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Local Government

Mayor Gregor Robertson calls for City of Vancouver to be "living wage" employer

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Local Government

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 »

Has the arrival of Uber generated any employment law issues in Canada?

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Local Government

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 »

Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau releases Jim Dorsey's report on its future mandate

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Local Government

The Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau released a report today on its future mandate in light of pending key defections among its member municipalities.

Metro Vancouver

Metro Vancouver encompasses 21 municipalities, one electoral district and one treaty first nation.The resident population of Metro Vancouver is 2.3 million.

Metro Vancouver (still officially called the Greater Vancouver Regional District) was given a "labour negotiations and related ancillary services" function for its members back in 1973.

Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau

The Metro Vancouver committee that exercises "the executive and administrative aspects" of the function is called the Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau.

Municipalities within Metro Vancouver can choose whether they want to be participating members in the Bureau. Surrey, Richmond and Port Coquitlam are currently not participating members. And in the past two years, Burnaby, Vancouver, Delta and West Vancouver have given notice of withdrawal.  read more »

Employee’s refusal to extend Return to Work Agreement, acknowledge alcohol dependency, not just cause

In Taylor v. New Westminster (City) (Vancouver Registry S084283, August 19, 2009), the court found that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who refused to sign an extension to a Return to Work Agreement that required him to acknowledge that he had an alcohol dependency.

Background

At the time of his dismissal, the employee was 54 years old, had 16 years of service and earned a salary of approximately $90,000 per annum. He was Manager of Fleet Services, a safety sensitive position in that he supervised a team of mechanics who performed maintenance and repair work on the employer's various vehicles, including those for the fire and police departments.

Until February 2007, the employee had "an excellent work history" and the employer had "no concerns about his safety in the workplace" (para. 9).

The Incident  read more »

Judge declines to award special costs in case where unionized employee sued employer in court

The BC Supreme Court judge in Johnston v. Surrey (City), 2009 BCSC 1520, refused to award special costs in a case where a unionized employee filed a lawsuit in court against his employer alleging constructive dismissal.

Background

The long term employee filed a lawsuit in spring 2008 against the defendant employer (and a named individual) alleging that he was constructively dismissed.

Upon receipt of the Statement of Claim, the employer advised the employee of its position that:

  1. the circumstances giving rise to the constructive dismissal - a layoff -  occurred in 1995 and 1996 and thus were time barred by the limitation period set out in the BC Limitation Act; and
  2. the employee was a unionized employee and therefore the claim was not within the jurisdiction of the court.

The employee further requested that the Claim be withdrawn failing which the employer would bring an application to strike the Claim pursuant to Rule 19(24) and seek special costs  read more »

Wrongful dismissal claim denied where employee's company had contracted with the employer

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The BC Court of Appeal recently held that an individual whose company had contracted with the City of Vancouver could not maintain a personal wrongful dismissal action against the City.

Mr. Zupan was the owner of Mario Zupan Trucking Ltd. (the "Company") and was the principal driver of the Company's one truck. The Company was on the City's "hired truck list" and the City had used the company's services on an almost full-time basis for several years. Among other things, the City required that all truck operators on the list meet certain licensing, safety and registration requirements and also wear certain types of clothing. In 2001, the City removed the Company from the list because of problems with the Company's back-up driver.

The Court held that Mr. Zupan could not bring a wrongful dismissal claim against the City because there was no "legal relationship" and no "employer/employer" between Mr. Zupan and the City.  read more »