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Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada modifies law on Wallace Damages

On June 27, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its much anticipated decision in Honda Canada Inc. v. Keays 2008 SCC 39.

In the decision, which some view as a victory for employers, the court modified the manner in which Wallace damages are calculated and provided further clarification on when they, along punitive damages, should be awarded in the employment context.

As part of its analysis on Wallace damages, the SCC also provided some guidance to employers on the extent of their right to medical information in accommodation cases.


Mr. Keays had been employed by Honda for 14 years when his employment was terminated in March 2000. At the time, he was in a data entry position.  read more »

"Mitigation in Wrongful Dismissal: 30 Years after Michaels v. Red Deer College"

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

Christopher R. Forguson, of TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies, presented a paper on "Mitigation in Wrongful Dismissal: 30 Years after Michaels v. Red Deer College" (April 2008) at the Employment Law Conference - 2008. The conference was held in Vancouver and organized by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC.

Supreme Court of Canada clarifies when duty to mitigate requires returning to work with same employer

Jurisdiction: - Yukon
Sector: - Unions

In Evans v. Teamsters Local Union No. 31, 2008 SCC 20, which involved a long-serving business agent of the Teamsters Local Union No. 31, the Supreme Court of Canada clarified that there is no principled reason to distinguish between wrongful dismissal and constructive dismissal situations when evaluating the employee's duty to mitigate his or her damages.

Although in some instances the relationship between the employee and the employer will be less damaged where constructive rather than wrongful dismissal has occurred, this will not always be the case. The nature of the employee/employer relationship will need to be assessed on a case by case basis when evaluating the reasonableness of the employee's mitigation efforts.

Under both scenarios, it will be necessary in some circumstances for the dismissed employee to mitigate his or her damages by returning to work for the same employer.

As further set out in the case headnote:  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).