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News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Consider your audience: HR analytics

As we discussed in last month’s post, one key aspect to successfully using analytics to drive decision making is being able to tell the story—apply important context to the results to understand what they mean. Another key consideration is your audience. Your audience should determine what analytics to focus on and how you visualize the results.

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Termination provisions in employment contracts

As an employee, by law, you are entitled to reasonable notice of termination of your employment. Employers however, often attempt to limit your legal entitlements by explicitly defining your rights upon termination in the employment contract. In the recent case of Singh v Qualified Metal Fabricators Ltd. an Ontario Court adopted an employee–friendly interpretation of these termination provisions, resolving the potential ambiguities in favour of the employee. While employers are allowed to contractually limit employees’ common–law reasonable notice requirements, they are required to do so with complete precision.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: Meal and vehicle rates used to calculate travel expenses for 2016; important changes to form RC59 coming; and case about employee who was awarded punitive damages in dismissal claim.

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Probationary periods in Canada: Are they legal?

Probationary periods in employment… for something seeming so simple, they still cause a lot of confusion, and employees and employers alike are frequently mistaken about the legality of probationary periods and how they apply to the non-unionized worker. Employees who are terminated during probationary periods often accept their lot without ever receiving legal advice, while employers often terminate ‘probationary’ employees without providing any compensation, only to be surprised by a demand letter or civil action claiming wrongful dismissal. So where do these challenges come from? And how can they be remedied?

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Dealing with workplace bullying

In an era that focuses on collaboration and open workspaces, workplace bullying has increasingly be on the rise. When trying to understand bullying that takes place at work, it is important first to be able to define workplace bullying. It is defined by OSACH (Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare) as repeated, persistent, continuous behavior as opposed to a single negative act. All individuals within an organization should understand the different between normal work conflict and tenacious management, and the continuous act of a bully.

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Email etiquette: What Ontario can learn from France

The capacity to send and receive email on smart phone devices and laptops has fundamentally altered the working lives of many. The notion of the ‘9 to 5’ job has, in many industries, become a thing of the past. Our use of email has profoundly altered how and when we work: it has blurred the distinction between work and home lives; it has altered our view of what is appropriate communication and our expectation of how quickly people should respond. In many ways, it has simultaneously increased the volume of workplace communications and dramatically accelerated the pace at which it occurs.

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Browsing history deleted to prevent embarrassment

In Catalyst Capital Group Inc v Moyse, 2016 ONSC 5271 the Ontario Superior Court considered whether the defendant, Brandon Moyse, who deleted his Internet browsing history from his personal computer in the face of a preservation order, had intentionally destroyed relevant evidence, giving rise to spoliation. Spoliation is an evidentiary rule that gives rise to a rebuttable presumption that destroyed evidence would be unfavourable to the party that destroyed it.

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Introducing our newest guest bloggers: Jean-Pierre A. Laporte, Sara Forte and Jeff Dutton

We are very pleased to announce that Jean-Pierre A. Laporte, Sara Forte and Jeff Dutton will be blogging regularly on First Reference Talks!

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with: 2017 automobile deduction limits and per kilometre rates; Cannabis legalization; and entitlement to loss of earnings benefits.

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2017 workplace resolutions and fresh starts

January is a month of resolutions, fresh starts, and goals. It’s also a good time to run away from 2016 and the upsets and surprises the year rolled out. Here are 3 lessons that 2016 taught us as we all dig in to a new year in the workplace.

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Family status accommodation: How to respond to requests

Because of changes in demographics and other reasons, employees are increasingly asking for changed work schedules or time off work to care for children and elderly parents (i.e. family status accommodation). Depending on the size of the business and the employee’s duties these requests can create real problems. As a result, employers often ask whether a request for changed hours or time off work must be accommodated. The legal landscape has been shifting in this area for a number of years. This blog discusses the applicable legislation and some recent case law.

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Principle of accountability under PIPEDA

Under Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), there is nothing that prevents organizations from outsourcing the processing of data inside or outside of Canada—however, organizations must take all reasonable steps to protect that information from unauthorized uses and disclosures when it is in the hands of third party processors. This is where accountability, the first principle in PIPEDA, comes in; and there are obligations to meet regarding training staff that are highly relevant.

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A classic lesson regarding termination meetings

A recent case out of British Columbia provides a timely reminder of a best practice for Alberta employers when it comes to termination of an employee. In Saliken v Alpine Aerotech Limited Partnership, 2016 BCSC 832, a relatively short service employee was dismissed, allegedly for just cause.

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Employee did not have right to delay work refusal investigation

The Ontario Labour Relations Board recently dismissed an application where an employee claimed that her employer threatened her with discipline for exercising her right to refuse unsafe work. Why? The employee did not have the right to delay the employer’s investigation of her work refusal, to wait until her preferred union representative completed a personal matter and attended at the workplace.

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Sale of business pension transfer rules

Ontario has had new sale of business pension transfer rules (the Transfer Rules) since January 1, 2014. The Transfer Rules are found in section 80 of the Pension Benefits Act and the Asset Transfers under Sections 80 and 81 of the Act regulation. However, as with any regime which depends on a set of rules rather than the exercise of discretion, the Transfer Rules’ lack of flexibility may frustrate employment law and reasonable commercial considerations.

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