Case Law Updates


The SCC’s Employment Law Refresher

By Victoria Merritt, lawyer. Employment law enthusiasts in Canada had one more thing to be thankful for this weekend: the unanimous decision released by the Supreme Court of Canada (the “SCC”) on October 9, 2020, Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., 2020 SCC 26. The issue before the SCC related to the damages an employee […]


Severance Clauses: One Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch?

By Victoria Merritt.  The enforceability of termination clauses in employment contracts has been hotly contested in recent years, particularly in Ontario. The 2020 decision from Ontario’s Court of Appeal (the ONCA) in Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc. is the latest judicial warning to employers on this topic, as it suggests that employers must get every […]


Uber’s “Unconscionable” Arbitration Clause Opens Door for Class Action

By Victoria Merritt.  The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that Ontario courts, not a Dutch arbitrator, can hear a potential class action lawsuit against Uber that may determine if its drivers are “employees.” In doing so, the majority affirms the principle of unconscionability, reminding employers that an enforceable employment agreement must be fair and […]


Job Abandonment: Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread

By Gurkirat Singh Dhillon. Are you an employer who just learned that one of your employees has not shown up to work in a while? Did that employee communicate with his or her manager about this absence? Have calls and emails to the employee gone unanswered? Depending on the answers to these questions, you may […]


The High Cost of Discriminatory Hiring Practices

By Wendy Woloshyn. Most Canadians are aware that their human rights are protected on the job. What you might not know is that this protection includes the pre-employment stage. If a company’s hiring process discriminates against certain applicants on the basis of a “protected ground” (e.g. race, age, sex, family status, gender identity, etc.), or […]


Fairness and Transparency are Key When it Comes to Bonus Entitlements on Dismissal

By Wendy Woloshyn. What happens if an employee gets fired without cause before his or her bonus gets paid? What if the employment contract says that to receive the bonus, the employee must still be employed at the time it’s paid out? The answers might surprise you. Integral and Discretionary My colleague Richard Johnson has […]


Valle Torres: Revisiting Key Principles for Calculating Damages

By Erin Brandt. We have written previously about how severance pay will generally be calculated if an employee is dismissed from work, and the need to treat an employee fairly in the manner of dismissal. (In case you missed them, we’ve included links to these articles at the end of this post.) Another recent BC […]


Offering Referrals to Clients: A Cautionary Tale

By Richard Johnson. Those of us in the legal profession have been happy to guide clients toward other service providers as and when appropriate when an aspect of the client’s needs falls outside the scope of our practice. In a world of ever-increasing specialization, the need for referrals to those with particular areas expertise will only […]


Midwives Subject to Gender Discrimination: Association of Ontario Midwives v. Ontario

By Erin Brandt. Last month, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal issued an historic decision. The Tribunal ruled that the Ontario government has been discriminating against Ontario midwives since 2005 on the basis of sex as a result of the difference between the compensation paid to midwives and Community Health Care Clinic (CHC) physicians. What happens […]

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Safety and Accommodation: Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal

by Erin Brandt. In a workplace human rights case decided earlier this year (Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal), the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that an Alberta employer’s firing of an employee following an on-site accident and a positive drug test was not a discriminatory act. Apparently key to the SCC’s decision was the fact […]

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