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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Summary hearings and the burden of proof at the HRTO

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For an application to be fully processed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the applicant must establish a nexus or “connection” between the protected ground they are alleging and the conduct of the respondent. This was reiterated in the recent summary hearing of Wasty v. Long Wolf Real Estate Technologies.

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HR data: Go beyond the tip of the iceberg

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Workforce data is everywhere. In all different formats using multiple languages, inconsistent terminology, and living in different systems. Given this complexity, it’s not surprising that most HR & talent teams access and utilize only a small portion of their data’s power. This is the data that’s visible, on the surface, and easily reported. But this is only the tip of the iceberg…and below the surface is where we really need to focus to deliver results for the business.

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Pregnant employee awarded damages in discrimination claim

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In a recent matter heard before the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta (the Tribunal), it was decided that an employer discriminated against its employee in the course of her employment, on the ground of gender, in both sexual harassment and pregnancy. Such action is contrary to the Alberta Human Rights Act. In coming to its conclusion, the Tribunal had to address whether the employee had established a prima facie case of discrimination. If so, did the employer have a defence to the discrimination?

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Human Resource professionals can actually save the world!!!

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There are some professions that are automatically seen as having a strong impact on our world and are accepted as having the capability of making our world a better place. Human Resource Management however is often seen as having the potential to make significant impact on business success, rarely do we extend that assessment to the economy and nation building. But the Human Resource profession may just be the answer to some of the social, political and economic challenges being faced in Canada today.

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WSIB premiums decrease for first time in 15 years

Image: www.wsib.on.ca

Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board made headlines this month by announcing that employer premiums would decrease an average of 5% in 2017, the first such decrease in over 15 years. This will result in approximately $250 million less being collected from employers, making the average premium rate $2.46 per $100 of insurable payroll, down from $2.59 in 2016.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

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The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: anticipated salary increases for 2017; Employment Insurance rate change for 2017; and a case that addresses whether there is a reasonable expectation of privacy in a text message once it has been sent and received by the intended recipient.

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Government of Canada announces termination of the eTA leniency period

Image: Government of Canada website

I previously reported that Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada had published regulations implementing its Electronic Travel Authorization (“eTA”) program. The regulations initially required eTAs to be mandatory as of March 15, 2016. However, the new Liberal Government decided to delay the enforcement of the eTA requirement by implementing a “leniency period.”

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New minimum wage in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Prince Edward Island

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This morning’s blog post informed you of the upcoming minimum wage increase on October 1, 2016, in Ontario. However, there are upcoming minimum wage increases on October 1, 2016 in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island as well. The Alberta minimum wage is increasing to $12.20 for most employees; the current liquor server rate will […]

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New minimum wage increase in Ontario

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Minimum wage is the lowest wage rate an employer can legally pay their employee. Ontario has one of the highest minimum wage rates; as of October 1st, 2016 Ontario’s minimum wage rate will be increasing. The majority of employees are entitled to minimum wage, including casual employees, full-time and part-time employees, and those paid an hourly rate, piece rate, flat rate, salary, or commission. Although, there are some exemptions from minimum wage provisions of the Employment Standards Act.

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In camera meetings – Closing the door doesn’t make it private

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In camera (or closed–door) meetings exclude the public from participating and, by their very nature, they enjoy an aspect of privacy that open meetings do not. Additionally, if an administrative body is carrying out a public function, the privacy of the contents of in camera meetings can be further protected by a legal principle called “deliberative secrecy”. However, in certain circumstances, the courts may require that parties give evidence of what transpires in these meetings—in particular where they relate to administrative bodies acting as employers, rather than carrying out public functions.

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“Age is an impediment”: Fair severance for older employees in Ontario

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Courts have previously recognized that older employees may struggle to find comparable re-employment. In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded 24 months’ common law reasonable notice to a dismissed employee who was 61 years old at the time of dismissal. This decision provides some helpful direction and guidance for employers that move to terminate the employment of older, long service employees from their organization.

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Huge wrongful dismissal damage award overruled by Ontario Court of Appeal on basis of misapplication of law of just cause dismissal

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A 62 year old Mississauga teacher with 10 years of service experienced the joy of winning a huge damage award in the face of allegations of just cause at trial only to have the trial decision squarely overruled by a majority of the Ontario Court of Appeal with significant cost consequences to account for. While the Ontario Court of Appeal often gives Trial Judges significant deference in their decisions, the Court of Appeal found that the Trial Judge misapplied the facts to the proper law on just cause dismissal and overruled the entire decision and awarded the employer significant costs on both the trial and appeal.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

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The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: a matter that looks at just cause for dismissal; a claim of discrimination in relation to cessation of benefits upon turning the age 65; and claims that address bonus payments on termination.

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Court ruling making it harder for employers to avoid paying bonuses to workers dismissed without cause

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Employees often rely on bonuses as a big part of their income and work hard throughout the year with the understanding that the efforts will be rewarded with a well–earned bonus. Employers on the other hand often attempt to limit the employee’s entitlement to bonuses and other incentives after termination, by including special contractual limitations in the employment and benefit plan contracts of the employee. In two recent decisions by the Ontario Court of Appeal the court has made it significantly more difficult for employers to avoid paying bonuses to wrongfully dismissed workers.

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Employment contracts may need to be amended because of a recent Court of Appeal decision

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Bonus plans in employment contracts are a great way to motivate, reward and retain employees. Many of these bonus plans have built–in conditions that must be met before these bonuses are paid out. For example, an employee must be actively employed at the time the bonus is paid. Increasingly, the courts are being asked to determine whether these conditions have to be met and whether a bonus is owing. A recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal will come as a surprise to many of you.

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