Overtime class actions are in the headlines again. On February 22, 2019, a class action claim seeking damages of over $100 million was filed against Flight Centre, an Australia-based travel services provider with stores in Canada and internationally. The claim alleges that Flight Centre systematically failed to pay overtime to its retail sales employees, referred to as “travel consultants”, requiring them to consistently work more than their scheduled hours, and implemented policies that fail to comply with the overtime entitlements under employment standards legislation.
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To ring in the New Year, we highlight the ten most significant developments in Canadian labour and employment law in 2018.
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This is the final article in our three-part series on recent changes to Alberta’s labour and employment legislation. Here we outline changes to Alberta’s occupational health and safety (“OHS”) and workers’ compensation legislation resulting from Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.
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This is the second article in our three-part series highlighting recent changes to Alberta’s labour and employment legislation.  Here we focus on changes to Alberta’s labour relations regime. As a result of recent enactments, a number of significant changes to Alberta’s Labour Relations Code (“LRC”) are now in effect, as outlined below.
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The Alberta legislature has passed comprehensive amendments to the province’s labour and employment legislation. These changes were enacted through:

  • Bill 17: the Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act; and
  • Bill 30: An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans.

This is the first of three articles summarizing the key amendments. This article outlines changes to employment standards under the Employment Standards Code (“ESC”).
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A recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal adds further confusion to the issue of the enforceability of termination clauses. In Holm v AGAT Laboratories Ltd, 2018 ABCA 23 (“Holm“), the Alberta Court of Appeal (“Court”) held that explicit language must be included in a termination clause to oust an employee’s common law rights.
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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.
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Despite the economic controversy, Alberta’s NDP government appears to be following through on its promise to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2018.  On October 1, 2015, the minimum wage in Alberta will increase from $10.20 to $11.20, with planned further increases in the years to come.  Following this initial increase, Alberta will have one of the highest minimum wages in Canada.
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Good news for employers! The Alberta Court of Appeal recently upheld a termination resulting from the violation of its workplace drug policy. The decision in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corporation demonstrates the effectiveness of a well-sculpted company drug policy in justifying termination decisions, particularly in the context of human rights obligations relating to the duty to accommodate addictions. In this case, the court appreciated that the employer went to great lengths to a) demonstrate the reasonableness of its policies and b) tie each policy back to the overarching goal of promoting safety in the workplace. This case should prompt a review of workplace drug and alcohol policies to ensure alignment with the court’s guidance.
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