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Supreme Court of Canada

SCC: Wal-Mart's decision to close recently unionized store in Quebec violated "statutory freeze" provisions

In United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v. Wal‑Mart Canada Corp. 2014 SCC 45, a 5/2 majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Wal-Mart's decision to close a recently unionized store in Jonquière, Quebec violated the "statutory freeze" provisions found in Section 59 of the Quebec Labour Code.

The case headnote is as follows:   read more »

Alberta Privacy Commissioner pens letter regarding how to make Alberta PIPA constitutionally compliant

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA") violated section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and could not be saved under section 1 of the Charter. See my full entry on this cae here: "SCC rules that AB PIPA violates freedom of expression in the labour relations context; PIPA struck down".

In a letter that was published on January 14, 2014, the Alberta Information and Privacy Commissioner has now advised the Alberta government on what changes she thinks should be made to the Alberta PIPA to allow it to be constitutionally compliant. The letter, dated December 20, 2013, can be found here.

Supreme Court of Canada confirms that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages

Sector: - High Tech

In IBM Canada Limited v. Waterman, 2013 SCC 70, the majority (7/2) of the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that pension benefits should not be deducted from notice period damages. In doing so, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decisions of the BC Court of Appeal and the BC Supreme Court. My summary of the BC Supreme Court's ruling, which sets out the facts, can be found here.

In the majority ruling the Supreme Court of Canada summarized its ruling as follows:  read more »

"Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013" according to Cassels Brock & Blackwell

The law firm of Cassels Brock & Blackwell has issued their, "Top 10 Employment And Labour Law Cases In 2013". 

The cases on their list are set below. Note: the summaries with the cases are mostly my word-for-word cut and paste's from the original article:

1. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that random alcohol testing in the workplace is prohibited unless the employer can prove that, in addition to having a dangerous workplace, there are other pressing factors such as an overt substance abuse problem in the workplace.

2. Pate Estate v. Harvey (Township), 2013 ONCA 669

The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed that the Township employer had severely mistreated the dismissed employee, but reduced the punitive damages award from $550,000 to $450,000.  read more »

SCC rules that AB PIPA violates freedom of expression in the labour relations context; PIPA struck down

Jurisdiction: - Alberta

In Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA") violated section 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and could not be saved under section 1 of the Charter.

Specifically, the Court stated:

37. PIPA imposes restrictions on a union's ability to communicate and persuade the public of its cause, impairing its ability to use one of its most effective bargaining strategies in the course of a lawful strike.  In our view, this infringement of the right to freedom of expression is disproportionate to the government's objective of providing individuals with control over personal information that they expose by crossing a picketline.  read more »

SCC: Restrictive covenant rules differ depending on whether tied to sale of business or employment contract

In Payette v. Guay inc., 2013 SCC 45,  the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that the rules applicable to restrictive covenants differ depending on whether the covenants are tied to a sale of a business or to an employment contract. For more information on this case, see my previous entry here: "SCC to hear Quebec case on impact of sale of business, wrongful dismissal on enforceability of non-compete".