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Criminal Charges & Convictions

BC arbitrator addresses whether existing employees can be required to submit to periodic criminal record checks

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Public Safety

In the May 14, 2010 labour arbitration decision in Vancouver (City) v. Vancouver Firefighters' Union, Local 18 (Police Records Checks Grievance), [2010] B.C.C.A.A.A. No. 81, a BC arbitrator addressed whether an employer could introduce a policy that would require unionized employees in certain designated positions to submit to updated criminal record checks every five years.

Jennifer Roper, at Roper Greyell in Vancouver, has written an article about this decision ("Can Employees be Required to Submit to Criminal Record Checks?") for the firm's September 2010 newsletter.  read more »

"Background Check Program a Reasonable Exercise of Management Rights"

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

Hadiya Roderique, a lawyer at Fasken Martineau in Ontario, has written a bulletin entitled "Background Check Program a Reasonable Exercise of Management Rights" (August 4, 2010).

The bulletin provides a case summary of the decision of Arbitrator Watters in Re Diageo Canada Inc. and C.A.W.-Canada, Local 2098 (January 20 2010).

"The Criminalization of Health and Safety Law: Workplace Deaths Leads to Charges"

Ontario lawyer Carl W. Peterson has written a paper on, "The Criminalization of Health and Safety Law: Workplace Deaths Leads to Charges" (June 2010). Mr. Peterson practices at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP in Ontario.

The paper addresses Bil C-45 and covers the following topics:  read more »

Top 10 Canadian Cases on Workplace Privacy in Unionized Employment

Lancaster House presented an audio-conference last Thursday (May 13, 2010) on the "Top 10 Cases on Workplace Privacy in the Unionized Workplace". The cases covered  - there were more than 10 - were:

 read more »

"Pre-Employment Screening: Changes to the Criminal Records Check Process"

"Pre-Employment Screening: Changes to the Criminal Records Check Process" is the title of an article published today by law firm McCarthy Tetrault. The article addresses an Interim Policy Statement that has been issued by the RCMP concerning processes and procedures for criminal records checks. The article can be read here.

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 »

Steelworkers union launches private prosecution against Weyerhaeuser under Bill C-45 Criminal Code amendments

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Forestry

The United Steelworkers ("USW") union launched a private prosecution in BC yesterday alleging that Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. was criminally negligent in the death of sawmill worker Lyle Hewer on November 17, 2004.

The charges are being brought pursuant to the rarely used 2004 Bill C-45 amendments to the Criminal Code, which were introduced after the deaths of 26 Nova Scotia coal miners at the Westray mine in 1992.

The amendments open the door for a corporation to be charged criminally for not meeting its workplace health and safety obligations.

According to the USW news release:

The charge is based on an allegation that Hewer died as a result of injuries incurred at Weyerhaeuser's New West Division sawmill, after following a supervisor's request to work under conditions the employer knew were hazardous. Hewer was taken to the Royal Columbian Hospital in New Westminster where he succumbed to his injuries.  read more »

Update on the Bill C-45 health and safety amendments to the Criminal Code

Jurisdiction: - Quebec
Sector: - Manufacturing

The 2004 "Bill C-45" amendments to the Criminal Code opened the door for an organization to be charged criminally for not meeting its workplace health and safety obligations.

There has only been one criminal conviction under the amendments since they were introduced, according to an article on "Criminal Negligence and the Corporation" in the winter edition of the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association magazine written by Toronto lawyer Pradeep Chand.

Transpave, Inc. , a concrete block manufacturer near Montreal, pled guilty to criminal negligence causing death in December 2007. The charges were brought in relation to a 2005 workplace accident in which a 23 year-old Transpave employee was crushed to death while trying to clear a jam in a machine.

Transpave was subsequently fined $100,000 by the Quebec court, which was the amount that Crown counsel and the lawyer for the company had jointly agreed was appropriate.

(Note: The federal government's Plain Language Guide to Bill C-45, which appears to have been written before it was passed, can be found here).