Labour + Employment
News + Views + Events
Field Law represents clients in labour, employment, immigration, privacy, human rights and occupational health and safety matters in Western Canada. Small to mid-sized companies, large public sector clients, post-secondary institutions and professional associations facing unionized and non-unionized workforce challenges have relied on Field Law for more than a century. We also serve federal sector employers with operations primarily in Alberta, throughout the western provinces and parts of Ontario.
Field Law develops tailored solutions for virtually every organizational, policy and dispute issue that will impact your workforce, with a strong emphasis on the following:
• Access to Information and Privacy
• Collective Agreements
• Employee Discipline and Termination
• Employment Agreements and Recruitment
• Executive Compensation
• Human Resource Policies
• Human Rights Claims
• Grievance Arbitrations
• Medical and Parental Leave
• Non-Competition / Non-Solicitation Agreements
• Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
• Compensation and Overtime Issues
• Workers’ Compensation Appeals
• Wrongful Dismissal Litigation
• Workplace Investigations
We have extensive experience in assisting clients across numerous industries in a broad range of labour relations matters, including negotiating fair collective bargaining terms, interpreting existing collective agreements, forecasting and managing potential workforce challenges and navigating complex arbitration disputes. Our primary goal is to foster cohesive labour-management relationships that enable organizations to reach their goals unimpeded by avoidable conflict and risk.
In the contemporary work environment, employers must manage through sophisticated obstacles – economic downturns, harassment, management of sick leave and accommodation issues, medical marijuana in the workplace plus many more – and they turn to Field Law to develop proactive and cost-effective strategies that enable them to maintain an effective workforce while also minimizing risk. We create value for clients through seminars and training sessions featuring custom presentations on emerging trends and best practices, as well as annual reviews of critical legal developments.
Our clients often encounter legal and business challenges that extend beyond our core labour and employment practice. To ensure all their diverse needs are satisfied, we also provide the following focused services:
Our immigration team provides the full range of immigration and visa services for companies with international operations or global mobility programs, as well as families and individuals. We develop cost-effective solutions for business visitors, work permits, permanent residence and citizenship in Canada.
Our education law practice group is one of the largest in Alberta with deep experience in resolving labour relations matters concerning academic and non-academic staff, including discipline, grievances, human rights, disability management, collective bargaining and interest arbitration.
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)
Field Law is one of the only firms in Western Canada that provides the complete range of OHS solutions to companies, executives and safety professionals in high-risk industries. Our services include due diligence program development, 24-hour emergency response, OHS compliance and regulatory action defence.
Pensions + Benefits
Our entire legal team – employment, trusts, tax, contracts, human rights, plus many more – collaborates with a vast network of non-legal financial and actuarial professionals to develop effective pensions and benefits plans and resolve related disputes.
We advise major municipal and regional police services and police oversight bodies on new developments in police law and law-enforcement policy. We also represent them in disputes before all levels of Court, as well as LERB panels, labour arbitration boards and human rights tribunals.
Our privacy + data management practice group provides a broad range of services to protect clients’ interests and strengthen customer relationships. Our services include privacy regulatory compliance in both the public and private sectors, developing employee and customer information management policies, auditing or assisting with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) compliance, resolving disputes before courts and administrative agencies and conducting client training seminars on privacy trends and best practices.
We advise numerous professional regulatory colleges and organizations on a wide range of matters, including governance, legislative reform, registration, continuing competence, discipline, unauthorized practice, privacy, litigation and best practices training.
Click here to sign up to receive invitations to seminars, webinars and our eNewsletter Workwise with the latest information on labour, employment, occupational health and safety and more.
Al-Ghamdi v College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta, 2020 ABCA 81
Canada Post Corporation and Canadian Union of Postal Workers (Workplace Violence)
The Municipal Corporation of the City of Yellowknife and A.B. and The Northwest Territories Human Rights Commission, 2018 NWTSC 50
Ashraf v. SNC Lavalin ATP Inc., 2017 ABCA 95
IJ v. Alberta (Law Enforcement Review Board), 2016 ABCA 234, Alberta Court of Appeal
Alberta v. Suncor Energy Inc, 2016 ABQB 264
GH v. Edmonton (Police Service), 2016 ABLERB 006, Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board
Buffalo Trail Public Schools Regional Division No 28 v. Alberta Teachers' Association, 2016 CanLII 85245 (AB GAA)
Echavarria v. The Chief of Police of the Edmonton Police Service, 2016 AHRC 005, Alberta Human Rights Commission
Engel v. Edmonton (Police Service)
Aviscar Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union, Local No. 401 (Mann), 2015 CarswellAlta 777 (Wallace) , Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
MacDonald v. Camrose (Police Service), 2014 ABLERB 055, Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board
Bethany Care Society and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (J. Clarke), 2014 CanLII 50659 (Sims), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Heidebrecht v. M.N.R., 2013 TCC 113
MacDonald v. Chief of Police, 2013 CanLII 27265 (AB LERB)
Summit Care Corporation (Calgary) Ltd. And Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, Health Care and Service Employees Union (CLAC),  Alta L.R.B.R. LD-14, Alberta Labour Relations Board
All Seniors Care Living Centres and Pevancie Group Staffing Ltd., Alberta Union of Provincial Employees,  Alta L.R.B.R. LD 53, Alberta Labour Relations Award
Bethany Care Society and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (Clarke Grievance), (2008) 97 C.L.A.S. 20 (Francis), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Calgary Islamic School and The Alberta Teachers' Association,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-8, Alberta Labour Relations Board
David Thompson Health Region (Alberta Hospital Ponoka) and Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (Makus Grievance),  A.G.A.A. No. 59 (Tettensor), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
