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Ontario employer jailed, fined for failure to obey order to pay $140,000 in wages

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Education

This is the Ontario Ministry of Labour's June 6, 2017 Court Bulletin:

MISSISSAUGA, ON - An employer who operated a Brampton business known as Academic Montessori and a summer camp in Mississauga and failed to pay his workers - many of them university students - has been convicted after a trial.

The conviction of Peter David Sinisa Sesek, imposed in Mississauga court, was for failure to comply with an order to pay issued by a Ministry of Labour employment standards officer. A sentence of 30 days in jail and a fine of $20,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss on June 6, 2017.

The order to pay, issued March 31, 2015, amounts to about $140,000 and is owed to 43 claimants.

The businesses, which are no longer in operation, were known as Academic Montessori and WISE (Wonderful Interactive Summer Experience) Summer Camp.  read more »

Largest WCB benefits fraud in Saskatchewan history nets man 2.5 year prison sentence

Jurisdiction: - Saskatchewan

The Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board posted this on its website on May 18, 2017:

A former labourer was sentenced today in Melfort at the Court of Queen's Bench to two and a half years in jail for defrauding the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board (WCB).

The former claimant was found guilty of filing two false claims, in addition to returning to work while in receipt of benefits. The WCB received a restitution order for the full amount of the fraud of $137,377. 76.

A May 23, 2017 story in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix ("Jail time for man convicted of defrauding Sask. Workers' Compensation Board of $137,377", Bre McAdam) identified the man as Larry Hayter and had WCB spokeswoman, Heather Getz, confirming that it is the largest WCB benefits fraud Saskatchewan has ever seen.

Recap of changes proposed by Alberta to modernize workplace legislation

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - All

Set out below are some of the key changes that will be made to Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code if Bill 17 - the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, is passed.

The bill was introduced by the Alberta government on May 24, 2017, one day after Ontario released the final report in its "Changing Workplaces Review" which proposes amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.

The proposed changes to Alberta's legislation are, according to the government, the result of previous government reviews as well as broad consultations with Albertans, employers, business organizations, labour organizations, municipalities, academics, and advocacy groups. The government states that more than 7,000 submissions were received. Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code were both last updated in 1988.

In introducing the changes, the Alberta Minister of Labour, Christina Gray, stated:  read more »

Employee failed to mitigate by retraining rather than apply for comparable roles available at former employer

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Manufacturing

In Benjamin v Cascades Canada ULC, 2017 ONSC 2583, a decision issued on April 27, 2017, the Superior Court of Justice - Ontario found that the plainitff former employee, Benjamin, failed to reasonably mitigate his damages by choosing to retrain rather than apply for the comparable positions available to him at his former employer, Cascades.

Specifically, the court stated:

[161]      It is not contested that there were comparable jobs available for Benjamin to seek at Cascades, given the comparable remuneration and his work experience as an unskilled general labourer. It is not contested that Benjamin "could have" procured any of the three available comparable positions.  read more »

Medical marijuana grower, Aurora Cannabis, will fund employee's legal case for insurance coverage

Topics: - Benefits
Jurisdiction: - Nova Scotia
Sector: - Health Care

On February 2, 2017 I posted that a Nova Scotia human rights board had ruled that an employee's medical marijuana must be covered by a workplace insurance plan. You can find the post and the human rights board's decision here.

It has now been announced that a licensed medical marijuana grower, Aurora Cannabis Inc., has committed to supporting the employee, Gordon "Wayne" Skinner, financially and with other resources in relation to an "appeal" to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal that will be heard on October 2, 2017.

The announcement was made in a news release by the Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM).  CFAMM states that it is a non-profit patient advocacy organization founded in 2014 and that is dedicated to protecting and improving the rights of medical cannabis patients. CFAMM says it has been providing "strategic support" to Mr. Skinner in the case.  read more »

CUPE Ontario calls Ontario's Changing Workplace Review Final Report “majorly disappointing”

Topics: - News Releases
Jurisdiction: - Ontario

This is CUPE Ontario's May 23, 2017 statement on Ontario's Changing Workplace Review:

TORONTO - ONTARIO - The long awaited Changing Workplaces Review Final Report proved a major disappointment today when after expecting major reform of Ontario's labour law to make the legal right to join a union a practical reality for workers outside of traditional workplaces, the final report contained nothing of the sort.

"Rewriting Ontario's Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act isn't something any government can do every year or two so when it does happen, it makes sense to expect significant change" CUPE Ontario president Fred Hahn said today.

"What happened to the major reforms that workers have been calling for with a virtually unanimous voice? What happened to card based certification, anti‑scab legislation, access to first contract arbitration and recognition of successor rights - they're nowhere to be found. What happened to paid sick days for all workers?"  read more »

Ontario's "Changing Workplaces Review" final report reccomends significant changes to workplace laws

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - All

On May 23, 2017, the final report from Ontario's "Changing Workplaces Review" was released. The Final Report proposes amendments to Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 ("ESA") and Labour Relations Act, 1995 ("LRA") and contains 173 recommendations.

The Ontario report was, notably, released one day before Alberta introduced legislation to modernize its workplace legislation. Specifically, the Alberta bill (Bill 17 - The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act) proposes to amend its Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code to support family-friendly workplaces and bring Alberta's standards into alignment with the rest of Canada. Stay tuned for a post on Alberta's initiative.

Genesis of Ontario's Changing Workplace Review

The 419-page Final Report is the culmination of a review that the Ontario government committed to in the 2014 Throne Speech and the Ontario Minister of Labour's 2014 Mandate Letter in relation to the review stated:  read more »