Ted's Blog

Court Finds "Extraordinary" Circumstances To Award 27 Months' Notice

The dismissal of a long-term employee who is entitled to common law reasonable notice can result in significant liability for an employer. As the determination of the appropriate notice period is contextual, it can be difficult for an employer to accurately assess their potential liability. Typically, an employer can be confident that the employee's notice entitlement will be "capped" at 24 months. However, employers should be aware that courts can award more than 24 months in extraordinary circumstances. Read More...

SCC rules human rights legislation covers discriminatory conduct with sufficient nexus to employment.

"S‑M worked for Omega and Associates Engineering Ltd. as a civil engineer on a road improvement project. Omega had certain supervisory powers over employees of Clemas Construction Ltd., the primary construction contractor on the project. Clemas employed S as site foreman and superintendent. When S made racist and homophobic statements to S‑M on the worksite, S‑M raised the comments with Omega. Following further statements by S, Omega asked Clemas to remove S from the site. Clemas did so without delay, but S continued to be involved on the project in some capacity. When the harassment continued, Clemas terminated S’s employment.

S‑M filed a complaint before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal against S alleging discrimination on the basis of religion, place of origin, and sexual orientation. S applied to dismiss the complaint, arguing that s. 13 of the Human Rights Code had no application because S‑M was not in an employment relationship with S. The Tribunal held that it had jurisdiction to deal with the complaint and, accordingly, it denied S’s application under s. 27(1)(a) of the Code. The British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed S’s application for judicial review, but the Court of Appeal allowed S’s appeal and found that the Tribunal erred in law by concluding that it had jurisdiction over the complaint."

S.C.C. (6:3) allowed the appeal.

Tips for Driving on Snowy Roads

snowy car
The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

While busy airports tend to get all the attention around the holiday travel season, the highways and byways are actually far more trafficked. Of long-distance travelers — those going 50 miles or more — over 90% are getting to where they’re going by car. Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Year’s are in fact the most heavily trafficked times of year on America’s roads.

While it’s wonderful that folks are traveling to spend time with friends and family, it’s also an unfortunate time of year to be on the roads in certain parts of the country. Icy streets and snowstorms can quickly change a pleasant drive with the family into a stressful and truly dangerous situation, especially if one isn’t familiar with winter driving tactics and practices; it’s a whole different game than driving on dry pavement.

So whether you’ll be passing through conditions on the way to Grandmother’s house that you don’t normally encounter in your home state, or you’ve recently moved to a snowy place and are getting the feel for driving in your first winter there, be sure to acquaint yourself with how to navigate this cold and slick season. Below I offer a primer on this subject, based on input from experts, as well 15 years of my own experience driving in wintry conditions in Minnesota, Iowa, and Colorado.

SCC rules police can use production orders to obtain stored text messages from service providers.

service provider
"J was convicted of several firearms and drug trafficking offences. His convictions rest on records of text messages seized from a Telus account associated with his co‑accused that were obtained under a production order pursuant to s. 487.012 of the Criminal Code (now s. 487.014 ). Prior to trial, J sought to exclude the text messages on the basis that obtaining them by means of a production order contravened his s. 8 Charter right. The trial judge found that J lacked standing to challenge the production order under s. 8 and he was therefore convicted. J’s appeal against conviction was dismissed."

S.C.C. held (6:1) that the appeal is dismissed and the production order upheld. Read More...

SCC rules can have a reasonable expectation of privacy re texts sent to another's phone.

"M sent text messages to an accomplice, W, regarding illegal transactions in firearms. The police obtained warrants to search his home and that of W. They seized M’s BlackBerry and W’s iPhone, searched both devices, and found incriminating text messages. They charged M and sought to use the text messages as evidence against him. At trial, M argued that the messages should not be admitted against him because they were obtained in violation of his s. 8 Charter right against unreasonable search or seizure. The application judge held that the warrant for M’s home was invalid and that the text messages recovered from his BlackBerry could not be used against him, but that M had no standing to argue that the text messages recovered from W’s iPhone should not be admitted against M. The judge admitted the text messages and convicted M of multiple firearms offences. A majority of the Court of Appeal agreed that M could have no expectation of privacy in the text messages recovered from W’s iPhone, and hence did not have standing to argue against their admissibility."

S.C.C. held (5:2) that the appeal is allowed, the convictions set aside, and acquittals entered.

Ted presents as guest lecturer at Saskatoon Campus of the Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

SK Poly
Koskie gives lecture on “Wills, Estates, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives.” Read More...

Men & Status: The Biological Evolution of Status

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Welcome back to our series on male status. This series aims to help men understand the way status affects our behavior, and even physiology, so we can mitigate its ill effects, harness its positive ones, and generally get a handle on how best to manage its place in our lives.

In our last two posts, we discussed the various biological and neurological responses both animals and humans experience in response to gains and losses in status. For example, feel-good neurochemicals and hormones like serotonin, dopamine, and testosterone rise when we experience a gain in status, but fall when we lose it.

But why do we supposedly logical and rational human beings have these automatic reactions to status in the first place? Why do we have these visceral reactions even when we try our hardest to be indifferent to the opinions of others?

The answer is simple: for millions of years, status has been vital to the survival and reproductive success of all animals, including our own prehistoric ancestors.

Social status doesn’t play as direct and concrete a role in determining whether modern Western humans survive and thrive, but though the landscape has changed, our wiring hasn’t. The reason you feel like crap when someone ignores your text messages? Being attuned to how others sized you up once meant the difference between life and death. The reason it stings when someone calls you a coward? Even just a few centuries back, being known as a risk-averse wimp was a guaranteed way of becoming a genetic dead-end.

In today’s post, we’re going to take a look at the biological evolution of status and how an animal’s sensitivity to it helps determine its chances of survival and reproduction. While humans are a unique species, there are many parallels between the behaviors of other creatures and ourselves — similarities that show that far from being a cultural construct, status-seeking is a nearly universal part of the biological fabric of this world.

Inspiration Is for Amateurs: How to Become a Creative Professional

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Imagine, if you will, a day in the life of Jack London — fascinating adventurer and author of hundreds of short stories and more than 50 books, including classics like Call of the Wild and White Fang.

Come into his room on a typical morning, and see him propped up against a pile of pillows in bed. A mound of cigarettes sits on a plate on his nightstand. Notes hang from a clothesline strung across a corner of the room. The author is writing his latest story in longhand on a pad resting on his lap.

What’s London’s state of mind as he brings to life another of his muscular tales of the Klondike? Is he glowing with the vigor and inspiration that comes from laboring at the very vocation he was born to do? Do the muses descend upon his keen mind and practically compel his hand across the paper? Is he animated by passion, lost in the reverie of creative work?

Decidedly not.

Rather, London describes his work this way: “I go each day to my daily task as a slave would go to his task. I detest writing.” And on another occasion: “I am nothing more than a fairly good artisan. I hate my profession. I detest the profession I have chosen. I hate it, I tell you, I hate it!”

If London disliked writing so much, why did he pursue this career? Simply because it was “the best way [he] had ever found to make a very good living.” London had a knack for writing, and it paid well, allowing him to support his family and expand his ranch, so he struggled through it nearly every single day for the last decade and a half of his life.

London may not have liked his profession, but he pursued it as an absolute professional.

SCC rules management directive not reasonable; does not engage s.7 liberty interests.

"In the early 1990s, the employer established a standby shift system to respond to urgent immigration matters outside of normal business hours, whereby a lawyer in the Immigration Law Directorate in the Quebec Regional Office of the Department of Justice Canada would be available evenings and weekends to attend on short notice to any urgent stay applications that might arise. Until 2010, the system worked on a volunteer basis. Lawyers who volunteered to cover standby shifts were compensated with paid leave and received the same amount of compensation irrespective of whether they were called into work. In March 2010, the lawyers were informed that they would no longer be paid for time spent on standby. Instead, they would be compensated — through either overtime pay or paid leave, depending on their seniority status — only for the time they spent working if they received an urgent request. With this change in policy, there were no longer enough volunteers to cover the standby periods. In response, the employer issued a directive making after‑hour standby shifts mandatory. The Association of Justice Counsel then filed a grievance on behalf of lawyers working in the Immigration Law Directorate.

The collective agreement at issue is silent on standby duty, but it specifies that the employer retains all management rights and powers that have not been modified or limited by the collective agreement. The labour adjudicator concluded that the directive was not a reasonable or fair exercise of management rights and infringed the lawyers’ right to liberty under s. 7 of the Charter. He ordered the employer to immediately cease applying the directive. The Federal Court of Appeal allowed the government’s application for judicial review and set aside the adjudicator’s decision."

The S.C.C. (with two judges dissenting in part)
allowed the appeal in part; the adjudicator’s decision that the directive contravened the collective agreement is reasonable and his order that the employer stop applying the directive should be reinstated. Read More...

SCC rules resort approval does not infringe First Nation's freedom of religion.

grizzly bear
"The Ktunaxa are a First Nation whose traditional territories include an area in British Columbia that they call Qat’muk. Qat’muk is a place of spiritual significance for them because it is home to Grizzly Bear Spirit, a principal spirit within Ktunaxa religious beliefs and cosmology. Glacier Resorts sought government approval to build a year‑round ski resort in Qat’muk. The Ktunaxa were consulted and raised concerns about the impact of the project, and as a result, the resort plan was changed to add new protections for Ktunaxa interests. The Ktunaxa remained unsatisfied, but committed themselves to further consultation. Late in the process, the Ktunaxa adopted the position that accommodation was impossible because the project would drive Grizzly Bear Spirit from Qat’muk and therefore irrevocably impair their religious beliefs and practices. After efforts to continue consultation failed, the respondent Minister declared that reasonable consultation had occurred and approved the project. The Ktunaxa brought a petition for judicial review of the approval decision on the grounds that the project would violate their constitutional right to freedom of religion, and that the Minister’s decision breached the Crown’s duty of consultation and accommodation. The chambers judge dismissed the petition, and the Court of Appeal affirmed that decision."

S.C.C. held (9:0, with separate partially concurring reasons by two judges) that the appeal is dismissed. Read More...

Is It Really Easier To Dismiss An Employee During His Or Her Probationary Period?

BC Supreme Court confirms the lower threshold for dismissing an employee without notice during their probationary period.

Many employers require new employees to complete a probationary period to allow the employer to assess the employee's suitability and fit within the organization. In
Langford v Carson Air Ltd., the B.C. Supreme Court considered an employer's ability to dismiss an employee without notice during the probationary period, and offered some guidance on the actual purpose of a probationary period. Read More...

A Man’s Guide to Fragrance: How to Choose and Wear Cologne

The following is a reprint of an article that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

On my recent trip to Atlanta I was the last person to board my plane.

I asked the stewardess if I could check my bag, and as she reached over to grab my luggage she immediately looked up and said, “You smell wonderful!”

Now I’m a married man, but I have to admit that this compliment from a beautiful woman had me feeling good the entire flight.

And that’s why this matters, gentlemen.

Fragrance is an invisible part of our personal style, and it has a powerful effect on how people see and remember you.