School Boards Employer Bargaining Authority v. The Alberta Teachers' Association,  Alta. L.R.B.R. 240, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Weston Bakeries Limited and Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 252,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-30, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Weston Bakeries Limited and Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Local 2 (Interpretation of COLA Clause),  A.G.A.A. No. 20 (Elliott), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Woods Homes and Canadian Union of Public Employees (McQueen Grievance),  A.G.A.A. No. 28 (Smith), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Burnco Rock Products Ltd. and General Teamsters, Local 362 (Beaton Grievance),  A.G.A.A. No. 99 (Moreau), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Graham Construction and Engineering (1985) Ltd. And United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Local No. 1325,  Alta. L.R.B.R. 10, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Relizon Canada Inc. and Communications, Energy and Paper Workers Union of Canada, Local 746,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-49, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Alberta Ballet Company and Canadian Actors' Equity Association,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-23, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Alberta Teachers' Assn. v. Moreau,  A.J. No. 435, ABCA 128, Alberta Court of Appeal
Avis Car Inc. and United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401 (Villaverde Grievance),  A.G.A.A. No. 59 (Jones), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1 and the Alberta Teachers' Association,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-82, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Dynamex Canada Inc. and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union 987,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-14, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Dynamex Canada Inc. and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union 987,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-6, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Dynamex Canada Inc. and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union 987,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-10, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Dynamex Canada Inc. and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union 987,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-14, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Dynamex Canada Inc. and Miscellaneous Employees, Teamsters Local Union 987,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-5, Alberta Labour Relations Board
Sturgeon School Division No. 24 v. Rear, 1998 ABCA 293, Alberta Court of Appeal
Alberta Teachers' Assn. v. Moreau,  A.J. No. 540, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench
Landry v. Holy Spirit Roman Catholic Separate School Division No. 4,  A.J. No. 1091, Alberta Court of Appeal
Alberta Teachers' Assn. v. Calgary School District No. 19,  A.J. No. 867, Alberta Court of Queen's Bench
Hempel v. Canada (Attorney General),  F.C.J. No. 652, Federal Court of Appeal
Master Mechanical Plumbing & Heating (1986) Ltd. And United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of Plumbers and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local Union No. 496,  Alta. L.R.B.R. LD-31, Alberta Labour Relations Board
R. v. Collins,  A.J. No. 1045, Alberta Provincial Court
Re Calgary Roman Catholic Separate School District No. 1 (MacDonald Grievance), (1996) 68 L.A.C. (4th) 1 (Sims), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Moore and Saddle Lake Education Authority,  C.L.A.D. No. 547 (Anderson), Canada Labour Code Adjudicator
Re Board of Trustees of Calgary Board of Education (Insurance Policy Grievance),  Alta. G.A.A. 95-091 (Hawco), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Re Board of Trustees of Calgary Board of Education (Aizenman Grievance), (1994) 46 L.A.C. (4th) 353. (Moreau), Alberta Grievance Arbitration Award
Yagos v. Crowsnest Pass School Division No. 63,  A.J. No. 379, 19 Alta. L.R. (3d) 287(Q.B. Bd of Ref), Alberta Court of Queen's Bench
Dant Industries Limited,  OLRB Rep. November 1149, Ontario Labour Relations Board
March 2021 - 4 min read
Important Development Regarding Racial Slurs in the Workplace
Ontario Arbitrator finds that one instance of racial slurs creates the rebuttable presumption that termination is within the range of reasonable disciplinary responses.
The Ontario arbitration case of Levi Strauss & Co. v Workers United C...
February 24 + March 10
2020 - A Year in Review Webinar Series
Did you miss the Field Law Labour + Employment Group's annual Year in Review? The recordings are now available!
Is employer-friendly OHS legislation coming to a worksite near you? What are the impacts of COVID-19 on employment legislation a...
February 24, 2021
Mental Health in the Workplace – Employers' Duties and Obligations
February 2021 - 2 min read
Rising Monetary Awards for Human Rights Breaches
In one of the more noteworthy trends visible in human rights decisions throughout the last few years, human rights tribunals across the country have been increasing monetary awards to successful complainants – sometimes incrementally, sometimes i...
February 2021 - 5 min read
Discretionary Powers in Contracts: The Duty to Act in Good Faith
Since 2014, Canadian courts and tribunals have struggled with the application of the duty to act honestly in the performance in contractual obligations, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada ("SCC") in Bhasin v Hrynew. In attempts to...
January 2021 - 3 min read
"I Quit!" - When is a Verbal Resignation Valid?
In Conway v. Griff Building Supplies Ltd., 2020 CarswellBC 3112, an employee was found to have resigned verbally during a meeting, despite failing to provide a formal resignation letter. The Court considered the matter from the ‘perspec...
January 2021 - 6 min read
Deception + the Honest Performance of Contracts
In 2014 the Supreme Court pronounced that good faith contractual performance is a general principle in the common law of contracts and that there is a common law duty applicable to all contracts to act honestly in the performance of obligations; B...
Field Law Announces Five New Partners
The Firm welcomes Anthony Burden, Jason Kully, Lisa Statt Foy, Britt Tetz, and Matthew Turzansky to its partnership.Field Law is pleased to welcome Anthony Burden, Jason Kully, Lisa Statt Foy, Britt Tetz, and Matthew Turzansky as partners of the Firm. ...
December 17, 2020
The Old is New, Again? Bill 47 and Psychological Health + Safety
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected peoples’ mental health, and its impacts can be felt in the workplace. Occupational health and safety law requires that employers take steps to promote their workers’ psychological well-being. Joi...
December 2020 - 3 min read
Four Key Considerations When Drafting an Investigation Report
Consider this all too familiar scenario:An employer receives a complaint that an employee is allegedly bullying and harassing a co-worker. As part of the investigation, the employer interviews both the complainant and the subject thoroughly and thought...
November 2020 - 3 min read
Largest Costs Award in Alberta Human Rights History Upheld on Appeal
In Facey v Bantrel Management Services Co., 2020 ABQB 719 Rob Rakochey and Austin Ward successfully defeated an appeal of a watershed costs award granted against a complainant in a human rights case. The respondent to the appe...
November 2020 - 2 min read
New Restrictions = New Lay-Offs? What Employers Need to Know
On November 24, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced additional restrictions in response to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the province. Effective November 27, 2020, many businesses will be subject to closures, limited capacity, or appoin...
October 2020 - 2 min read
Timing is Key: When to Interview the Subject of a Workplace Investigation
While all workplace investigations are unique, there is a general pattern to the order of operations:
A complaint is received.
The complainant is interviewed.
Documents and other supporting evidence are gathered.
