The spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus — the virus responsible for COVID-19 — is now anticipated to reach pandemic levels. Officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada reiterate that the risk of a mass outbreak in Canada remains low, but have encouraged and enforced precautionary measures.

Employers should continue to be vigilant in ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. In addition to our previous client alert, employers should be mindful of the following checklist:

1. Appoint one or more coordinators who will be responsible for tracking and communicating the latest developments of COVID-19. The coordinator(s) should have the authority to make or advise on emergency decisions such as office closures and meeting cancellations.

  • According to the size of the employer’s organization, a cross-functional team may be necessary with designated individuals to handle issues such as employee health and safety, medical/personal leaves and accommodations, communications, and compliance.


Continue Reading COVID-19 Checklist for Canadian Employers

With the spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus, employers may face significant disruptions in the workplace.

As of January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada have stated that the risk of a major outbreak in Canada remains low, but has encouraged extra precautionary measures. Two cases in Ontario, and one in British Columbia have been confirmed.

Employers should be aware of the legal framework within which they can prepare, manage, and address developments caused by the spread of this virus.
Continue Reading The Coronavirus: How Ontario Employers Can Prepare

Ontario employers who conduct police record checks for hiring or other purposes should be aware that new legislation comes into force on November 1, 2018. The Police Record Checks Reform Act, 2015  and its Regulations will apply to checks conducted on a Canadian police database. At present, police record checks are not regulated and practices vary depending upon where the check is completed. As of November 1, the process and contents of police record checks will be standardized in Ontario. Below, we outline what you need to know about the new requirements.
Continue Reading Conducting a Police Record Check? What You Need to Know for November 1

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) refused the union’s leave application in Suncor Energy Inc v Unifor Local 707A, 2017 ABCA 313 (Suncor ) thereby leaving the Alberta Court of Appeal’s (ABCA) ruling intact. The ABCA had held that evidence of substance-related safety risks across an employer’s workforce (including both union and non-union workers) may be taken into account when assessing the permissibility of random testing of unionized workers.

Suncor  is a favourable result for employers because it is in step with taking a holistic approach to workplace safety. But it is by no means a green light for drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. With the legalization of recreational use of cannabis fast approaching, we outline the current state of the law and key best practices for workplace impairment testing.
Continue Reading Legalization Draws Near, Where are We Now on Employee Testing?

We’re pleased to share our highlights video from our #SocialMediaAtWork seminar. This informative seminar was hosted by our Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto on June 7th. Topics included the legal and reputational risks of both employees’ and employers’ social media use and practical guidance to help minimize employers’ exposure to these risks.

The U.S. Justice Department announced last week that they were dropping their court action in which they sought to compel Apple to create a backdoor to override their existing iPhone passcode protection software.

If you followed this story, you know that a public and controversial battle ensued between the Justice Department and Apple over access to the iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.


Continue Reading DOJ v. Apple: Key Lessons for Employers

In today’s rapidly changing world of workplace compliance, global organizations must not only comply with the laws of their headquarters but also the laws of the countries where their workforces and even their suppliers operate. Many seemingly compliant organizations face unseen global workplace and supply chain compliance risks, causing great concern among corporate leaders. In addition to potential harm to workers, failing to manage global workplace risks can have a significant, long-lasting impact on business strategies, legal risk profile and brand reputations. How can you help “save the day” for your company?
Continue Reading Upcoming Webinar – How to Be Your Company’s Superhero: Managing Your Global Workplace and Supply Chain Compliance

Monitoring the use of company-issued technology is controversial.  For some, the notion of monitoring employees’ use of computers, smartphones, and emails is inconsistent with personal privacy.  To others, monitoring employees’ use of technology in the workplace is both the right and the responsibility of the prudent employer.

While Canadian courts and tribunals have generally accepted that employers can monitor employees’ use of technology, the limits on the nature and scope of such monitoring are murky at best.  Employers that have already implemented some form of technological monitoring, or are considering doing so, should keep in mind that the legal landscape is evolving.  There are some best practices to consider that may help to avoid problems.
Continue Reading Someone to Watch Over Me: Employer Monitoring of Company Technology

In Evans v Bank of Nova Scotia, an employee of the Bank of Nova Scotia (“Bank”), Richard Wilson, provided highly confidential information about the Bank’s customers to his girlfriend, who disseminated the information to third parties for fraudulent purposes.  On June 6, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice certified a class action brought on behalf of the affected customers, alleging that they were victims of identity theft and fraud as a result of the intrusion upon seclusion.

This is the province’s first-ever class action involving the new tort of “intrusion upon seclusion”, which allows individuals to advance a civil claim for damages against an intruder who intentionally invades their privacy, without legal justification, in a manner that is highly offensive to the reasonable person.
Continue Reading “Intrusion Upon Seclusion” Class Action Certified in Ontario