A good cologne offers numerous benefits, from making you more attractive, to helping you feel less stressed and more confident.

And yet 80% of men do not wear fragrance on a regular basis!

Why is that?

I feel the main reason is a lack of basic information and education. Most men who use colognes and perfumes do so because they had a father or role model who introduced them to the practice. Here in the U.S., the industry is dominated by women and most men are ignorant of the terminology.

Additionally, there is a strong fear of overusing fragrance and the repercussions it can have on our reputation. No one wants to be known as “Pepe Le Pew.”

Thankfully, a working knowledge of how to understand fragrance and wear it well is easily within reach, and we’ll provide it to you today!

Alcoholic Employee Reinstated After Employer's Compassionate Approach Put In Question Seriousness Of Previous Warnings

There is an old, and somewhat cynical saying, that no good deed goes unpunished. While I personally disagree with that saying, one employer must believe it after a decision it received.

In the case, an adjudicator reinstated an alcoholic employee who was dismissed after he was found to be under the influence of alcohol at work. The employee had previously been disciplined for alcohol consumption, lateness/absenteeism and abandoning his shift, and on one occasion had entered into a "last chance agreement". Read More...

9 Ways to Entertain Your Toddler Without Using a Smartphone

crying toddler
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

You’re in a public place — say a restaurant or a doctor’s waiting room — and it’s taking longer to get your food or have your name called than you expected. Your toddler is starting to get restless. And cranky. Real cranky. She’s whining and teetering on the edge of a crying fit, and the other folks around you are glancing over with irritated, disapproving looks.

You don’t have any toys or books on you, making it extremely tempting to just shove your smartphone into your tyke’s pudgy little hands to instantly shut off the waterworks.

But, the idea that you should turn to your phone whenever you feel unhappy or bored is not exactly the kind of lesson you want to teach her; you want her to grow up to be able to entertain herself, absent a technological device. So you think about busting out some pen and paper games like hangman or tic-tac-toe, but she’s preliterate and only understands strategy in terms of figuring out how to poop so no one sees her.

What to do?

Well, with a few completely accoutrement-free games in your metaphorical back pocket, you can easily improvise some games that’ll keep your little one happy and engaged before her chicken nuggets finally arrive. Here are 9 fun, brain-boosting ideas to keep on deck; some work better depending on age and ability, many can be modified to meet your toddler’s level of cognition (which is right around that of a golden retriever), and some will be equally enjoyed by the preschooler set on up. Experiment and see what captures your kiddos’ attention.

The United States of Guns

This series of news articles—clearly made up—appears on the Onion web site. They have captioned each: “”No Way To Prevent This,’ says only nation where this regularly happens.” Read More...

Men and Status: How Testosterone Fuels the Drive for Status

stare down
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Welcome back to our series on male status. This series aims to help men understand the way status affects our behaviour, and even physiology, so we can mitigate its ill effects, harness its positive ones, and generally get a handle on how best to manage its place in our lives.

In the last post, we discussed the way in which a desire for status is hardwired into our neurology, and how losing and gaining status affects the brain.

But status is not only woven into our brains; it’s also tied into our bodies. And the main driver behind the physiology of status is testosterone. Exactly how this hormone impacts our desire to gain and hold on to status is what we’ll delve into today.

Sweet Jesus! President Quesada is Back! I hope you're wearing Depends-You'll need 'em!

I found this video clip through my favourite blogger, John Gruber. He quotes Vincent Fox saying “If that worn out baseball glove tightly gripping a turd can be president, then amigos, anyone can.” He says “Vincente Fox has Donald Trump’s number. More like this, please.” You have to watch this. It is hilarious.


The Best Way to React When Someone Is Shouting at You in Anger

Yelling is a topic relevant to every person on this planet because everyone has raised their voice in anger during their lifetime. Some people yell on a regular basis, but we are all guilty of yelling at some point in life. There are ways to react to a yeller that will help diffuse them, rather than continue to escalate the situation.

Yelling is not healthy for relationships and its results do not yield long term positive results. A person may acquiesce to a yeller at the moment to get them to stop yelling, but once things get back to normal, they typically revert back, because the yelling hasn’t changed their mindset long term. For example, a Mom who yells at her kids to pick up their toys may actually result in the kids picking up their toys in that moment. However, it won’t change their mindset that they should pick up their toys consistently. Kids will learn to pick up if they have been conditioned with a reward or punishment system and they recognize the importance and value of picking up their toys.

Yelling is damaging to relationships. It is not a constructive way to deal with a difficult situation, yet every person engages in yelling. Some more than others. You should be aware of your own yelling, understand why some people are constant yellers, and also know how to deal with a yeller.

When someone is constantly yelling at you in life, they are displaying emotional tyranny over you. Their goal is to gain an upper hand in the situation and the yelling is their means of gaining control over you. It is a form of intimidation. The yelling may work temporarily. However, the long term sustainability of the results from yelling is not good, because it is a way of bullying someone into getting them to do what the yeller wants done. Yelling is not healthy for relationships, in fact it breaks down healthy communications and the closeness of relationships.

Make Whole Remedies And Good Faith Crucial To Mitigation

A recent decision of the BC Court of Appeal provides a cautionary tale for BC employers seeking to remedy a potential wrongful dismissal. Read More...

How to Cut Toxic People Out Of Your Life

The following is a reprint of an article by A. J. Harbinger that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

There’s an old myth that frogs will pull down other frogs trying to escape a pot of boiling water. That’s likely the stuff of folklore, but the dynamic is real: in everyone’s life, there will always be people who will resist, threaten, and sabotage the possibility of self-improvement.

This general group of people — whom we can safely call “toxic” — might resent your progress for any number of reasons. Perhaps they think you’ll no longer be in their life if you improve too much. Maybe they feel like your improvement exposes their own shortcomings. Or perhaps they’re just threatened by the idea of change.

The causes are less important than the effects, which can take the form of anger, resentment, frustration, manipulation, or cruelty (or a debilitating combination thereof). At any given moment, you might be finding yourself dealing with toxic friends, family members, or colleagues who — consciously or unconsciously — are sabotaging your happiness and growth. Identifying these individuals and understanding how to manage them is absolutely crucial to your well-being, success, and happiness.

So in this piece, we’re going to discuss how to recognize toxic people and navigate the often difficult and emotional process of removing these toxic people from your life.

Because in a very real way, your future depends on it.

Men and Status: This Is Your Brain on Status

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Our brains are constantly scanning our respective social worlds to figure out how others perceive us and where we fit into the hierarchy at any given moment. We’ll talk about why that is in a later article, but today we’re going to take a look at what this activity looks like neurologically.

The reason we know that our brains are constantly gauging our relative status is because scientists have put people in fMRI machines, subjected them to various social situations, and recorded the resulting neurological activity. For example, in one experiment, two people were asked to lie in an fMRI machine while taking part in a cooperative computer game. One player was in fact a confederate of the researchers and was instructed to become uncooperative or simply start ignoring his fellow participant. Researchers then observed the rejected player’s brain activity.

Granted, these kinds of experiment are very artificial; participants must lie inside bulky machines and cannot move around and talk with others face-to-face. But while measuring neurological activity in actual, day-to-day social encounters is not yet possible, the current research does give us a good idea of what goes on in our brains when interacting with others and how we evaluate our status in those encounters.

A Kind of, Sort of Eulogy for the Declarative Sentence

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The use of “kind of” and “sort of” to moderate the degree of what comes after (“I was kind of afraid but not really”), or to describe something of a nature that can’t be pinpointed with exactness (“The device was sort of shaped like a sphere”) has been around since the 19th century. But the popularity of these colloquial phrases, especially “sort of,” has grown exponentially over the last few decades.

This is true both of the written and the spoken word. The rise of “kind of/sort of” in the former can be seen when one runs these phrases through Google Ngram – a feature which scans Google’s vast repository of books and charts the frequency with which any word or words appear within it. Here’s how “kind of/sort of” tracks over the last two hundred years:

graph-640x238

The Libraries of Famous Men: Abraham Lincoln

The following is a reprint of an article that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The eminent men of history were often voracious readers and their own philosophy represents a distillation of all the great works they fed into their minds. This series seeks to trace the stream of their thinking back to the source. For, as David Leach, a now retired business executive put it: “Don’t follow your mentors; follow your mentors’ mentors.”

While many of America’s presidents came from prominent, educated homes, one of our most famous — Abraham Lincoln — did not. Growing up in the backwoods of Kentucky and then Indiana, Lincoln rarely enjoyed the privilege of full-time schooling. His formal education, in his own words, came “by littles,” “did not amount to one year,” and was thoroughly “defective.”

And yet Honest Abe rose in society to become a shop owner, lawyer, and of course, President of the United States. How did he do this without much in the way of formal education?

He taught himself, becoming the consummate autodidact.

What One Company Learned from Forcing Employees to Use Their Vacation Time

Have you ever felt burned out at work after a vacation? I’m not talking about being exhausted from fighting with your family at Walt Disney World all week. I’m talking about how you knew, the whole time walking around Epcot, that a world of work was waiting for you upon your return.

Our vacation systems are completely broken. They don’t work.

The classic corporate vacation system goes something like this: You get a set number of vacation days a year (often only two to three weeks), you fill out some 1996-era form to apply for time off, you get your boss’s signature, and then you file it with a team assistant or log it in some terrible database. It’s an administrative headache. Then most people have to frantically cram extra work into the week(s) before they leave for vacation in order to actually extract themselves from the office. By the time we finally turn on our out-of-office messages, we’re beyond stressed, and we know that we’ll have an even bigger pile of work waiting for us when we return. What a nightmare.

For most of us, it’s hard to actually use vacation time to recharge. So it’s no wonder that absenteeism remains a massive problem for most companies, with payrolls dotted with sick leaves, disability leaves, and stress leaves. In the UK, the Department for Work and Pensions says that absenteeism costs the country’s economy more than £100 billion per year. A white paper published by the Workforce Institute and produced by Circadian, a workforce solutions company, calls absenteeism a bottom-line killer that costs employers $3,600 per hourly employee and $2,650 per salaried employee per year. It doesn’t help that, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is the only country out of 21 wealthy countries that doesn’t require employers to offer paid vacation time. (Check out this world map on Wikipedia to see where your country stacks up.)

Would it help if we got more paid vacation? Not necessarily. According to a study from the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm, just over 40% of Americans plan not to use all their paid time off anyway.

So what’s the progressive approach? Is it the Adobe, Netflix, or Twitter policies that say take as much vacation as you want, whenever you want it? Open-ended, unlimited vacation sounds great on paper, doesn’t it? Very progressive, right? No, that approach is broken too.

What happens in practice with unlimited vacation time? Warrior mentality. Peer pressure. Social signals that say you’re a slacker if you’re not in the office. Mathias Meyer, the CEO of German tech company Travis CI, wrote a blog post about his company abandoning its unlimited vacation policy: “When people are uncertain about how many days it’s okay to take off, you’ll see curious things happen. People will hesitate to take a vacation as they don’t want to seem like that person who’s taking the most vacation days. It’s a race to the bottom instead of a race towards a well rested and happy team.”

