In the recent decision of Covenoho v. Pendylum Ltd., 2017 ONCA 284, the Ontario Court of Appeal put an end to any debate about the enforceability of termination provisions in employment agreements that may violate minimum employment standards legislation in the future. The takeaway for employers from the case is as simple as it is noteworthy: a termination provision that breaches minimum employment standards legislation in the future – even if compliant at the time of the employee’s termination from employment – is void and therefore will not be enforced. Continue Reading Into the Void: Potential Future Violations of ESA Sufficient to Set Aside Employment Contract

Recently, we discussed employees’ attempts to obtain health plan coverage for medical marijuana (you can find the post here). In the midst of speculation surrounding the Federal government’s soon-to-be-released legislation on recreational marijuana use, one Canadian employer has announced that it will cover prescription cannabis under its employee health benefits plan. Loblaws has taken the lead in this area and will now accept claims from its employees for marijuana prescriptions. Continue Reading “Puff, Puff…. Give” — Employees Can Now Claim Benefit Coverage for Medical Marijuana

Random drug and alcohol testing for most Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employees can proceed following a decision of Justice Marrocco denying the ATU Local 113’s application for an injunction earlier this week. The ruling permits the TTC to test 10,000 of its 14,000 employees, including those deemed to be in “safety-sensitive” jobs, as well as those in designated management positions and all executives (including CEO Andy Byford) under the TTC’s Fitness for Duty Policy (the Policy). Continue Reading ‘Breathe Here’ – Toronto Transit Commission Can Randomly Test Employees

On March 22, 2017, the Canadian Federal Government released Budget 2017: Building a Strong Middle Class (“Budget 2017”) which proposes more flexible parental, maternity and caregiving leaves and Employment Insurance (“EI”) benefits to support employees in balancing work and their family responsibilities. Continue Reading Federal Budget Changes to Parental, Maternity & Caregiving Leaves

The US Transportation Security Administration has announced that by 3 AM EDT on March 25, 2017, passengers on flights to the US from 10 specific airports will be required to check any electronic devices larger than a smartphone. The affected airports are all in North Africa and the Middle East, and include some of the most frequently used airports among international business travelers. As a result, employees who might otherwise plan to work on the plane will be limited to those tasks that can be performed either from their phones or on paper. Employers should communicate these restrictions to employees who travel internationally so they can be better prepared. For further information, read here.

On March 6, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) with an effective date of March 16, 2017 that repeals the prior EO. The current EO contains an updated travel ban including Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Iraq is not included. For further takeaways from the EO, read here.

On February 20, 2017, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly issued two Memoranda that outline how DHS plans to implement the Executive Orders on border security and interior immigration enforcement signed by President Trump on January 25, 2017. Our US colleague recently authored an article that examines the potential impact of the DHS guidelines on employers with employees located in the US along with recommended actions for these employers. The article may be accessed here.

While President Trump’s Executive Order temporarily banning certain foreign nationals from entry into the United States is dominating the headlines these days, employers who have employees with US passports now have something else to worry about. Under a 2015 law, the State Department has the right to revoke a US taxpayer’s passport for nonpayment of delinquent Federal taxes. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently published guidance to provide an understanding of how the law may apply in practice. For our analysis of the IRS guidance and our recommended actions for employers, read here.

Baker McKenzie is proud to have sponsored the Washington DC premiere of the film “I am Jane Doe” on February 7, 2017. The film is a highly anticipated documentary chronicling an ongoing battle against the trafficking of minors. The Washington premiere was part the McCain Institute’s 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Symposium. Baker McKenzie’s Peter MacKay welcomed the audience followed by Cindy McCain, who provided opening remarks. There was a post-film panel discussion with US Senators Heidi Heitkamp, John McCain, Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman, and the film’s director, Mary Mazzio, with broadcast journalist Perri Peltz acting as moderator. The Canadian premiere of the film is planned for Toronto in March.

For more information about the film, please follow this link.

The mass resignation of the Executive Committee of the Board of the Ontario Medical Association is not ‘abandoning ship’: the individual members are remaining on the Board of Directors because “They have a wealth of experience and knowledge that would be a significant loss to us if they were to leave the Board. The Executive Committee is making this choice in the hope that this will help unify doctors and advance the interests of the profession at this critical juncture”: “Ontario Medical Association head resigns following no-confidence vote.” The Globe and Mail, 6 February 2017. Continue Reading “Too Legit to Quit”: When a Board Executive Resigns, Sort Of