Archives: Workplace Policies

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Transgender Rights and Employer Responsibilities

Trans rights have been in the news a lot lately. During his eventful tenure, President Trump has eroded existing protections for transgendered individuals in the United States. This winter he removed protections for transgendered students in public schools that allowed them to use the bathroom of their gender expression, and not their physical sex. At … Continue Reading

PHIPA Fines in the Workplace

This spring the largest penalty to date was issued under Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (“PHIPA”). A social work student was convicted of accessing personal health information without authorization, and ordered pay a $20,000 fine and a $5,000 victim fine surcharge after pleading guilty to “willfully accessing the personal health information of five individuals.” … Continue Reading

Pot in the Workplace

Marijuana has been legal for medical use since 1999. As you undoubtedly know, the Trudeau government has tabled legislation that would expand legal use to the recreational sphere. Employers need to be prepared for how the potential legalization of recreational marijuana will impact the workplace. Background on the Bill Here’s a little background on the … Continue Reading

Ontario Employment Law Reform on Horizon

The Ontario government has been reviewing employment laws and labour standards in Ontario, the first such major review since the mid-1990s. A package of reforms is expected to be released next week.  “Changing Workplaces” has been a two-year review, headed by outside experts Michael Mitchell and John Murray.  The Ministry of Labour’s website contains the … Continue Reading

New AODA Requirements Effective January 1, 2017

As of January 1, 2017, several new requirements have taken effect under the disability law regime in Ontario.  The Integrated Accessibility Standards (IAS) made under the Accessibility of Ontarians with a Disability Act (AODA) sets out a comprehensive framework for business in Ontario to ensure the accessibility for employees and customers. Since 2012, employers have … Continue Reading

When Employees Fail to Engage in the Accommodation Process

Last week I wrote about the statutory framework of the family status accommodation requirements in Ontario.  The case that has moved this area of law along is Misetich v Value Village Stores (2016 HRTO 1229, “Misetich”), a case the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) released this fall.   This case intersects with disability accommodation … Continue Reading

Family Status Discrimination: The Statutory Framework

Discrimination on the grounds of “family status” continues to be a hot topic for Canadian employers. Are employers required to accommodate an employee’s eldercare obligations? Are these sorts of obligations different than an employee’s childcare obligations?  Where is the line between personal preference to help out one’s parents and a medical or legal obligation that … Continue Reading

Employment Standards FYI – Minimum Wage     

The minimum wage that every Ontario employer must pay their employees has gone up from $11.25 to $11.40 per hour, effective October 1, 2016.  The Ontario Employment Standards Act sets out further details for specific categories of employees, such as students, liquor servers, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers. For those workplaces that employ students, … Continue Reading

Top 3 Uniquely Canadian Workplace Issues

Toronto is a great place to be a tech employer. It’s a cool city with exciting innovation and talent. If you’re a US company considering getting in on the action in Toronto, there are few things you should know about the True North. Canada strives to have workplaces that are tolerant and inclusive and employees … Continue Reading

Tweeting Your Way to Termination

A blog post just in time for some downtime over the holiday – when can personal tweets become grounds for termination?  Some of you may remember when in August of 2013 Canadian news outlets were a-buzz with the termination of two Toronto Firefighters for sexist comments made on Twitter. For a media report on the details of the … Continue Reading

Holiday Party Tips for the Young Boss

We all have an office party horror story.  The partner who got too sloppy and friendly with the summer student, the awkward aversion of eye contact the next day, or the overly honest comments from the disgruntled employee. While holiday parties can be an important employee morale booster, for the employer they can present a minefield of potential liability … Continue Reading

Alert! Blue-Flu Hits Canada

Blue Jays-itis, Blue Jay Fever, the Blue Flu…whatever you call it some sort of strange illness has taken over Canadian workplaces with employees calling in sick, skipping out early or hunched secretively over their computers all in the name of baseball. I have discussed the issue of sports and impacts on workplace productivity before. With … Continue Reading

Privacy and Porn on Workplace Computers

Employees have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the personal information on their workplace computers, even if that expectation can be significantly diminished with effective workplace policies and practices.  However, whether such reasonable expectations extend to workplace computer evidence admitted in a criminal proceeding was addressed in last Friday’s highly anticipated Supreme Court of Canada … Continue Reading

Can You Discriminate Against a Volunteer?

The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Accessibility for Ontarians with a Disability set out the rights and obligations regarding employees, but what about volunteers?  A reader of this blog (thanks Angie!) has asked about the application of these laws when recruiting volunteers.  Human rights codes across Canada work largely the same on this issue, but since … Continue Reading

Working from Home: Legal Issues for Employers

Working from home, telecommuting, flexible hours, – whatever you call it, it is part of the Gen Y paradigm of focusing on work product rather than work process. In an information economy where so many workers are producing electronic written and graphic content rather than a physical product, many employees are pushing to work where they … Continue Reading
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