The point is that in unlimited vacation time systems, you probably won’t actually take a few weeks to travel through South America after your wedding, because there’s too much social pressure against going away for so long. Work objectives, goals, and deadlines are demanding. You look at your peers and see that nobody is backpacking through China this summer, so you don’t go either. You don’t want to let your team down, so your dream of visiting Machu Picchu sits on the shelf forever.

What’s the solution?

Recurring, scheduled mandatory vacation.

Employee Properly Fired For Workplace Violence Threats, Despite His Mental Disability: Appeal Court

An employee's mental disability, unknown to his employer at the time of dismissal, played no role in the reason he was fired. He was fired because he made violent threats against coworkers, the Ontario Court of Appeal has held. Read More...

Court Finds Abandonment For Failure To Return To Work Or Provide Medical

dis mgt
Disability management is a challenging issue for HR professionals. An employee with a disability may require an extended absence from work due to their medical condition. Where an employer provides disability benefits, the employee will be required to show that they meet the definition of disability under the insurance policy, which will require the disclosure of medical information. A recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court addresses the issue of when an employee is considered to have abandoned their employment where they fail to comply with requests for medical information and also refuse to return to work. Read More...

The Court Weighs In: Termination For Social Media Misconduct

Over a decade had passed since Ellen Simonetti, dubbed the "Queen of the Sky" was fired by Delta Air Lines after her infamous "Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant" blog. Simonetti wasn't fired simply for blogging about her interesting lifestyle or worldwide travel as a flight attendant. According to Delta Airlines she was terminated for associating her blog with the company and for including, what the company deemed to be, inappropriate pictures and material.

While that decision was settled out of court, it did stoke a debate between employees' freedom of expression and employers' rights to control the dissemination of their sensitive information and protect their reputation and brand.

This debate was rekindled recently in the British Columba Supreme Court decision in
Kim v International Triathlon Union, 2014 BCSC 2151. Kim, a manager at International Triathlon Union (ITU), was terminated after making several negative blog, Facebook and tweet posts about her employer and her direct supervisor. In one blog, Kim compared her relationship with her supervisor to her alleged mistreatment as a child, saying she felt "like that kid all over again; beaten, discouraged, alone and scared." Read More...

SCC finds standard of review re arbitrator interpreting enabling legislation (whether dispute arbitrable) is reasonableness.

"The Health Insurance Act (“Act”) provides that the remuneration and working conditions of health care professionals are to be established by way of a collective bargaining mechanism that resulted, in this case, in the Accord‑cadre entre le ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux et la Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec aux fins de l’application de la Loi sur l’assurance maladie (“Framework Agreement”). The Fédération and the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (collectively, “negotiating parties”) created a digitization fee to encourage radiologists to modernize their equipment. This fee is reserved for laboratories that the negotiating parties jointly recognize and designate, following a procedure and applying criteria they themselves have provided for in the Protocole concernant la radiologie diagnostique (“Protocol”), one of the schedules to the Framework Agreement. Section 54 of the Act provides that a “dispute resulting from the interpretation or application of [the Framework Agreement] is submitted to a council of arbitration, to the exclusion of any court of civil jurisdiction”. A distinction is made in the Framework Agreement between a [translation] “dispute with respect to fees” raised by a physician and a “collective dispute” raised by the Fédération.

G, a radiologist who is a member of the Fédération, applied to the negotiating parties for a declaration that certain clinics were eligible for the digitization fee. His application was denied. G contested that decision by submitting a dispute to the council of arbitration. The arbitrator, who was appointed to perform the functions of the council of arbitration on his own, found that he lacked jurisdiction to grant G the declaration being sought and that, at any rate, G did not have standing to submit the dispute. The motion judge granted G’s motion for judicial review, finding that the arbitrator’s decision was unreasonable. The majority of the Court of Appeal upheld the motion judge’s decision."

S.C.C. held (6:1, with joint reasons by Wagner and Gascon JJ., separate Joint Reasons [concurring in the result] by Brown and Rowe JJ., and dissenting reasons by Côté J.) that the appeal is allowed and the award of the council of arbitration restored. Read More...

How to Fire Someone

The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Every boss (with the exception, of course, of Donald Trump) will say that one of the worst parts of their job is having to fire people. Even when you’re letting someone go purely for financial reasons rather than performance, it’s an unenviable task, as it obviously drastically changes the former employee’s life and is among the most stressful events he or she can experience. And yet it’s a necessary part of business, especially when you’re in a supervisory role. Firing an employee will be awkward and uncomfortable no matter what, but there are a few things you can keep in mind to make it a little less painful for everyone involved. You also want to protect your legal and financial interests, which can easily be forgotten in this process. Below you’ll find tips gleaned from seasoned executives, as well as logistics to think about, that will help guide you through the process. Read More...

SCC confirms that corporate directors can be liable personally for oppression.

"From 2005 to 2007, A was the President, the Chief Executive Officer, a significant minority shareholder and a director of Wi2Wi Corporation (“Wi2Wi”). In March 2007, in negotiating the merger of Wi2Wi with another corporation, A also agreed to sell it some of his common shares and signed a share purchase agreement to that effect without notifying Wi2Wi’s Board. When the Board found out about the existence of the agreement, A was censured for concealing the deal and failing to disclose the potential conflict of interest. Consequently, A resigned from his functions. W, a member of Wi2Wi’s Board and audit committee, became its President and CEO. Neither the merger nor the share purchase occurred.

In September 2007, in response to Wi2Wi’s continuing financial difficulties, the Board decided to issue a private placement of convertible secured notes (“Private Placement”) to its existing common shareholders. Prior to the Private Placement, the Board accelerated the conversion of Class C Convertible Preferred Shares, beneficially held by an investment company for W, into common shares. It did so despite doubts as to whether or not the financial test for C Share conversion had been met. However, A’s Class A and B Convertible Preferred Shares were never converted into common shares, notwithstanding that they met the relevant conversion tests. In Board meetings, W and another director, B, advocated against converting A’s A and B Shares on the basis of A’s conduct and involvement in the parallel share purchase negotiation when he was President. Consequently, A did not participate in the Private Placement and the value of his A and B Shares and the proportion of his common shares in Wi2Wi were substantially reduced. A then filed an application under s. 241 of the Canada Business Corporations Act for oppression against four of Wi2Wi’s directors, including W.

The trial judge granted the application in part. He held W and B solidarily liable for the oppression and ordered them to pay A compensation. The Court of Appeal dismissed W and B’s appeal. It held that the imposition of personal liability was justified and that the pleadings did not preclude it. W now appeals to the Court, challenging the trial judge’s conclusion that it was fit to hold him personally liable for the oppressive conduct."

The S.C.C. (9 : 0)
dismissed the appeal.

Men and Status: An Introduction

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

You’re talking to an attractive woman, when suddenly she pretends to wave to a friend behind you, and without even excusing herself, she walks away. You cringe in the moment, and continue to cringe for months afterward when you lie in bed and replay the encounter in your head.

Your brother, a Marine, wants you to hang out with his platoon buddies and you spend the night feeling like an outsider looking in. As they share their combat stories, you have nothing to add, and nobody wants to hear about your accounting job. You can’t help feeling rather less-than, like a suburban wuss.

You were laid off two months ago and you still haven’t been able to find a job. You haven’t even gotten called in for a single interview. You find yourself sinking into a deep depression and are plagued by feelings of worthlessness.

While all these scenarios are different, the feelings they can garner are similar — a deep, visceral sinking and pit in your stomach, a disorientation in your mind, or a heavy weight on your chest. The feelings can seem disproportionate to what’s actually happened, and your logical, rational mind tells you not to make such a big deal of things — that she doesn’t matter, that you live a relatively decent life, that you’re not your job. But it seems impossible to think away the vise that seems to clench your heart.

The reason these seemingly inexplicable reactions can be so difficult to deal with is that they’re rooted in a topic modern culture doesn’t address and doesn’t explain: status.

No General Right For Grievors To Remain Unidentified In Labour Arbitration Decisions

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (in a recent case identified as United Food & Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518 v. Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd.) has confirmed that there is no general right for grievors or witnesses to avoid having their names disclosed in labour arbitration awards. The Court concluded that labour arbitrators are bound by the requirements of the Personal Information Protection Act ("PIPA"), but that they are not required to obtain consent from grievors or witnesses to disclose personal information about those individuals in arbitral awards. Read More...

SCC re-calibrates hearsay test.

"Two people were shot to death. Suspected by police, T became the target of a Mr. Big investigation, during which he told an undercover officer that he shot both victims. He then told Mr. Big that he had shot one victim and that B had shot the other. T was arrested. When he later re‑enacted the murders for police, he implicated B in both. T and B were charged with two counts of first degree murder and T pled guilty to second degree murder. Because T refused to give sworn testimony at B’s trial, the Crown sought to admit into evidence T’s re‑enactment, which had been video‑recorded. Following a voir dire, the trial judge admitted the re‑enactment, under the principled exception to the hearsay rule. A jury convicted B on two counts of first degree murder. The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, set aside B’s convictions and ordered a new trial."

The S.C.C. (5:2)
dismissed the appeal.

Ted volunteers at Jazz Festival .

Ted volunteed at the Bassment Cantina

Worldwide interlocutory injunction against Google upheld.

"E is a small technology company in British Columbia that launched an action against D. E claimed that D, while acting as a distributor of E’s products, began to re‑label one of the products and pass it off as its own. D also acquired confidential information and trade secrets belonging to E, using them to design and manufacture a competing product. D filed statements of defence disputing E’s claims, but eventually abandoned the proceedings and left the province. Some of D’s statements of defence were subsequently struck.

Despite court orders prohibiting the sale of inventory and the use of E’s intellectual property, D continues to carry on its business from an unknown location, selling its impugned product on its websites to customers all over the world. E approached Google and requested that it de‑index D’s websites. Google refused. E then brought court proceedings, seeking an order requiring Google to do so. Google asked E to obtain a court order prohibiting D from carrying on business on the Internet saying it would comply with such an order by removing specific webpages.

An injunction was issued by the Supreme Court of British Columbia ordering D to cease operating or carrying on business through any website. Between December 2012 and January 2013, Google advised E that it had de‑indexed 345 specific webpages associated with D. It did not, however, de‑index all of D’s websites. De‑indexing webpages but not entire websites proved to be ineffective since D simply moved the objectionable content to new pages within its websites, circumventing the court orders. Moreover, Google had limited the de‑indexing to searches conducted on google.ca. E therefore obtained an interlocutory injunction to enjoin Google from displaying any part of D’s websites on any of its search results worldwide. The Court of Appeal for British Columbia dismissed Google’s appeal."

The S.C.C. (7:2)
dismissed the appeal and upheld the worldwide interlocutory injunction against Google. Read More...

Ted volunteers at Jazz Festival .

Ted volunteed at the Bassment Cantina

Illegal Toker Or Legitimate Smoker? Marijuana-Smoking Employee Lawfully Dismissed

Given the increasing availability and use of medical marijuana in British Columbia, employers are often faced balancing the need to ensure a safe workplace and an employee's right to legitimate medical treatment. A recent decision of the BC Human Rights Tribunal gives employers some welcome clarity on the limits of the duty to accommodate, the nature of bona fide occupational requirements ("BFORs"), and the legality of "zero tolerance policies" regarding drug use on the job. Read More...

