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Slaw: CSST services and website available only in French

The Office québécois de la langue française requires that all communications between the Commission de la Santé et de la Sécurité du Travail du Québec (CSST, Quebec’s workplace health and safety board) and employers, suppliers and partners take place in French only, to comply with…


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Slaw: Can Quebec Bill 94 withstand any Charter challenge?

While Canada perceives it’s role as one of accommodating all forms of religious expression in a neutral manner, Quebec has decided to apply a more restrictive and formally secular approach. At a general level, this means the official separation of church and state. However, this proposed policy of secularity (bill 94) clashes with the religious traditions of many recent immigrants to Canada. To summarize, Bill 94 would require anyone providing or receiving government services to do so with their face uncovered for reasons of identification, security and communication. This includes services from hospitals, schools, universities, and daycare centres that receive provincial funding.

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Slaw: Quebec government bill upholds gender equality and secularism

On March 24, 2010, the Quebec government tabled in legislature Bill 94, An Act to establish guidelines governing accommodation requests within the administration and certain institutions. The Bill would create rules on how departments or agencies of the government can provide reasonable accommodation to citizens, certain organizations and public servants. These departments and agencies include health agencies, schools, colleges and universities, and services from child care to nursing homes. To this end, the Bill defines the concept of accommodation, asserts that the government will make any compromise to respect the right to equality between women and men and the principle of religious neutrality of the state, and provides that an accommodation cannot be granted if it imposes an undue hardship on the government department or agency. If enacted, the Bill would come into force on proclamation.

Premier Jean Charest and Justice Minister Kathleen Weil say the Bill upholds gender equality and secularism—the values that unite Quebecers. They said it, not me; but you’ve got to love it!

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Slaw: Labour mobility and the legal profession

The Agreement on Internal Trade mandates that any worker certified, licensed, registered or officially recognized in one province or territory, upon application, will be certified, licensed, registered or officially recognized for that same occupation by any other province or territory without the worker being required to undertake any material additional requirements, such as education, training, examination or assessments.

However, provinces and territories have the right to maintain specific occupational standards and can adopt exceptions to certification requirements based on legitimate objectives. The legal profession is one of the occupations that needs to be recognized among the provinces and territories, but is also one of the professions with exceptions to full labour mobility in Canada.

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Slaw: Employers obligated to report child porn found on their computer systems

In February 2009, I read an article by Dan Michaluk from Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP on the passage of Ontario Bill 37, the Child Pornography Reporting Act, which will amend the Child and Family Services Act. This legislation will require Ontario organizations, among others, who find child pornography on their computer systems to report it to the authorities, or face serious penalties. However, to this date the Bill has not received proclamation to come into force.

Why am I thinking about this now?

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Slaw: Another attempt to lay criminal charges in a workplace fatality

A recent case has tested Bill C-45, the amendment to the Criminal Code that attached criminal responsibility to an organization or corporation for negligence related to health and safety in the workplace, and broadened the range of individuals who are subject to charges under the Code. Since the enactment of Bill C-45 on March 31, 2004, charges have been laid in just four cases, and only one resulted in a conviction. As a result, many are wondering if the enforcement of such provisions is even possible.

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Yosie now writing for

This week at First Reference, we offered congratulations to Yosie for being selected to provide regular contributions to the Canadian law blog, “a Canadian co-operative weblog about any and all things legal”. Now, besides her tireless efforts putting together the Human Resources Advisors, Human Resources PolicyPros, HRinfodesk and contributing to the First Reference blog, she will also offer her thoughts on employment law and related topics every Thursday on Slaw.


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