October 2020 - 3 min read
Constructively Dismissed Employee Entitled to Over $1 Million for Incentive Plan Payment
Have you reviewed the wording of your long-term incentive or other bonus or benefit plans for employees recently? If not, this is something employers will want to consider after the release of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Matthe...
October 7, 2020
Cocktails + Counsel: Workplace Accommodation in the COVID Era
Join Field Law for the second installment of a complimentary new webinar series that brings you together (virtually) with a few of our lawyers for an unscripted chat about legal issues. Your questions guide the discussion, and we provide our legal pers...
Simple as Pie? Not Exactly
Up Here Business Magazine
September 30, 2020
Employee Discipline and the Duty to Accommodate - How to Strike an Effective Balance
CPHR Alberta VISION 2020
September 2020 - 3 min read
Update: Medical Cannabis + the Duty to Accommodate
Keeping Up With Cannabis
The Newfoundland Court of Appeal recently handed down a decision that appears to inject uncertainty into employers’ attempts to accommodate workers in safety-sensitive positions who consume medical cannabis. While the case was decided in Newfound...
September 2020 - 4 min read
Terminating Employees after the Sale of a Business
When a business is sold, it is common that its employees will continue working for the purchaser after the sale. If the purchaser later decides to terminate their employment, complex issues around determining their entitlement to reasonable notice may ...
Field Law Lawyers and Department recognized in Chambers Canada 2021 Guide
Field Law is pleased to be included in the Chambers Canada 2021 guide with two firm rankings and five lawyers ranked.Our firm rankings are:
Highly Regarded, Corporate/Commercial Department in Alberta, Band 2
Employment + Labour in Alberta, Band 3...
September 2020 - 2 min read
Workplace Bullies: An Employer's Duty to Respond
The importance of a prompt and meaningful investigation into a workplace complaint was highlighted in Bassanese v German Canadian News Company Limited. An employer was ordered to pay $50,000 in aggravated damages for failure to properly ...
The Best Lawyers™ in Canada 2021
38 Fielders Recognized
Field Law is pleased to announce that 38 of our lawyers are recognized in their respective practice areas in the 15th edition of The Best Lawyers™ in Canada. Recognition in Best Lawyers™ is based on peer reviews of ...
August 2020 - 1 min read
UPDATE: CERB Extension and Changes to Employment Insurance
The Federal government has announced a four- week extension to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).As explained by the Government of Canada, the CERB is being extended from 24 weeks to 28 weeks for workers who:
stopped working due to COVID...
August 2020 - 4 min read
Workplace Investigations: Fairness is Key
Employers have an obligation to investigate allegations of employee misconduct. While employers are often aware of their obligations to take allegations of employee misconduct seriously, it is equally important that workplace investigations are fair to...
August 2020 - 5 min read
Working from Home: Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic
In March 2020, the world shifted and many employees had to adapt to working from home. Now several months on, many employees are hoping to make this arrangement permanent. Having your employees work from home may benefit and be feasible ...
July 23, 2020
Coffee + Counsel: Mitigating Risk as Employees Return to Work
Field Law presents a new series that brings together you and a few of our lawyers for an unscripted chat about legal issues. Your questions guide the discussion, and we provide our legal perspectives.
As businesses open up again, and employees retur...
July 2020 - 1 min read
Update: Proposed Changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
UPDATE: Bill C-20 passed Royal Assent on July 27, 2020. As a result, the changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, described in detail below, came into force on July 27, 2020.
On July 17, 2020, the Canadian government proposed changes to...
July 2020 - 5 min read
Highlights of Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act
UPDATE: Bill 32 passed Royal Assent on July 29, 2020. As a result, the changes to the Employment Standards Code and the Labour Relations Code, described in detail below, will begin to come into force. The now passed legislative amendments com...
July 8, 2020
WFH: Policies + Considerations Beyond the Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic forced many employers and their employees to abruptly adopt work-from-home arrangements. Although the relaunch of the Alberta economy is underway, employers and employees have become accustomed to remote work and “Zoom&rdquo...
June 2020 - 2 min read
Bill 24: A Further Extension of the Temporary Layoff Period to 180 Days
As we reported in April, the Government of Alberta previously announced an extension of the temporary layoff period in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (the “Code”) from 60 days to 120 days.Recently, the Government of Alberta intro...
June 2020 - 2 min read
CERB Extension – What Does This Mean for Employers?
The Federal Government recently announced an extension to the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (CERB). The program, set to expire at the end of June, will now be available to support Canadians unable to work due to the COVID-19 pandemic till the end of ...
June 2020 - 6 min read
Ready for Re-Launch! – Practical Advice for Employer “Return to the Workplace” Planning Amidst COVID-19
As endless as these past few months have seemed, it was not so long ago that most workplaces had to abruptly wrestle with how to scale down and make sometimes drastic changes to the way that their work gets done in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Wh...
June 2020 - 2 min read
What to do When an Employee Resigns after Being Recalled to Return to Work
Employers Asked, We Answered
As restrictions begin to lift, many employers are recalling employees from temporary layoff. In some cases, employees are responding to the request to return to work by resigning. As a result, many employers are wondering whether they are complicit in ...
Pandemic Parenting: Know your Rights as a Working Parent with Kids
May 2020 - 2 min read
Employees are Afraid to Return to Work. Now What?
On May 13, 2020 we hosted a webinar about pandemic-related work refusals as Alberta and other governments enable businesses and other organizations to reopen and call employees back to work. The most frequently asked question was: What do I do with an ...
May 13, 2020
We said “Back to work!” They said “We refuse!” Now what?
The Alberta government announced its "safely staged COVID-19 relaunch" and you’re thinking it’s time to call your laid-off or working-from-home crews back to work. Or you’re carrying on providing essential services and the &...
May 12, 2020
CPHR Alberta Webinar Series: HR Pandemic Essentials - Part 2
April 22, 2020
Lay-offs vs. Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy: Pros + Cons
What are the best options for your organization now, during the pandemic, and post-pandemic?
The response to COVID-19 has resulted in a shut-down of the economy. While the operating costs for organizations have remained, revenues have dropped dramat...
The Nuts + Bolts of the CEWS for Employers
As the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (“CEWS”) was made official on April 14, 2020, employers potentially eligible for this subsidy should now be considering what proactive steps they can take to support the intent of the new legislation, sp...
