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Parliamentary Secretary releases final report and recommendations on re-establishment of B.C. Human Rights Commission

The B.C. government launched a public engagement process on September 20, 2017, led by Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism Ravi Kahlon, to gather stories, feedback, and information from the public to guide the re-establishment of the Commission. The engagement process, which included nearly 100 public meetings and consideration of nearly 70 formal written submissions, ended on November 17, 2017.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with income tax changes in the new budget Bill, OHSA and WSIA changes in the new budget Bill and cannabis smoke-free and road safety legislation.

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Understanding seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

SAD is a real medical condition that can affect anyone, even people who are not already predisposed to depression. The condition is more common in women than in men. Most people who develop SAD start experiencing symptoms in their 30s. Most people with SAD live in northern climates where there are shorter days in the winter months. Their symptoms begin to lessen in the spring when the amount of sunlight increases each day.

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The Supreme Court of Canada issues landmark decision on the scope of human rights legislation

The Supreme Court of Canada recently issued a much-anticipated decision on the scope of human rights legislation, finding that the British Columbia Human Rights Code is not limitless in its scope, and instead created a new contextual test to determine whether alleged discriminatory conduct is conduct within the scope of the Code.

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New Employment Standards in Ontario Poster

As a result of the much blogged about changes made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (the “ESA”), which came into force in the new year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour drafted a new poster entitled “Employment Standards in Ontario” (the “Poster”) reflecting these changes.

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Divisional court finds employer demonstrated bad faith and acted as “puppeteer” in wrongful termination case of fixed-term independent contractor

The recent case of Radikov v. Premier Project Consultants Ltd et al. is a cautionary tale of the importance of good faith in consulting contracts after the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed Premier’s appeal, finding Premier had acted as a “puppeteer” by keeping Mr. Radikov at its “beck and call” before terminating his fixed term contract two days before completion and refusing to pay the outstanding fixed-term contract price.

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Three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk

The three popular articles this week on HRinfodesk deal with the new Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017, payroll rates for 2018 and the new ESA poster.

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USCBP updates policy on border searches of electronic devices

Canada USA border crossing

On January 4, 2018, United States Customs and Border Protection (“USCBP”) updated its official policy on border searches of electronic devices. The new policy directive[1] (the “New Directive”) supersedes its prior policy directive (the “Prior Directive), which was issued on August 20, 2009[2]. The New Directive addresses some, but not all, of the issues that arise in relation to border searches of electronic devices.

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Wal-Mart’s “deplorable” pre and post termination conduct results in a sizeable $750,000.00 moral and punitive damages award

Recently, in Galea v. Wal-Mart (2017 ONSC 245) the Ontario Superior Court released a decision in a wrongful termination matter involving a Wal-Mart Executive Gail Galea (“Galea”) and the “reprehensible” termination conduct of Wal-Mart. In addition to the usual wrongful termination damages such as salary, benefits, bonuses, etc., the Court awarded a whopping $750,000.00 in moral and punitive damages combined.

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Limitation periods and statutory severance pay: an update

An interesting decision from the Ontario Superior Court came out last recently concerning when the limitations period begins to run for claims of wrongful dismissal and statutory severance pay. In the case in question, the Court held that the limitation period to claim unpaid statutory severance pay commences as soon as working notice of dismissal is issued to an employee.

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Workers now eligible for WSIB benefits for chronic mental stress and workplace harassment

The recent changes to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act may well be a blessing for employees without other remedy or recourse. At this time, it appears possible that employees who have been subject to chronic workplace stress may be able to apply to the WSIB for some form of benefit. What the WSIB and the WSIAT do with this new entitlement is yet to be seen.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) in recruiting

artificial intelligence

Stories about artificial intelligence (AI) stealing our jobs and robots going rogue have been in our collective consciousness for years. Elon Musk has also sounded the alarm bells’, calling AI the “biggest risk we face as a civilization”. While he may know a few things I don’t, I can’t say that I agree. Always one to embrace technology, I think AI has great potential to be used by businesses in the HR space, such as to make hiring practices more efficient and more fair.

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Is the rule of law at risk in Ontario?

Rule of law

Recently I concluded that the rule of law no longer applies in many Ontario workplaces. The epiphany hit me when I was meeting with the Managing Director of a boutique law firm.

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Sexual harassment house of cards

Another week, another list of public allegations of sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual harassment against high profile men in the entertainment industry, politics and beyond. The onslaught of allegations, which began in earnest with the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, followed soon after by allegations against what appears to be almost every other man in Hollywood, created a #MeToo movement indicating that it is a rare occurrence for a woman to have not been abused or harassed, with many instances work-related.

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Supreme Court of Canada confirms that all workplace harassment is protected – even by third parties

In British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal v. Schrenk, 2017 SCC 62, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that human rights legislation is to be interpreted broadly and purposively and specifically found that the protection against workplace harassment is not limited to conduct perpetrated by an individual’s employer or co-worker. This decision will have significant implications for employers and employees alike.

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