Thursday, December 10, 2009

Employment Standards Webinar

Our friends at CLEONet have graciously hosted our Employment Standards Webinar on their site. You can view the Webinar in its entirety below, or view it on CLEONet.

See also:

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Supreme Court of Canada Rules Against Wal-Mart Workers

A move to unionize the massive Wal-Mart store chain was dealt a blow this morning when the Supreme Court of Canada voted 6-3 against workers at a Quebec outlet that attempted to unionize.

Mr. Justice Ian Binnie said for the majority that the workers could not avail themselves of a particular provision under the Quebec labour code which they had used to challenge the closure.

In stinging dissenting reasons, the three dissenting judges said that the majority ruling was overly-technical and that courts must be prepared to search out "anti-union animus" in cases that involve a closure.

Read the full article in the Globe and Mail

Read the decisions on CanLII:
Plourde v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2009 SCC 54 (CanLII)
Desbiens v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2009 SCC 55 (CanLII)

Workplace Bullying the fastest growing complaint in workplaces

Bullying is one of the fastest-growing complaints of workplace violence, according to the International Labour Office. It runs the gamut from extreme violence, even murder, to intimidation and snide remarks.

In Ontario, Bill 168, an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act with respect to workplace violence and harassment, has received first reading and has been referred to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

Read the article in The Toronto Star

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Judge awards caregiver $10,000 after recruiter failed to get her a job

A foreign caregiver brought to Canada with a job offer from a "ghost employer" has been awarded $10,000 in damages in what is believed to be the first court victory against a nanny recruiter.

See the article in Toronto Star

Friday, November 20, 2009

Woman Loses Long Term Sick Benefits Because of Facebook Photos

A Quebec woman on long-term sick leave is fighting to have her benefits reinstated after her employer's insurance company cut them, she says, because of photos posted on Facebook. Nathalie Blanchard, 29, has been on leave from her job at IBM in Bromont, Que., for the last year and a half after she was diagnosed with major depression.

Manulife wouldn't comment on Blanchard's case, but in a written statement sent to CBC News, the insurer said: "We would not deny or terminate a valid claim solely based on information published on websites such as Facebook." It confirmed that it uses the popular social networking site to investigate clients

See the full story on the CBC

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Woman Fired Over Pregnancy Wins $35,000 in Rights Case

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario orders beauty salon to pay former worker damages

From the Toronto Star October 30, 2009

Jessica Maciel was four months pregnant when she started working as a
receptionist at the salon in August 2008. She didn't mention her pregnancy
during her job interview, knowing that if she divulged that information, she
wouldn't have gotten the job. There is no requirement under the Ontario's Human
Rights Code to advise prospective employers about a pregnancy.

Kate Sellars said Ontario's Human Rights Legal Support Centre, which
handled Maciel's case, receives about 40 calls per week from women facing
similar discrimination. "What happened to Jessica isn't unique, but it is
illegal," Sellars said. "It takes a lot of courage and conviction to see the
matter through. And she did that."

News article available:

Read the full decision on CanLII

Arrested While Delivering Newspapers Wins $5,000 Award

Sharon Abbott was out delivering newspapers to a west Toronto neighbourhood, a job she has held for 12 years when she was arrested. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that race and gender played a role in her arrest by the Toronto Police.

Read the newspaper article.

Read the full decision on CanLII.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ontario Suspends Self-Employment Benefits Program

According to this article in the Toronto Star, the government of Ontario is suspending it’s “Self-Employment Benefits" program for workers laid off in the recession. It is to be suspended until at least next April.

This program is designed to help laid off workers who are on Employment Insurance start their own business. The program helps some 3000 people in Ontario annually.

*EDIT: This post has been edited to correctly identify the Self-Employment Benefits program as the program that was suspended, it was not the Second Career Program as previously posted. The Second Career Program is still running. More information can be found at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Changes Proposed to Federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program

This past weekend, the Canadian government proposed regulatory amendments to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. These changes include:
  • a more rigorous assessment of the genuineness of the job offer;
  • limits to the length of a worker’s stay in Canada before returning home; and
  • a two-year prohibition from hiring a temporary foreign worker for employers found to have provided significantly different wages, working conditions or occupations than promised

Employers who are prohibited from hiring temporary foreign workers will be listed on the Citizenship and Immigration Website For more information, see the official press release.

Friday, October 2, 2009

WSIB Chair Apparently Overbilled Government

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) chair Steve Mahoney, a former Liberal cabinet minister, is paid $550 a day for the part-time job, and billed taxpayers $141,000 last year, "more per diems than there are working days in the year," complained the Progressive Conservatives. Check out the full article on the Toronto Star website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fired? What are your legal rights?

Under the law of employment, an employer cannot fire a worker without giving the worker sufficient notice that their job is ending. If the employer wishes to end the worker’s employment immediately, then the employer must provide the worker with pay equivalent to the notice period he or she should have received. The amount of notice that a worker receives upon termination depends on a number of factors including the worker’s age, job position, and length of employment.

An employer does not have to give a worker any notice or pay instead of notice if the employer has just cause to fire the worker. An example of just cause would be if the employee stole from the employer.

If an employer fires a worker without just cause and fails to give the worker proper notice or pay instead of notice, then the worker has been “wrongfully dismissed.” The worker can sue his former employer in court or file an Employment Standards claim with the Ministry of Labour.

The worker must choose between these two options. He or she cannot sue his employer and also file a claim with the Ministry of Labour.

Our clinic represents wrongfully dismissed workers at both Small Claims Court and before the Ministry of Labour. When we meet with a wrongfully dismissed worker, the question arises: Should the worker sue in Small Claims Court or file an Employment Standards claim? Each process has its pros and cons.

Below is just a simple guideline of the pros and cons. There are always exceptions to the rules. Please contact us for more information.

Small Claims Court (SCC)Ministry of Labour (MOL)
How much time do I have to file a claim?You have 2 years from your dismissal to file a lawsuit.You have 6 months from your dismissal to file a claim.
Is there any fee to filing a claim?$75 fee to file a claim and an additional $100 fee to schedule a trial. However, the losing party often pays the winning party's filing fees.There is no fee.
How long do I have to wait before the matter is resolved?You can expect to have a trial within 1 year of filing your claim.It is usually 6-8 months to process your claim.
If I win, how much will I get?There is no set standard for what is an appropriate notice period. The Court will determine the appropriate notice period by considering various factors such as your age, years of service, and type of work you performed. However, the Court almost always awards the successful worker more than the MOL awards.You will receive 1 week of pay per year of service to a maximum of 8 weeks. This is called termination pay.

Long-term workers who meet very specific conditions are also entitled to severance pay, which will add 1 additional week’s pay per year of service.

For example, a worker with 10 years of service who qualifies for severance pay will receive 8 weeks of termination pay and 10 weeks of severance pay.
Is there a maximum limit to how much I can win?The maximum is currently $10,000, but will increase to $25,000 in January 2010.The maximum is $10,000
If I lose, do I have to pay for the employer's legal costs?Yes, the Court may order you to pay for your employer's filing fees and/or costs.No.

Monday, September 21, 2009

EI Benefits for Both Parents

The Employment Insurance Board of Referees has allowed both parents to collect 35 weeks of Employment Insurance (EI) because they had twins. Both parents are allowed full parental leaves. Employment Insurance benefits usually allow for a combined maximum of 35 weeks of EI benefits per pregnancy. The ruling by the Board of Referees is only applicable in this case. This case may assist with EI law reform efforts to allow 35 weeks of parental leave for each parent if there are twins or multiples born.