With legalization on Ontario’s doorstep, the Ontario Human Rights Commission has issued a new policy discussing the impact of legal cannabis on human rights issues in the province. The policy document correctly notes that the legalization of cannabis does not change how employers must respond to impairment and addiction at work but it does highlight the rights of employees with scent sensitivities to be protected from cannabis smoke or vapours in the workplace, which is an area of concern that we expect our clients will hear more about as recreational cannabis use becomes more common.
Helpfully, the policy also specifically acknowledges that employers have no obligation to accommodate an employee’s desire to use cannabis for recreational purposes.
A link to the policy document can be found here.
For more information about the intersection of legal cannabis and human rights at work or any other workplace issues, please reach out to a member of the Cassels Brock Employment & Labour Group.
When an employer breaches an employment agreement and an employee resigns in response, a critical question is raised: has the employee been constructively dismissed? If so, the employee is deemed to have been terminated and the employer may incur substantial liability for pay in lieu of notice or even punitive damages. However, not every breach of an employment agreement will constitute constructive dismissal, and the resolution of this issue can make all the difference in terms of employer liability.Read Full Article
Under the Employment Standards Act, 2000, (the ESA), most employees whose employer regularly employs 50 or more employees are entitled to 10 days of unpaid personal emergency leave annually for any of the following reasons:
• a personal illness, injury or medical emergency;
• the death, illness, injury or medical emergency of a family member (as listed in the ESA);
• an urgent matter that concerns a close family member (as described in the Act).
In our overview of significant cases and trends in 2016, we reported on a series of decisions signalling a move away from the overly technical interpretation of termination clauses in employment contracts, and a return to a more employer-friendly, common sense approach focusing on the intentions of the parties.Read Full Article
When faced with a disability-related accommodation request, employers often have questions around the type and scope of medical information they can request from the employee in order to support the accommodation request and facilitate the accommodation process.Read Full Article
In the last six months, Canadian appellate courts have considered employer’s bonus plans three times. Having discussed the implications of these decisions with many clients, the common reaction seems to be: But that isn’t what we meant when we drafted our plan! Rather than debate how language can be misinterpreted, the more constructive approach simply is to fix it. When these appellate decisions are considered carefully, the take-away message for employers is that incentive plan language will be carefully scrutinized and entitlement only excluded where the language clearly supports that result. Accordingly, now is the time for employers to review their existing plans and policies and update them, where appropriate, to ensure that they will be interpreted as they intended.Read Full Article
In another good news development for employers, the Supreme Court of Canada has denied leave to appeal in Oudin v Le Centre Francophone de Toronto.Read Full Article
In late 2016 the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the OHRC) issued a new version of its policy on discrimination due to disability, which has been renamed the Policy on Ableism and Discrimination Based on Disability. In its press release announcing the update, the OHRC noted that since the policy was first launched in 2001, there had been significant developments in case law, research and international human rights standards which merited a review of the former policy. The new policy includes use of the term “ableism,” which the OHRC defines as “attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of people with disabilities.”Read Full Article
2016 was a significant year for employment law with precedent-setting decisions on a variety of issues combined with new legislation that continues to alter the Canadian employment law landscape. While a number of these decisions suggest that a common sense approach to employment law issues may be underway, other decisions and legislative developments highlight the potential liabilities facing employers and the need to remain vigilant.Read Full Article
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has announced that it is creating a new working group to provide the government with advice and feedback on how to address the gender wage gap in Ontario. The working group will be comprised of members of the business, labour and human resources communities, as well as representatives of women’s advocacy groups. The working groups are expected to focus on how the government can better leverage tools such as the Pay Equity Act and parental leaves to address gendered wage disparity in the workplace. The Ontario government estimates that Ontario’s gender wage gap ranges from 14% to 26%.Read Full Article