Saturday 24 February 2024

Employers Do Not Have the Right to Terminate Employees "At Any Time"

Do Ontario employers have the right to terminate an employee’s employment “at any time” and in their “sole discretion”?

In Dufault v. The Corporation of the Township of Ignace, 2024 ONSC 1029, the Honourable Madam Justice H. M Pierce of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice sitting at Thunder Bay held that they do not.

Thursday 4 January 2024

No Implied Term in Employment for Layoff for COVID State of Emergency

By now one might have thought that the issue of whether an employer had the legal right to layoff an employee in the face of the COVID 19 pandemic would have been resolved. And yet in the case of Webb v. SDT North America, 2023 ONSC 7170, heard June 12, 2023, with further written submissions delivered September 8, 2023, and September 29, 2023, with reasons for decision released on December 19, 2023, the court was once again asked the question of whether a “COVID layoff” constituted as dismissal.

Saturday 16 December 2023

Redefining My Narrative: Collaborating with ChatGPT to Craft My Legal Journey

I asked ChatGPT 4 to read my existing bios and then ask me 20 questions, here is what it produced:

As an experienced trial lawyer and a trusted advisor in employment law and commercial disputes, my career has been a journey of growth and adaptation. My time as the Director of Litigation & Employment for a publicly listed corporation was pivotal, where I focused on preventing disputes and advocating globally for my clients.

In private practice, my expertise spans all aspects of employment law, including wrongful dismissal, workplace harassment, and human rights. I've counseled clients through mergers, acquisitions, and dispositions, always aiming for quick and favorable resolutions.

I have appeared before numerous courts and administrative boards, including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and managed litigation before foreign bodies like the United States District Court and the British Columbia Supreme Court. My work extends to international tribunals like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

As the publisher of "Labour Pains," I take pride in the blog's recognition and its influence on employment law, including its citation by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The blog's induction into the Canadian Law Blog Hall of Fame is a testament to its impact.

My educational background from York University and the University of Ottawa laid the foundation for my legal career, and my calling to the Ontario Bar in 2008 marked the beginning of my professional journey.

My approach to law is knowledge-led, focusing on the current state and objectives of the law, and advocating for necessary changes. I am driven by the belief in being open to change, as life and career paths are non-linear.

Outside my professional life, I'm inquisitive, constantly seeking to learn more about the world. This thirst for knowledge keeps me balanced and makes me a more effective advocate.

As I look to the future, I aim to expand my adjudicative work and consider the possibility of a judicial appointment. My journey in law is one of continuous learning, adaptability, and a commitment to justice and fairness.

Saturday 25 November 2023

I Asked ChatGPT to Summarize the Court’s Decision in Bardal v Globe and Mail. This is What Happened.

Unless one has been living under a rock, it would be hard to have missed the discussion concerning ChatGPT.

But until recently, I had not experimented with it. Two days ago, I finally gave in and gave it a shot. After playing around with it, I decided to see what would happen if I tried to use it to summarize a court decision for this blog.

I elected to start with a well-known and short decision: The 1960 decision of the Ontario High Court in Bardal v. Globe, 1960 CanLII 294 (ON SC).

Here is what happened.

Sunday 15 October 2023

Province of Ontario Grants Province’s Publicly Assisted Post-Secondary Institutions Unfettered Discretion to Address Sexual Misconduct; Bans NDAs

If an employee of one of Ontario’ publicly-assisted universities or colleges of applied arts and technology commits an act of sexual misconduct toward a student of an institution, what penalty should or must apply?

Owing to a recent change in the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities Act, the answer is entirely within the hands of the institution with some very serious consequences, including permanent exclusion from being re-employed by the dismissing institution.

Moreover, the law provides that, subject to the rights of the student to request otherwise, an agreement between an institution and any person, including a collective agreement or an agreement settling existing or contemplated litigation, shall not contain any term that, directly or indirectly, prohibits the institution or any person related to the institution from disclosing that an allegation or complaint has been made that an employee of the institution committed an act of sexual misconduct toward a student of the institution.

Additionally, the law provides that the new rules apply despite “any contrary term in an employment contract or collective agreement, or any contrary rule or principle of common law or equity” specifically including, but not limited to subsection 48 (17) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 and subsection 14 (17) of the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act, 2008.