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Richard Hornung re-appointed as part-time Vice-Chairperson of Canada Industrial Relations Board

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

Richard Hornung has been reappointed as a part-time Vice-Chairperson of the Canada Industrial Relations Board, according to this news release issued today by the federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt. 

The news release goes on to state the following about Mr. Hornung:

  • He was first appointed to the CIRB in June 2007.
  • He has extensive experience in labour law, industrial relations and alternate dispute resolution.
  • In addition to practicing and teaching law at the University of Alberta, he taught mediation at Harvard Law School's Program of Instruction for Lawyers.
  • He has served as a Vice-Chairperson of the Canada Labour Relations Board, and Chair of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board.

Bell Aliant workers reject tentative collective agreement by a margin of 65%

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union's Atlantic Communications Council (CEPACC) issued a news release today advising that their members had voted to reject a tentative collective agreement with Bell Aliant, by a margin of 65%.

CEPACC represents almost 3,000 employees of Bell Aliant in the four Atlantic provinces.

CEPACC and Bell Aliant had reached the agreement in late April, and members had been holding ratification meetings over the past few weeks in the four Atlantic provinces. The current agreement, which expires on December 31, 2011 will remain in effect. 

CEP is a national union representing 130,000 workers across Canada working in telecommunications, forestry, energy, media, printing and construction.

More information about the negotiations can be found on CEPACC's website here.

Bell Aliant's new release can be found here.

Federal government introduces long awaited amendments to PIPEDA

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The federal government has finally introduced the long awaited and much needed amendments to PIPEDA, the private sector privacy legislation that applies to federally regulated operations, and also provincially regulated operations in some capacities in all provinces except BC, Alberta and Quebec.

The proposed amendments are in response to the 2007 report that followed the mandatory statutory review of PIPEDA.

Key among the proposed amendments - which were introduced on May 25, 2010 and contained in Bill C29 (An Act to Amend Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) - are:  read more »

John McKennirey is new chair of the CIRB Client Consultation Committee

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

John McKennirey has been named as the new chair of the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) Client Consultation Committee, replacing Mike McDermott. The announcement was made by Elizabeth MacPherson, Chairperson Canada Industrial Relations Board.

Mr. McKennirey is former Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour & Head of the FMCS (2003 - 2007). He also served as Executive Director of the Commission for Labour Co-operation (NAFTA Labour Commission) from 1995-1999 and was Director General of Policy and International Labour Affairs at Labour Canada from 2000 to 2003. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Public Management and Policy, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa.

Mr. McKennirey was also "instrumental in conceiving and launching" the review of the Canada Labour Code - Part III, as noted by Harry Arthurs in the Federal Labour Standards Review.     

Federal government proposes changes to federally regulated private pension plans

Topics: - Pensions
Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Minister of Finance proposed changes today to federally regulated private pension plans that will "enhance protection for plan members, reduce funding volatility and modernize the rules for investments by pension funds."

The news release stated that:

The changes proposed today are in respect of regulation and complement the legislative changes in Bill C-9, which was introduced in the House of Commons on March 29, 2010. These changes are part of the comprehensive package of reforms announced on October 27, 2009.

And went on to say:

The amendments to the Pension Benefits Standards Regulations, 1985 include:

-A new standard that uses average-rather than current-solvency ratios to determine minimum funding requirements. This will soften the impact of short-term market fluctuations on a plan's solvency funding requirements.  read more »

Throne Speech promises benefits, leave for federally regulated employees who are victims of crime

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The federal government laid out its legislative agenda for the coming year in yesterday's Speech from the Throne. Of interest is the following promise directed at victims of crime:

Our Government will also offer tangible support to innocent victims of crime and their families. It will give families of murder victims access to special benefits under Employment Insurance. It will introduce legislation to give employees of federally regulated industries the right to unpaid leave if they or members of their families are victimized by crime. And our Government will introduce legislation to make the victim surcharge mandatory, to better fund victim services.  read more »

Bill C-487: An Act to prevent psychological harassment in the workplace and to amend Canada Labour Code tabled

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

A private members bill - C-276: An Act to prevent psychological harassment in the workplace and to amend the Canada Labour Code - was tabled in the House of Commons today by Brian Masee, a New Democratic Party of Canada Member of Parliament.

The text of the bill can be found here. Mr. Masse's January 29, 2010 news release on the bill can be read here.

Similar bills have been tabled several times previously, starting in 2003. Private members bills have little chance of being passed into legislation.

Class action overtime lawsuit against Scotiabank certified by Ontario court

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal - Ontario

A class action overtime lawsuit against Scotiabank was certified by the Ontario Superior Court in Fulawka v. Bank of Nova Scotia, 2010 ONSC 1148. The case alleges that some 5,300 sales employees located across Canada are owed overtime going back to 2000. The claim is for $350 million ($250 million in general damages; $100 million in punitive damages).

(Update: A March 30, 2010 commentary on the decision by law firm Fasken Martineau ("The HR Space: BNS Overtime Class Action Certified - Did Employer Policy Create Unworkable "Catch-22"?) can be found here.