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First Reference Talks

News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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Are changes to Canada’s Privacy Law landscape on the horizon?

It looks like 2020 might be the year where Canada catches up in the realm of privacy and data protection laws. These will likely have a ripple effect throughout the workplace.


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Video surveillance and the workplace – Part 1

A number of recent, unrelated legal developments have caught my attention in relation to video surveillance, privacy and the Canadian workplace. This blog post is the first of a two-part series that will identify some of these recent developments and consider their broader implications.


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Employers must now treat verbal threats as serious offences under the OHSA’s definition of workplace violence

A recent labour arbitrator’s decision—to uphold the City of Kingston’s right to terminate a 28-year employee for issuing a verbal threat against a co-worker—was based in large part on the arbitrator’s view that “the classification of threatening language as workplace violence” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act represents a “clear and significant change” to the law in Ontario.


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Introducing guest blogger David Hyde

We are pleased to announce that David Hyde, M.Sc, CPC, will be joining our team of regular bloggers. David is a security and business risk consultant, author and educator with 26 years of broad-based leadership experience in the field of security. He will be writing on issues relating to workplace violence and security. His posts will appear the third Friday of each month.


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Social networking and Internet abuse in the workplace – Learn the latest

We’ve written plenty on First Reference Talks about the significant effects—both negative and positive—that online social networking can have on workplaces. Whether its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, news or entertainment blogs or what-have-you, employees are using social media, and increasingly they’re doing it on your time. Employers should be aware of the potential value they can derive from social media, as well as the potential risks.


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Slaw: Racial profiling and national security issues

With allegations of racial profiling in Arizona’s new immigration law abuzz throughout the media this week, it was interesting for me to come upon the speaking notes for a recent speech by the Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission; the speech brings the issue closer to home.

The stated intent of the Arizona law is to ensure the security and well-being of American citizens living in Arizona, by protecting them from illegal immigrants and drugs. The new law requires local and state law enforcement to question people they suspect are in Arizona illegally about their immigration status. It also makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally; meaning, immigrants unable to produce documents showing they are allowed to be in the United States could be arrested, jailed for up to six months and fined $2,500 US, and ultimately deported.

Back in Canada, the CHRC Chief Commissioner’s speech discussed a study that will examine Safety Management Systems, which consist in part of behavioural recognition techniques, a vital element of aviation security screening. It’s a whole other issue to racial profiling you might say, but it’s one that is similar and aiming at safeguarding national security.

Read the full article on


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