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Ontario Employment Law Conference wrap-up: We learned the latest!

Last Tuesday, over 100 businesses from across Ontario joined us and the employment law team from Stringer LLP to discuss pressing employment issues like avoiding occupational health and safety penalties, accommodating employees’ family status, getting ready for the new Employment Standard, using employment contracts to protect your business, and the perils of employee benefits.

 

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Fatalities at work: are they leading to stiffer consequences?

In the 2012 Metron Construction and Swartz decisions concerning the deaths of four workers and serious injury of a fifth worker, the Ontario Court of Justice imposed substantial fines but no jail time for the company’s president under either provincial or federal legislation. More recently, however, in R. v. Roofing Medics Ltd., which involved the fatality of one worker, the court did impose jail time on the owner of the company. Employers should take note. It’s not yet clear if the Roofing Medics case will influence future decisions, but the Ontario Court of Justice has at least shown that it is willing to impose jail time on employers that do not comply with health and safety legislation.

 

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Fine increased in Metron OHS criminal negligence causing death case

As you may recall, charges under both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Criminal Code of Canada were laid against the company Metron for the death of four workers at a Toronto construction site when they fell from a scaffold that did not use proper fall arrest systems. A fifth worker was seriously injured. Metron was convicted under the Criminal Code provisions that make it a criminal offence to direct a worker to perform a task without taking reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to a worker. The trial judge fined the company $200,000 plus the Victim Fine Surcharge of 15 percent or $30,000. The Crown appealed and argued that the fine was manifestly unfit…

 

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Is driving a bus unsafe? It depends who you ask….

A recent investigation and ruling by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (“HRSDC”) has found that OC Transpo, the public transit operator in Canada’s capital city, is not doing enough to protect its bus drivers from workplace violence as required under the CLC.

 

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Citizenship and Immigration Canada proposes regulatory changes to the temporary foreign worker program

In early April 2013, it was reported that 45 Royal Bank of Canada employees would be losing their jobs because the company had outsourced several technology services to a California-based firm that specializes in sending jobs offshore. RBC faced a severe public backlash over the incident and Citizenship and Immigration Canada subsequently published proposed regulatory amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations…

 

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Slaw: The state of whistleblowing in Canada

Whistleblowing occurs when employees reveal corporate wrongdoing, usually in their organization, to law enforcement. Unfortunately, it is common for whistleblowers to experience demotion, dismissal and otherwise negative treatment from their employers after they disclose the malfeasance or corruption.

 

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Leave related to the death or disappearance of a child

Effective January 1, 2013, under the Canada Labour Code, federally-regulated employers must provide employees who have completed six consecutive months of continuous employment; and, under the Manitoba Employment Standards Code, provincially-regulated employers must provide employees who have completed 30 days of continuous employment, with:

 

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Commentary and update on Metron and Swartz OHS and Criminal Code cases

The cases, R. v. Metron Construction Corporation, and R. v. Swartz, are now posted online and we thought you would be interested in a more in-depth commentary of these two cases.

 

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Metron construction director fined $90,000 under OHSA

On July 13, 2012, Joel Swartz, the director of Metron Construction Corporation, was fined $90,000 after pleading guilty to violations of the OHSA after four workers were killed and another worker was seriously injured.

 

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Expanded citizen’s arrest law and the Canadian workplace

The Conservative government is poised to enact the first substantive expansion of citizen’s arrest laws in Canada since 1955. The catalyst for the Bill C-26 amendment to the citizen’s arrest section of the Criminal Code of Canada was the 2010 case of Toronto grocer David Chen who faced criminal assault charges after performing a citizen’s arrest of a habitual thief he had seen stealing from his store earlier in the day.

 

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Update: pleas regarding scaffolding incident

On Christmas Eve, 2009, four workers fell to their death at a Toronto construction site from a scaffold that did not use proper fall arrest systems. A fifth worker was seriously injured. The result: charges under both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Criminal Code of Canada were filed against the individuals and companies involved in the construction project.

 

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Slaw: Guide for investigating workplace corporate negligence

On the 20th anniversary of the deadly Westray explosion that killed 26 miners in Nova Scotia, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) has released a guide for investigating corporate criminal negligence in the event of a serious injury or fatality in a workplace.

 

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Federal government to appeal prostitution ruling

On April 25, 2012, the Federal government announced that it will appeal the Ontario Court of Appeal decision that struck down Canada’s prostitution laws as unconstitutional, specifically the Criminal Code provisions prohibiting “keeping or using a common bawdy house” and the “living off the avails of prostitution” provision…

 

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Appeal Court recognizes health and safety risks associated with sex-trade laws

Rule of law

On March 26, 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal acknowledged that, “prostitution is a controversial topic, one that provokes heated and heartfelt debate about morality, equality, personal autonomy and public safety,” and overturned two of the three sections of the Criminal Code‘s prostitution law on the grounds that they are unconstitutional.

 

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Slaw: Mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service now law

On December 8, 2011, the federal Act respecting the mandatory reporting of Internet child pornography by persons who provide an Internet service (formerly Bill C-22) came into force. The new legislation aims to protect children from online sexual exploitation, by requiring suppliers of Internet services to the public to:

 

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