Ted volunteers at Jazz Festival .

Ted volunteed at the Bassment Cantina

Drugs And Big Trucks Don't Mix Agrees The Alberta Court Of Appeal

Employers in Canada with safety-sensitive workplaces constantly struggle with adjudicators preferring employee privacy and discrimination laws over keeping a workplace safe from the use of drugs and alcohol. The Alberta Court of Appeal has now firmly preferred safety over an addicted employee's drug use and its associated risks to him and co-workers: Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corporation, 2015 ABCA 225. Read More...

Fishing for Notice: British Columbia Supreme Court addresses inducement and contingency factors in wrongful dismissal suits

In a recent BC Supreme Court decision, Sollows v. Albion Fisheries Ltd., the court clarified what qualifies as inducement in the context of a reasonable notice period assessment. The court also took a novel approach to contingency, which can arise where the hearing takes place before the end of the employee’s reasonable notice period. Read More...

What Men Complained About Women 50 and 100 Years Ago

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

It often seems that men and women have never before held such a low opinion of the opposite sex. Women complain that there are no more real men out there, that today’s generation of males are akin to a tribe of rude, crude, lost little boys, who won’t commit and are drifting through life. Men lament that modern women are the worst crop of females the world has ever seen — that on a whole they’re flighty, crass, and prickly, and come in two equally unpalatable flavours: angry social justice warrior and entitled princess.

Have women and men really devolved from a past golden age, when ladies were ladies and men were men?

While the Art of Manliness has a nostalgic bent both in our aesthetics and in the way we often draw lessons from history, because we spend so much time researching that history, few know as well as we do what was and was not in fact true about the past. In particular, as a collector of old books, ephemera, and vintage men’s magazines, I’ve gotten a unique look at how men actually used to feel about women back in the day. And the truth of the matter is that there’s never been a time when men haven’t complained about women (and women haven’t complained about men).

Some of the complaints of yore are unique to the time, but many have held surprisingly consistent through the ages. Indeed, though folks often react to the “red pill” sites out there as if they’re some kind of new, unprecedented phenomenon, pretty much everything brought up on those forums, both in content and tone, can be found in the men’s magazines of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at just a few excerpts (edited for length) from books and magazines, not only from the mid-century “golden age” of sex relations, but even farther back to the 1800s, and see what men used to complain about women.

SCC decides what constitutes workplace disability discrimination.

"S worked in a mine operated by the Elk Valley Coal Corporation, driving a loader. The mine operations were dangerous, and maintaining a safe worksite was a matter of great importance to the employer and employees. To ensure safety, the employer implemented a policy requiring that employees disclose any dependence or addiction issues before any drug‑related incident occurred. If they did, they would be offered treatment. However, if they failed to disclose and were involved in an incident and tested positive for drugs, they would be terminated.

S used cocaine on his days off. He did not tell his employer that he was using drugs. When his loader was involved in an accident, he tested positive for drugs and later said that he thought he was addicted to cocaine. His employer terminated his employment. S, through his union representative, argues that he was terminated for addiction and that this constitutes discrimination under s. 7 of the Alberta Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act.

The Alberta Human Rights Tribunal held that S was terminated for breaching the policy, not because of his addiction. Its decision was affirmed by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and by the Alberta Court of Appeal."

The S.C.C. held (8:1) that the appeal is dismissed. Read More...

Shadow Work and the Rise of Middle-Class Serfdom

shadow work
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Meet Bill, an average American.

The first thing Bill does when he rolls out of bed in the morning is look at his phone. He checks for new texts and emails, peruses his Facebook feed, and then surfs around to various news sites and blogs.

Then he grabs a quick breakfast and it’s out the door for a 20-minute commute to work. But first he stops at a convenience store to fill up on gas and withdraw some money from the ATM.

Once at the office, Bill makes himself some coffee and settles into his desk. His computer prompts him, as it does every 90 days, to change his password. He then spends an hour going through his work email, before doing some copy making and filing.

At lunch, Bill eats at a “fast casual” establishment where he orders at the counter, brings his food to a table, and then cleans it off when he leaves.

Back at the office, there’s more email to answer and tasks to take care of.

After work Bill stops by a grocery store, and swipes and bags his items in the self-checkout line.

Once he arrives home, Bill makes himself dinner, and then cleans up the kitchen. Next he sits down at his computer to figure out which flights would be best for an upcoming trip he’s planning, and to book a hotel and rental car as well. Two hours later, Bill makes those purchases, and then shops for a new bag he’ll need for the trip, looking at numerous sites and reviews, and then putting in his credit card and shipping information once again to complete the transaction.

Then it’s a little more web surfing and one last check of his Facebook feed. Right before he turns in, Bill gets a text from a friend: “Hey man! Want to go mountain biking this Saturday?” “Sorry,” Bill replies, “I’m too busy. Maybe another time.”

While Bill hasn’t done anything physically strenuous during the day, he crawls into bed feeling exhausted. And with good reason — for in addition to performing his “real” job at the office, he also worked a wide variety of other positions: driver, news editor, gas station attendant, banker, waiter, bus boy, secretary, cashier, grocery bagger, cook, housekeeper, travel agent, and salesman.

Though Bill nominally only works a 9-5, he has in fact been toiling around the clock.

2 Ways to Be More Confident and Manly (Even If You Feel Less Than)

The following is a reprint of an article by Brock McGoff that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Are you a short man? Are you smaller than most other men? Does your physical stature sometimes make you feel more like a boy than a man?

Back in the day, I was always the shortest kid in class. Still am, actually. I’m 5’6″ in boots, and I’ve never broken 130 lbs.

So I guess you could call me a small man, although I prefer the term “svelte.”

On top of this, I just look young. I can’t grow a mustache or a beard, and I don’t have much hair on my chest.

I get carded every time I order a drink, and I can barely reach the hand holds on the subway.

My basketball career ended after middle school when everyone else was hitting their adolescent growth spurts. And it was impossible to find a suit that didn’t look like a hand-me-down from my big brother.

Needless to say, this really brought me down (pun intended).

My height, or lack thereof, used to be a huge source of insecurity. To be honest with you, it still is sometimes, especially:

  • When I can’t find clothes that fit.
  • When my girlfriend asks me to get something she can’t reach, and I can’t reach it either.
  • When I can’t see anything at concerts.
  • When people make fun of me (yes, that still happens sometimes).

But it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be. I’m not focused on it anymore. My height doesn’t own me. I own it.

Being short isn’t something that happened to me. It is me. It’s who I am. And it took almost thirty years to realize that it’s not a bad thing.

It’s forced me to care about much more important traits like personality and selflessness. It has driven me to focus on building confidence and feeling manly in ways that have nothing to do with the genetic hand that I was dealt.

In other words, being the short kid has taught me an extremely valuable lesson:

5 Types of Terrible Drivers: A Dossier from a 1955 Driver’s Ed Manual

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Editor’s Note: Published by the American Automobile Association, Sportsmanlike Driving was a popular driver’s education textbook used in high schools across the county during the 1950s. It’s a gem of a book, and what’s so interesting about it, as compared to manuals of today, is the way it frames driving behaviour not simply in terms of what is legal and advisable, but in the light of character traits. “The Motor Age Citizen,” the manual argues, “must accept the moral responsibility of properly using the power machines he has devised.”

The excerpts below outline the “mental make-up” of various types of poor drivers, who should ideally be taken “right off the road until their weaknesses are corrected.” The traits of a “top-notch” driver are also illuminated. And the principles in both cases extend wonderfully beyond the road!

Driving skillfully and safely in modern traffic is no “cinch.”

The mechanical operations are not difficult for most people to learn. They have become simpler than ever with automatic transmission cars. But there are at least five importance factors, other than mechanical skills, that make expert driving of an automobile a challenging job:

  1. The power and limitations of the car.
  2. The physical features of roads and streets.
  3. The behaviour of other highway users.
  4. Changing light and weather conditions.
  5. The make-up of the driver himself.

The driver is the most important factor in keeping driving from being a “cinch.” Automotive engineering may make the car easier to drive. Highway engineering and traffic engineering may make the highways and streets safer to use. Safety devices and clever inventions may help lessen the hazards in unfavourable weather conditions. But, in spite of all such improvements, first-rate driving will always demand that the driver act in accordance with sportsmanlike attitudes.

The mental make-up of a driver is often more important than his skill. It determines what he will do when he has power in his hands.

Strip or Retire: Why Every Man Should Have Skin in the Game

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Over the entrance to a small paelstra –– a wrestling school — in ancient Greece was emblazoned this short phrase: Strip or Retire.

During this period, men competed in sports and exercised in the nude. Thus the inscription served as a challenge to each man entering the gymnasium: come in, participate, and struggle — or keep out. Mere spectators were not welcome.

To be part of this wrestling school, you were literally required to put your skin in the game.

In antiquity, such a requirement extended far beyond athletics; a man could not participate in civic life, business transactions, war, or philosophical debates unless he had metaphorical skin in the game — unless he was willing to risk his life, and what was even more valuable, his honour.

Get 1% Better Every Day: The Kaizen Way to Self-Improvement

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

It’s happened to all of us.

You have a “come to Jesus” moment and decide you need to make changes in your life. Maybe you need to drop a few pounds (or more), want to pay off some debt, or desperately long to quit wasting time on the internet.

So you start planning and scheming.

You take to your journal and write out a bold strategy on how you’re going to tackle your quest for self-improvement. You set big, hairy SMART goals with firm deadlines. You download the apps and buy the gear that will help you reach your objectives.

You feel that telltale rush that comes with believing you’re turning over a new leaf, and indeed, the first few days go great. “This time,” you tell yourself, “this time is different.”

But then…

You had a long day at work, you just can’t make it to the gym, and by golly, eating an entire pizza would really make you feel better.

Or an unexpected expense comes up, and your bank account dips back into the red.

Or you decide you’ve been doing really well with being focused, so what’s a few minutes of aimless web surfing going to do?

Within a matter of days, your fiery ambition to change yourself is extinguished. That audacious, airtight plan in your journal? You don’t even look at it again because along with your goal to lose weight, your daily journaling goal has also met an untimely demise.

And so you’re back to where you started, only even worse off than before. Because now you’re not just an overweight, in debt, and easily distracted man, you’re an overweight, in debt, and easily distracted man who has failed at not being overweight, in debt, or easily distracted. The sting of failure can feel like an existential gut punch.

But time heals all wounds. Nature has — for better and worse — blessed us with terrible memories, so we forget how crappy we felt when we failed in our last attempt to radically improve ourselves.

Thus, six months later that itch to change yourself returns, and the whole scenario plays itself out again, like some Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich-infused version of Groundhog Day.

Getting Off the Roller Coaster of Personal Development

Our quest to become better often feels like a roller coaster ride with its proverbial ups and downs. By the time you’re headed down Self-Improvement Mountain for the twentieth time, you’re vomiting out the side of your cart in self-disgust, cursing yourself that you once again bought a ticket to ride.

