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Category Archives: Labour Relations

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BILL 148 PASSES (but not before a few last-minute changes were made)

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety

On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, the Government of Ontario passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Introduced on June 1, 2017 as a response to the Final Report of the Changing Workplaces Review, Bill 148 makes significant amendments to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, Labour Relations Act, 1995 and most recently, the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As many are aware, aside from the highly publicized $15 Minimum Wage, Bill 148 will require employers to make significant changes to their policies and practices.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 has now passed Third … Continue Reading

Employment and Labour Law Reform Bill Passes Second Reading

Posted in Employment, Labour Relations

In addition, the Ontario Government will seek public input on occupations currently exempted from the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 has passed Second Reading and is now one step closer to becoming law. Bill 148 proposes significant changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and Labour Relations Act, 1995 (“LRA”).  As we recently reported, Bill 148 underwent some changes this past summer at the Committee Stage. Most significant perhaps, was the addition of a standalone Domestic or Sexual Violence Leave under the ESA which would allow employees with a least … Continue Reading

Federal Government Restores Former Certification and Decertification Processes for Unionization in Federal Workplaces

Posted in Federally Regulated Employers, Labour Relations, Union Certification, Unions

Three years ago, the Federal Government passed the Employees’ Voting Rights Act, which reformed the Canada Labour Code’s certification and decertification rules for federally regulated workplaces.

The most significant change was the removal of the 50 year old “card check” system. Card check allowed a union to be automatically certified without a vote when it could demonstrate that the majority of the employees in the proposed bargaining unit has signed membership cards and paid a nominal fee.

The other change was lowering the threshold for support for decertification from 50% +1 to 40%.

In Bill C-4, An Act to Continue Reading

Beyond the Final Report: Government of Ontario charts its own course following the Changing Workplaces Review

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

Last week, we reported on the Government of Ontario’s release of the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report, which comprehensively reviewed Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the “LRA”). Today, the Government of Ontario announced its intention to introduce The Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act, 2017 in response to the 173 recommendations provided by the Final Report.

Notably, the Government of Ontario has proposed several changes that were either not among the recommendations put forward in the Final Report or that substantially diverge from the Final Report’s 173 recommendations, including:

  • Increasing the general minimum wage
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Government of Ontario releases the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Policies

The Government of Ontario has now released the much anticipated Final Report of the Changing Workplaces Review. The product of a two-year comprehensive review of employment and labour laws in Ontario, the Final Report contains 173 recommendations that could significantly alter the landscape for workplaces across the province.  Although currently only recommendations, the Government of Ontario has already announced that it will release its proposed “action plan” within the coming weeks. 

Yesterday, the Government of Ontario finally released the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report which comprehensively reviews Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”) and Labour Relations Act, 1995 (the … Continue Reading

Employers Should Take Note – The Interim Report on Ontario’s “Changing Workplaces Review” Is Now Available for Comment

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Leaves of Absence, Ministry of Labour

The Interim Report kicks off the next phase of the province-wide consultation on modernizing Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995. Employers should note that August 31, 2016 is the deadline for submissions on the Personal Emergency Leave provisions of the ESA and October 14, 2016 is the deadline for all other submissions.

Just over a year ago, we wrote about the public consultations that were taking place as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) Changing Workplaces Review. This review is part of the MOL’s broader mandate to modernize employment and labour laws in an … Continue Reading

McCarthy Tétrault launches Québec Employer Advisor blog

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

McCarthy Tétrault launched its 14th blog today, Québec Employer Advisor, to help clients manage the challenges they face in today’s workplace. The blog provides employers and HR professionals with analysis of the latest legal issues that affect employment-related practices, labour and human resources policies in Québec. In addition to providing clients with insights on the implications of new case law, as well as updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments, the blog will be regularly updated with practical tips, specifically relevant in the Québec marketplace. We encourage you to visit the blog and subscribe for regular updates.… Continue Reading

Overtime and Hours of Work Violations in Class Action Litigation

Posted in Labour Relations

Did you know?  Employers who unwittingly violate hours of work and overtime requirements of employment standards legislation can be building up huge financial liability.

Although hours of work and overtime provisions themselves may seem straightforward, their practical application can be complicated and confusing.  This is particularly true where employee pay is not based on an hourly wage.  Several recent cases have shown that where non-compliance is widespread and affects a number of employees, an organization may find itself embroiled in class action litigation.… Continue Reading

Brace yourself, more changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws likely to come

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Policies

Consultations are now underway as part of the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s (“MOL”) Changing Workplaces Review.

Announced in February, the MOL has indicated that the Changing Workplaces Review will focus on potential changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labour Relations Act, 1995.  This review is part of the MOL’s broader mandate to implement employment and labour law reforms in their effort to strengthen protections for vulnerable workers and support businesses in today’s evolving economy.  Specifically, the Changing Workplaces Review and consultations seek to address:… Continue Reading

McCarthy Tétrault launches Alberta Employer Advisor blog

Posted in Employment Standards, Human Rights, Labour Relations

McCarthy Tétrault launched its 13th blog today, Alberta Employer Advisor, to help clients manage the challenges they face in today’s workplace. The blog provides employers and HR professionals with analysis of the latest legal issues that affect employment-related practices, labour and human resources policies. In addition to providing clients with insights on the implications of new case law, as well as updates on the latest legislative and regulatory developments, the blog will be regularly updated with practical tips, specifically relevant in the Alberta marketplace. We encourage you to visit the blog and subscribe for regular updates.

 … Continue Reading

SCC Constitutionalizes the right to strike for unionized employees

Posted in Employee Obligations, Employment Standards, Labour Relations

On the heels of its labour friendly decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (“MPAO”) which granted RCMP officers the right to unionize (and which our colleagues in Vancouver wrote about here), the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released its highly anticipated decision in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4 (“SFL”). In SFL, the SCC was tasked with determining whether the prohibition on the right to strike for public sector employees the Government deemed “essential service employees” was a violation of section 2(d) of Charter of Rights and Continue Reading

A “Without Cause” Dismissal is Not Automatically an “Unjust” Dismissal: A Federal Employment Law Update

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Policies

The decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, released by the Federal Court of Appeal (the “FCA”) on January 22, 2015, marks the end of a long-standing tug of war. The FCA held that non-unionized employees in the federal sector do not have a “right to a job” and that dismissal from employment on a without cause basis is not automatically an “unjust dismissal” under the Canada Labour Code (the “Code”).

Part III of the Code provides an adjudication process for non-unionized employees who claim that they have been unjustly dismissed from their employment. An … Continue Reading

Terminated for Tweeting: A Tale of Two Toronto Firefighters

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Social Media, Termination

When used properly, social media can be a powerful tool for connecting individuals, marketing businesses and mobilizing the masses behind a cause.   However, many organizations have learned the hard way that inappropriate social media use by employees  can have a detrimental effect on an organization’s reputation.… Continue Reading

Federal Labour Law Amendments: Harder to Certify a Union (and Easier to Decertify a Union)

Posted in Unions

On December 16, 2014, the Act to amend the Canada Labour Code (“Code”), the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act and the Public Sector Labour Relations Act (certification and revocation – bargaining agent), also referred to as theEmployees’ Voting Rights Act received Royal Assent and became law.  This new legislation significantly changes the rules for certifying and decertifying a union for federally regulated employers.  Those changes essentially make it easier to decertify a union and harder to certify one.

The amendments to certification and decertification requirements bring the Code in line with the labour legislation in several … Continue Reading

Worldwide Code of Conduct Reasonable Exercise of Management Rights

Posted in Labour Relations

Many multinational corporations have issued company-wide codes of conduct setting out baseline rules that apply to all of their global operations. A recent Ontario arbitration decision provides a good precedent for employers who may be concerned about balancing corporate governance interests against the rights of unionized employees when instituting universal codes of conduct.

In Candu Energy Inc. v. The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates, Arbitrator Keller approved the right of a multinational employer to institute a code of ethics applicable to all its employees, including its unionized workforce, concluding that it was a reasonable exercise of management rights.

FactsContinue Reading

Ontario Government Makes Major Changes to Workplace Laws

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Workers Compensation

Bill 18, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, has received royal assent and is now the law.  As we have previously reported, this Bill significantly amends workplace laws, including the Employment Sandards Act, 2000 (“ESA”), the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (“WSIA”)

Some of the major changes include:

  • Linking minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index. The Government would publish the new minimum wage arising from the formula by April 1st of each year.
  • Eliminating the $10,000 cap on claims for unpaid
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Ministry of Labour Announces Enforcement Blitz to Target Unpaid Internships

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

The Walrus and Toronto Life, two high profile Canadian magazines, recently shut down their internship programs after a Ministry of Labour investigation concluded that the programs contravened the Ontario Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”). The Ministry issued compliance orders for violations of several standards, including a failure to pay the interns minimum wage. Canadian Geographic and Rogers Publishing have since followed suit, also ending their unpaid internship programs.

The news will likely be filled with similar stories over the next few months as the Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced that it is conducting an employment standards … Continue Reading

Ontario Government Proposes Major Changes to Workplace Legislation

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Unions, Wage and Hours, Workers Compensation

On December 4, 2013, the Ontario government introduced Bill 146, the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2013. Bill 146 implements some of the recommendations made by the Law Reform Commission of Ontario that submitted a report on vulnerable workers.

Although the bill has just been introduced, if it passes through the legislature and then receives royal assent, it will have a significant impact on workplace regulation in Ontario. Some of the key proposed changes (which are summarized in detail here) include the following:… Continue Reading

Employer’s Random Alcohol Testing Policy Constitutes Unreasonable Invasion of Employees’ Rights to Privacy

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations, Occupational Health and Safety, Termination

An employee’s right to ensure workplace safety versus an employee’s right to privacy – these competing rights have been present in the workplace for many years. On one hand, employers must be able to adopt policies to protect their workforce and abide by statutory health and safety obligations. On the other hand, employees expect that they will not be subject to intrusive policies that unreasonably infringe on their privacy expectations.

In Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Limited, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently weighed in on how to balance … Continue Reading

Careful How you Classify “Interns” – MOL Releases Policy Statement

Posted in Employment Standards, Labour Relations

It is a fact of life for some entering the labour market – the unpaid internship. For young workers, it is an opportunity to gain experience in a desired field.  For employers, it is an opportunity to have recent graduates perform necessary work or apprenticeship at less cost all while assessing suitability for continued employment. Perhaps the modern internship is best explained by the following:

 … Continue Reading

Public Sector Unions Continue the Struggle to Remain Relevant

Posted in Labour Relations, Litigation, Unions

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has confirmed that the restrictions on the right to strike in the Public Service Essential Services Act do not violate the freedom of association found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In relying upon the 1987 decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal confirmed that “the freedom of association does not comprehend the right to strike.”… Continue Reading