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Ontario Abolishes Mandatory Retirement and BC and Saskatchewan Appear to Follow Soon

Effective December 12, 2006, mandatory retirement will no longer be generally permissible in Ontario, (as a result of amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code). Employers will, however, still be allowed to enforce mandatory retirement polices if they can show that being younger than 65 (or another designated age) is a bona fide occupational requirement.

As reported in the media on December 2, 2006, Premier Campbell has announced that mandatory retirement in BC will also soon be abolished. Specifically, it is expected that the BC Human Rights Code will be amended in Spring 2007, with the result being that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in this province.

Similarly, on November 6, 2006 the Saskatchewan Government introduced Bill 9, which will amend the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, with the result that mandatory retirement policies will not be generally permissible in that province if Bill 9 is enacted. However, the amendments would not come into force for one year after Royal Assent.

Mandatory retirement is already not generally permissible in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, PEI, Yukon, the NWT and Nunavut.

"Recreational Drug Use and Pre-Employment Drug Testing: Human Rights Legislation and New Challenges for Employers"

Jurisdiction: - Alberta - Ontario
Sector: - Oil & Gas

Lawyer Gary T. Clarke and articled student, Joana Thackeray, at Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Vancouver have written a paper entitled, "Recreational Drug Use and Pre-Employment Drug Testing: Human Rights Legislation and New Challenges for Employers".

The paper was published in Canadian Employment and Equality Rights, Vol. 7, Number 34, October 2006 and concludes with some concrete advice for employers who are looking to implement pre-employment drug testing.

Increase in Alberta's Minimum Wage Act

Topics: - Minimum Wage
Jurisdiction: - Alberta - Saskatchewan

Effective September 1, 2005, Alberta's minimum wage was increased from $5.90 to $7.00 an hour.

Historically having the lowest legislated minimum wage in the country, this 19% increase, the first since 1999, positions Alberta ahead of Saskatchewan and the Maritime Provinces for hourly pay. However, most Alberta employers pay more than the minimum wage to attract and retain employees: according to the Alberta government the average hourly wage in Alberta is $18.55 an hour.

"Video Surveillance and the Employment Relationship"

British Columbia labour arbitrator Robert B. Blasina prepared a paper entitled, "Video Surveillance and the Employment Relationship" for the Personal Information Protection Act Conference 2006 held in Calgary on April 26-27, 2006.

The paper addresses decisions of labour arbitrators and privacy commissioners in BC, Alberta and the federal sector.

Alberta and BC sign agreement to eliminate barriers to labour mobility between the two provinces

Jurisdiction: - Alberta - British Columbia

The BC government announced today that it has signed an agreement with Alberta that will eiminate barriers to labour mobility between the two provinces.

The agreement - the Alberta-British Columbia Trade, Investment, and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) - also eliminates barriers to trade and investment.

The news release states that TILMA will "enhance labour mobility by recognizing occupational certifications of workers in both provinces".

The agreement commences April 1, 2007 and will include a transition period to April 2009 before the agreement comes into full effect to give both governments time to bring their measures into conformity.

Privacy Commissioner rebukes companies/law firms for disclosing sensitive employee information during transaction

Jurisdiction: - Alberta - British Columbia

Published in Lawson Lundell LLP Labour and Employment Newsletter (Summer 2005)

The Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner (the "Commissioner") recently found two companies and their respective law firms in breach of Alberta's Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA") in their handling of sensitive employee information while acting for their clients during an acquisition.


Builders Energy Services Ltd., ("Builders") was in the process of acquiring several companies including Remote Wire Line Services Ltd. ("Remote"). Both companies hired law firms to assist with the transaction.

Attached to the purchase and sale agreement was a Schedule that was to include a list of Remote's employees, employment agreements, and details regarding its employee benefit plans.  read more »