House of Lords in UK Finds Pleural Plaques not Compensable

The United Kingdom’s highest court recently decided unanimously in the Rothwell decision that workers who have been exposed to asbestos in the course of their employment and have developed pleural plaques (a condition involving benign growths in the lining of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure) are not eligible to claim compensation in negligence. Previously, […]

La Cour suprême du Canada explique le devoir d’accommodement

Dans sa décision récente, Hydro-Québec c. Syndicat des employées de techniques professionnelles et de bureaux d’Hydro-Québec, section locale 2000 (SCFP-FTQ), la Cour suprême du Canada a expliqué l’étendue du devoir d’accommodement d’un employeur lorsqu’un employé est congédié pour des absences liées à un handicap. L’employée a travaillé chez Hydro-Québec pendant 24 ans avant son congédiement. […]

Amendments to Alberta’s Labour Relations Code

On June 9, 2008, Bill 26 received Royal Assent in Alberta. The bill, which will come into effect on proclamation, introduces three main changes to the Labour Relations Code: 1. Ambulance attendants are prohibited from striking and their employers are prohibited from locking them out. The parties must instead arbitrate their disputes. 2. Building Trade […]

Unilateral Changes to the Employment Contract: Ontario Court of Appeal Changes the Legal Test

In the recent decision of Wronko v. Western Inventory Service Ltd., the Ontario Court of Appeal muddied the waters with respect to an employer’s obligations when seeking to unilaterally modify an existing employment contract. Wronko had been employed by Western Inventory for seventeen years. When a new company President was appointed, the President asked Wronko […]

Supreme Court Clarifies Employers’ Duty to Accommodate

In the recent decision of Hydro-Québec v. Syndicat des employées de techniques professionnelles et de bureaux d’Hydro-Québec, section locale 2000 (SCFP-FTQ), the Supreme Court clarified the scope of an employer’s duty to accommodate when terminating an employee for disability-related absenteeism. The employee had worked for Hydro-Quebec for 24 years. Between 1994 and 2001, despite the […]

Nunavut Increases Minimum Wage

On September 5, 2008, Nunavut’s Bill 33, An Act to Amend the Labour Standards Act, came into effect, resulting in an increase in the minimum wage from $8.50 per hour to $10.00 per hour. The rate will apply to all workers, regardless of age. Intended to reflect the territory’s high cost of living, the increase […]

Changes to Canadian Immigration Benefit Employers

The federal government has recently made several significant changes to Canadian immigration policies that will result in benefits to employers. In respect of temporary workers, changes have been made to allow certain workers to receive a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) work permit for a duration of three years, instead of one year. American […]

Employee Who Changed Positions Not Bound by Original Contract When Terminated

In Ling v. Unity Builders, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench held that, when there has been a significant change to the nature of a person’s employment, a contract entered into before the change will cease to govern, and the termination of the employee will accordingly be governed by common law principles. Ling entered into […]

Workers’ Compensation Coverage to be Mandatory in Construction Industry

On November 27, 2008, Bill 119, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Amendment Act, 2008, received Royal Assent. The Act makes workers’ compensation coverage mandatory for independent operators, sole proprietors, partners and executive officers of corporations working in the construction industry. Members of the construction industry will be required to register with the Workplace Safety and […]

Employment Standards Update: Increased Protection for Temporary Workers

One recent amendment and one proposed amendment to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) will have a significant impact on employers who employ elect to work and temporary help employees. As of January 2, 2009, employees who work under arrangements whereby they may choose whether or not to work when requested are entitled to holiday […]