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Does the Ontario Human Rights Code protect employees charged with a criminal offence?

Does the Ontario Human Rights Code ("OHRC") protect employees charged with a criminal offence? The answer is "no" based on a series of decisions by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") over the last year.

Ontario Human Rights Code

The OHRC prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of an employee's "record of offences". The OHRC states that "record of offences" means a conviction for:

(a) an offence in respect of which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act (Canada) and has not been revoked, or

(b) an offence in respect of any provincial enactment.

Decision in de Pelham v. Mytrak Health Systems Inc.

In a February 2009 decision, de Pelham v. Mytrak Health Systems Inc. 2009 HRTO 172 (CanLII), the chair of the OHRT ruled that the "record of offences" provisions do not encompass criminal charges. Specifically, he stated:  read more »

Facilities Bargaining Association and HEABC reach tentative agreement on a two-year collective agreement

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

The Facilities Bargaining Association, representing over 47,000 health-care workers,
has reached a tentative agreement on a two-year contract with the Health Employers Association of BC, the government announced today.

"The agreement covers about 270 different jobs in every area of health care, including nursing, health records, information technology, logistics and supply, diagnostic testing, pharmacy, trades and maintenance, dietary, housekeeping, payroll and more.

The multi-union Facilities Bargaining Association negotiates on behalf of unionized employees with the Health Employers Association of BC.

The largest union in this bargaining association is the Hospital Employees' Union,
followed by the BC Government & Service Employees' Union, the International
Union of Operating Engineers, and various other unions.

More than 200,000 BC public sector workers are covered by contracts that expire between March 31, 2010 and December 31, 2010."

Industrial inquiry commission delivers report on BC Ambulance Service, including appropriate collective bargaining structure

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The industrial inquiry commission reviewing different service delivery and operational models for the BC Ambulance Service, including options on an appropriate collective bargaining structure, delivered its report to the BC Minister of Labour on January 15, 2010, according to this January 18, 2010 news release from the government.

The report was written by Chris Trumpy, a long time public servant who was the Deputy Minister of Finance before retiring in 2009.

In addition to the appropriate collective bargaining structure, the Trumpy report examines issues relating to staff recruitment, training and retention; staff workload and occupational health and safety; deployment strategies; and total compensation for paramedics and dispatchers.

The non-binding report has been provided to CUPE Local 873, the union representing BC's paramedics and dispatchers, and their employer, the Emergency and Health Services Commission.  read more »

Industrial Inquiry Commission appointed to review bargaining structure for ambulance paramedics and dispatchers

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Government announced today that it will be appointing an Industrial Inquiry Commission under the BC Labour Relations Code to reveiw the bargaining structure for ambulance paramedics and dispatchers. You can read the news release here.

Yesteday, the provincial government introduced legislation - the Ambulance Services Collective Agreement Act (Bill 21) - that would impose a new collective agreement on the paramedics and dispatchers and end the seven month labour dispute (which has been subject to an essential services order). You can read more about the labour dispute and legislation in this Vancouver Sun story

BC Nurses Union Reaches Tentative Agreement

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

The BC Nurses Union and the Nurses' Bargaining Association have reached a tentative agreement with the Ministry of Health Services, health authorities and HEABC to extend the current Provincial Collective Agreement for an additional 24 months. The BCNU has scheduled a ratification vote for April 8, 2009.

You can read more about the tentative agreement here.

Discoveries must occur before defendants get particulars of claim involving confidential info, breach of fiduciary duty

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Mr. McKay resigned from the plaintiff VSM in September 2007 after 19 years of employment.

Before leaving VSM, he signed a release in which he acknowledged that he owed a fiduciary duty to VSM and that VSM would suffer irreparable harm if its confidential or unique information was disclosed without authorization.

Mr. McKay then commenced employment with VSM's competitor, Elekta.

VSM subsequently sued Mr. McKay and Elekta, alleging that they conspired to use confidential information to obtain an unfair competitive advantage and that Mr. McKay breached his fiduciary duty.

In response to the 54-paragraph Statement of Claim, the defendants filed a one paragraph Statement of Defence and then brought a motion seeking "particulars" of the claim. The Defendants' position was that they needed the particulars to file a responsive Defence and to delineate the issues at trial.

The court, agreeing with the plaintiff, ruled that the defendants' motion should be adjourned until the plaintiffs had conducted its Examinations for Discovery. If the defendants still wanted particulars at that time, they would be at liberty to re-apply.  read more »

Supreme Court of Canada rules that freedom of association protection in Charter applies to collective bargaining

Sector: - Health Care

In Health Services and Support - Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v.British Columbia, 2007 SCC 27, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned previous case law and ruled that a "limited right" of collective bargaining is protected by section 2(d) (freedom of association) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is a landmark decision.

Law firm Heenan Blaikie has published this case summary: "Supreme Court of Canada rules that collective bargaining is protected by freedom of association in Charter" (June 8, 2007).

Postscript: This is a case summary by law firm Emond Harnden: "Supreme Court of Canada extends Charter protection to collective bargaining" (July 2007).