Roadmap for Employers Navigating COVID-19
Has your company experienced a decrease in work due to COVID-19? Download our comprehensive roadmap to explore the options you have for assistance as well as other frequently asked questions.
Eight Things to Know About the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “Subsidy”) is a measure announced by the Government of Canada providing a 75-per-cent wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. Field law has previousl...
April 9, 2020
Eligibility Requirements for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
We provided our most recent update on the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy on April 1, 2020. On April 8, 2020, the Government of Canada announced changes which relax the eligibility requirements for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “Subsi...
Suspended or Not? Limitation Periods in Employment Law
On March 30, 2020, Ministerial Order 27/2020 from the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General suspended limitation periods and periods of time within which any step must be taken in any proceeding or intended proceeding, from March 17 to June 1, 2020...
Temporary Changes to Alberta Employment Standards Legislation
On April 6, 2020, the Alberta Government announced temporary changes to the Employment Standards Code and Employment Standards Regulation to assist employers and employees in this difficult time. What we know about the changes so far, and their p...
April 1, 2020
Privacy + Data Management Considerations for Employers in a Pandemic
During a pandemic it can be difficult to balance employee privacy rights with the need to collect the information required to make critical decisions. Presented by Katrina Haymond and Kelly Nicholson, this webinar will provide employers with informatio...
April 1, 2020
UPDATE: What Does the 75% Wage Subsidy Mean for Employers?
The Government of Canada continues to announce details of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “Subsidy”). On April 1, 2020, the following details were provided:
The Subsidy is available to companies (including partnerships and sole p...
Contractors and COVID-19: How Far Must We (and Can We) Go to Meet OHS Obligations?
Much has been published in the last few weeks about the obligations of employers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, SA 2017, c O-2.1 [OHSA] to ensure that work sites are safe and healthy (and we’ll have more to come about the obligatio...
Virtual Workplace: Employers Can Rely on Electronic Employment Records
Recent changes in legislation permit Alberta employers to use electronic signatures and maintain electronic employment records. These legislative changes are particularly helpful as employers navigate increasingly common work-from-home arrangements and...
March 27, 2020
What Does the 75% Wage Subsidy Mean for Employers?
On March 27, 2020, the Government of Canada announced that it would be increasing a previously announced wage subsidy for small and medium businesses from 10% to 75%. The stated goal is to help employers keep employees on the payroll. The wag...
March 25, 2020
Additional Financial Support for Alberta Employers
On March 23, 2020, the Government of Alberta announced new measures for private sector employers to help them cope with the financial effects of the COVID-19 crisis. They include:
an Education property tax freeze
an Education property tax deferra...
March 25, 2020
Your Guide to the Federal COVID-19 Aid Legislation
Bill C-13 today received royal assent, bringing into force many of the initiatives first announced by the federal government on March 18, 2020 in response to the challenges employees and employers are facing due to COVID-19. Part of Bill C-13 brou...
March 20, 2020
COVID-19: Employment + Immigration Do’s and Don’ts
Learn what employers and employees can and can’t do during the pandemic, and how travel restrictions will affect Canadians. Presented by Christin Elawny and Miranda Sinclair this webinar will discuss up to date information on the ever-evolvi...
March 19, 2020
New Federal Support for Employees + Employers
As part of a new $82 billion spending package, the federal government today announced that approximately $27 billion would be directed to support for employers and employees affected by the COVID-19 situation. Parliament could be recalled as early as n...
March 18, 2020
UPDATE: Alberta Government Announces Details of COVID-19 Leave
On March 16, 2020, Field Law reported on the Alberta government’s plans to amend the Employment Standards Code to allow employees who are required to self-isolate or care for a family member with COVID-19 to take 14 days of paid leave to cover th...
Lock Down! Tips for Employers + Businesses Facing the Inevitable
The advice from Canadian public health officials is trending in one direction: increasing self-isolation. Not less.Calgary and Red Deer announced states of emergency earlier this week. Today, Ontario...
March 16, 2020
COVID-19: An Update for Employers
Changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code and an Updated Employer’s Guide to Managing Pandemics in the Workplace
While the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Alberta and the Northwest Territories remains low, the situation is fluid and changing quickly. As a result, employers worldwide are balancing the steps necessary to lessen the effects of COVID-19 with continui...
Just Horsing Around: When Off-Duty Conduct Becomes Cause to Terminate
The ever pertinent question of when off-duty conduct will constitute just cause dismissal was recently considered by an arbitration board in Prince Edward Island (Canadian Union of Public Employees v A Nursing Home Inc.). An individual was termina...
“False Light” Publicity: A New Risk in Data Management
Canadian courts have traditionally been more reluctant than their American counterparts to recognize torts relating to privacy interests. The American Law Society adopted the following four torts protective of individual privacy some time ago in its we...
February 10, 2020
Human Rights Obligations Following a Positive Drug Test
Keeping Up With Cannabis
In Maude v NOV Enerflow ULC, 2019 AHRC 54, the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta provided some helpful reminders to employers on the intersection of drug test results and human rights.
In March, 2016, Mr. Maude tested non-negative for drugs follow...
Duty to Accommodate: Understanding Employee Needs
One of the first decisions issued by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal in 2020 offers an important reminder in regards to an employer’s duty to accommodate. The decision of Salazar v J.S.L. Investments Corporation (“Salazar”), em...
An Employer’s Guide to Managing the Coronavirus in the Workplace
While the public risk associated with the Coronavirus in Canada is still considered low, employers should prepare antidotes for the various workplaces issues that arise in the wake of large-scale threats to health. Below are some frequently asked quest...
2019 - A Year in Review Seminar Series
Join the Field Law Labour + Employment Group for our annual seminars featuring legal updates and practical challenges for management and employee groups.Part 1 has been approved for 1.75 CPD hours and Part 2 has been approved for 2.25 CPD hou...
Spies and the Supreme Court: Charting a New Course for the Standard of Review
On December 19, 2019, the Supreme Court of Canada released its long-awaited trilogy of decisions that will significantly shift administrative law.Administrative law encompasses legal challenges to regulatory or government action, ranging from cabinet a...
