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Juliette Mestre is a an associate within Baker McKenzie's Employment and Compensation Law Practice Group in Toronto. Juliette joined the Firm in 2020 as a summer student before completing her Ontario articles of clerkship.

Juliette advises employers on a broad range of labour, employment and human rights matters, providing practical legal and business advice to both domestic and international private and public sector clients.

Special thanks to our articling student Mario Lofranco for contributing to this update.

In a previous blog post, we discussed the proposed changes that Bill 149 would bring to several employment statutes, building on the Working for Workers Acts, 2021, 2022, and 2023.

Bill 149 received royal assent on March

Special thanks to co-presenter Sarah Mavula.

Quebec’s Bill 96 significantly expanded existing French language requirements under Quebec’s Charter of the French language, including new translation requirements for a wide range of employment documents. Similarly, the treatment of commercial standard form contracts (or contracts of adhesion) must now be translated into French first, even if the parties agree to

In this 75-minute “quick hits” style session, our team provided practical advice to Canadian in-house counsel and human resources leaders and addressed what to keep top-of-mind for 2024.

Among other topics, we discussed:

  • Implications of Pay Transparency Legislation in British Columbia and
  • To wrap up 2023, we have highlighted the key developments in Canadian labour and employment law, with a focus on Ontario.

    1. Ontario’s Working for Workers Acts

    In 2023, the Ontario government continued building on previous legislation by passing Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023, and introducing Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. These two bills are the latest in a series of legislative changes expanding employee rights which started with Bill 27 and Bill 88, passed in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

    Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023, received royal assent on October 26, 2023. Some of its key changes include:

    • The inclusion of remote employees in the head count for mass termination thresholds under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA“);
    • An increase from $1.5 million to $2 million in the maximum fine that may be imposed on a corporation under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act; and
    • An expansion of eligibility criteria for reservist leave to include employees in treatment, recovery or rehabilitation for an illness or injury resulting from participation in certain reservist operations or activities.

    Please consult our previous blog post for more detailed information on this Bill.

    If passed, Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023, which carried second reading on November 23, 2023 and was referred to a standing committee on social policy, would also introduce significant changes to a number of Ontario employment-related statutes. Among them, the Bill would require employers to disclose pay information in job postings (i.e., expected compensation or a range of expected compensation), and whether they use artificial intelligence in the hiring process. Additionally, and in an effort to eliminate discriminatory requirements towards immigrants, employers would also be prohibited from requiring Canadian experience. For more information on these changes, please read our previous blog post on the topic. 

    2. Legislative Push for Pay Transparency in Canada

    The past year has also seen a growing pay transparency trend, both in Canada and abroad, intended to help bridge the pay gap for historically-disadvantaged groups. Among the latest developments in this area, British Columbia passed the Pay Transparency Act, creating new obligations for employers to disclose certain pay information in publicly-advertised job postings, and to prepare annual pay transparency reports if they qualify as a “reporting employer” under the legislation. This new law also prohibits reprisal against employees for discussing or inquiring about their pay or for asking the employer to comply with its statutory pay transparency obligations.

    Other provinces, including Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island have passed similar legislation. We covered this pay transparency trend in greater detail in two blog posts, accessible here and here. Ontario is also expected to amend the ESA to require the disclosure of certain pay information in job postings as part of Bill 179, as discussed above.  

    3. New Tort of Harassment

    Alberta recently became the first Canadian province to recognize the tort of harassment. The development is significant because it departs from Ontario and British Columbia, which have declined to recognize the tort.

    In Alberta Health Services v Johnston2023 ABKB 209, the Alberta Court of King’s Bench recognized the tort of harassment because the harm in question could not be adequately addressed by any existing torts.  In this case, Alberta Health Services (“AHS”) and two of its senior employees sued Mr. Johnston for defamation, invasion of privacy, assault and harassment. Mr. Johnston, an online talk show host and mayoral candidate, used his talk show to frequently criticize the AHS’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He referred to the AHS as Nazis and suggested that they should be subject to violent attacks. He targeted one AHS employee, Ms. Nunn, by sharing photos from her social media accounts, attacking her family and alleging she was an alcoholic.

    The Court awarded Ms. Nunn, among other things, $100,000 in general damages for harassment.

