Supreme Court of Canada to decide if dismissal without cause is automatically "unjust dismissal" under CLC
The Supreme Court of Canada announced today that it had granted leave to appeal in a case concerning whether dismissal without cause is automatically an "unjust dismissal" under the Canada Labour Code.
This issue had divided labour adjudicators appointed under the Canada Labour Code for years until the Federal Court of Canada ruled, definitively, in Atomic Energy of Canada Limited v. Wilson, 2013 FC 733, that dismissals were not automatically "unjust". That decision was upheld by the Federal Court of Appeal in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2015 FCA 17.
Canada's top court will now have the final word. This is that court's summary of the case: read more »
On the same day that Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called on the City of Vancouver to become a "living wage" employer, the new NDP provincial government in Alberta announced that the general minimum wage in that province will increase to $11.20 from $10.20 per hour effective October 1, 2015.
The Alberta government further noted that these are the "first steps towards a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2018" and Premier Rachel Notley is quoted as follows:
"Alberta's minimum wage is currently the lowest in the country, yet we have one of the highest costs of living. We promised Albertans we would raise minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018, and we will stick to that promise. We're taking a significant step towards our goal for 2015 and will continue this path in future years.
The June 29, 2015 news release can be found here: Minimum wage going up to $11.20 October 1.
The mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, issued the following news release today (June 29, 2015):
Mayor calls for Vancouver to become a Living Wage employer
Saying it is important for the City of Vancouver to show leadership on reducing inequality, Mayor Gregor Robertson is bringing forward a motion to City Council this week calling on the City to become a living wage employer.
Noting that Vancouver will be joining a number of existing living wage employers, including Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, the City of New Westminster, SAP and the United Way, Robertson said the policy is a practical response to the fact that housing, transportation and living costs have been rising in the region while wages have stagnated.
The result is that more and more families are unable to make ends meet even if they have two jobs, exposing their children to poverty. read more »
In light of International Women's Day back on March 8, 2015, Legal Feeds, the Blog for Canadian Lawyer & Law Times published a list of the most significant court decisions for women in the workplace over the last 25 year, as compiled by the lawyers at Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Ontario. Here is the firm's top 10 list: read more »
The Government of Yukon issued the following news release on June 15, 2015:
Public Interest Disclosure and Wrongdoing Act now in force
WHITEHORSE-The Public Interest Disclosure of Wrongdoing Act went into effect today. It provides a process that employees can follow if they believe there has been a wrongdoing in their organization or if they believe they have been unfairly treated as a result of raising concerns about a wrongdoing.
The legislation covers Yukon public service organizations listed in the act and is intended to deal with significant and serious matters that an employee believes to be unlawful, dangerous to the public or injurious to the public interest. read more »
In two posts on June 17, 2015, I noted that the California Labor Commission had ruled that an Uber driver was an employee not a contractor, and thus entitled to be reimbursed for her driving related expenses.
I am not aware of any similar Uber "employee / contractor" cases in Canada. However, Uber's arrival in this country has sparked at least one employment law "debate" that played out in Toronto in April and May of this year.
On April 2, 2015, City of Toronto Councillor Jim Karygiannis (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) announced that he intended to introduce a motion to remove the Uber app from City owned smartphones issued to employees. This is the news release that he issued:
Karygiannis expects to introduce Council Motion to remove Uber application from City-owned smartphones
TORONTO - Jim Karygiannis, Councillor for Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt, expects to introduce a Motion at the May City Council Meeting, with respect to removing the Uber application from City-owned smartphone devices. read more »
">Uber posted this statement on its blog today (June 17, 2015) in response to the California Labor Commission's ruling that a driver was an employee, not a contractor, and thus entitled to be reimbursed for driving related expenses:
"Reuters' original headline was not accurate. The California Labor Commission's ruling is non-binding and applies to a single driver. Indeed it is contrary to a previous ruling by the same commission, which concluded in 2012 that the driver 'performed services as an independent contractor, and not as a bona fide employee.' Five other states have also come to the same conclusion. It's important to remember that the number one reason drivers choose to use Uber is because they have complete flexibility and control. The majority of them can and do choose to earn their living from multiple sources, including other ride sharing companies. We have appealed this ruling."
Temporary foreign workers win sexual harassment case; one awarded $150,000 for "injury to dignity" damages
In O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., 2015 HRTO 675 - a decision issued on May 25, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") awarded one of the complainants $150,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the sexual solicitations and harassment that she experienced in the workplace. The other complainant was awarded $50,000 for this head of damage.
The $150,000 award is, according to the union that represented the complainants, the new high-watermark for this type of damages in Ontario and, according to some commentators, three times higher than the previous high-water mark. read more »
The Fraser Institute issued this news release on June 4, 2015:
Government employees in Canada paid 9.7% more than comparable employees in private-sector
TORONTO-Government employees in Canada receive higher wages and likely more generous non-wage benefits than their private-sector counterparts, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
"As governments across Canada struggle with persistent deficits and growing debt in the face of ongoing negotiations with public-sector unions, now is an opportune time to scrutinize the compensation of government employees nationwide," said Jason Clemens, executive vice-president of the Fraser Institute and co-author of Comparing Government and Private Sector Compensation in Canada. read more »
BC Hydro issued this news release today (May 27, 2015):
The BC Building Trades and BC Hydro have secured an agreement on the importance of labour stability on the Site C Clean Energy Project, recognizing that stability is best achieved with a mix of labour representation that includes building trades unions.
The framework allows the project to operate as a managed open site that includes participation from union and non-union workers as well as independent and First Nations contractors.
"This agreement ensures workers from all labour groups can build Site C together and paves the way for the labour stability that I believe British Columbians want as we undertake building the largest hydroelectric project in a generation," said Jessica McDonald, President and CEO, BC Hydro. "It allows for a managed open site and also takes important steps to ensure the BC Building Trades unions will take part in the construction along with all other B.C. workers." read more »