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Archive For Entries On Labour and Employment

Store Closures Represent a Change in Conditions of Employment: United Food and Commercial Workers v Wal-Mart Canada

Wal-Mart’s historically combative relationship with unions most recently became an issue at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in the case of United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 503 v Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2014 SCC 45. In this case, the question before the Court was whether s. 59 of the Quebec Labour Code, c 27 (“the Code”) […]

Random Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Given Parameters: Irving Pulp & Paper

The issue of alcohol and drug testing in the workplace is certainly a contentious one. Some readers may know anecdotally (or not so anecdotally) of its pervasiveness among oil, or related, industry workers in Alberta. The justification typically given for such policies, which may subject workers to deeply personal tests, is the dangerous nature of […]

The Supreme Court Confirms the Principle of Employee Protection in Quebec: Quebec v Asphalte Desjardins

The decision in Quebec (Commission des normes du travail) v Asphalte Desjardins inc., 2014 SCC 51, demonstrates the Supreme Court of Canada’s support for employee protection while leaving an unclear future for Quebeckers who are employed in competitive industries. The case dealt with an employee’s notice of resignation and his employer’s subsequent attempt to shorten the employee’s remaining tenure […]

Lawyer Unsuccessful in Discrimination Claim Against Law Firm

The decision of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP v British Columbia (Human Rights Tribunal), 2012 BCCA 313, previously discussed on this site, has now made its way to the Supreme Court. Canada’s highest court has confirmed the result that Mr. McCormick, an equity partner at Fasken, could not succeed in his claim of age discrimination against […]

Appeal Watch: Bhasin v Hrynew Submissions Before the SCC

On February 12, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada heard an appeal from the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision in Bhasin v Hrynew, 2013 ABCA 98. My previous analysis of the ruling can be found here on The Court. Lawyers for the plaintiff and the defendants made their oral submissions before Chief Justice McLachlin, along […]

Is the Right to Strike Protected by the Charter? A Review of R v Saskatchewan Federation of Labour

Since 2001 there has been considerable turmoil at the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) surrounding collective bargaining rights under the Charter. During this period, two significant decisions have appeared to shift the Court towards recognizing a constitutional right to collective bargaining. As a result, a trial judge in Saskatchewan took the audacious step of assuming […]

The Search for Goldilocks in the Wilderness of Punitive Damages: Pate Estate v Galway-Cavendish and Harvey (Townships)

In March 1999, Mr. John Gordon Pate was wrongfully dismissed by the Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey, after having worked for the Township as a building inspector for nearly a decade. After a subsequent police investigation, a four-day criminal trial, a civil action by Mr. Pate, a successful appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal, […]

A Damage Award to Discourage Age Discrimination in IBM Canada Limited v Waterman

There is a somewhat peculiar fact pattern in the case of IBM Canada Limited v Waterman, 2013 SCC 70.   It led to an unusual outcome, to the benefit of the respondent-plaintiff, in which the Court expanded the boundaries of flexible damage awards.  The decision also enunciates important principles regarding pension entitlements and age discrimination.  The […]

BULLETIN: SCC Declares Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act Unconstitutional, Affirms Freedom of Expression in Labour Context

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada in Alberta v United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 2013 SCC 62 declares Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) to be unconstitutional, as it breaches a union’s freedom of expression, protected under s. 2(b) of the Charter of Rights and Freedom, and cannot be justified under s. 1. Despite […]

The Criminal Code and Industrial Accidents: R v Metron Construction and the Ghosts of Westray

Deaths due to occupational causes outnumber homicides in Canada by about two to one. Many of these deaths stem from negligence, and critics charge that enforcement measures are lax. In a major departure, a record fine for corporate criminal negligence was imposed in R v Metron Construction Corporation, 2013 ONCA 541, after four Toronto construction workers fell to […]