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Disability

Ontario HR Tribunal dismisses human rights application where employee also filed wrongful dismissal court claim

Jurisdiction: - Ontario

In Jarrett v. Vance, 2012 HRTO 24, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal dismissed a human rights application where the employee had also filed a wrongful dismissal claim in court.

In reaching this decision, the Tribunal stated:

I am satisfied that the applicant's Statement of Claim and this Application are based on the same facts and that both assert the same type of allegations, as well as seek similar remedies. In fact, the applicant's narrative in both the Application and the Statement of Claim are virtually identical. While the Statement of Claim makes no explicit reference to the Code, it is clear that the applicant's allegations concern the same events that are alleged to constitute discrimination and reprisal in the Application and that both assert the same rights with respect to unfair dismissal and failure to provide work  read more »

Court considers right to terminate disability benefits for failure to attend Independent Medical Exam

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Retail Trade

In Nayyar v. Manufacturers Life Insurance Company/La Compagnie D'Assurance Manufactures, 2012 BCSC 28, the BC Supreme Court considered the right of the employer/disability plan administrator/insurer to terminate an employee's disability benefits for failing to attend an Independent Medical Exam ("IME").

Of specific value is this overview of the law on IME's that the court set out:

[120]     Given the continuing nature of a claim under a disability policy, an insurer is entitled to information concerning the insured in order to properly assess the claimant's ongoing entitlement to receive disability benefits: Paul Revere Life Insurance Company v. Patterson, 2002 BCSC 138 (CanLII), 2002 BCSC 138 at para. 12, 99 B.C.L.R. (3d) 189.  read more »

"Accommodating Employees Who Have Made LTD Claims"

"Accommodating Employees Who Have Made LTD Claims" (undated) is the title of a paper written by Lauren M. Bernardi, at Bernardi Human Resources Law.

BC's WCB Act to be amended to broaden coverage for mental stress conditions arising in workplace

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

The British Columbia Government has introduced amendments to the Workers Compensation Act that, among other features, broaden compensation coverage for mental stress conditions arising in the workplace.

The amendments were introduced in the legislature on November 3, 2011. In the government's news release, Minister of Labour, Citizens' Services and Open Government Margaret MacDiarmid states:

Our government recognizes that we need to treat job-related mental stress the same way we treat physical illness and injuries. We know mental stress has a significant impact on workers, their families and their workplace.

The Ministry's Backgrounder that accompanied the news release states:

What are the effects of mental stress?

Since mental stress most often results in physical and psychological symptoms, it has a significant effect on workers and their families.  read more »

CSA commences consultations on voluntary national standard for Psychological Health and Safety in Workplace

The Canadian Standards Association ("CSA") announced yesterday that it is commencing consultations on the development of a voluntary "National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace".

The CSA's November 2, 2011 news release provides:

As the leading cause of short and long term disability in Canadian workplaces, psychological health and safety impacts in Canada are substantial.

However, in 2012 Canadian employers will have increased support for improving the psychological health and safety of their employees with the development of a National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace. All Canadians are welcome to participate in a 60‐day public consultation that began November 1, 2011. The close of the Public Review period has been extended from December 31, 2011 to January 6, 2012. All comments are due by January 6, 2012.  read more »

No free-standing duty to treat employee “fairly and with due respect for dignity" during accommodation process

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Health Care

In Emergency Health Services Commission v. Cassidy, 2011 BCSC 100, the BC Supreme Court ruled that there was no free-standing procedural obligation on an employer to treat an employee “fairly, and with due respect for his dignity" during the duty to accommodate process, the failure of which could ground an award of damages.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal had previously ruled in this case that while accommodating the employee's physical disability would have represented an undue hardship to the employer, the employer was still liable for damages to the employee for failing to treat him fairly and with due respect for his dignity during the duty to accommodate process.

The damages awarded by the Tribunal included an award of $22,500 for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect. 

The Tribunal's decisions can be found here:  read more »

Harper commits Conservatives to tax break for EI premiums; Ignatieff promises CPP measures from Liberals

Work related issues have been front and centre of the federal election campaign the last two days. Yesterday, Stephen Harper committed the Conservatives to a tax break for Employment Insurance  premiums. Today, Michael Ignatieff promised three different measures by the Liberals to improve the Canada Pension Plan.

Specifically, the March 29, 2011 announcement ("Harper Announces Hiring Credit for Small Business") on the Conservatives' website stated that:  read more »