One Bad Apple: When Can an Employee’s Bad Attitude Justify Termination?
The recent arbitration decision in Sasktel v Unifor, Local 2S, 2019 CanLII 57057 (SK LA) arose after a long-time employee was dismissed from her position with SaskTel. While her competence and technical know-how were undoubted, her interpersonal skills...
November 21, 2019
Cannabis Potpourri: One Year of Legal Cannabis in Canada Webinar
Possession and use of cannabis has now been legal in Canada for one year and edibles became legal on October 17, 2019. What has the year looked like and what new considerations do edibles add to the mix?Presented by Christin Elawny and&n...
November 19, 2019
Cannabis: One Year Later
Edmonton Chamber of Commerce
One year after Canada legalized cannabis for recreational use, this panel will discuss the implications in the workplace, society, and to our country overall. The panel will explore all angles of post-legalization and feature experts from workplace saf...
Bill 21: Key Aspects for Alberta Employers
The Alberta government introduced Bill 21: Ensuring Fiscal Sustainability Act, 2019 on October 28, 2019. This bill proposes several legislative changes that will impact labour and employment relations in the Province and which raise various considerati...
Get With the Times! The Alberta Court of Appeal Weighs in on Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
The recent case of Calgary (City) v Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 37, 2019 ABCA 388 from the Alberta Court of Appeal marks an important decision on sexual misconduct in the workplace. The City of Calgary (the “City”) ...
Election Day Voting Rights
As most people are no doubt aware, Monday, October 21 is Election Day, and federal law requires employers across Canada to provide employees with paid time off to vote (unless an employee has already exercised the right to vote by casting an advance ba...
September 26, 2019
Must Have Policies for Employers: Why, What + How
Join Field Law in Edmonton and Calgary and learn tips and tricks to assist with the implementation and enforcement of three workplace policies Employers should have in place in today’s market.We will explore how changes in legislation and culture...
Can’t Have Your Cake and Eat it Too: No Wrongful Dismissal Damages if Disability Benefits Paid
In Belanger v Western Ventilation Products Ltd, 2019 ABQB 571, a Master of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench found that an employee who became disabled after his notice of termination was not entitled to wrongful dismissal damages because the em...
How Dependent Must a Dependent Contractor Be?
The distinction between employees, independent contractors, and dependent contractors is a well-established part of Canadian employment law. But where to draw the line between independent contractors and dependent contractors in any given circumstance ...
Alberta Court of Appeal Confirms the Limitation Period for Statutory Damages Claims under PIPA
The Alberta Court of Appeal has recently confirmed that the limitation period under the Alberta Limitations Act applicable to a statutory claim for damages under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) does not begin to run until a Commissioner&...
You're Fired: Here's Your Bonus
If an employee is fired for just cause are they entitled to their performance bonus for the months worked in that year? Most employers probably expect that the answer is no. However, in Master Schulz’s recent decision in Grainger v. Pentagon Farm...
Reality Check: Can You Contract Out of Being an Employer?
With great power comes great responsibility. Certainly this is true of employer-employee relationships, where the power imbalance generally tips in favour of the employer. Employers are responsible for providing training and supervision to employees, c...
Alberta Human Rights Tribunal Renders Landmark Costs Award Against Complainant
Canadian Employment Law Today
Changing the Health and Safety Culture
Business in Calgary
Human Rights Tribunal Renders Landmark Costs Award Against Complainant
In Facey v Bantrel Management Services Co., 2019 AHRC 4 the Alberta Human rights Tribunal made a watershed costs award against a complainant. Tribunal Chair Langlois-Klassen acknowledged in her decision that costs should only be awarded against a compl...
Recent Developments in Family Status Accommodation: A Three-Headed Monster of Approaches?
Recent cases dealing with the protected human rights ground of “family status” provide employers with some additional guidance (and confusion) regarding the scope of their obligations, as courts, arbitrators and tribunals continue to try to...
Heads Up: Labour + Employment Laws Are Changing Again
On Monday May 27, the UCP-led Government of Alberta introduced Bill 2: An Act to Make Alberta Open for Business. Bill 2 passed its first reading and is aimed at reversing some of the legislative changes made by the NDP during its time in government. If...
Squaring the Circle or Levelling the Playing Field? Alberta’s New OHS Regime
On June 1, 2018 the Alberta Legislature changed occupational health and safety law history. The legislative changes to the Act, Regulations and Code changed the legal landscape in material ways, some of which are in tension with other legisla...
A New Approach to the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy: R v Jarvis, 2019 SCC 10
Labour + Employment
Though it emerges in a criminal law context, the new decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in R v Jarvis, 2019 SCC 10 is likely to have an impact on future cases that consider the scope of an individual’s privacy interest, whether in the crimin...
The #metoo Movement and Interim Measures
Ryerson University v Ryerson Faculty Association, 2018 CanLII 111683In Ryerson University and Ryerson Faculty Association, a recent case out of Ontario, an arbitrator was asked to consider the appropriateness of interim measures imposed on an employee ...
February 6, 2019
2018 Year in Review for Northern Employers
Join Field Law for a review of the most important legal cases from 2018. Topics covered will include:
Occupational Health + Safety
This seminar will be broadcast live via ...
2018 A Year in Review Seminar Series
The Field Law Labour and Employment Group presents the annual Year in Review seminars in Calgary and Edmonton. Join us for legal updates and practical challenges for management and employee groups in the areas of:
#metoo - What's an Employer To Do and Not To Do?
Leanne Monsma discussed what employers should do, as well as what employers are obligated to do, when they receive complaints of sexual harassment.
The Long And Winding Road To Accommodation - How Long Is Too Long?
Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association v Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, 2018 CanLII 90730After a lengthy period of time off work, a school board failed to accommodate a teacher with their return to work within a suitab...
'Tis the Season: Holiday Parties + Employer Obligations
The holiday season has arrived, and with it many employers will celebrate the year with their staff. To ensure that everyone has a safe and joyous time, employers should keep in mind their obligations to employees and guests who attend office parties o...
Precise Language Needed to Override Reasonable Notice
It is fairly common for a written employment agreement to seek to limit an employee’s termination notice to the minimum amount prescribed under employment standards legislation. However past case law suggests that doing so may be more difficult t...