Why are our attempts to better ourselves usually so uneven, and why do they so frequently end in failure? There are a few reasons:

Focusing on the big goal overwhelms us into inaction. It’s an article of faith in the world of personal development that you have to make big, Empire State goals. You don’t just want to dominate in your own life — you want to dominate the world.

And so you draw up plans for leaving behind the 99% of schmos out there, and becoming part of the extraordinary 1% — not necessarily as measured in pure wealth, but in passion, fitness, financial independence, and number of Machu Picchu pics in your Instagram feed.

But the enormity of your goals ends up overwhelming you into inaction. What we moderns call “stress” would be better termed “fear”; the physiological reaction is the same in both emotions. A big, audacious goal looks to the brain just like a saber-toothed tiger stalking us in the woods, and the idea of paying off $100K in student loan debt seems so impossible that it’s actually scary. And when our brain encounters scary, the old amygdala kicks into fight-flight-freeze mode, and you assume the position of deer-stuck-in-headlights.

Big, giant goals can be awe-inspiring. But like many awe-inspiring things — a lion, a black hole, the Grand Canyon — they can also swallow you whole.

We think a magic bullet will save us. Let’s say that we’re able to overcome the torpor-inducing effects of aiming for radical personal change, and we start taking action towards achieving our goals. As humans are wont to do, instead of just getting right to work doing the boring, mundane, time-tested things that will bring success, we typically start looking for “hacks” that will get us the results we want as fast as possible and with as little work as possible. We want that magic bullet that will allow us to hit our target right in the bulls-eye with just one shot.

The danger of looking for a magic bullet is that you end up spending all your time searching for it instead of actually doing the work that needs to be done. You scroll through countless blog articles on productivity, in hopes of discovering that one tip that will make you superhumanly efficient. You listen to podcast after podcast from people who earn their living telling people how to make money online, hoping one day you’ll hear an insight that will unlock your businesses’ potential, so you too can make your living online, telling other people how to make a living online. You research and find the perfect gratitude journal so you can be more zen.

The insidious thing about searching for magic bullets is that you feel like you’re doing something to reach your goals when in fact you’re doing nothing. Magic bullet hunting is masturbatory self-improvement. All the pleasure, without the production of metaphorical progeny.

We stop doing the things that helped us improve in the first place. Okay. So let’s say you don’t let the bigness of your goal overwhelm you, and you’re not a chump magic bullet hunter either.

You get to work. Slowly but surely you start seeing results. You lose five pounds. You whittle $200 off your debt. You meditate for 20 minutes a day for a whole week.

You’re having success!

But in our personal backslapping, we would do well to heed Napoleon’s warning: “The greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory.”

There’s a tendency for folks to view self-improvement as a destination. They think that once you reach your goal, you’re done. You can take it easy. So when these folks start having some success and things start getting better in their lives, they stop doing the things that got them to that point. And so they start backsliding.

I fell into this trap when I was first trying to get a handle on my depression. I’d take some proactive steps to leash my black dog — meditate, write in my journal, get outside, etc. As soon as I started to feel better, I’d think, “Hey! I beat it this time! I’m cured!” So I let up. I stopped doing the things that helped me feel better in the first place. And of course, I went back to feeling terrible.

Self-improvement isn’t a destination. You’re never done. Even if you have some success, if you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.

You Can't Always (Do) What You Want: Judge Finds Failure To Mitigate For Choosing New Career

Since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Evans v. Teamsters, much has been made about the issue of mitigation. That decision, a positive one for employers, established a new standard in wrongful dismissal cases for when employees would be deemed to have failed to mitigate: essentially saying that except in extreme cases of a breakdown in the employment relationship, if an employee refused an alternative-employment offer from his or her employer then he or she has failed to mitigate.

In another positive development for employers, a recent case out of British Columbia may offer a new wrinkle: where an employee takes him- or herself out of the job market to switch careers, he or she may have failed to mitigate.

"What About Your In-Laws Or Your Neighbour?" Family Status Discrimination – Yet Another Development

Family status accommodation in the workplace continues to undergo critical judicial scrutiny. A recent Alberta case that could have implications for employers has taken yet another direction in considering what obligations should be placed on employers in connection with requests for family status accommodation.

Under the stricter BC approach, which requires that the employee demonstrate a serious interference with a substantial family obligation, it is a challenge for employees to claim a right to be accommodated. While there is a growing number of court cases outside BC that have adopted a lower test for triggering the duty to accommodate, some decisions have required that employees demonstrate that they considered reasonable efforts to self-accommodate their childcare obligations before they can trigger an obligation on the employer to reasonably accommodate their obligations. Under this approach, it was appropriate for employers to ask employees who are seeking accommodation about other options for childcare before exploring whether changes at work should be considered.

The Alberta Court of Queen's Bench has now waded in with a decision that could have consequences on the employer's duty to accommodate:
SMS Equipment Inc v Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 707, 2015 ABQB 162. Read More...

Viking Mythology: What a Man Can Learn From Ragnarok — the Norse Apocalypse

The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Throughout this series on Norse mythology, I’ve referenced Ragnarok — the Norse apocalypse. It’s where gods and beasts alike meet their demise, and the world crashes into oblivion.

Calling it an apocalypse was actually a little misleading, though. You see, Ragnarok wasn’t actually the end of all things, but rather the end of a certain era. It was both the destruction and subsequent recreation of the cosmos.

For the Vikings, time wasn’t seen as linear; it didn’t have a start and an end. It was cyclical; seasons came and went and came again, and life’s blessings and trials ebbed and flowed along with it.

In this final piece of our Norse mythology series, let’s explore what a man can learn from Ragnarok. First, though, we need to know the myth itself.

Throughout the era of the Norse gods, prophecies and oracles foretold of their doom — that they wouldn’t be around forever. With the death of Baldur — one of the signs of the coming Ragnarok — the gods knew their destiny was inescapable.

As Ragnarok approached, the humans in Midgard disregarded their way of life, giving up the bonds of brotherhood and engaging in endless wars. Murder and incest became common, and people sunk into a lifeless nihilism. Three straight years went by with no hint of summer — a season of darkness and coldness which the prophecies had deemed The Great Winter.

Then, Loki and his wolf-son Fenrir each broke free of their imprisonments and set about to destroy the gods in Asgard, and along with them, the entire world. They recruited a vast army of giants and sailed to the gates of the gods’ fortress in the ship Naglfar, which was made from the fingernails and toenails of dead men.

Fenrir enclosed the land and sky within his jaws and consumed everything in between. Jormungand — the world-encircling, sea-dwelling serpent — emerged from his home to spit poison upon the earth. Another beast, Surt, swept across the world with a flaming sword, leaving it a scorching, barren landscape.

Amidst the chaos and destruction, the gods fought valiantly to turn back the apocalypse, and at the least, destroy the beast-enemies of mankind. Eternal foes Thor and Jormungand killed each other in battle, as did Tyr and the great hound named Garm. Heimdall, guardian of Asgard’s gate, fought Loki in another mutually destructive bout. Odin fell to Fenrir, but revenge was served when Fenrir was then killed by Odin’s son Vidar. The battlefield was awash in the blood of the gods and beasts alike.

After the fighting was complete, with the gods stricken dead and resigned to the underworld, the land fell back into the sea, and the black void known as Ginnungagap (which you’ll remember from the Norse creation story) once again appeared.

Remember, though, this wasn’t the ultimate end.

After a time, the earth returned to form. A new human pair named Lif and Lifthrasir appeared. Baldur returned from the dead, along with the sons of Odin and of Thor. A new sun emerged, even stronger than the last. Life and light once again reigned in the universe rather than darkness and destruction.

The gears of the world once more began to turn, filling creation with new energy and spirit, and moving the universe towards yet another Ragnarok, and another creation, ad infinitum.

What can men learn from this story of the Viking “apocalypse”?

How to Avoid Getting Pickpocketed

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

A couple centuries ago, pickpocketing was the scourge of cities around the world. From Dickens’ London to New York City’s famous Five Points, skilled thieves practiced their craft, filching the valuables of passersby without the victim noticing a thing. In fact, that’s how pockets in clothing got their start: Prior to the 17th century, men and women alike carried their valuables in purses outside the body; they then started tying pouches inside their clothes in an attempt to thwart would-be “cutpurses” and thieves. But pickpockets soon adapted and learned how to deftly extract the goods from trouser, waistcoat, and jacket pockets alike.

Around the turn of the 20th century, American prosecutors began cracking down hard on pickpockets, and mandatory schooling took young would-be thieves off the streets. Soon there were few “master” pickpockets left to pass on the trade, and fewer kids willing and able to learn a form of crime that took years to perfect. In more recent years, the decline of cash has made wallets a less desirable target.

While pickpocketing has been on the decline in the U.S for the past fifty years or so, it’s still a major problem in Europe. In fact, pickpocketing has gotten so bad in some countries that popular tourist attractions have had to close for days at a time.

Many police departments shrug off pickpocketing as common petty larceny. But to the victim, having their wallet stolen not only puts them out of the cash they were carrying, but creates a huge cost in time and worry. Credit cards must be canceled and credit agencies must be warned for possible identity fraud. If a passport was lifted, travel plans will likely be delayed and the victim will have to pay for an even more expensive trip home because they missed their original flight.

To avoid finding yourself in that kind of aggravating mess, you simply need to take a few precautions that’ll greatly reduce your vulnerability to pickpockets. And in today’s post we’ll provide expert-backed tips on how to do just that.

The 3 Families Every Young Man Needs to Grow Up Well

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Humans are social beings. For most of history, we lived together in small tribes made up of extended families. Within the tribe, a boy had parents, relatives, and elders of all kinds who shepherded him into adulthood. Through rites of passage, he learned what his community expected from him as a man, and he gradually began to take on those responsibilities and their attendant privileges.
Today we live a far more atomized and isolated lifestyle. Extended family no longer lives near each other for the most part, and parents typically don’t stay in an area (or even neighborhood) long enough to establish roots and deep-seated friendships. It’s every man, and boy, for himself, and young men often don’t get much guidance on how to grow into mature manhood.

This disintegration of social connections can have particularly severe consequences for boys and men. Masculinity is essentially an energy created by testosterone — a drive to compete, take risks, and be aggressive. Without a group to belong to — without bonds that channel and direct this energy towards positive ends — a young man will often end up feeling lost. If he doesn’t get the recognition he craves, the training he needs, or the opportunity to prove himself he so desires, he may either act out his impulses in destructive ways or be plagued with a sense of restlessness that develops into a paralyzing malaise or persistent depression.

In The Wonder of Boys, Dr. Michael Gurian argues that boys can avoid these pitfalls if adults are willing to step up and take a more proactive role in creating a supportive tribe for them. This tribe is ideally composed of three different “families” that together raise a boy into mature, well-adjusted manhood. It should be noted that girls absolutely benefit from being enmeshed in these three families, too. Gurian would just argue that because of the general tendency for boys (thanks to testosterone) to disengage and be drawn to potentially destructive pursuits, boys and young men have more to lose if they don’t receive this kind of support (see: the gender make-up of mass shooters, the prison population, the suicide rate, the college graduation rate, etc.). Though you shouldn’t think of the three families as a way to prevent your son from becoming a dropout or criminal either; even if he’s a good kid, growing up within a tribe will help him become his best possible self.

