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.

Saturday 14 October 2023

Illegal Termination Provision Buried in Confidentiality Clause Voids Otherwise Valid Termination Clause

If an employment contract contains language that purports to allow the employer to terminate an employee for cause- and such language contravenes Ontario’s Employment Standards Act- does it matter where such language appears within the contract?

In Henderson v. Slavkin et al., 2022 ONSC 2964, Justice Carole J. Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice rightly found that it does not matter where within the employment contract the offending language is found- if the language is illegal, then it voids the whole of the termination provision.

Thursday 27 July 2023

The Test for Reprisal Under Section 50 of OHSA

If you have been terminated after raising health and safety concerns to your employer, you may feel that your termination was a reprisal.

You may also consider bringing a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, but how will the Board decide your case? When and how does a termination become a reprisal under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act?

A guest post by Henry Bertoia


Thursday 13 July 2023

Overtime Claim Not Limited to Statutory Timeline if One Elects to Proceed Via Civil Claim: Alberta Court of King’s Bench

A guest post by Sheldon McRae, Student-at-Law

If your employer has failed to pay you for overtime, is there a limitation period that may prohibit you from recovering what you’re owed? If so, can it be varied?

In Scheffler v Mourits Trucking Ltd , 2023 ABKB 139 Justice John S. Little of the Alberta Court of King’s Bench determined that a plaintiff could claim unpaid overtime wages in a civil suit, despite portions of their claim being statutorily barred from recovery by a limitation period in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code.