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$35,000 is new highwater mark in damages for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Insurance

In a decision issued on October 8, 2008 -  Senyk v. WFG Agency Network (No. 2), 2008 BCHRT 376 -  the BC Human Rights Tribunal awarded the complainant $35,000 for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect. This establishes a new highwater mark in BC for these type of damages.

"Transfer of Jurisdiction Handbook on Employment Issues"

The First Nations School Association ("FNSA") has prepared a "Transfer of Jurisdiction Handbook on Employment Issues" (September 11, 2008). As stated in the introduction, the Handbook: aimed mainly at Participating First Nations that will take jurisdiction over education pursuant to the First Nations Jurisdiction over Education in British Columbia Act (Canada), the First Nations Education Act (BC), and various jurisdiction agreements. The purpose is to identify steps that schools and Participating First Nations can take to prepare for the transfer of jurisdiction in connection with employment issues.

The Handbook has three parts:  read more »

BC government releases discussion paper on the standard of review applicable to tribunal decisions, post Dunsmuir

Topics: - Judicial Review
Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Government Administrative Justice Office has released a discussion paper on The Standard of Review Applicable to Tribunal Decisions in British Columbia - The Implications of Dunsmuir v. New Brunswick. You can read the paper here.

Birth father must begin parental leave within 52 weeks after child's birth, not complete it within 52 weeks

The issue in British Columbia Securities Commission v. Burke, 2008 BCSC 1244 was whether:

  • a birth father's parental leave must be completed within 52 weeks after the child's birth, or
  • the leave only needs to begin within 52 weeks after the child's birth.

Section 51(1)(c) of the BC Employment Standards Act provides:

An employee who requests parental leave under this section is entitled to:

- - -

for a birth father, up to 37 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave beginning after the child's birth and within 52 weeks after that event.

The Employment Standards Tribunal had determined that the latter interpretation noted above was the correct one. On judicial review, the Court upheld the Tribunal's decision.  read more »

Union construction sector in BC develops first ever drug & alcohol policy for construction worksites

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Construction

The Construction Labour Relations Association and the Bargaining Council of British
Columbia Building Trades Unions announced today that they have jointly developed a Substance Abuse Testing And Treatment Policy as part of their collective agreement negotiations.

The policy will apply to all union construction workers in BC; it is believed to be the only such industry-wide agreement in Canada.

According to the news release, under the policy:  read more »

"Who Owns the Intellectual Property: The Employee or the Employer?"

Robert Lesperance at Lesperance Mendes in Vancouver has writtne a paper on, "Who Owns the Intellectual Property: The Employee or the Employer?" (undated).

BC Human Rights Tribunal releases statistics on damages for injury to dignity, feelings and self respect

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Human Rights Tribunal issued its "Annual Report 2007-2008" in July, 2008. According to the report:

  • The Tribunal ordered compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect in 11 cases.   
  • The awards ranged from $500 to $25,000, the highest award to date.  Also at the high end of the range, the Tribunal made an award of $20,000.   
  • At the lower end of the range were awards of $2,000 and $2,500.  
  • All other awards ranged from $5,000 to $7,500. 

The case in which the complainant received $25,000 was Datt v. McDonald's Restaurants (No. 3), 2007 BCHRT 324) (No. 2), 2007 BCHRT 161. In the report, the Tribunal summarized the case as follows:  read more »

CIRB reviews scope of union's entitlement to employee contact information

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Canada Industrial Relations Board ("CIRB") has recently ruled that:  read more »

BC Employment Standards Tribunal issues new Rules of Practice and Procedure

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Employment Standards Tribunal has issued new Rules of Practice and Procedure. According to this blurb on the BC Government (Administrative Justice Office) website, the Rules were developed: assist in the fair and efficient resolution of appeals from
determinations made by the Director of Employment Standards under the Employment Standards Act. Using the 2005 rules which were developed in consultation with stakeholders as the basis, the new Rules reflect the Tribunal’s practices, changes to the legislation, and comments received from stakeholders.

Supreme Court of Canada modifies law on Wallace Damages

On June 27, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated decision in Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays 2008 SCC 39.

In the decision, which some view as a victory for employers, the court modified the manner in which Wallace damages are calculated and provided further clarification on when they, along punitive damages, should be awarded in the employment context.

As part of its analysis on Wallace damages, the SCC also provided some guidance to employers on the extent of their right to medical information in accommodation cases.


Mr. Keays had been employed by Honda for 14 years when his employment was terminated in March 2000. At the time, he was in a data entry position.  read more »