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.


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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Almost everyone in Canada is using a smart phone. Recent statistics tell us that more than 80% of 18-34 year olds are using smart phones. For each prior generation, 35-44 and 45-54, that number only drops by 10%, and the projection is that at least 85% for all age ranges, and as high as 98% for 18-34 year olds, will be using smart phones by 2018.[1] Or, you can simply check the number of smart phone users when you see anyone having to wait for anything.

Our embrace of connectivity drove businesses to provide employees with company-issued mobile phones. Now there is another shift, where employees are increasingly expecting or expected to use their personal devices for work-related matters.


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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.


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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?
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On June 30, 2015, the Canadian federal government passed a law (“Bill C-377”) requiring unions to publically disclose sensitive financial information within six months of their year-end.  The information will be published on the internet by the Minister of National Revenue.

Unless this law is repealed, it will come into force on December 30, 2015.  Unions who fail to comply may be fined $1,000 per day of non-compliance, up to a maximum of $25,000.
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