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Ontario Government Announces Review of Exemptions under the Employment Standards Act

On October 18, 2017, the Government of Ontario announced that between October 18, 2017 and December 1, 2017, it will be seeking input from the public to review certain exemptions under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”). The announcement signals a potential for further changes to labour and employment laws in Ontario in addition to those currently contemplated under Bill 148.

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Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, Passes Second Reading

On June 1, 2017, the Ontario Government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. As we have previously reported, if passed, Bill 148 will significantly alter the employment and labour landscape in Ontario. Today, Bill 148 passed Second Reading after debate in the Ontario Legislature, moving one step closer toward becoming law. The Ontario Government published a news release regarding the Bill’s status, which can be found here.

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New prohibited grounds of discrimination may be added to Ontario’s Human Rights Code

The Human Rights Code Amendment Act, 2017 (“Bill 164”) was introduced to the Ontario Legislature and passed First Reading on October 4, 2017.  Bill 164 proposes to add four new prohibited grounds of discrimination to Ontario’s Human Rights Code:

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Ontario Labour Relations Board Opens the Door to Franchisee Unionization in the Canada Bread Certification Case

The Ontario Labour Board has found that Canada Bread’s drivers, who were principals of franchisee corporations that contracted with Canada Bread for the right to deliver products along designated routes, are dependent contractors and capable of being certified into bargaining units.

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I Want a Second Opinion: When Can Employers Require an Independent Medical Examination?

Many employers have found themselves in a situation where their employee has provided a medical note or doctor’s recommendation that doesn’t seem quite right.  But how do you investigate further without invading your employee’s privacy and without breaching your duty to accommodate under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the “Code”)?  A recent decision of the Ontario Divisional Court, Bottiglia v. Ottawa Catholic School Board and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario 2017 ONSC 2517 (“Bottiglia”) provides some helpful guidance.

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Changes to Bill 148: More Obligations for Ontario Employers

On June 1, 2017, the government introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. As we have previously reported, if passed, Bill 148 will significantly alter the employment and labour landscape in Ontario. For an overview of the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA) found in the original version of Bill 148, see our previous posts on changes to the ESA and changes to the LRA.

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Human Resources Professionals Association Issues White Paper on Marijuana at Work

With legalization of recreational marijuana use on its way, many Canadian employers have been looking for guidance on how to respond to a potential increase in the number of employees who have access to or make use of cannabis products. The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has recently issued a white paper identifying some of the issues employers may face once the Cannabis Act comes into effect and making some recommendations for both employers and government. In connection with preparing this white paper, the HRPA conducted a survey of its members and found that only 11% of responding human resources professionals believed that their workplace policies addressed the use of medical marijuana in the workplace at all and 46% believed their workplace policies did not adequately cover issues that may arise as a result of legalization of recreational marijuana. Close to 90% of respondents had no personal experience with accommodating an employee who used medical marijuana. 

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A Rare Win for an Employer’s Ability to Drug Test

As Canadian employers and U.S. employers with Canadian subsidiaries well know, the climate in Canada has never been favourable to drug and alcohol testing.  Earlier this month, however, the Supreme Court of Canada endorsed an employer’s decision to terminate the employment of an employee who, post-accident, tested positive for drugs – even after he disclosed that he thought he was addicted to cocaine.  The case is Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp., 2017 SCC 30.

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Changing Workplaces Review: Ontario Government Announces Significant Changes to Employment Standards Act

Following the release of the final Changing Workplaces Review report last week, Ontario employers and (and their lawyers) have been anxiously awaiting the government’s response.  In press conference held today Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government would be introducing proposed legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, which will amend both the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA).  Click here  for our update on the changes to the LRA.

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Changing Workplaces Review: Ontario Government Announces Significant Changes to Labour Relations Act

As we previously wrote here, last week Ontario’s Ministry of Labour released the final report in its Changing Workplaces Review (Report), which proposed a number of amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA).  Today, in response to the recommendations made in the Report,  Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne held a press conference to announce that her government would be introducing proposed legislation, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (the Act), which will amend both the ESA and the LRA. While not providing detail on the specifics of the proposed amendments, the Ontario Government released a Backgrounder outlining its proposed legislative changes. Click here for our update on the proposed changes to the ESA.

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