Friday, December 10, 2010

Facebook comments can get you fired!

B.C. labour board backs 2 firings over Facebook comments.

Add Canada to the list of places where Facebook can be hazardous to your employment status.

Two workers at a B.C. car dealership were sacked for what they wrote about their employer and their managers on Facebook. And the B.C. Labour Relations Board has upheld their dismissal.

The incident, which occurred in Pitt Meadows just east of Vancouver, is believed to be the first such case in Canada.

“It’s the first Facebook case that has made it to hearing,” said Donald Richards, the lawyer who handled it for the employer, but he added there are likely plenty more to come.

Read more at the Toronto Star

Employee wins constructive dismissal suit without leaving his job

Court rules employee can mitigate constructive dismissal damages by continuing to work as long as it’s clear the employee does not consent to the changes.

An Ontario employee has been awarded almost two years’ pay at his old salary in lieu of notice for constructive dismissal, despite the fact he continued to work uninterrupted for the employer in his regular position after a significant pay cut.

Read more at Canadian Employment Law Today

Changes to the Employment Standards Claim process will impact workers

The Ministry of Labour will be introducing changes to the Employment Standards claims process on January 19, 2011. The Government is increasing the steps that workers must take before they can even file a claim.

The changes to the claims process put into effect the Government's Open for Business Act that passed October 21, 2010.

When considering whether to file a claim before or after January 19, 2011, you should consider that:

1) The new claims process will require workers to contact their employer to seek wages and entitlements owed under the Employment Standards Act before they will be allowed to file a claim at the Ministry of Labour. There will be some exceptions to this requirement. Workers will be required to report on the steps they have taken to enforce their rights with the employer on their claim form.

2) Workers will be required to provide, in writing, specified information and evidence for their complaint before the claim will be accepted for investigation.
Complaints for unpaid wages and employment standards rights will not proceed unless these steps are taken (with some exceptions). Claims that don't meet these requirements will be deemed withdrawn after 6 months.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ex-Nortel workers: Cutting off the disabled

Any bankruptcy is painful. Workers lose their jobs and creditors can lose their shirts — but there is usually a chance to bounce back.

Not so for Nortel employees who were on long-term disability payments at the time their employer went bankrupt nearly two years ago. They can’t start over. Yet their disability payments will be cut off at the end of this month, after the Conservatives used their new majority in the Senate to defeat efforts to keep them above water.

Read the full story on the Toronto Star.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ontario Launches Workplace Health & Safety Contact Centre

Ontario has launched a new toll-free number -- 1-877-202-0008 -- to report workplace health and safety incidents or unsafe work practices, or for general inquiries.

On November 1, 2010, the Ministry of Labour launched a Health & Safety Contact Centre, which allows anyone, anywhere in Ontario to call one number to report a workplace health and safety incident, critical injury, fatality or work refusal. The public can also call that number if they suspecy unsafe work practices or for general inquiries. The number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Before the launch, separate numbers existed for each provincial region. With one number, Ontario is creating a more efficient and streamlined phone system for workplaces and the public to contact the Ministry.

Source: CIEN Magazine Article

For more information, see the Ministry of Labour's Website

Friday, October 15, 2010

Human rights tribunal slams Toronto police

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario says Toronto police must undergo training for dealing with internal complaints after a former constable was “stripped of her dignity as a woman.” The respondents shall jointly and severally pay to the applicant $20,000.00 as compensation for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect.

Toronto Star article.

The case on CanLii

Friday, October 8, 2010

Migrant Workers Protest on Thanksgiving

Justicia for Migrant Workers is organizing a march this Thanksgiving weekend to draw attention to the working conditions that many temporary foreign workers face while working in Ontario.

For more information about this march, please read this Toronto Star article.

Friday, October 1, 2010

WSIB raises premiums & Logging Companies will see a 9.1% increase to $12.47 per $100 of Pay

Ontario's troubled insurance plan for injured workers says it will increase premiums while outside advisers study solutions for its staggering losses.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, which already has the highest premiums in Canada, announced Thursday it will increase its premiums by an average of 4.3 per cent by 2012.

President David Marshall says the increase is less than would be required to eliminate annual deficits, and to start eliminating a $12 billion shortfall in the WSIB’s reserve fund.

The average WSIB premium is to increase by 5 cents in 2011 and 5 cents in 2012, bringing the total premium to $2.40 per $100 of pay. But premiums vary widely by industry sector, and so will the percentage increases next year.

Some sectors will see no increase, but logging companies will see a 9.1 per cent increase to $12.47 per $100 of pay, and vehicle assemblers will see a 13.5 per cent increase to $3.44 per $100.

Read the full article on the Toronto Star .

Friday, September 24, 2010

Migrant Worker Deaths Spark Protests

On Wednesday, September 22, 2010, The Toronto Star reported on the workplace deaths of Paul Roach and Ralston White at an apple farm in Ontario. Both of these individuals were seasonal migrant farm workers from Jamaica.

The deaths of these two men further highlights the importance of workplace health and safety programs. A protest is scheduled to be held today at 12:00 at the Ontario Ministry of Labour to highlight the issues faced by migrant workers.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are your Workplace Safety and Insurance Board concerns being heard?

The Fair Practices Commission released their 2009 Annual Report.