Buildex Calgary Seminar Talks Cannabis in the Workplace
Journal of Commerce
Court Upholds Decision to Allow Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing After Near Miss
Canadian Employment Law Today
Court Upholds Decision to Allow Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Testing After Near-Miss
October 24 + 30, 2018
Effective Responses to Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Complaints Workshop
An increasing number of organizations are being rocked by allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct by their employees. Often these allegations are broadcast on social media, catching organizations flat-footed and unprepared.
Join Field Law...
October 3 + 10, 2018
Cannabis in the Workplace: Implications for Employers
Recreational cannabis will be legal in Canada on October 17, 2018.
Join Field Law’s Labour and Employment Group for a detailed, scenario-based half-day workshop providing practical advice and useful tips to prepare your organization for situat...
Punitive and Aggravated Damages – Exceptional but Necessary Remedies
Ruston v Keddco Mfg. (2011) Ltd., 2018 ONSC 2919Although traditionally, punitive and aggravated damages were deemed as exceptional remedies, the Courts have turned to these remedies to assist employees where the employer’s actions may be deemed a...
Minimum Wage Increases in Alberta
As of October 1st, the Alberta’s minimum wage increase will finally come into effect, bumping the minimum wages from $13.60 to $15 per hour.
According to a report released by Public Interest Alberta, more than 300 000 Albertans will be getting...
'Clearly Separate': Workplace Sexual Misconduct Not Captured by Employment Release
Canadian Employment Law Today
“Clearly Separate”: Workplace Sexual Misconduct Not Captured by Employment Release
In the recent decision of Watson v. The Governing Council of the Salvation Army of Canada, 2018 ONSC 1066, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held an employee’s claim for sexual harassment against another employee for conduct at the workplace ...
Cannabis Complicates Crossing the Border
The legalization of cannabis in Canada poses a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs, investors, and businesses. It is estimated that the recreational cannabis market in Canada may generate approximately $23 billion in annual revenue, creating jobs and ...
HRTO Finds Exemptions in Human Rights Code Unconstitutional
Recently, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (the “HRTO”) released a significant decision regarding an employer’s discretion to terminate extended health, dental and life insurance benefits for employees that reach the age of 65, bu...
Legal Cannabis: Coming to Canada on October 17, 2018
Countdown to Cannabis Legislation
On June 20, 2018, the federal government announced that Canadians will be able to possess and consume cannabis recreationally under the Cannabis Act as of October 17, 2018. Until that date, cannabis possession and consumption remains illegal, other tha...
#metoo: What’s an Employer To Do and Not To Do?
Leanne Monsma discusses what employers should do, as well as what employers are obligated to do, when they receive complaints of sexual harassment.
June 5, 2018
Cannabis in the Workplace - Implications for Northern Employers
What Northern Employers Need to Know About Cannabis in the Workplace
Join Field Law’s Labour and Employment Group for a detailed, scenario-based half-day workshop providing practical advice and useful tips to prepare your organization for situ...
Skip the Investigation and Risk Punitive Damages
In recent cases such as Smith v Vauxhall Co-Op Petroleum Limited, 2017 ABQB 525 and Garnett v Alberta Motor Association, 2017 ABPC 267, Alberta courts have cautioned employers about the importance of properly investigating complaints of impropriet...
May 23, 2018
The New Alberta OHS Act: More Roles, More Obligations + Many More Pitfalls
Join Field Law for a comprehensive half-day workshop that will prepare you for the upcoming changes to the OHS Act.
On June 1, serious changes are coming to Alberta’s occupational health and safety law. Already an onerous regulatory regi...
Cannabis in the Workplace: A Few Things Employers Might Get a Taste of
Aboriginal Business Quarterly
2017 A Year in Review Seminar Series
The Field Law Labour and Employment Group presents the annual Year in Review seminars in Calgary and Edmonton. Join us for legal updates and practical challenges for management and employee groups in the areas of:
Occupational Health and ...
Protection From Discrimination in Employment – To Infinity and Beyond
At the end of last year, the Supreme Court of Canada, in the highly anticipated decision of British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62 (“Shrenk”), addressed the following important issue: How far does protection from disc...
Jail for OHS Offences? Yes - Even if the OHS Prosecutor Didn’t Ask For it!
It has long been the law in Alberta that work site parties convicted of offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulations or Code could spend time in jail. Until recently, however, this had never happened. Alberta courts have relied in...
If You Haven't Heard About the Upcoming Changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Regulation, You Need to Read This!
Important changes to Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (the “Code”) come into effect in just a few short weeks. In order to align the Employment Standards Regulation with these changes, on December 7, 2017 the Government of Alberta ...
R v Jarvis: Is There a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Schools?
In R v Jarvis, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently discussed the existence of a reasonable expectation of privacy in a school environment. Background The Respondent, a high school teacher, was surreptitiously recording female students and te...
Employment Standards Code Changes are Effective January 1: Are You Ready?
As outlined in our previous alerts, almost all of the changes to the Employment Standards Code (the “Code”) brought in by the Fair and Family- Friendly Workplaces Act come into effect on January 1, 2018. Employers should take the following ...
Bill 30 Overhauls Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act
On November 27, 2017 the Alberta Government introduced Bill 30 – An Act to Protect the Health and Well-Being of Working Albertans. Bill 30 proposes updates to Alberta’s Workers Compensation Act while offering a complete replacement of the c...
Failure to Investigate Not Fatal to Just Cause Termination
The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench’s recent decision in Watkins v Willow Park Golf Course, 2017 ABQB 541, centres around a case of a supervisor who developed unreturned romantic feelings for another employee. The case also contains importan...
Times They Are A Changin': Drastic Changes to Alberta's Work Laws Are Upon Us
The provincial government's new Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act has introduced profound changes to Alberta's Employment Standards Code and Labour Relations Code. Some changes are already in effect, and some come into effect on January 1...
Legalized Recreational Marijuana in Alberta - Is Your Workplace Prepared?
On April 13, 2017, the federal government tabled two new cannabis-related bills before Parliament, Bill C-45: An Act respecting cannabis and to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Criminal Code and other Acts and Bill C-46: An Act to ame...
