium surcharges) against employers who fail their second Workwell audit in 2013.

Tag occupational health and safety

Appeal Court Expands Foreseeability Defence

Time Published on December 17, 2012

A recent, significant appeal decision challenges the traditional view that it is practically impossible for an employer to establish due diligence by arguing that an employee’s actions were not “foreseeable”.

Tag occupational health and safety

Office Holiday Parties - The Fine Print

Time Published on December 14, 2012

We've put together a few tips on enjoying your office party without facing lawsuits in the cold light of day.

Tag employment law,  general litigation,  human rights,  occupational health and safety

Manufacturing AUTOMATION's Fourth Annual Machine Safety Roundtable

Time Published on December 12, 2012

Jeremy Schwartz of Stringer LLP recently sat on a panel of industry leaders and experts for Manufacturing AUTOMATION’s Fourth Annual Machine Safety Roundtable. 

Tag occupational health and safety

Refreshing Statement on Employers' OHS Due Diligence Obligations

Time Published on December 06, 2012

The recent decision by the Ontario Court of Justice in R. v. Thomas Fuller and Sons Ltd. is a breath of fresh air. Though the decision does not make new law, it is perhaps one of the most balanced and articulate statements from an Ontario court regarding the general duty of employers to take “every precaution reasonable in the circumstances” section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Tag occupational health and safety

Human Rights Tribunal Finds that WSIB Discriminated Against an Injured Worker for Refusing to Provide Direct Deposit of Benefit Payments

Time Published on November 26, 2012

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ordered the WSIB to reimburse an injured worker all of the money which was stolen from him and to pay $5,000 for infringing his human rights, because it refused to pay him benefits by direct deposit.

Tag human rights

Appeal Court Clarifies "Foreseeability" as Element of OHS Due Diligence

Time Published on November 20, 2012

In R. v. Rassaun Steel & Mfg. Co. Ltd. (Rassaun), an appeal court reversed a conviction, finding that there was no evidence before the Justice of the Peace upon which to conclude the accident was reasonably foreseeable.

Tag occupational health and safety

Director sentenced to jail time for failure to pay wages under the ESA

Time Published on November 19, 2012

In a recent decision, the Ontario Court of Justice sentenced the director of six Ontario companies, Steven Blondin, to 90 days in jail for failing to pay wages to employees.

Tag employment law,  employment standards

The Human Rights Tribunal Says No to Forum Shopping

Time Published on November 08, 2012

It has been a year since the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in British Columbia (Workers' Compensation Board) v. Figliola (“Figliola”). In Figliola, the Supreme Court stated that human rights complaints should not be relitigated before a human rights tribunal when they have already been litigated before another tribunal, such as the workers’ compensation board (”WSIB”), or a labour arbitration tribunal.  

Tag human rights

Court Confirms No Free Standing Civil Action for Breaching OHSA

Time Published on October 22, 2012

Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice has affirmed the long-standing principle that you cannot sue for a free-standing violation of a statute.

Tag occupational health and safety

Random Drug Testing Debate - National Perspective?

Time Published on October 16, 2012

Supreme Court of Canada to weigh in on random alcohol testing as an Alberta court grants an injunction preventing random drug testing. 

Tag human rights,  occupational health and safety

Accommodating scent sensitivities in the workplace

Time Published on October 15, 2012

Employers must accommodate employees with disabilities to the point of undue hardship under the Ontario Human Rights Code. The accommodation of scent sensitivities arose in a recent decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, raising questions as to what is considered undue hardship when accommodating an employee with a sensitivity to scents.

Tag human rights

What mental capacity is required to sign a release?

Time Published on October 11, 2012

In a past Stringer Update, Releases Protect Employers from Human Rights Complaints, we emphasized the importance of having terminated employees sign a full and final release, as protection against a future human rights application. We highlighted the factors that the Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) will consider when determining whether a release will be enforceable, which include (1) the actual language of the release, and (2) other factors including duress, fraudulent misrepresentation and the applicant’s capacity to understand the terms of the release (click here to read our Stringer Update).

In two recent decisions, the Tribunal addresses the issue of the requisite mental capacity necessary in order for a release to be enforceable.

Tag employment law,  human rights

Can the Ministry of Labour Prosecute Employers for Breaches of Non-Legislative Standards?

Time Published on October 10, 2012

An Ontario court has recently signalled strongly that charges brought on the basis of non-compliance with external standards (not expressly referenced in legislation) may constitute an abuse of process.

Tag occupational health and safety