Skip to Content

2013

Supreme Court of Canada confirms that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages

Sector: - High Tech

In IBM Canada Limited v. Waterman, 2013 SCC 70, the majority (7/2) of the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages. In doing so, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decisions of the BC Court of Appeal and the BC Supreme Court. My summary of the BC Supreme Court's ruling, which sets out the facts, can be found here.

In the majority ruling the Supreme Court of Canada summarized its ruling as follows:  read more »

"Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013" according to Cassels Brock & Blackwell

The law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell has issued their, "Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013". 

The cases on their list are set below. Note: the summaries with the cases are mostly my word-for-word cut and paste's from the original article:

1. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that random alcohol testing in the workplace is prohibited unless the employer can prove that, in addition to having a dangerous workplace, there are other pressing factors such as an overt substance abuse problem in the workplace.

2. Pate Estate v. Harvey (Township), 2013 ONCA 669

The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed that the Township employer had severely mistreated the dismissed employee, but reduced the punitive damages award from $550,000 to $450,000.  read more »

New Brunswick introduces "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act

Jurisdiction: - New Brunswick

The New Brunswick government has introduced "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act. This is the full news  release that was issued on Wednesday, December 3, 2013:

Improvements to Employment Standards Act introduced

The provincial government introduced today amendments to the Employment Standards Act that will improve its ability to protect foreign workers in New Brunswick.

The amendments will create an employer registry that will strengthen the communication of the provincial government with foreign workers and their employers about employment standards and the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.

The amendment adds provisions to ensure employers only recover allowable recruitment and transportation costs from the foreign workers themselves. It clarifies legal practices with respect to foreign worker housing arrangements and the holding of personal documents such as passports and work permits.  read more »

Female employee was participant / instigator of crude, ongoing sexual banter; harassment complaint dismissed

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Kafer v. Sleep Country Canada and another (No. 2), 2013 BCHRT 289, the BC Human Rights Tribunal ruled that a female employee was participant in, and instigator of, crude and ongoing sexual banter and therefore dismissed her sexual harassment complaint against her employer, Sleep Country Canada.

In reaching this conclusion, the Tribunal Member stated the following:

[32] The Supreme Court of Canada has defined sexual harassment as "unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of the harassment": Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. (1989), 10 C.H.R.R. D/6205 at D/6227.

[33] In Mahmoodi v. University of British Columbia, [1000] B.C.R.T.D. No. 52 (Q.L.) the Tribunal set out the test for whether conduct is unwelcome. It stated:  read more »

SCC rules that AB PIPA violates freedom of expression in the labour relations context; PIPA struck down

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA") violated section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and could not be saved under section 1 of the Charter.

Specifically, the Court stated:

37. PIPA imposes restrictions on a union's ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike.  In our view, this infringement of the right to freedom of expression is disproportionate to the government's objective of providing individuals with control over personal information that they expose by crossing a picketline.  read more »

"Elder care" recognized under "family status" protection for first time by Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

In Hicks v. Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2013 CHRT 20, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal recognized "elder care" under the "family status" protection for first time.

United States Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) awards more than $14 million to whistleblower

Topics: - Whistle Blowing
Jurisdiction: - United States

The United States Securities Exchange Commission announced today that it has awarded more than $14 million to a whistleblower, pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. The full text of the October 1, 2013 news release is as follows:

SEC Awards More Than $14 Million to Whistleblower

The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced an award of more
than $14 million to a whistleblower whose information led to an SEC
enforcement action that recovered substantial investor funds.  Payments
to whistleblowers are made from a separate fund previously established
by the Dodd-Frank Act and do not come from the agency's annual
appropriations or reduce amounts paid to harmed investors.

The award is the largest made by the SEC's whistleblower program to date.  read more »

Manitoba announces minimum wage increasing to $10.45 an hour effective October 1, 2013

Topics: - Minimum Wage
Jurisdiction: - Manitoba

The Manitoba Government issued a news release today (September 26, 2013) regarding the pending increase to the province's minimum wage. The news release reads as follows:

The province is increasing the minimum wage on Oct. 1 to $10.45 an hour, as detailed in Budget 2013, Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade Minister Peter Bjornson announced today.  This is an increase of 20 cents over the current minimum wage.

"This increase will help the lowest wage earners in Manitoba and keeps pace with expected increases in the consumer price index," said Bjornson.  "Coupled with new training and skills development initiatives, this will help low-income Manitobans retain their purchasing power, continue to contribute to the growth of our economy and improve their education so they can find better paying jobs."  read more »

Ontario's Family Caregivers Bill Passes Second Reading

Topics: - Leaves & Vacations
Jurisdiction: - Ontario

The Ontario government issued the following news release on September 25, 2013, concerning the proposed Family Caregivers Bill:

Today, Bill 21, the Employment Standards Amendment Act (Leaves to Help Families), 2013, passed second reading after debate in the Ontario legislature.  If passed, the bill would allow caregivers to focus their attention on what matters most -- providing care and support to their loved ones -- without the fear of losing their job.

The act would build on the existing Family Medical Leave by creating three new job-protected leaves:

-Family Caregiver Leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for employees to provide care and support to a family member with a
serious medical condition.  read more »

Manitoba enacts private sector privacy legislation

Jurisdiction: - Manitoba

On September 13, 2013, the Manitoba legislature passed the Personal Information Protection and Identity Theft Prevention Act, becoming the fourth province to have enacted its own broadly applicable private sector privacy legislation. The other provinces are BC, Alberta and Quebec. The Manitoba act is not yet in force.