Without Prejudice: An Invisibility Cloak for a Mature World
Almost immediately following the unfortunate reality of a termination of employment, another unfortunate reality almost always arrives: a “without prejudice” demand letter. Indeed, that demand letter is perhaps the second “without pre...
Terminated Employee Awarded Aggravated Damages for Employer's Conduct
Termination of employment can cause an employee a great deal of hardship. This is especially true when allegations of misconduct and insubordination are at play. The case of Lalonde v. Sena Solid Waste Holdings Inc, 2017 ABQB 374 cautions employers to ...
How Key is the Employee? Identifying When an Employee is a Fiduciary
A fiduciary employee is an employee trusted with a measure of responsibility by their employer. This in turn creates corresponding duties owed by the fiduciary that go over and above those normally owed by an employee to an employer.It is therefore imp...
Alberta’s Highest Court Clarifies OHS Law: Privilege Must Be Proven
Labour and Employment Alert
With its decision this week in Alberta v. Suncor Energy Inc, 2017 ABCA 221, the Alberta Court of Appeal has considered and clarified the application of solicitor-client privilege and litigation privilege to incidents under Alberta’s Occupational ...
Certain Earnings During Notice Period Not Considered Mitigation
On May 23, 2017, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Superior Court of Justice in the case of Brake v. PJ-M2R Restaurant Inc. 2016 ONSC 1795, 2017 ONCA 402, endorsing the lower court’s finding that certain earnings during the n...
Update on Bill 17: The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act
Case Update: Styles v. Alberta Investment Management Corporation
On June 1, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an application for leave to appeal of the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Styles v. Alberta Investment Management Corporation.1 This leaves the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision u...
Highlights of Bill 17: Alberta’s Fair and Family Friendly Workplaces Act
Bill 17: The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, was introduced in the Alberta Legislature on May 24, 2017. The Bill is part of the Government of Alberta’s efforts to ensure that “Alberta has fair, modern and family-friendly workplaces...
The Resignation Trap: Avoiding Unwanted Consequences When an Employee Resigns
It may be assumed that when an employee says “I quit” or walks into his employer’s office, hands in his keys and says “I’m done” the employer can accept the employee’s resignation and move ...
Alberta's Minimum Wage is on the Rise
Effective October 1, 2016, Alberta’s minimum wage will increase from $11.20 per hour to $12.20 per hour. This is the first step in the Provincial government’s plan to increase the minimum wage in Alberta to $15.00 per hour by...
Can an Alberta Employer Implement a Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy in a Safety Sensitive Workplace?
Despite a new decision on the issue from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (the “Court”) on May 18, 20161, the answer to this question remains “maybe.” The Court has, however, provided us with a measure of ...
Sit Back and Relax - Is there a Duty to Mitigate after Termination of a Fixed-Term Contract?
The Ontario Court of Appeal recently issued its decision in Howard v. Benson Group Inc. 2016 ONCA 256, relating to the termination of a fixed-term employment contract. The Plaintiff, Mr. Howard, was a Truck Shop Manager who ent...
Dependent Contractors Awarded 26 Months' Reasonable Notice
Dependent contractors are becoming an increasing portion of the working population, and an Ontario court recently confirmed that protections available to them are at the top end of the scale.In the case of Keenan v. Canac Kitchens, 2015 ...
Gender Identity and Gender Expression Are Now Prohibited Grounds of Discrimination Under The Alberta Human Rights Act
As of December 11, 2015, gender identity and gender expression are prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Alberta Human Rights Act. Under section 7 of the Act employers cannot refuse to employ or to continue to employ any person,...
Harassing Comments Are No Joke: Employer Ordered to Pay Employee $7,500
Mohamud v. Canadian Dewatering (2006) Ltd., 2015 AHRC 16, is a recent decision of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. This decision demonstrates the type of workplace harassment that creates a poisoned workplace and is a reminder t...
Determining Reasonable Notice: Is Character of Employment a Less Important Factor?
As an employer, when terminating an employee without just cause, it is important to have some sense of the reasonable notice period a court might award in the circumstances in order to prepare an appropriate severance offer. There a...
When is an Employee’s Disability a Factor in his Dismissal?
On June 30, 2015, the Court of Appeal of Alberta released its decision in Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corporation, 2015 ABCA 225 (“Stewart”) and clarifying what constitutes discrimination. In Stewart, the employer terminat...
Canada Labour Code Does not Grant Non-Unionized Employees a "Right to the Job"
In Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 2015 FCA 17 ("Wilson"), the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) made a game-changing decision when they unanimously found that without cause dismissals of non-unionized emp...
Porter Airlines Pays $150,000 for Alleged Violations of Canada's AntiSpam Legislation (CASL)
On June 29, 2015, Porter Airlines became the third Canadian company to pay a significant financial penalty under CASL, since the legislation came into force in July 2014. Earlier speculation over whether CASL would have any teeth sh...
"Full and final settlement of any and all claims" – not so, says the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal
The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) released a decision this month that considered whether the terms of a Release Agreement constituted a valid and enforceable settlement of an employee’s allegations of human...
Competing After Employment (Part One)
A key employee departs. The employer, worried that confidential information has leaked out of the company, scrambles to respond. After a frenzied period of preparation, the employer starts a lawsuit and seeks an injunction against t...
"Employed" in Name Only - An Employer’s Duty to Provide Work
Will an employment contract be fundamentally changed if the employer stops assigning work? This was the question tackled by the Alberta Court of Appeal in its recent decision in Bonsma v Tesco Corporation, 2013 ABCA 367. The P...
Essential Services and Essential Rights: Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and the New Constitutional Right to Strike
In Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the right to strike is protected under the right to freedom of association, guaranteed by s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rig...
Court of Appeal of Alberta Upholds Employers Anton Piller Order
Among the Court of Appeal of Alberta’s first decisions of the New Year, was its decision in Peters & Co Limited v Ward, 2015 ABCA 6 (CanLII), regarding the matter of an Anton Piller Order obtained by an employer, an invest...
Commercial Contracts Include an Implied Duty of Good Faith
There has long been an implied duty that an employer must act in good faith when terminating employment contracts. Until now, such a duty was not necessarily implied in other commercial contracts. However, all companies should be aw...
