Workplace Organization & Direction

Since NAFTA came into force in 1994, many Canadian companies established or expanded their business interests in Mexico, including Bombardier, Apotex and McCain, to name a few. With the forthcoming change in Mexico’s administration, Canadian companies with cross-border operations and domestic companies are likewise wondering what the future holds in terms of labour policy.

As promised in the 2015 election campaign, the federal government has introduced accessibility legislation. Bill C-81, An Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada (Accessible Canada Act)  is the result of a cross-country consultation process with Canadians and received First Reading on June 20, 2018.
Continue Reading Federal Accessibility Legislation in the Works

The National Assembly of Quebec has made wide-ranging changes to the province’s labour standards legislation. The amendments were enacted through Bill 176, An Act to amend the Act respecting labour standards and other legislative provisions mainly to facilitate family-work balance, which received Royal Assent on June 12, 2018. Employers with operations in Ontario and Alberta, should also be aware that these provinces also made significant changes to their respective employment standards legislation earlier this year.

This is the first of two articles summarizing the key changes in Quebec. This article outlines changes to the scope of liability for directors and officers and new compliance obligations for Quebec employers. The second article will outline changes to leave entitlements.
Continue Reading Quebec Makes Broad Changes to its Workplace Standards

Further to our earlier post, the new Ontario government announced today that it has delayed the coming into force of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, which officially came into force on July 1, 2018. The delay is intended to permit the government to assess the regulation of vaping in the province. The existing legislation,

Following the Senate’s historic vote in favour of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the Federal Government announced yesterday that recreational marijuana will become legal on October 17, 2018. In anticipation of Bill C-45 becoming law, the provinces have begun preparing a framework for regulating the production, distribution, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis. Ontario’s response is Bill 174. With legalization fast approaching, we outline below key aspects of Bill 174 and steps to help employers prepare for the new reality.
Continue Reading Cannabis Becomes Legal on October 17, 2018 – Is Your Workplace Ready?

If you are a professional sports fan…you know what time of year it is. September 8th is the first day of the NFL season. In three weeks’ time the MLB playoffs will start. The world cup of hockey starts soon. The NHL season begins shortly thereafter. US College football season is already in full force.

If you are not… you might be asking so what? What does this have to do with employment law? What does this have to do with my workplace?
Continue Reading Happy September! What are the odds that your employees aren’t gambling at work?

The following article, authored by my colleagues Susan F. Eandi, Louise Balsan and Caroline Burnett, examines the importance of global employment handbooks and why multinationals cannot simply rely on their domestic handbook as they expand abroad. The authors present three primary approaches for multinationals to consider as they prepare their global handbooks. Although written in the context of U.S. multinationals, many of the principles discussed in the article have application to Canadian multinationals as well.
Continue Reading Global Employment Handbooks: 1 Size Does Not Fit All

Franchisors who place strict controls on their franchisees may also have to answer for their franchisee’s human rights practices.

Product and service consistency is the backbone of coffee giant Tim Hortons’ successful business model. Tim Hortons, like many other successful franchisors, imposes a strict regime on its stores in order to ensure that all Canadians can get the same cup of coffee, in the same cup, regardless of where they order it. Control manifests itself through an extensive franchise agreement, detailed operations rules and regular audits of individual stores.

Continue Reading Is the price of a consistent cup of coffee shared human rights liability?

Our U.S. colleagues recently wrote a great piece about the long-awaited and much-debated decision of the National Labour Relations Board (the “NLRB”) in Browning-Ferris Industries of California, 362 NLRB No. 186,  (“Browning-Ferris”) which has dramatically changed the concept of “joint employment” south of the border.  U.S. employers who – on the basis of 30 years of NLRB precedent – have operated on the basis that workers supplied by temporary staffing agencies were not their employees should take heed.  The rules have changed and employers will need to adapt.  Readers who want a purely U.S. analysis of this landmark case can link to it here.
Continue Reading Meet the New Boss…. Same as the Old Boss? Temporary Workers and Joint Employment in the U.S. and Canada

Employment contracts can be frustrating, but they can also be frustrated.  The former is a simple fact of life, while the latter is a key principle of contract law.

“Frustration” occurs where an unanticipated event destroys the heart of the contract to the point where it can no longer be fulfilled. When a contract becomes frustrated, the parties are relieved of any obligation they were contractually bound to perform.  The legal concept, while simple in theory, has been difficult for employers to apply, particularly in the case of absences due to the critical illness or injury of an employee.

In the recent case of The Estate of Christian Drimba v Dick Engineering Inc., 2015 ONSC 2843 (“Drimba”), an Ontario court examined the concept of frustration in the case of the terminal illness of an employee who subsequently passed away.  The case provides guidance to employers about the factors a court or tribunal may look at when making such a determination.
Continue Reading A Frustrating Employment Contract: When Does it End in the Case of Terminal Illness?