Unions & Labour Relations

In a recent blog post, we wrote about Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act which seeks to amend Ontario’s existing employment standards and labour relations legislation. Since then, Bill 148 has continued to move through the legislative process with committee hearings being held throughout the summer to discuss further changes to the Bill before it may be passed into law.

The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs met on August 21, 2017. A number of proposals were put forward. The following is a summary of the motions that were passed and will be incorporated into Bill 148. Continue Reading Bill 148: Standing Committee Meeting Signals Changes to ESA & LRA Amendments

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

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

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

In what looked outwardly as a mercurial development, management of the union local that represents Toronto Transit Commission workers was itself subject to discipline and it didn’t involve the proverbial requisite remedial form that unions promulgate to employers. Incestuously, this was Big Brother telling a younger — and foreign — sibling to ‘leave the sandbox’ immediately: “TTC union heads fired in power battle with U.S. union.” The Globe and Mail, 3 February 2017.  Continue Reading ‘Disturbance in the Force’: When Unions Look Inward

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

Does the workplace extend into cyberspace?  In a precedent setting decision with potentially far-reaching implications, a labour arbitrator has found an employer liable for failing to protect its workers from harassment and discrimination in customer posts on the employer’s Twitter account (Toronto Transit Commission and ATU, Local 113, 2016 CarswellOnt 10550).  Employers using social media to communicate with clients, customers or the general public may need to rethink how to they respond to uncivil, abusive or threatening online posts targeting their workers. Continue Reading Are Employers Responsible for Protecting Their Employees on Social Media? “Yes” According to a Recent Decision

On January 11, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS“) heard oral arguments in Freidrichs v California Teachers Association. If questions from the bench are any indication of the Court’s perspective on the matter, public sector unions in the United States may be in trouble.

Freidrichs considers whether California State law requiring non-union members to pay “agency fees” violates the first amendment right to freedom of speech. Agency fees are charged to cover the cost of services performed by the union on behalf of all employees – in particular, collective bargaining activities.

Continue Reading What if I Don’t Want to Join the Club: Skepticism Rising on Mandatory (Public) Union Fees

On December 10, 2015, Bill 109, the Employment and Labour Statute Law Amendment Act, 2015 (the “Act“) received Royal Assent. The Act introduces new labour relations provisions for two large groups of employees in Ontario: firefighters and public sector employees. Most significantly, the Act also amends the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 (“WSIA“), increasing employer liability (retroactively, in some cases) regarding workers’ compensation claims and survivor death benefits.

Continue Reading Retroactive Liability and Other Amendments to Labour and Employment Legislation in Ontario