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Temporary Foreign Workers

Temporary foreign workers win sexual harassment case; one awarded $150,000 for "injury to dignity" damages

Jurisdiction: - Ontario
Sector: - Fishing

In O.P.T. v. Presteve Foods Ltd., 2015 HRTO 675 - a decision issued on May 25, 2015 - the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal ("OHRT") awarded one of the complainants $150,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings and self-respect due to the sexual solicitations and harassment that she experienced in the workplace. The other complainant was awarded $50,000 for this head of damage.

The $150,000 award is, according to the union that represented the complainants, the new high-watermark for this type of damages in Ontario and, according to some commentators, three times higher than the previous high-water mark.  read more »

Sexually assaulted nanny awarded $50,000 by BC Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In PN v. FR and another (No. 2), 2015 BCHRT 60, a nanny who was sexually assaulted and otherwise exploited by her employer, was awarded $50,000 by the BC Human Rights Tribunal for loss of dignity, feelings and self-respect. In awarding these damages the Tribunal stated as follows:

[132]      In this case, the impact of the discriminatory conduct can be seen to be severe. Although it took place over six weeks, the impact was long-lasting and impacts the complainant until now.  read more »

New Brunswick introduces "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act

Jurisdiction: - New Brunswick

The New Brunswick government has introduced "improvements" to its Employment Standards Act. This is the full news  release that was issued on Wednesday, December 3, 2013:

Improvements to Employment Standards Act introduced

The provincial government introduced today amendments to the Employment Standards Act that will improve its ability to protect foreign workers in New Brunswick.

The amendments will create an employer registry that will strengthen the communication of the provincial government with foreign workers and their employers about employment standards and the rights and responsibilities of employees and employers.

The amendment adds provisions to ensure employers only recover allowable recruitment and transportation costs from the foreign workers themselves. It clarifies legal practices with respect to foreign worker housing arrangements and the holding of personal documents such as passports and work permits.  read more »

Can a corporate employer sue a former employee for defamation?

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia - United States

In a paper they presented at the CLEBC Employment Law Conference 2013 (held on May 9 - 10, 2013 in Vancouver), Mark Hamilton and Scott MacDonald addressed whether a corporate employer can sue a former employee for defamation for making disparaging claims against their former employer.

Mr. Hamilton and Mr. MacDonald are lawyers at Richards Buell Sutton LLP in Vancouver. The title of their paper was: "Potential Claims Against Departing Employees Without Written Agreements".

Based on their paper and presentation, here are some points of note:  read more »

Nova Scotia issues "Discussion Paper on Regulations for Recruiters and Employers of Foreign Workers"

Jurisdiction: - Nova Scotia

The Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education issued a "Discussion Paper on Regulations for Recruiters and Employers of Foreign Workers" on January 16, 2012.

The Introduction of the paper states:

In June 2010, the government conducted a broad consultation on the employment of foreign workers (FWs) in Nova Scotia. Following the consultation, on May 19, 2011, the Government passed the Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, which amends the Labour Standards Code. Included among the amendments to the Code is a prohibition against charging workers (both FWs and non FWs) recruitment fees and a prohibition against recovering recruitment costs from workers. These prohibitions are now in force.  read more »

Class action claim filed by Denny's employees working in Canada under Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

A Notice of Claim under British Columbia's Class Proceeding Act has been filed against Denny's restaurants by employees working in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. The employees are originally from the Philippines,

The claim, which covers more than 50 employees, states that Denny's breached the workers' employment contracts by reducing their hours, refusing to pay overtime and failing to pay for their round-trip airfare back to the Philippines.

The Province has a story here: "Filipino workers' class action says Denny's owes $10m" (January 12, 2011).

The Georgia Strait's story is here: "Foreign workers file class-action lawsuit against Denny's restaurants in B.C." (January 11, 2011).  read more »

"Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Information Technology Specialists"

Sector: - Film & TV - High Tech

Jennifer Ervick, a lawyer at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP in Winnipeg, has written a brief entitled, "Temporary Foreign Worker Program - Information Technology Specialists" (June 2010).

The brief highlights the fact that, "On September 30, 2010 the temporary foreign worker program for information technology (IT) specialists will come to an end (except for employers wanting to hire foreign workers for positions in Quebec)".

The brief further notes that there have been seven occupations covered by the program:

  1. Senior Animation Effects Editor
  2. Embedded Systems Software Designer 
  3. MIS Software Designer 
  4. Multimedia Software Developer 
  5. Software Developer Services
  6. Software Products Developer
  7. Telecommunications Software Designer

Temporary foreign workers still needed for certain occupations

An article in today's Vancouver Sun reported that despite the downturn in the economy and rising unemployment, some sectors are still looking for temporary foreign workers to fill certain occupations. Two occupations mentioned by name in the article were community care workers in northern BC and Alberta, as well as room attendants.