News & Publications

Labour

Court Allows Employer to Continue Random Drug Testing over Union’s Legal Objections

Written by on May 23, 2017.

Unionized employers often face resistance when attempting to introduce drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. This is particularly true where the testing is going to be carried out at random. Employers who introduce these types of testing policies often face policy grievances challenging both the legality of the policy itself, and the employer’s right to introduce it. However, random drug and alcohol testing in “safety sensitive” workplaces can be a valuable tool to ensure both the ...

International Women’s Day

Written by on March 08, 2017.

Are you experiencing an abnormally high level of absenteeism among female employees today?  If so, here’s a great article featuring advice from some of our most respected employment law colleagues: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/leadership/womens-strike-what-employers-need-to-know/

Unproven Complaints Against Employers Could Soon be Released to the Public

Written by on February 07, 2017.

The Toronto Star has recently started a legal challenge that, if successful, may result in human rights, occupational health and safety, and other complaints made against employers being made public, despite the fact that those allegations are unproven. Most hearings today are not handled by the courts but are instead administered by a collection of boards and tribunals established by the province of Ontario. These agencies were created in order to reduce the number of cases heard by the cour...

Changes to Emergency Leave Requirements in the Auto Industry

Written by on January 31, 2017.

The final report from Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review is expected any day now, but in a taste of what’s to come, some changes are already being implemented. Since 2004, s. 50 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) has required employers with more than 50 employees to provide 10 unpaid emergency leave days annually. These days are available to employees who experience personal illness, injury, medical emergency or other urgent matter, or where a member of the employee’s c...

The Berenstain Bears; Terminations for Cause; and Parallel Universes

Written by on September 30, 2015.

Readers of certain age will recall the Berenstain Bears books – either you read them or they were read to you.  I’m often reminded of them when I read decisions where a judge or arbitrator says, in effect, “Little Bear, this is what you should not do!” An example can be found in the recent case of Gordon v. Altus Group Limited. Altus terminated Mr. Gordon’s employment, claiming they had cause to do it, in an effort to avoid paying the severance amounts to which he was otherwise ...

Ontario Labour Relations Board (“OLRB”) increases demands on employers in construction sector Certification Applications

Written by on September 24, 2015.

From the “are you kidding me??” file … When employers in the construction sector receive an Application for Certification by a Union, they have two business days to file a Response. You can imagine the whirlwind of activity this creates even if the Application comes to the attention of the right person at the company immediately (it doesn’t always) and if the company already has a relationship with a labour lawyer experienced in construction labour law (many don’t). If no Response...

Court Awards Former Employee 27 Months’ Pay in Lieu of Notice of Termination

Written by on September 21, 2015.

A recent judgement by an Ontario court serves as a reminder to employers of the importance of having employment contracts in place to limit the business’ financial exposure when terminating an employee. Employers are likely aware that they generally cannot terminate employment without cause unless they provide the employee with notice (or provide the employee with pay in lieu of notice). Just how much notice an employee is entitled to depends on a number of factors. For example, if an emplo...

Minimum Wage increasing on October 1, 2015

Written by on August 21, 2015.

Employers in Ontario should take note that effective October 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Ontario is increasing. The general minimum wage will increase from $11.00/hour to $11.25/hour. Student minimum wage will increase from $10.30/hour to $10.55/hour. Liquor servers’ minimum wage will increase from $9.55/hour to $9.80. For more information, visit the Ministry of Labour’s website at : http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/es/pubs/guide/minwage.php

Does “I Quit” Really Mean “I Quit”?

Written by on July 23, 2015.

Caselaw has not always been clear on what constitutes a resignation by an employee. More often than not, it seems very difficult for an employer to establish a resignation where the employee changes his/her mind down the road. However, in Kerr v. Valley Volkswagen, 2014 NSSC 27 (CanLII), aff’d in 2015 NSCA 7 (CanLII), the court did just that. Mr. Kerr had been employed as a Parts Manager for the Defendant for 7.5 years. The court accepted the version of events by the Defendant which cited t...

Absenteeism: When Is It Enough to Warrant Termination?

Written by on July 17, 2015.

This issue was addressed in the recent arbitral decision of Humber River Hospital v. Teamsters, 2014 CanLII 50008 (ON LA), where the grievor was employed in the Dietary Department of the hospital and had been for fifteen years. The grievor had a persistent pattern of frequent and unexpected short-term absences. The grievor attributed the majority of her absences to back pain or attendance for medical appointments to deal with back pain. The Hospital measured attendance in two ways, the number...