Frustrated Contract? A Recent Decision by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal says Yes

Blog Post
February 3, 2014
Read Time: 3 minutes

In its recent decision, Gahagan v. James Campbell Inc., the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (‘HRTO’) seems to have lowered the hurdles faced by employers in Ontario when attempting to establish frustration of contract following an employee’s extended period of absence due to a disability.

Good News for Temporary Employees: Significant Changes Proposed to the Ontario Employment Standards Act

Blog Post
December 19, 2013
Read Time: 2 minutes

On December 4, 2013, the Ontario government introduced Bill 146, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act. It is omnibus legislation that proposes amendments to several key employment statutes, including the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the ‘ESA’). Bill 146 must still pass second reading prior to receiving Royal Assent. However, the proposed changes to the ESA are, at least in introductory form, positive for employees. For example, Bill 146 introduces a number of new protections for employees under the ESA, particularly for historically vulnerable temporary employees.

Holiday Parties

Blog Post
December 19, 2013
Read Time: 3 minutes

The holiday season is a time of parties, including office parties. While you should always try to enjoy yourself at these functions, there are a few things to remember in order to make Monday morning at the office a little easier! If you are an employer, whether or not to serve alcohol is a tough line to walk. You want people to relax and have fun, but offering alcohol can be a risky endeavor for employers. If you are an employee and your employer is offering alcohol at a party, remember to be smart about your consumption.

Balancing Act: When a Union’s Right to Freedom of Expression Conflicts with Individual Privacy

Blog Post
December 12, 2013
Read Time: 4 minutes

The recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision, Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 is an important decision that balances individual privacy rights protected under provincial legislation against a union’s right to freedom of expression during a lawful strike. The decision may have an impact on privacy legislation across Canada.

Human Resource Issues can be Challenging for Volunteer Boards

Blog Post
November 14, 2013
Read Time: 2 minutes

Human resource (‘HR’) issues can be challenging for volunteer Boards of not-for-profit and condominium corporations. Depending on directors’ knowledge of HR matters, and the extent to which the corporation seeks specialized legal advice, there is a risk that a Board’s HR decision could result in a letter from an employee’s lawyer and potential liability for the corporation.

Privacy in the Workplace: A New Tort is Born

Blog Post
November 7, 2013
Read Time: 2 minutes

Over the last two years, courts have repeatedly addressed a new form of workplace violation; a new tort was based upon an actionable ‘intrusion upon seclusion’. With these decisions they have begun transforming the face of privacy law in the workplace.

Bill C-4: A Series of Retrograde Changes to Labour Relations in the Federal Public Service

Blog Post
November 1, 2013
Read Time: 1 minute

On October 22, 2013 the government introduced a number of changes to the labour and employment laws governing public servants. These changes are targeted at public servants and the unions who represent them. The changes make it harder to collectively bargain with the government, harder to enforce collective agreements, and harder to complaint about unfair and unjust layoffs or appointments in the public service.

Litigating Human Rights in Court or at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Blog Post
October 31, 2013
Read Time: 2 minutes

On June 30, 2008, amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code (‘the Code’) came into force that allow human rights damages under the Code to be dealt with either as civil claims before the courts or as applications before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). This change offered strategic flexibility and increased settlement options to victims of discrimination. However, despite the passage of 5 years since the amendments took effect, there have been no court decisions awarding damages under the Code.