The Fair Practices Commission is an independent office working to promote and ensure fair practices in the workplace safety and insurance system in Ontario. The Fair Practices Commission is an Ombudsman for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board(WSIB).

There are three main goals of the Fair Practices Commission:

• To listen to the concerns that injured workers, employers, and service providers have
• To resolve fairness issues quickly
• To identify recurring trends and system-wide issues and report them to the WSIB with recommendations for improvements.

The top 10 ranking of complaints by subject in 2009:

1. benefits
2. health care
3. return to work
4. labour market re-entry
5. appeals process
6. non economic loss
7. employer assessment issues
8. expenses
9. permanent disability
10. loss of earning (LOE) 72 month review

According to the Commission one of the most common concerns is that WSIB has taken too long to make a decision, to send a written decision, or respond to calls or letters.

If you have concerns about the WSIB you can contact the Fair Practices Commission at 1-866-258-4383 and tell them your WSIB concerns or online.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Survey on Poverty and the Injured Worker

A message from the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG):

Are you an injured worker? Do you work with injured workers?

The Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups needs your help with a survey on the poverty and well-being of permanently injured workers. This survey is part of ONIWG's ongoing work, but has a new urgency because of the recent proposed changes to workers' compensation that aim to cut costs at the expense of injured workers.

The survey takes about 25 minutes and is now available on the Injured Workers Online web site below.

Need more information? Contact Bonnie Heath at or 416 509 6007.

Be part of this important work!

For more details visit:

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Ministry of Labour is investigating after part of an old church collapsed during its demolition while a worker was still inside

The Ministry of Labour is investigating after part of an old church collapsed yesterday during its demolition while a worker was still inside in Picton Ontario.

He escaped without serious injuries, but the incident is now a sore spot in the community.

Go to CKWS Television to watch the video and read the full story.

Go to the Ontario Ministry of Labour website for more information on Health and Safety .

All workers have the right to return home each day safe and sound.

Safe at Work Ontario is the Ministry of Labour strategy to protect workers’ health and safety on the job.

The ministry enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Step backward in labour laws

Ontario's 700,000 temporary workers – the poorest, most insecure members of the labour force were jubilant when Premier Dalton McGuinty included them in his poverty strategy.

Fifteen months ago, the McGuinty government beefed up provincial employment standards, guaranteeing temp workers the right to holiday, severance and termination pay. The government also pledged to spend $10 million hiring new enforcement officers to protect precarious workers.

Now the temporary workers feel as if their victory is being snatched away, as the government proposes to “modernize” the Employment Standards Act. Under new rules, workers would be required to confront their boss about unpaid wages, overtime or other breaches of the law before filing a claim with the labor ministry.

Read the full article on the Toronto Star

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bill 68: Workers forced to settle for less

Changes to Employment Standards under Bill 68 = More Barriers for Workers

Under Bill 68, Open for Business, the government is introducing changes to Employment Standards that are a huge step backward for workers. Instead of cracking down on bad bosses, Bill 68 will create more barriers for workers, while making it easier for employers to avoid paying what they are required to by law.

Mandatory self-enforcement of ESA rights :

  • Bill 68 would require most workers to try and enforce their ESA rights with their boss before filing a claim.

Facilitated settlements:

  • Bill 68 would give the power to the Ministry to settle claims for less than what workers are owed under the law.

Required information before a claim will be accepted:

  • Bill 68 would require workers to provide information about their employer and arguments about their case before a claim will be accepted, without a commitment to provide support to workers filing claims.

Go the Workers' Action Centre to see how you can take Action.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Few aware of labour rights in Toronto’s Chinatown

Exploitation typical in other immigrant communities, labour activists say.
Read the Full Article on the Toronto Star

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Human Rights Tribunal awards $20,000 to employee fired after cancer diagnosis

Still reeling from the news that she had breast cancer, Elsa Torrejon was shocked when her employer told her not to bother coming back to work. Yesterday the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ordered the Weston Property Management Corporation to pay Ms. Torrejon over $20,000 in general damages and lost wages. The Tribunal also ordered the company to learn about Ontario's Human Rights Code and report back to the Tribunal when the training has been completed.

Vice Chair Naomi Overend of the Human Rights Tribunal found that Weston "acted upon this mistaken belief that it could terminate the employment of the applicant, who was going to require time off work for surgery and treatment, without regard to whether or not her disability-related absence could be accommodated."

To review the full case please visit CanLII Elsa Torrejon v. 1147335 Ontario Inc. O/A Weston Property Management

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

WSIB Fixing Injured Workers Re-training Program

The new program, re-branded the Work Re-integration Program and set to begin by end of year, will put WSIB managers back in charge of injured workers’ rehabilitation, give workers more say in their re-training plans, make greater use of Ontario’s public education system for the re-training, and aim to give workers “marketable skills and valid credentials.”

Read the Article in the Toronto Star

Thursday, February 18, 2010

$25,000 Judgement for Racist Comments

Here is a perfect example of an employee enforcing the rights afforded to every employee in Ontario under the Ontario Human Rights Code. According to an article in yesterday's Toronto Star, Cheryl Khan received a $25,000 judgement in her favour after her employer berated her with racist comments and fired her. She was also awarded $6,750 in lost wages.

For more information on human rights in the workplace, take a look at our pre-recorded webinar on the topic.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Human Rights in the Workplace Webinar

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

See also: