On August 12, 2011, the Attorney General of Ontario appointed Andrew Pinto to conduct a review of the Ontario Human Rights system as required under section 57 of the Ontario Human Rights Code. Mr. Pinto has now issued this Consultation Paper.
In this passage in Plester v. Polyone Canada Inc., 2011 ONSC 6068, the court stated that just cause dismissals have been referred to as the "capital punishment" of Canadian employment law:
 The law of employment in Canada requires employers to provide adequate notice before dismissing an employee. Where the employer wishes to dismiss n employee summarily, on the basis of misconduct, the onus is on the employer to show just cause. read more »
The Ontario Government announced on December 8, 2011 that it is introducing new
legislation to help caregivers by providing for a Family Caregiver Leave.
Taken from the Ministry of Labour's website, the key facts concerning the leave are:
- The Family Caregiver Leave, if passed, would build on the existing Family Medical Leave by amending the Employment Standards Act to provide up to 8 weeks of unpaid job leave for employees to provide care and support to a sick or injured family member.
- The Family Caregiver Leave would be separate from the current Family Medical Leave which is available when a family member has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death occurring within 26 weeks.
Under the Family Caregiver Leave, caregivers would be eligible for the leave to care for:
A parent, step-parent, or foster parent of the employee or the employee's spouse.
A child, step-child, or foster child of the employee or the employee's spouse.
Teamsters Local 31 in contempt of court for impeding traffic during Rocky Mountaineer labour dispute
In Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31 2011 BCSC 1720, the court found that the Teamsters Local Union 31, through its officers, had deliberately disobeyed a previous court order (as it relates to not impeding traffic) and thus the union was in contempt of court.
This was the second time the union had been found to be in contempt of a court order during the Rocky Mountaineer labour dispute. The first time is detailed in this decision: Great Canadian Railtour Company Ltd. v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31, 2011 BCSC 1149.
The New Brunswick government has introduced amendments to expand the reservist leave under the Employment Standards Act.
The government's Novemember 30, 2011 News Release states:
Amendments to the leave for reservists provisions of the Employment Standards Act were introduced in the legislative assembly today by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Martine Coulombe.
The proposed bill will recognize and facilitate the critical work done by reservists to protect the national interests, both in Canada and overseas, by expanding the existing leave provisions; providing reservists and their employers with greater clarity on their rights and responsibilities; and helping the Canadian Forces Reserve Command in planning deployments and training. read more »
Complaint into RCMP workplace harassment initiated by Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP
The Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP, a federal body housed in Public Safety Canada department, has initiated a complaint and investigation into RCMP workplace harassment.
The November 16, 2011 news release announcing the complaint states:
Ian McPhail, the Interim Chair of the Commission for Public Complaints Against the RCMP (Commission) has initiated a complaint and a public interest investigation into the conduct of RCMP members regarding the handling of allegations of harassment within the workplace.
"I am satisfied that, given recent events, there are reasonable grounds for me to conduct a review of RCMP procedures pertaining to workplace harassment," said Mr. McPhail. read more »
On October 27, 2011, the federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, announced that Robert Beccarea had been reappointed as a part-time member of the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal(CAPPRT).
The news release, in its entirety, reads as follows:
The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada's Minister of Labour, today announced the reappointment of Mr. Robert Beccarea as a part-time member of the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal (CAPPRT), for a one-year term, effective immediately.
"I am pleased that Mr. Beccarea has accepted this reappointment to the CAPPRT," said Minister Raitt. "His experience, knowledge and leadership in the field of labour relations will continue to be assets to the Tribunal." read more »
Jean-Philippe Couture, a lawyer in the Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) office in Calgary, has written an article entitled, "Canadian Tax Implications Of Hiring U.S. Contractors To Perform Work In Canada".
The article was published in BLG's Fall 2011 Labour and Employment Law News newsletter.
The British Columbia Government has introduced amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that, among other features, broaden compensation coverage for mental stress conditions arising in the workplace.
The amendments were introduced in the legislature on November 3, 2011. In the government's news release, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid states:
Our government recognizes that we need to treat job-related mental stress the same way we treat physical illness and injuries. We know mental stress has a significant impact on workers, their families and their workplace.
The Ministry's Backgrounder that accompanied the news release states:
What are the effects of mental stress?
Since mental stress most often results in physical and psychological symptoms, it has a significant effect on workers and their families. read more »
CSA commences consultations on voluntary national standard for Psychological Health and Safety in Workplace
The Canadian Standards Association ("CSA") announced yesterday that it is commencing consultations on the development of a voluntary "National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace".
The CSA's November 2, 2011 news release provides:
As the leading cause of short and long term disability in Canadian workplaces, psychological health and safety impacts in Canada are substantial.
However, in 2012 Canadian employers will have increased support for improving the psychological health and safety of their employees with the development of a National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. All Canadians are welcome to participate in a 60‐day public consultation that began November 1, 2011. The close of the Public Review period has been extended from December 31, 2011 to January 6, 2012. All comments are due by January 6, 2012. read more »
The Business Council of British Columbia has published an article entitled, "B.C. Human Rights Tribunal Changes – Will They Be Enough?" (September 2011) in its Human Capital Law and Policy publication.
The article was co-written by Thomas Roper, Q.C. and Jennifer Russell of the law firm Roper Greyell.
Among other issues, it addresses the "growing dissatisfaction within some segments of the employer community regarding the work of the [BC Human Rights] Tribunal" and the study undertaken last year by the British Columbia Law Institute, at the behest of the BC Ministry of Labour, of the merits of establishing a Workplace Tribunal for British Columbia that would adjudicate all employment related disputes.