Today we’ll take a look at who makes up each of the three families, and offer some ideas to parents, extended family members, and young men themselves on how to build, strengthen, and make the most of them.

Manvotional: The Supreme Charity of the World

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

True charity is not typified by an almsbox. The benevolence of a check book does not meet all the wants of humanity. Giving food, clothing and money to the poor is only the beginning, the kindergarten class, of real charity. Charity has higher, purer forms of manifestation. Charity is but an instinctive reaching out for justice in life. Charity seeks to smooth down the rough places of living, to bridge the chasms of human sin and folly, to feed the heart-hungry, to give strength to the struggling, to be tender with human weakness, and greatest of all, it means—obeying the Divine injunction: “Judge not.” Read More...

The Unexpected Upside of a Lean Season

lean times
The following is a reprint of an article by Marcus Brotherton that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

It’s fair to say that many people go through at least one season of financial difficulty sometime in their lives.

It’s often part of the ladder-climbing experience when just starting out. Or it occurs between jobs, or is due to an injury or downed economy.

The season, although difficult, can actually hold forth much benefit. Call these benefits surprising silver linings, lessons learned from hard times.

About ten years ago, in my mid-30s, I officially opened my own editorial business.

Five months later, my business officially failed.

What followed was what my wife Mary Margaret and I today call “our lean season.” We weren’t poor by global standards—we still had a roof over our heads and ate three meals a day.

But by G8 standards, we were broke. We were uncertain about how to pay our bills, in danger of losing our house, and fearful and stressed about our immediate and future financial situation.

During that winter, I applied for more than 80 jobs. I went on interviews, attended job fairs, networked with business owners, and passed out copies of my resume by the dozen.

Blame the collapse of the newspaper industry. The field was flooded with hungry, well-credentialed journalists looking for work. Time after time, the answer was no.

Today, almost a decade later, Mary Margaret and I talk with people who have experienced similar lean seasons. We have good friends, for instance, a surgeon and his wife, who tell about the few years in medical school right after their daughters were born. They lived in an apartment with rats.

This is what we learned about lean seasons from talking with others, and also from our own experience.

Say Yes to Life: An Accessible Primer on Nietzsche’s Big Ideas

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Friedrich Nietzsche introduced several ideas into Western philosophy that have had a huge influence on the culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Existentialism, postmodernism, and poststructuralism have all been touched by Nietzsche’s work.

His impact isn’t just seen in academic philosophies, though, but also in the way many modern Westerners approach their lives. The love of struggle, the quest for autonomy and personal greatness, the clarion call of following your passion and making your life a work of art — these are all cultural currents Nietzsche helped shape and set in motion. Thus to really understand modern life in all its wonder, and weirdness, one must understand Nietzsche.

Below I highlight just a few of Nietzsche’s biggest and most intriguing ideas; even if you decide you vehemently disagree with them, they are excellent fodder for examining how you live and exist in the world. Do you, as Nietzsche exhorts, “say yes to life”? Or do you deny its powers and possibilities and simply loaf through your existence?

Keep in mind that this article isn’t an exhaustive look at Nietzsche’s work; it’s designed to be an accessible primer for those who wish to dip their toes into his philosophy. As such, I tried to simplify and condense the explanations as much as possible. For a more exhaustive and in-depth treatment, you’ll have to read the myriad books that have been written by Nietzsche and about his work; I’ll suggest some of the best to check out at the end.

A Primer on Friedrich Nietzsche: His Life and Philosophical Style

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

“What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

“Eternal recurrence.”


“God is dead.”

Even if you don’t know much about philosophy, you’ve likely heard these terms and phrases before, as well as the name of their originator: Friedrich Nietzsche.

Few thinkers had as much of an influence on the culture and ideas of modernity than Nietzsche did. And yet few people — even if they throw around his quotes or his name — know very much about his philosophy.

Christians often have a knee-jerk revulsion to the man who referred to himself as an “immoralist” and the “anti-Christ,” and see his views as incompatible with faith, and thus not worth studying.

The less religious, who feel in Nietzsche they might find a sympathetic comrade, are yet frequently stymied in reading and understanding his sometimes seemingly inscrutable texts.

Yet both groups would be well served by giving Nietzsche another look. In fact, the study of his philosophy can be beneficial to men of any creed or background.

Nietzsche does challenge those of faith, but in a way that can prompt a hard, much-needed, and ultimately strengthening examination of the true depth of one’s professed commitment.

And he is undoubtedly difficult to understand, but those who make the effort to dig out his meaning are rewarded with insight on how life can be lived more fully.

So too, scholars of Nietzsche glean not just a richer understanding of his philosophy itself, but of the wider culture and the landscape of modernity (and postmodernity) as well.

Once you become aware of his ideas, you start seeing his influence everywhere. If you’re a fan of Theodore Roosevelt’s ideas of the “strenuous life” and “daring mighty deeds,” then you have Nietzsche to thank. Roosevelt was a big fan of the Prussian philosopher’s writings, and scholars believe they greatly influenced TR’s worldview. The work of one of my favorite writers, Jack London, was also infused with Nietzschean axioms. London’s quest to uncover his own “philosophy towards life” and his love of the “spirit of romance and adventure” has Nietzsche’s fingerprints all over it.

If you’ve always wanted to understand more about Nietzsche and his philosophy, but haven’t known where to start or been too intimidated to dive in, this two-part series is for you. My goal with it is two-fold: First, to provide you with a very basic understanding of Nietzsche so that you have a reference point to start from whenever you encounter him in your literary or intellectual wanderings. And second, to inspire you to begin your own study of this regally-mustachioed philosopher.

In this first article, I will offer a short biography of Nietzsche’s life in a semi-bare-bones, timeline fashion; rest assured that concepts only mentioned here in passing will be fleshed out next time. Knowing a little about Nietzsche’s life helps to provide context for the development of his philosophy.

At the end of the article, I then outline a few reading notes that must be kept in mind whenever you study’s Nietzsche’s writings. Unless you approach his philosophy in a certain way, it’s easy to misunderstand him.

The background below will help you digest the content of the second post in this series, which offer a primer on Nietzsche’s big ideas.

Actually You Weren't Fired! Court Rules Long-Term Employee Should Have Accepted New Role

constructive 2
A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has reinforced an employer's ability to re-organize work flow and adjust employee responsibilities. One of the main roadblocks that an employer will face any time an employee's job title or responsibilities are changed is a claim of constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer has made changes to fundamental aspects of an employee's working conditions (e.g. wage, title, work location, hours of work, etc.) and these changes amount to a repudiation of the employment contract. Unilateral and fundamental changes to the employment relationship may result in an employee claiming they have been constructively dismissed and are owed statutory notice or common law reasonable notice.

In the decision of
Bolibruck v. Niagara Health System, 2015 ONSC 1595 the Plaintiff claimed she had been constructively dismissed after her role as a Health Program Director ("HPD") was adjusted to include some non-clinical work and a new reporting structure. In 2010 the plaintiff, after being in a HPD role at the Niagara Falls hospital, was moved to the new St. Catherine's General Hospital. Despite maintaining the HPD title, the plaintiff was given new and high profile work relating to transition work needed for the new hospital. Ms. Bolibruck was ultimately unhappy with the changes to her role and viewed the modification as a demotion. Furthermore, she claimed that the HR supervisor had acted in a verbally abusive manner towards her and she was moved to a smaller office. Read More...

Seniority Reset: BC Court of Appeal Rules On Seniority In An Asset Purchase Agreement

A recent case out of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia has confirmed that where a business is not sold as a going concern, an employee's years of service recognition resets, regardless of whether that employee takes on employment with the successor company. Read More...

"Common Employer" Liable For Employee Compensation

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in the recent common employer case, King v. 1416088 Ontario Ltd. (c.o.b. Danbury Industrial), 2014 ONSC 1445. The Court found that the Defendants were common employers and therefore they were jointly and severally liable for the compensation owing to King. Read More...

6 Tips for Gym Newbies

The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

When we did a survey last year asking readers what subjects they’d like to see AoM cover, one of the requests that popped up a few times was more beginner fitness articles. We get it — it can be intimidating to watch our YouTube videos with Mark Rippetoe and read articles about intense kettlebell training. If you’re out of shape and haven’t worked out for a long time, how do you narrow that gap between where you are now and deadlifting hundreds of pounds — or heck, simply getting a bit more fit for the sake of your well-being?

I asked myself that very question a few months ago. I can run a few miles and do a good number of push-ups, but the reality is that I could stand to lose a little bit of belly fat and get in better shape. It’s easy to be motivated when you live in Colorado — almost everyone around me is running marathons and hiking 14ers every weekend.

For a long time I was determined that I wouldn’t become a “gym rat.” Our culture places muscular gym-goers into the realm of “bros” — shallow, egotistic, vain, etc. I bought into that mentality, and figured I’d get in shape by running and doing bodyweight exercises. (Yes, I was being cheap too.) Beyond that, I was simply intimidated. I knew that I would get to the gym and not have any idea what to do, or how to do it. But, after a bum knee and multiple failed attempts to do exercise routines at home, I realized something had to change.

So I spurned the bad attitude towards gyms, and went to the big box chain near my home to sign up. It’s been a great experience so far, and I’ve learned a number of things that I’d like to share with other guys who might be nervous or have a bad attitude about the prospect of signing up for a gym membership.

Off The Clock Misconduct: When Can You Terminate?

In Union of Public Employees, Local 4400 v Toronto District School Board, 2015 CarswellOnt 6561, an employee's off-duty conduct resulted in dismissal. Sylvia Hatzantonis, an employee of Toronto District School Board ("TDSB"), was terminated for:

  • Engaging in comment and conduct inconsistent with that expected of a TDSB employee;
  • Attempting to conceal her conduct by soliciting and counselling others to provide false evidence; and
  • Dishonesty and breach of trust during the TDSB's investigation in an attempt to mislead.

How to Control a Job Interview

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

There are two ways to approach a job interview.

With the first, you take a pretty passive stance. You control what you can on your side of things — dressing well, acting confident, trying to give good answers — but a lot of how the interview goes is left up to chance: Is the interviewer effective at asking good questions that allow you to talk about why you’re a great fit for the job? Is he or she feeling tired or fresh? Is the interview long or short? You get whatever kind of interview you happen to walk into.

With the second approach, you take charge of the interview. Rather than hoping you’ll land an eager, experienced interviewer, you make stuff happen for yourself. You talk about the things you need to talk about to make yourself look like the best candidate for the job, even if the interviewer doesn’t directly lead you there. Regardless of the quality of the interview you get, you’re able to offer a complete, persuasive picture of yourself.

How do you control a job interview like this? That’s what we’ll teach you today.

