Monty Verlint, Rhonda Levy

Littler Global Guide - Canada - Q1 2019

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Bill 47 Reverses Many Amendments to Ontario’s ESA Made by Bill 148

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

Among other things, the Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) significantly amended Ontario's Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA). Most of Bill 148’s ESA amendments came into force in 2018, with the remainder to take effect on January 1, 2019. In November 2018, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act (Bill 47) received Royal Assent and substantially reversed amendments to the ESA made by Bill 148. With one minor exception, Bill 47’s changes to the ESA came into force on January 1, 2019.

Canada Launches Employment Insurance Parental Sharing Benefit for Eligible Two-Parent Families

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

On March 17, 2019, the federal government launched a new parental sharing benefit. Two-parent families are eligible for the benefit, including adoptive and same-sex parents of children born or placed for adoption on or after March 17, 2019. If the parents agree to share parental benefits, the duration of Employment Insurance parental benefits will increase by an additional five weeks if the standard parental option is chosen by the parents, or an additional eight weeks if the extended parental option is chosen.

Impairment from Medical Cannabis Use Causes Undue Hardship in a Safety-Sensitive Workplace

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

IBEW, Local 1620 v. Lower Churchill, 2019 NLSC 48, released in February 2019, is a judicial review decision that affirmed a labor arbitrator’s decision that an employer had met its duty to accommodate the grievor’s disability without undue hardship when it denied him safety-sensitive employment due to his use of medically prescribed cannabis. In rendering its decision, the court was influenced by the unavailability of technology and resources to measure impairment from cannabis.

Employees May Bring Unjust Dismissal Complaints after Signing Settlement Agreement and Release

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

In late December 2018, in Bank of Montreal v. Li, 2018 FC 1298 (FC), the Federal Court of Canada dismissed an application for judicial review of an Adjudicator’s decision to assume jurisdiction over the employee’s complaint of unjust dismissal even after the employee signed a settlement agreement and release. The court stated that the Adjudicator was correct to consider herself bound by an earlier decision, where she decided that an employee is not precluded from relief under the Canada Labour Code because of an agreement made with the employer regarding termination and a release given in favor of the employer.

Court of Appeal for Ontario Refuses to Recognize the Tort of Harassment

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

In March 2019, in Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 ONCA 205, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (OCA) decided that a lower court decision establishing a common law tort of harassment was made in error and declined to recognize the tort. While the OCA did not “foreclose the development of a properly conceived tort of harassment that might apply in appropriate contexts,” it stated that compelling reasons to recognize the tort had not been presented.

Ontario Securities Commission Awards: First Ever Whistleblower Awards by a Canadian Regulator

Important Action by Regulatory Agency

Authors: Monty Verlint, Partner and Rhonda B. Levy, Knowledge Management Counsel – Littler Canada

On February 27, 2019, the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) announced that it had made the first ever award under its Whistleblower Program (launched in 2016) to three whistleblowers on three separate matters in the total amount of CDN $7.5 million. The identities of the whistleblowers, details about the three matters, and the amount of each award were not disclosed; however, the OSC noted that the information was voluntarily provided and was also, “high quality, timely, specific and credible information, which helped advance enforcement actions resulting in monetary payments to the OSC.”

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