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New Report on Mental Health and Addiction Highlights Challenges for Ontario Employers and Employees

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (the “OHRC”) has recently published a report on people with mental health and addiction disabilities in the province.  The report examines many different obstacles faced by such individuals but the section of the report dealing with the labour force is of particular note to Ontario employers.  First, many readers may be surprised by the prevalence of mental health and addiction disabilities in the workforce.  The report states that approximately 5% of Ontarians over the age of 15 currently identify themselves as having a mental health or addiction-based disability.  The report also notes that a staggering 90.5% of all individuals who have mental health or addiction disabilities also have another, concurrent form of disability.  The presence of multiple, overlapping disabilities certainly adds complexity to the accommodation process.

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Update on the Ontario Government's Special Committee on Sexual Harassment

In November of 2014 we reported on Premier Wynne’s announcement that the Government of Ontario would be striking a special committee to make recommendations to the Legislature regarding the prevention of sexual violence and harassment in Ontario workplaces (the “Select Committee”). The Select Committee’s mandate was also to advise on how best to improve responses to people who have experienced sexual violence and harassment and to present recommendations on how to remove social and other barriers that prevent people from coming forward to report sexual harassment and violence. 

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Is This What to Expect During an Employment Standards Inspection?

The Ontario Ministry of Labour has posted a video it calls, “What to Expect During an Employment Standards Inspection”.  The video, which is just over 5 minutes long, depicts a friendly and orderly process in which the employer is given ten days of advance notice of the inspection and has an opportunity to ask the Employment Standards Officer questions about what its obligations are under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”).  The video states that such inspections are typically prompted by third party information or local intelligence received by the Ministry of Labour or are simply random site visits.  The video does not explicitly state that inspections can be initiated in connection with employee complaints but perhaps that is what is meant by “local intelligence”.

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Aug 21, 2015
Unions are Contrary to Christian Beliefs?

Earlier this week we wrote about a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision that considered the conflict that sometimes arises as a result of competing rights under human rights legislation and/or the Charter.

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Aug 21, 2015
Does the Charter Trump Human Rights?

A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal has interesting implications when it comes to competing rights, particularly when some of those rights are protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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Reminder: Ontario’s Minimum Wage to Increase

As a result of amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) last year, on October 1, 2015, the general minimum wage in Ontario will increase from $11 to $11.25 per hour. Industry-specific minimum wages for liquor servers, homeworkers, students, and hunters/fishers are also set increase.

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Ontario Announces Initiative to Reduce and Prevent Workplace Violence Faced by Health Care Professionals

The Ministry of Labour announced today that Ontario will be establishing a Workplace Violence Prevention in Health Care Leadership Table to bring together key stakeholders and experts to provide advice on how to reduce and prevent workplace violence faced by health care professionals.

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BC Court of Appeal Upholds Just Cause Termination for Long Service Employee Who Breached IT Policy

A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal provides helpful guidance for employers who are faced with employees who breach workplace policies regarding the protection of private and confidential information.

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Do Employers Have an Obligation to "Frustrate" an Employment Contract?

Employment contracts can be considered "frustrated" when an unforeseeable event occurs that makes it impossible to fulfill the terms of the contract. Where frustration occurs, an employer can end the employment relationship without any liability other than what is required under statute. Under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, employees are entitled to statutory termination and severance pay if their employment contract has been frustrated by injury or illness.

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