Friday, 24 January 2014

Supreme Court of Canada Provides Guidance on Summary Judgment: What it Means for the Suddenly Unemployed

After four years of waiting, the Supreme Court of Canada has weighed in on the proper interpretation and approach to Ontario’s Summary Judgment procedure. The decision is a game-changer for litigation.

In its unanimous decision in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7 (CanLII), authored by the Honourable Justice Karakatsanis, the Court has clearly said that the preferred route for disposition of lawsuits is not the trial as we know it.

For the reasons set out below, it is this author’s opinion that this decision will undoubtedly have a positive influence on the resolution of cases for the suddenly unemployed.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Can My Employer Reject My Doctor's Note?

(c) istock/BrianAJackson

Can your employer, a long-term disability insurer, or the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) legally reject your doctor’s note?

That is one of the most common questions asked by those employees who find themselves suddenly unemployed or without benefits. It is also a source of incredible anxiety and frustration. The answer is very complicated, and like everything in law, the correct answer is “it depends.”

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Costs and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario

Should the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) have the legal ability to award legal costs? Some people think so, including the Member of Provincial Parliament for Lanark--Frontenac--Lennox and Addington, the Hon. Randy Hillier.

On December 4, 2013, Bill 147 Human Rights Code Amendment Act (Awarding of Costs), 2013 passed first reading in the Ontario legislature. If passed, the amendment would grant the HRTO the discretionary ability to award legal costs of the proceeding.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Ontario Medical Association Comments on Doctors Notes

Earlier this week the Ontario Medical Association made an announcement saying that it would discourage employers from continuing to ask their employees to produce a doctor's note every time they were absent from work.

However, despite the Ontario Medical Association’s (OMA) recent statement that sick employees should not be required to provide employers with a notes from a doctor, this requirement remains at the sole discretion of each employer. So long as the sick note policy is not discriminatory in any way, (see this post from May 2013 on a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling) employers can continue to require that sick employees provide notes from doctors. Each company’s sick note policy must be specified in the company's employment policies. These policies should be explained to employees when joining the company and be easily accessible in print or electronic format.

The statement from the OMA is likely to cause some confusion amongst employees who may now feel that a sick note is no longer required. Employers who wish to continue their sick note policy should take steps to remind all employees of the policy requirements in order to avoid future disputes with staff.


As always, everyone’s situation is different. The above is not intended to be legal advice for any particular situation and it is always prudent to seek professional legal advice before taking any decisions on one’s own case.

Sean Bawden, publisher of the law blog for the suddenly unemployed, can be reached by email at sbawden@kellysantin or by phone at 613.238.6321.

Sean P. Bawden is an Ottawa, Ontario employment lawyer and wrongful dismissal lawyer practicing with Kelly Santini LLP, and part-time professor at Algonquin College teaching Trial Advocacy for Paralegals and Small Claims Court Practice. He is a trustee of the County of Carleton Law Association.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Non-Competition Clause and Injunctions: Beware What You Sign

Will the Ontario courts enforce a non-competition agreement and grant an injunction if the employee signs an agreement without legal advice? In one of the first cases released in 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has said yes.

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Three Reasons to Have an Employment Lawyer Review an Employment Contract Before You Sign It

There are a number of reasons you may wish to have an employment contract reviewed by an Ontario employment lawyer before you sign on the dotted line. This post will look at the three most important reasons prospective employees should have employment contracts professionally reviewed.