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Jordan Kirkness advises and represents employers in all areas of labour and employment law. Jordan is experienced in litigation, negotiation, and compliance, and he is committed to identifying the most practical, cost-effective and permanent solution in each case. Before joining Baker McKenzie in 2013, Jordan practiced at a large, full-service firm in Vancouver. He has been called to the bar in both British Columbia and Ontario, and he regularly represents employers with operations in multiple Canadian jurisdictions.

On June 19, 2017, five years after “gender identity” and “gender expression” were added as protected grounds of discrimination in Ontario’s Human Rights Code, the Federal government has added “gender identity” and “gender expression” to the Canadian Human Rights Act. Continue Reading Federal Government Adds “Gender Identity” And “Gender Expression” to Canadian Human Rights Act

We recently wrote about the Ontario government’s proposed changes to the province’s employment standards and labour relations legislation – see our blog posts here and here. On June 1, 2017, the Minister of Labour, the Honourable Kevin Flynn, introduced legislation to affect these changes. Continue Reading Early Approval Across Party Lines for ESA & LRA Amending Legislation

Further to our recent blog post about the Ontario government’s reform of the employment standards legislation through The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, employers can also expect significant changes to the legislation governing unionized workplaces. The key changes proposed in respect of Ontario’s Labour Relations Act (“LRA”) concern union certification, bargaining unit structure, first contracts, just cause protection, return-to-work rights and procedures, successor rights, and fines for individuals and organizations, which are summarized below. Continue Reading Ontario Set to Make Significant Changes to Labour Relations Act

The Ontario government has announced that it will introduce legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, in the coming days to reform the province’s employment standards legislation. The announcement follows last week’s release of the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report which contained a myriad of recommendations for reforms to benefit employees.[1]

The key changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) that the government has indicated will be included in the proposed legislation are summarized below. Continue Reading Ontario Responds Quickly to Strengthen ESA

On May 23, 2017, Ontario’s long-anticipated Changing Workplaces Review Final Report (“Report”) was released.  The Report contains 173 recommendations for changes to the province’s employment standards and labour relations laws.

The final recommendations would, if legislated, have a significant impact on the application of labour and employment laws to franchised businesses operating in Ontario.  To help businesses prepare for the possibility of these significant reforms, we have summarized below the recommendations that would most significantly impact the franchise industry. Continue Reading Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review Takes Aim at Franchise Industry

To ring in the New Year, we highlight the ten most significant developments in Canadian labour and employment law in 2016: Continue Reading Top 10 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2016

Minimum wages continue to rise across Canada. Recent increases have been implemented in British Columbia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. As well, Alberta’s NDP government has continued to pursue its goal of a $15 per hour minimum wage by 2018 by implementing incremental increases. Several other provinces will see a further increase in their minimum wage in April. Continue Reading Minimum Wage Update: Increases in AB, BC, ON, PEI and SK

On July 15, 2016, we wrote about the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy, 2016 SCC 29 (“Wilson”). In that case, the SCC held that most federally-regulated, non-union employees with 12 or more consecutive months of service can only be dismissed for “just cause”. See our earlier blog post here.

Following the Wilson decision, many federal employers were left wondering whether they still have the right to downsize or impose layoffs in response to a decline in their business. Such employers will be happy to learn that “downsizing” imposed for legitimate business reasons is still possible (subject to certain restrictions). Under s. 242(3.1)(a) of the Canada Labour Code, RSC, 1985, c L-2 (the “Code“), an adjudicator will not consider the complaint of an employee who has been laid off due to a “lack of work” or “discontinuance of a function”. Continue Reading Federal Employers May “Downsize” Despite Recent SCC Decision

Key elements of Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016 (“Bill 132”) come into force today, amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). As a result, employers are required to implement comprehensive policies, programs, and investigative procedures to address workplace harassment. Bill 132 also expands the definition of “workplace harassment” to include “workplace sexual harassment”. Continue Reading Employers Take Note: OHSA Amendments Under Bill 132 are Now in Force!

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that most federally-regulated, non-union employees can only be dismissed for “just cause” after 12 consecutive months of service (Wilson v. Atomic Energy, 2016 SCC 29). As a result of this decision, it is now clear that employees who are regulated under Part III of the Canada Labour Code cannot, following their first year of employment, simply be provided with termination notice or pay in lieu, absent a compelling reason for terminating the employment relationship. Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada: A Dismissal “Without Cause” is an “Unjust Dismissal” (Part III of the Canada Labour Code)