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

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

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.


Continue Reading

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

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

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.
Continue Reading

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

As some of our regular readers might recall, in November 2013, the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) released an interesting decision declaring Alberta’s privacy legislation, the Personal Information Protection Act (“PIPA”) unconstitutional, and giving Alberta’s legislature 12 months to come up with something new. In declaring PIPA unconstitutional, the SCC pitted a union’s freedom of expression against an individual’s right to privacy, holding that privacy legislation must be sufficiently flexible to allow a union to collect, use, and disclose personal information without consent for legitimate purposes, including to protect a union’s ability to communicate, to persuade the public, and to use one of its most effective bargaining tools: picketing.

Last month, the Alberta legislature passed the new PIPA which allows a union to collect, use, and disclose personal information without the consent of the individual to whom the information relates in relation to a labour dispute if the personal information is:

  • For the purpose of informing or persuading the public about a matter of significant public interest or importance relating to a labour relations dispute involving the trade union;
  • Reasonably necessary for that purpose; and
  • It is reasonable to collect the personal information without consent for this purpose, taking into consideration the relevant circumstances including the nature and sensitivity of the information.
    Continue Reading

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