    In recognizing the tort, Justice Feasby canvassed existing case law across the country and found that no existing torts squarely addressed the harms caused by the harassment in question. Justice Feasby determined the tort of harassment exists where a defendant has:

    1. Engaged in repeated communications, threats, insults, stalking, or other harassing behaviour in person or through other means;
    2. That he/she knew or ought to have known was unwelcome;
    3. Which impugn the dignity of the plaintiff, would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of his/her loved ones, or could foreseeably cause emotional distress; and
    4. Caused harm.

    Besides the tort of harassment, other legal avenues that victims of harassment-related claims may pursue include human rights claims, occupational health and safety claims, a complaint with the police and, in Nova Scotia, an application for a cyber-protection order.

    Employers should be aware of the legal remedies that may be available to victims of bullying and harassment, including the newly recognized tort of harassment in Alberta. More information can be found on our blog post here.Continue Reading Top Canadian Labour & Employment Law Developments of 2023

    We are proud to share that Baker McKenzie was recognized as one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers (2024). Our office was selected for its culture of inclusion, friendship and support for employee development.

    Inclusion is at our core, as Ajanthana shared:

    “As a global law firm, we work very closely with our colleagues around the

    Special thanks to our articling student Madison Bruno for contributing to this update.

    On November 14, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 149, Working for Workers Four Act, 2023. If passed as expected, Bill 149 would significantly change several employment statutes, building on the Working for Workers Acts, 2021, 2022, and 2023. Key changes include: new requirements for Ontario employers to disclose pay information in job postings; a new obligation to disclose whether artificial intelligence was used during the hiring process; and it would prohibit using Canadian work experience as a job requirement.Continue Reading Ontario Poised to Pass Major Changes to Job Posting Requirements

    Special thanks to our articling student Ravneet Minhas for contributing to this update.

    In a previous post, we discussed the legislative trend for greater pay transparency across Canada, including in British Columbia with the recent adoption of the Pay Transparency Act.

    The British Columbia government has since released guidance on the application of the Act. This clarifies the requirement to include salary or wage information in all publicly advertised job postings, effective November 1, 2023.

    Required Wage and Salary Information in Job Postings

    To comply with the Act, employers (and third parties posting on behalf of an employer) must include the expected wage or salary or expected wage or salary range in job postings. For example:

    • $20 per hour; or
    • $40,000 to $60,000 per year.

    The wage or salary range cannot be unspecified or open-ended. For example, stating that a job pays “$20-$30 per hour” would comply with the Act, while “$20 per hour and up” would not.

    The Province leaves it to the employer’s discretion to decide how extensive the advertised wage or salary range may be. Further, employers are not required to include bonus pay, overtime pay, tips, or benefits in their job postings. The above requirements do not prevent an applicant from requesting a higher wage or salary than the amount advertised. Similarly, employers are free to offer an applicant a higher wage or salary than the one included in the job posting.Continue Reading Update: New Guidance Details Requirements Under the British Columbia Pay Transparency Act

    Special thanks to our summer associate Daniel Dai for contributing to this update.

    British Columbia’s Pay Transparency Act, which received royal assent on May 11, 2023, imposes pay disclosure and reporting obligations on both public and private sector employers to address systemic discrimination in the workplace. It is the latest in a series of new pay transparency laws across Canada.

    This push for more transparency to bridge the pay gap for historically disadvantaged groups is a global trend. In the United States, 8 states, including California, Colorado and Washington, along with cities like New York City, have recently adopted salary disclosure laws. There is also pending legislation at the federal level—the Salary Transparency Act—that would require all job postings to include the wage or wage range for a position. Similarly, the European Parliament approved the Pay Transparency Directive in March 2023, which is set to enter into force in 2024. Among other things, this Directive establishes a right to certain pay information and imposes pre-employment pay disclosure obligations on both public and private sector EU employers.

    Recent Canadian Developments

    Continue Reading The Legislative Push for Pay Transparency in Canada Mirrors Global Trend

    Special thanks to Sarah Adler, Immigration Legal Counsel.

    Our webinar was designed to bring Canadian in-house counsel and human resources leaders up to speed on the top labour, employment and human rights law developments of 2022 and to prepare them for what’s on the horizon in 2023.  

    Using our “quick hits” format, we

    To wrap up 2022 and prepare for 2023, we highlighted key developments in Canadian labour and employment law:

    1. COVID-19 Update

    Workplace Vaccination Policies

    Mandatory vaccination policies remained a prevalent issue in 2022. The first decisions to provide guidance on this topic came out of unionized workplaces, with many upholding vaccination policies.

    In Toronto District