As previously reported in Workwise, on November 15, 2013, the Alberta Personal Information Protection Act (the “Act”), was declared invalid on constitutional grounds by the Supreme Court of Canada (the “SCC”) ...
Terminating Fixed-Term Contracts on Your Terms
The Court of Appeal of Alberta recently upheld a finding of constructive dismissal of an employee, who although paid to the end of his one year fixed-term contract, was not allowed to work during the final month of the contract.In Thompson v Carde...
Reinstatement Available as a Remedy Nearly Ten Years After Last Day Worked
Although reinstatement in the Human Rights context is considered a unique and uncommon remedy, the Ontario Divisional Court recently refused an application for judicial review of a decision of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal...
Clarifying the Legal Test for "Family Status" Discrimination
Federal Court of Appeal Rules Employers Discriminated by Failing to Accommodate Employees’ Childcare Needs
Two recent decisions from the Federal Court of Appeal are the latest word in the ongoing debate over workplace discrimination on the basis of “family status”. These decisions are important to employers, as they signal a continued movem...
Wal-Mart Could Not Thaw the "Statutory Freeze" by Closing its Store
Where a retail store is performing very well, with objectives being met to such an extent that bonuses are being promised to employees, would a reasonable employer close that store? The Supreme Court of Canada determined in the U.F.C.W., Local 503...
Employer Liability for Aggravated Damages Arising from Workplace Harassment
When it comes to terminating an employment relationship, the amount of pay in lieu of notice is something an employer can exercise a degree of control over through a written employment contract. What is often forgotten is the potential for enormou...
Alberta Arbitration Board Rules Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Unreasonable
In the ongoing debate on random drug and alcohol testing of employees, an Alberta Arbitration Board (the “Board”) has found that an employer’s random drug and alcohol testing policy is unreasonable.The Board’s decision is t...
Injunction Granted: Public Service Salary Restraint Act "Guts the Bargaining Process"
Although other governments in Canada have imposed wage capping legislation, the Public Service Salary Restraint Act, SA 2013, c. P43 (the “PSSRA”) is unique given its “very broad and very focused effect” on one group, the C...
Headhunter Discriminates in Hiring
Employer Found Liable
SynopsisReiss v. CCH Canadian Limited, 2013 HRTO 764 is the latest case out of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal dealing with age discrimination in hiring. Reiss is important in general because the tribunal found an employer liable for the discrim...
"You Compete Me" - Will the Courts Love Your Company’s Restrictive Covenants for Employees as Much as You Do?
An area of law where both employers and employees often struggle to find clarity is the area of restrictive covenants, specifically non-competition and non-solicitation clauses for employees. Part of the reason for frequent confusion is that this ...
Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Union’s Right to Freedom of Expression
As noted in our latest Privacy Press update, recently the Supreme Court of Canada in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 401, 2013 SCC 62, determined that Alberta’s Personal Information...
Supreme Court of Canada Declares Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act Unconstitutional
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has declared the Alberta Personal Information Protection and Privacy Act (PIPA) unconstitutional in its entirety in the UFCW case 2013 SCC 62. This will have far-reaching effects for organizations subject to ...
A Lovely Review of Employment Contract Principles
In Lovely v. Prestige Travel Ltd., 2013 ABQB 467, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench ordered an employer to pay an executive level employee one year’s base salary, after it terminated his employment one year into a two year, fixed...
If The Whistle Sounds, Is a Penalty Coming? - Alberta's New Whistleblower Legislation
On June 1, 2013, Alberta’s first ever Whistleblower legislation came into effect. The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act is intended to protect employees in the public sector who act as whistleblowers – employees...
Supreme Court Speaks On Random Alcohol Testing
The Supreme Court of Canada has released its decision in a much anticipated case about random alcohol testing in the workplace. In a split decision, a majority of the Court decided that a policy requiring employees in a New Brunswick pulp and...
A Catch to a Release
A signed release provides peace of mind that all disputes are resolved and there will be no further claims, complaints, or legal action. Or does it? Two recent Ontario cases remind us that a signature alone is not a guarantee of an enforceable rel...
Our client: A large, federally-regulated employer, with a major, national operation and a non-union workforce.
- Where we began: The company purchased a unionized operation and needed help integrating the two operations. As Frank put it, "Our client wanted to realize the efficiencies of merging into one, non-union location while recognizing the rights of the union employees. First, however, we needed to assess the legal issues and the scope of the unionized workers' rights."
- Our approach: In collaboration with the client, we decided to keep the unionized group initially separate. "This allowed the client time to sort out the complicated issues and scenarios involved including the impact on the client's national operations and to negotiate with the union."
- The result: The client expects a settlement that includes removal of some union job categories, subject to the agreement's approval by the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
Client focused results
An employee was terminated after 17 years of service and offered six months’ severance. The client initially came to Taylor to review a severance package before signing anything.
In an attempt to resolve the issue quickly and without litigation, Taylor began by sending a demand letter to the employer outlining the client’s proper entitlements in law. The client was dissatisfied by the employer’s response to the letter and started a lawsuit against the employer. Taylor brought an application for summary judgment (meaning a determination of the merits of the case without need for a full trial).
Taylor’s application was successful. The client was awarded double what was originally offered by the employer, 12 months of pay in lieu of notice, with a small deduction of two weeks of wages earned in his new job. The client was also reimbursed for 11.5 months of extended healthcare benefits and awarded legal costs.
The client was thrilled with the outcome and was particularly happy to avoid the need for and delay in waiting for a trial. By working closely with the client from the outset, Taylor was able to craft the case she argued and adapt the strategy to suit the client’s appetite for litigation. Ultimately, Taylor effectively used the Rules of Court to provide a cost and time efficient resolution for the client.
Assisting a client with a complex grievances case
An employer was facing numerous grievances in relation to a single employee. The case was very complicated because of the high number of grievances, documents and witnesses. The case proceeded to arbitration, however, due to the effectiveness of the way Leanne helped present the employer’s case, the union ultimately withdrew the grievances. Leanne was successful because she advocated strongly on behalf of her client but maintained a respectful and collaborative relationship with the union throughout.