Summer Fun, Fall Lawsuit

sex harass
Employers often express their appreciation to employees by hosting events such as seasonal parties, barbeques or other social events. While the employer's intentions may be good, the result isn't always a reflection of those good intentions.

Employers can be held liable for unfortunate acts which occur at these social events, even if the acts were completely unexpected, unapproved or arguably beyond the employer's ability to prevent. A case in point is K.L. v. Calypso Water Park Inc., 2015 ONSC 2417 (CanLII).

Court Finds Employee's Job Search Efforts Fail To Satisfy Duty To Mitigate

As a general principle, employees who have been wrongfully dismissed have a duty to mitigate their damages by taking reasonable steps to secure comparable alternative employment. However, the onus is on the employer to prove a failure to mitigate and Courts have held that this onus is not easy to discharge. To do so an employer must show both that the employee failed to make reasonable efforts to find new employment, and that if the employee had made such efforts, new employment could have been found.

Notwithstanding this high burden, a recent decision by the Supreme Court of British Columbia is a rare example where an employer has succeeded in demonstrating a failure to mitigate, resulting in a reduced reasonable notice period.

Can The Director Of A Corporation Be Held Personally Liable For Unpaid Wages And Termination Pay?

The Ontario Superior Court has held that the director of a closely-held corporation can be held liable for unpaid wages and termination pay under the oppression remedy. Read More...

Viking Mythology: What a Man Can Learn From Loki (About Unmanliness)

The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

No overview of Viking mythology would be complete without delving a little bit into Loki and the role he plays in the Norse universe. Along with Odin, he’s the most mysterious and perplexing of the gods. Part of the confusion is that his physical being is difficult to nail down. He’s the son of a giant and an unknown figure — perhaps a giantess, a goddess, or something else completely. Loki is at times human-ish (like the other gods), at times a shapeshifter (like Odin), and even one time a mother — he in fact birthed Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged flying horse. He was indeed a father as well, but his offspring were terrifying beings like Jormungand (the world-encircling serpent), Fenrir (the great wolf), and Hel (the goddess of the underworld). Before even getting into his character traits, it’s obvious that Loki is capricious and hard to trust.

BCCA Clarifies McKinley: "Contextual Approach" And Prior Discipline

In a British Columbia Court of Appeal decision released in late April 2014, a trial judge's decision was set aside and a new trial ordered. The trial judge's decision in Ogden v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 2014 BCSC 285 (CanLII) provided the Court of Appeal with an opportunity to clarify the law of cumulative cause in Ogden v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 2015 BCCA 175. (CanLII) As always, we encourage readers to review the cases for more detail in the specific facts and areas of law covered by the courts. Our comments on the case follow. Read More...

The Narcissism of Minor Differences

apple orange
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The English and the Scots. The Serbs and the Croats. The Sunnis and the Shiites.

If you look at some of the fiercest and bloodiest rivalries in history, what’s striking is not how different the opposing groups are, but how similar. Sure, they often hold different beliefs, but they live as neighbors, share ancestry, and hold similar customs.

In his 1930 essay “Civilization and Its Discontents,” Sigmund Freud commented on this dynamic, noting that it is frequently “communities with adjoining territories, and related to each other in other ways as well, who are engaged in constant feuds and in ridiculing each other.” Elsewhere he notes that the phenomenon is not limited to ethnic or religious peoples either: “Every time two families become connected by a marriage, each of them thinks itself superior to or of better birth than the other. Of two neighboring towns each is the other’s most jealous rival; every little canton looks down upon the others with contempt.”

If as a teenage football fan you were caught up in a cross-town rivalry with another high school, you know of which Freud speaks.

So what accounts for the peculiar hostility between groups of people that are in many ways quite alike?

Freud chalked it up to the innate human proclivity for aggression and the desire for distinct identity. To see one’s neighbors reflect and mirror oneself too much threatens a person’s unique sense of self, and superiority. It’s what political scientist Stephen Brooks calls the “uncomfortable truth of resemblance.” To alleviate this injury to one’s ego, one downplays their similarities with others and emphasizes their divergences — which can be amplified into seemingly unbridgeable rifts.

Freud called this phenomenon “the narcissism of minor differences.”

While this idea is interesting to apply to ethnic and religious conflicts, global affairs, and even local peculiarities, it’s also a revealing prism by which to examine the behavior of individuals, including our own.

Maternity Leave Was No Reason To Reduce Bonus

The recent decision of the B.C. Supreme Court in Sowden v. Manulife Canada Ltd. is noteworthy for its interpretation of a written agreement regarding bonus payments, and the court's reluctance to allow an employer to use an employee's maternity leave as a reason to reduce her bonus payment. Read More...

It's A Two-Way Street: Employees Are Required To Give Notice Of Resignation

In Consbec Inc v Walker, a family drama played out publicly in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The Court reminded both Canadian employers and employees of the (limited) obligations employees owe employers after resigning from employment. Read More...

Court Of Appeal Upholds Decision Granting Employee Notice Period Based On Employment With Predecessors

The Court of Appeal recently dismissed an appeal from . . . [Danbury v 1416088 Ontario Ltd.]. The reasons given were not extensive, but the Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge's determination that there was a sufficiently close relationship amongst the various companies for which the employee had worked to establish common liability under the Employment Standards Act. As a result, the final company for which the employee worked prior to dismissal was liable for the employee's entire length of service in determining the common law notice period. The Court of Appeal also upheld the liability of the final employer for the employee's entire pension entitlement. Read More...

Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why

The following is a reprint of an article by Alexandra Petri appearing on the Washington Post web site. This healthy bit of sarcasm is just too rich to pass by.

Some people are complaining that the budget proffered by the Trump administration, despite its wonderful macho-sounding name, is too vague and makes all sorts of cuts to needed programs in favor of increasing military spending by leaps and bounds. These people are wimps. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has called it a “hard power budget” which is, I think, the name of an exercise program where you eat only what you can catch, pump up your guns and then punch the impoverished in the face. This, conveniently, is also what the budget does.

This budget will make America a lean, mean fighting machine with bulging, rippling muscles and not an ounce of fat. America has been weak and soft for too long. BUT HOW WILL I SURVIVE ON THIS BUDGET? you may be wondering. I AM A HUMAN CHILD, NOT A COSTLY FIGHTER JET. You may not survive, but that is because you are SOFT and WEAK, something this budget is designed to eliminate.

Court Of Appeal Finds Progressive Discipline Not Necessary In Just Cause Dismissal

Just cause is a difficult standard for employers to meet. In most cases, employees who are terminated from employment will be entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice. However, there are circumstances where the courts will find that dismissal for cause is warranted, as illustrated in a recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Agostino v Gary Bean Securities Ltd. Read More...

10 Ways To Deal With Losing The One Person You Want

broken heart

he following is a reprint of an article by Aaron Burnett Ill that appears in the Thought Catalogue web site.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather breakdance barefoot on broken glass than be rejected by the only person I want and desire. And yeah, I’m serious. The pain of losing the one you desire, the shame of being rejected, the self-doubt that sets in when you’ve been denied, they all teach you how emotional pain can feel far worse than physical pain. And I’m not speaking metaphorically. I would gladly do bloody backspins before suffering heartbreak. The shitty thing is… we rarely get to choose.

I was once skateboarding down a super-steep hill in San Francisco when my board started to shake from speed-wobbles. Since I was going faster than cars were driving, when I finally crashed I shoved my hands down just as I hit the pavement. I thought I’d brace against the impact and then roll. Instead, my hands stuck to the blacktop, I slid the length of numerous parked cars, and I sanded off all the skin from both hands. When I stopped sliding, my hands were smoking. I’m not kidding. Real smoke. That hurt like a motherfucker. Took weeks before I could use my hands again. But I learned a broken body eventually heals. However, a broken heart… feels like it’ll never be whole again. Just like with my skinless smoking hands, I speak from experience.

Recently, a woman I’d fallen for, she told me we have no future together. Ours was a long distance relationship- an affectionate friendship. And when I say long distance, there’s an ocean and a continent between us. I’m such a naïve romantic I thought we could overcome such distance. We had the internet to help us. I believed love conquers all. But I learned it can’t conquer the doubts of the one you love.

When she told me she didn’t want do the long distance thing there really wasn’t anything I could say. I offered to visit or move there to be with her. She felt if I relocated, the pressure would be unnatural, and she’d feel guilty if things didn’t work out. I didn’t understand this line of thinking. I still don’t. But I don’t blame her. I have to accept my heart knows what it wants while hers is unsure. And now, I must find a way to move on. After many long nights, lots of cussing and trips to the beach to let waves wash over me and wipe away my sadness, I wrote out this list. If you’re dealing with heartbreak, it should help you, too.

Giving Kids an Allowance: What You Need to Know

piggy bank
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

“Dad, I want those Hot Wheels cars. Will you get them for me? You have money.”

A few months ago, Kate and I noticed that our young son Gus had started picking up on the fact that stuff isn’t free. He realized you need money to buy food, clothes, and yes, even Hot Wheels. When Gus started asking us to buy him toys when we were out shopping, we figured it was time to begin paying him an allowance.

Yet I had a lot of questions: Should his allowance be tied to doing chores? How much should we give him? Should we have him put his money in a real bank account? Giving an allowance is one of the first and best ways to teach kids about managing their money, and I really wanted to implement a method that would teach him sound budgeting and financial principles.

To figure out the answers to my questions and come up with best practices, I did a lot of research. Below I share what I’ve learned for you other dads out there looking to raise savvy money managers.

Does An Employee Automatically Resign If They File A Constructive Dismissal Action?

What happens when an employee files a constructive dismissal action against their employer, but keeps coming to work? Can the employer take the position that the employee has resigned, or must the employer allow the employee to keep working indefinitely? This issue was recently considered by the Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Garner v Bank of Nova Scotia, 2015 NSSC 122. Read More...

Do Courts Award Increases To Base Salary During Notice Period?

A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice court decision did. In Chen v. Purdue Pharma (2015 ONSC 1967), a summary judgment decision, the court said yes, where the employee believed that actual salary increases would occur, those increases should be reflected in the notice period. We always encourage our readers to read the full-text of a decision to have an understanding of the context and circumstances. Read More...

BC Court Of Appeal Rules In Favour Of The Provincial Government On Regulating Class Sizes And Composition

On April 30, 2015, the BC Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the BC provincial government in a longstanding dispute regarding BC teachers' right to bargain collective agreement terms over class sizes and composition. The Court of Appeal's majority decision overturns two previous decisions in BC's lower court in which the BC Teachers' Federation (BCTF) was successful in arguing that it was unconstitutional for the government to pass legislation to prevent teachers from bargaining these important issues. Read More...

Cowardice and Freedom

The following is a reprint of an article by Josh Marshall that appears in the Talking Points Memo web site.

You've probably seen that today the White House held a daily gaggle (an informal, off-camera Q&A) in which only a few select news outlets - including Breitbart, The Washington Times and One America Network - were allowed to attend. CNN, NYT, LAT, Politico and apparently others were barred. In other words, two shlock 'news' outlets and one highly conservative but still legitimate news organization. The places breaking the unwelcome Trump/Russia stories are blocked.

