Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Legality of Taking Away Paid Breaks and Benefits

(c) istock/MatthewSinger

Unless one has been living under a rock, and perhaps even if one has, it would be hard to have missed the controversy surrounding the decision of one Tim Horton’s franchise to make certain changes to the terms of its employees’ employment. Because the internet needs the opinion of one more person, let’s have a look at what happened and the legality (not necessarily the morality) of same.

Friday, 5 January 2018

Workers Now Eligible for WSIB Benefits for Chronic Mental Stress and Workplace Harassment

(c) istock/AntonioGuillem

On May 17, 2017, the Stronger, Healthier Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, S.O. 2017 C.8 , formerly Bill 127, received Royal Assent. That act, which was omnibus legislation, amended no fewer than 48 statutes, including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. This post will focus on the changes to that statute.

Pursuant to Schedule 33 of the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, employees eligible for Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) benefits, are now eligible to make claims for “chronic or traumatic mental stress arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment”

On December 14, 2017, the Stronger, Fairer Ontario Act (Budget Measures), 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 177, received Royal Assent. That act, which was also omnibus legislation, amended no fewer than 110 statutes, including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997. This statute further amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 with respect to claims for chronic or traumatic mental stress.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Enhanced Vacation Entitlements After Five Years – What Counts as Five Years?

(c) istock/Ekaterina79

Amongst the changes ushered in by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 148, is the provision of three weeks of paid vacation after five years of employment.

But what counts in the computation of those five years? Are seasonal workers who work every season, but not continuously, going to add together their time? What about someone who left and then returned? How long is five years?

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Top Five Cases of Importance to Ontario Employment Law - 2017 Edition

(c) istock/TimArbaev

2017 has been an incredibly busy year for Ontario employment law practitioners. In addition to the changes to the common law brought about by the decisions considered in this post, one would be foolish to omit any reference to the sweeping changes recently ushered in by the Wynne government as a result of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22 (“Bill 148”). Readers wishing more information about those legislative changes should consider this post: Bill 148 and Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

The point of this blog post, however, is to consider what I consider to be the “Top Five Cases of Importance to Ontario Employment Law”. I have produced such a list since 2012:

And so, with another year coming to a close, it is once again time for this Ontario employment lawyer to provide his picks for the (trumpets, please)… Top Five Cases of Importance to Ontario Employment Law.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Statutory Right to Paid Sick Leave and What Constitutes “Evidence Reasonable in the Circumstances”

Amongst the changes ushered in by the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22, formerly Bill 148, is the provision of two paid days of “personal emergency leave”. For most people, this translates into two paid days of ‘sick leave’.

Although previously provided as subsection 50(7), newly minted subsection 50(12) of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 will provide that, “Subject to subsection (13), an employer may require an employee who takes leave under this section to provide evidence reasonable in the circumstances that the employee is entitled to the leave.”

The catch is newly added subsection 50(13), which provides that, “An employer shall not require an employee to provide a certificate from a qualified health practitioner as evidence under subsection (12).” Read: an employer cannot require an employee to produce a doctor’s note in order to prove that the employee was entitled to take such paid sick leave / personal emergency leave.

This got me thinking, if employers cannot ask for a doctor’s note, then what qualifies as “evidence reasonable in the circumstances”.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Bill 148 and Changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000

(c) istock/JHVEPhoto

On November 22, 2017, the Ontario Government passed Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, S.O. 2017 C.22. The Bill received Royal Assent on November 27, 2017.

The Bill amends several statutes:

  • Colleges Collective Bargaining Act
  • Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1993
  • Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009
  • Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • Labour Relations Act, 1995
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • Public Sector Dispute Resolution Act, 1997
  • Public Sector Labour Relations Transition Act, 1997
  • School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014

The post will focus primarily on the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the implications to Ontario employment law, rather than labour law.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Ontario Court Allows Random Drug Testing to Continue Pending Labour Grievance

(c) istock/milla1974

Can they pee test me? In any discussion that I have concerning the legalization of cannabis, this is the question employees want answered. “Can I pee test them?” Is the question to which employers want answers.

In yet another case to look at the issue of random drug and alcohol tests, Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v Toronto Transit Commission, 2017 ONSC 2078 (CanLII), Associate Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Frank Marrocco ruled that the TTC could continue its program of random testing pending the resolution of a labour grievance filed by the union.