In City of Toronto v. CUPE, Local 79, the Ontario Divisional Court reaffirmed that employers may provide less compensation to an employee who works reduced hours due to a disability without violating the Human Rights Code (“Code”). In this case, the employer discontinued its past practice of permitting employees working part-time hours to remain in the full-time bargaining unit. The change meant that the grievor, who worked part-time hours as an accommodation for his disabilities, suffered a reduction in his benefit entitlements. The Court held that the reduction to the grievor’s benefit entitlements was not discriminatory under the Code.
Continue Reading Less Benefits for Less Work is Not Discrimination – Reaffirmed by Divisional Court

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.
Continue Reading Alberta Strengthens Workplace Safety Legislation

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently left intact a lower court decision that supports employers in seeking an independent medical examination (“IME”) in certain circumstances. In Bottiglia v. Ottawa Catholic School Board, 2017 ONSC 2517, the Ontario Divisional Court held that an employee’s duty to accommodate may permit, or even require, the employer to ask for a second medical opinion where the employer has a reasonable and bona fide reason to question the adequacy and reliability of the information provided by its employee’s medical expert.
Continue Reading Value of IME in Accommodation Process Underscored by Ontario Courts

Any employer who has faced an accommodation-related claim understands that assessing the scope and extent of their duty to accommodate is often a challenging process.

Some helpful direction arrived in Poursadi v. Bentley leathers (2015 HRTO 138), which pitted Ms. Robabeh Poursadi, a retail store manager, against her employer, Bentley Leathers Inc. (Bentley), in a case which ultimately turned on the identification of the employee’s essential duties.

The decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) provides employers with some further guidance for navigating the often murky waters of accommodating employees, particularly when an employee’s essential duties are in dispute (which is often). One key to success in these cases, as this decision illustrates, is being prepared to provide a sound evidentiary basis for what constitutes an employee’s essential duties.
Continue Reading ‘Essential Duties’ and Accommodation: How do you draw the line?