CNN is in high dudgeon over this, as are other outlets, which is entirely understandable. But I'd like to make a basic point about how we should see this, how journalists and news organizations should treat this. I think it is both more accurate and more productive to see this as cowardice rather than some sacrilege against journalism.

Wants vs. Likes

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

“In the world there are only two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” –Oscar Wilde

Have you ever wanted something really, really bad, but when you finally got it, you were left feeling kind of disappointed?

Maybe you thought changing jobs would make you happy, but it didn’t.

Or you thought you’d like living in another state, but ended up regretting the move.

Perhaps you sunk a bunch of money into a new hobby you were sure you’d love, only to abandon it after just a few outings.

Why do we experience these mismatches between what we think something will be like and the reality of it?

This misalignment is often the result of confusing our wants and our likes — a common mix-up that gets in the way of our making good decisions and finding real satisfaction.

Adjudicator Upholds Termination For Breach Of Employer’s Technology Policy

As technology becomes more ubiquitous in the workplace, the importance of having proper policies and discipline to govern the use of that technology by workers becomes more critical. A recent case involving a federal government worker serves as an illustration of some of the unique issues raised by employee misuse of technology. Read More...

Gotta Have (Good) Faith: Wrongful Dismissal And Aggravated Damages In George v. Cowichan Tribes

In a recent decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court, George v. Cowichan Tribes, 2015 BCSC 513, an employer was faulted both for dismissing an employee for conduct outside the workplace and for failing to allow an exemplary employee to respond to the allegations against her. The case is a cautionary tale for employers, demonstrating some of the issues that can arise when due care is not taken in the course of dismissing an employee. Read More...

You Would Do The Same Thing If An Old Witch Had Your Father’s Soul Trapped In A Lantern


This "commentary" appears on the Onion web site. They have some fun publishing something as though—but clearly not—written by Kellyanne Conway. Read More...

Vendasta wins SABEX awards


Congratulations to Vendasta on winning both the Growth & Expansion Award (for the second year in a row) and The Business of the Year for 2017!

You People Made Me Give Up My Peanut Farm Before I Got To Be President

jimmy carter

This "commentary" appears on the Onion web site. They have some fun publishing something as though—but clearly not—written by Jimmy Carter. Read More...

Beware the Too Compelling Narrative

The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

The other day I was flipping through an old issue of Outside Magazine while waiting for a dentist appointment and saw this headline: “The Clown Shoe That’s Changing Minimalist Running.” The 2013 article was about a running shoe company called Hoka, which makes super beefy, super cushioned, moon boot-esque running shoes. The idea behind the shoe is that the body runs best and recovers better when its feet are wrapped in soft pillows that float over the terrain.

I had to laugh to see that the pendulum on yet another compelling narrative had already started swinging back the other way.

Because of course in the years previous to the piece, minimalist shoes and barefoot running had been all the rage. The minimalist movement ascended on the back of an irresistible story: once upon a time, man ran through deserts and savannas with little to nothing on his feet, and did so without all the injuries that cripple modern day runners shod in artificial, gait-damaging shoes. All one had to do was rip off the padded, pronated shackles of modern footwear and frolic like a gazelle into the sunset.

Of course, things didn’t quite work out that way. Folks found they didn’t like the feeling of their feet slapping so hard on the pavement, and that despite their attempts to harness their inner persistence hunter, got injured anyway. Minimalist running enthusiasts will say this is because these eager adopters rushed into the whole thing too quickly, and didn’t take the time to learn the form necessary to make barefoot running a success.

They’re partly right, but such a story is actually just another iteration of the bigger problem: the desire to explain things with simple stories.

The Surprising Benefits of Giving Money Away

The following is a reprint of an article by Marcus Brotherton that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

At the turn of the twentieth century, a Scottish-born steel tycoon named Andrew Carnegie became the world’s second richest man.

He was 66 years old in 1901 when he retired, and he believed people with means were morally obligated to do good with their money.

Over the next ten years, Carnegie focused on large-scale philanthropy. He funded scientific and medical research. He established pension funds for teachers and professors. He built more than 3,000 public libraries and gave vast sums of money to universities. He loved music and funded music conservatories and donated money to build organs. He gave away money to promote world peace.

By 1911, Carnegie had given away nearly 90 percent of his vast fortune.

Now, that might be fine for the Carnegies of the world. But what about the rest of us? Are we also morally obligated to do good with our money?

Or maybe the question fleshes out like this: we’re taught as men to amass money, to invest money, to save money, and to budget wisely with our money.

But is there any benefit in giving money away? Particularly if we’re young men, and don’t have much of it to begin with?

I mean, sure — sometimes obvious benefits come from giving. The primary one is, of course, the chance to help folks in need. And then there’s stuff like a tax deduction or getting your name on a plaque, park bench, or list of donors on an online funding site. Sometimes positive promotion results from giving money or goods away too, like when an author gives away a Kindle or Nook to promote his latest book.

But are there any reasons apart from the obvious advantages? Is there benefit when we give discreetly, wisely, and even anonymously?

Ted appears on CFCR Radio

Ted was interviewed on the subject of Wills and Estates. Read More...

The Art of Small Talk: 5 Questions Never to Ask

small talk
The following is a reprint of an article by Brett & Kate McKay that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

Yesterday while making small talk with the guy working the deli counter at my neighbourhood grocery store, I asked him something that made me feel like a total heel. So I felt inspired to sit down and hammer out a short and simple article on 5 questions I have found are best to avoid asking altogether, as they have a significant chance of leading to awkwardness and the insertion of one’s foot into one’s mouth. Read More...

Employer Entitled To "Better Doctor’s Note" After Six Month Absence

Dr Note
The Federal Court of Appeal decided in Western Grain By-Products Storage Ltd. v. Donaldson, 2015 FCA 62 (March 4, 2015), that Western Grain By-Products Storage Ltd ("Western Grain") did not constructively dismiss its employee, Donaldson, when it refused to return him to work from extended leave due to illness without receipt of "a better doctor's note." Read More...

The Future—And I’m Talking, Like, 35,000 Years In The Future—Is Still Bright

This "commentary" appears on the Onion web site. They have some fun publishing something as though—but clearly not—written by Barack Obama. I suspect they think they have captured his viewpoint.

Many Americans are upset right now. To millions, the outcome this past November seemed like a step backward for the United States, and people are understandably worried about where our nation might now be headed. But my fellow citizens, now is not the time to give in to pessimism or defeatism, because the future—and I’m talking, like, 35,000 years in the future—is still bright. Read More...

Supreme Court of Canada holds judicial review more effective remedy than Charter damages.

“The Alberta Energy Regulator (the “Board”) is a statutory, independent, quasi‑judicial body responsible for regulating Alberta’s energy resource and utility sectors. E claims that the Board breached her right to freedom of expression under s. 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by punishing her for publicly criticizing the Board and by preventing her, for a period of 16 months, from speaking to key offices within it. E brought a claim against the Board for damages as an “appropriate and just” remedy under s. 24(1) of the Charter for that alleged breach. The Board applied to strike this claim on the basis, among others, that it is protected by an immunity clause — i.e., s. 43 of the Energy Resources Conservation Act — which precludes all claims in relation to the Board’s actions purportedly done pursuant to the legislation which the Board administers. Both the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal found that the immunity clause on its face bars E’s claim for Charter damages and concluded therefore that it should be struck out. On appeal to this Court, E reformulated her claim to add a challenge to the constitutional validity of s. 43."

S.C.C. held (with one judge writing majority reasons, with which one other judge wrote separate reasons concurring in the result, and three other judges writing joint dissenting reasons which whom one judge concurred), that the appeal is dismissed. Read More...

Ted interviewd on Saskatchewan Pension Plan.

Sheryl Smolkin interviewed Ted on the subject of Powers of Attorney Read More...

Hidden Camera Leads To Dismissal

hidden camera
An arbitrator recently upheld the termination of a "reliable and capable" Personal Support Worker (a "PSW") with no prior disciplinary record, because of significant mistreatment of an individual she was responsible for, and because she did not show the kind of insight required. Read More...

SK court finds that deciding against arbitral consensus without adequate explanation is factor that spoke against reasonableness.

time theft
The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench found that deciding against arbitral consensus without adequate explanation was a factor that spoke against reasonableness. Read More...

Dismissal Of Employee With No Previous Disciplinary Record Upheld

A Saskatchewan arbitrator upheld the termination of a 25-year employee with a discipline-free record in Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan v Saskatchewan Association of Health Organizations (Prairie North Health Region), 2014 CanLII 5231. Read More...

Behaviour Issues In The Workplace: The Investigation

In the last few years, workplace investigations have become an integral part of the decision making process when an employer is faced with allegations of misconduct on the part of an employee. The employer has a duty of good faith and fair dealing in respect of its employees, particularly when an employee's employment is being terminated. To comply with this duty of good faith and fair dealing, an employer should conduct a workplace investigation when there are allegations of wrongdoing by an employee (or when the employer suspects such wrongdoing even though there has been no actual complaint) as it is incumbent on the employer to ensure that it has full knowledge of the facts relating to the impugned conduct. This duty extends not only to the employee who is alleged to have engaged in some form of improper conduct (the "respondent"), but also to the employee who made the complaint (the "complainant").

The workplace investigation provides a method for the employer to take a balanced approach – recognizing and treating seriously a complaint yet treating the respondent with fairness in dealing with the complaint. It is in the nature of a fact finding procedure which will allow the employer to ultimately determine what, if any, action should be taken with respect to an alleged wrongdoing of an employee.

It is important that an employer take the necessary steps to properly conduct an investigation. Employers that have been found to have conducted a flawed investigation have been subject to damage awards (including punitive and aggravated damages) for various causes of action, including constructive dismissal, breach of the duty of fair dealing, the infliction of mental distress, mental suffering and unlawful detention.

How to Deal With Bad Coworkers

The following is a reprint of an article by Jeremy Anderberg that appears in the Art of Manliness web site.

We’ve all been there. The guy in the cubicle next to us makes lewd jokes seemingly on a daily timer. One of the gals in sales clearly doesn’t do her part and leeches on the work of others. A fella on your team has taken credit for your great idea that’s now being implemented. In any work situation, you’ll almost always have at least one person you don’t really get along with. Given how much time we spend at work, having a bad coworker can really hamper your mood over the long haul, as well as your job performance. How you deal with that conflict could very well be the difference between having a good job and having a bad job. In my own experience, the environment — including the people you work with — often makes a bigger difference in how you see your job than the work itself. For that reason, it’s incredibly important to know how to deal with bad coworkers.

Below are some tips to do so. Treat it like a flow-chart: start with the first couple options which are introspective and low-risk, then work your way to addressing the bad coworker one-on-one, to finally, as a last resort, approaching your supervisor.

Wrongful Dismissal And Mitigation: Can A Fired Worker Start His Own Business?

The recent case of Leeming v. IBM Canada Ltd. includes a useful review of the law relating to mitigation of damages in the context of wrongful dismissal. It provides some particularly useful insights into the issue that arises when the fired employee, unable to find comparable employment, starts his or her own business. Read More...