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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.

In 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that, before employees in safety sensitive positions can be subjected to random drug and alcohol testing, it must be established that there is a general problem of substance abuse in the workplace (see our article summarizing that decision here)But what evidence is relevant to this inquiry? Should the employer consider its entire industry, its particular worksites, or just the employees in a particular bargaining unit? Continue Reading Alberta Court of Appeal Weighs in on Evidence Supporting Random Testing

Ontario’s Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, continues to move through the legislative process. On September 12, 2017, the Second Reading of Bill 148 commenced. To bring you up to speed on the current proposals, and in addition to our previous articles here and here, we provide the following overview of the key changes that are currently proposed. Continue Reading Bill 148: Update on Key Changes

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 new requirements for employers to implement comprehensive policies, programs, and investigative procedures to address workplace harassment under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) ‒ see our blog post here. Failing to comply with the OHSA can result in a substantial fine. Employees now also have a green light to bring a civil action in relation to workplace harassment as a result of a recent decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Continue Reading Employees Now Able to Sue for Workplace Harassment

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