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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In recent years, Canadian courts have increasingly heard large civil claims against Canadian companies for alleged human rights violations in their foreign operations. As we have discussed previously, judges faced with these claims must determine whether the court’s jurisdictional reach extends to the company’s activities in its global supply chain, thus permitting foreign claimants to pursue their action in Canada.
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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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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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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.


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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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Under British Columbia’s Workers Compensation Act (“Act”) an employer must immediately notify WorkSafeBC of a workplace accident that (among other things):

  • results in serious injury or death to a worker
  • involves a major structural failure or collapse
  • involves the major release of a hazardous substance

When such accidents occur, the scene of the accident must not be disturbed until an investigation has taken place.

At first glance the “reporting requirement” is clear. But in practice it can give rise to uncertainty. For example, if the worksite is not owned by the employer, must the owner report? And who is responsible for reporting incidents when there are multiple employers on a single worksite?
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