Ted's Blog

Why Should Your Organization Care About Digital Accessibility?

Digital Access

Beyond customer satisfaction, there are increasing legal and humanitarian consequences for businesses that don’t utilize inclusive software design, including internal software used by employees.

While it’s generally understood that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination, it’s less clear how this applies to the digital accessibility of your organization.

Ontario government bans noncompete clauses freeing up workers to change jobs

The Ontario government is banning non-competition clauses in employment contracts, a move it says will give workers more freedom to change jobs, and also help tech companies lure employees from the U.S. Read More...

SCC confirms employer must pay nearly $1.1 million to former employee

Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd. is a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada (the "SCC") that dealt with the issue of how much money an employee is entitled to when successfully suing a former employer for wrongful dismissal (i.e. when an employee is dismissed by an employer without adequate notice).
In this case, the employee and the employer agreed that, if the employee was a full-time employee as of the date the employer (a corporation) was sold, the employee would receive a payment from the employer (the "Incentive Agreement"). The arrangement was designed to reward the employee for his past contributions and act as an incentive to continue contributing to the employer's success.
Eventually, the employee's employment was terminated without any notice from the employer. About 13 months later, the employer was sold for $540 million. The employer did not pay anything to the employee in connection with the sale because the employee was not a "full-time employee" at the time.
Fast forward to the SCC's decision, in which it decided that the employer did have to pay the employee the amount he would have been entitled to had he been a "full-time employee" at the time of sale - nearly $1.1 million.

Arbitrator upholds COVID-19 testing policy

In [an] . . . arbitral decision . . ., the Christian Labour Association of Canada (the "CLAC") challenged a COVID-19 employee testing policy of the employer, Caressant Care Nursing & Retirement Homes (the "Employer"). The arbitrator dismissed the grievance. Read More...

Oh my f**king God, get the f**king vaccine already, you f**king f**ks

The following article is written by Wendy Molyneux and appears on the McSweney’s web site. You will notice my redacting of the title. This article is laced with the “f” word. One might ask why I would reprint such an article. I will paraphrase the last paragraph. I suspect that will not only explain, but entice you to read on. You will have to press “Read More” to get there.

Look, if you have been forwarded this essay from a friend or loved one, then there are two possibilities. Either you are a normal, regular, sensible . . . person like me who got . . . vaccinated at the first possible moment, and this essay channels all your . . . rage and sadness and is therefore cathartic OR, and I really hope this isn’t the . . . case, you AREN’T . . . vaccinated, and someone sent it to you because you . . . need to get . . . vaccinated. And rather than being . . . offended that someone is trying yet again to get you to take the . . . vaccine, you should understand that someone . . . loves you enough to try one last . . . time to get you to take the . . . vaccine . . . . So, congratulations! There is ONE person remaining in your life who wants to . . . save you from drowning in your own . . . lungs, . . . so for God’s sake, . . . go to the . . . pharmacy, and get a . . . vaccine . . . .

Ont. C.A. rules lawsuit against coroner after death of Indigenous child should proceed.

ont ca
From the Canadian Press:

A lawsuit filed by the family of a four-year-old Indigenous boy against the coroner tasked with investigating his death will be allowed to proceed after Ontario's top court found a judge erred in dismissing it before trial.

SCC sets framework re retroactive child support decreases & recission of arrears.

Child Support
“The parties were married in 1983 and divorced in 1996. The mother was granted sole custody of the parties’ two daughters and the father was required to pay child support of $115 per week per child until they were no longer children of the marriage. In 1998, the father requested a reduction in his child support obligations, but provided no financial disclosure to support his request and the parties reached no agreement at that time. The father’s child support obligations ended in 2012. From 1998 to 2016, the father made no voluntary child support payments and only limited sums were collected through enforcement mechanisms. During the period in which the arrears accrued, the father was absent from the children’s lives and his whereabouts were unknown. In 2016, the father applied to retroactively reduce child support and rescind the arrears of approximately $170,000. He provided little documentation or financial disclosure to support his claims. The motion judge retroactively decreased support, effectively reducing the arrears owing to $41,642. He found that this variation was warranted in order to bring the child support in line with the Federal Child Support Guidelines and to reflect the father’s drop in income over the period when the arrears were accruing. The Court of Appeal overturned that decision and ordered that the father pay the full amount of the arrears."

The SCC (9:0)
dismissed the appeal.

Ontario Superior Court Finds Entitlement To Discretionary Bonus During Common Law Notice Period

As many of . . . readers are aware, the Canada Labour Code, R.S.C., 1985, c. L-2 (the "Code") governs the operations of federally regulated companies. It is not often that an Ontario court reviews the enforceability of a termination provision under the Code. Despite this, in a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court reviewed the enforceability of a termination provision and clarified whether an employee was entitled to receive payment of a discretionary bonus following the termination of their employment. Read More...

Big Question For Canadian Employers In 2021: Can They Require Employees To Be Vaccinated?

In March 2020, the world was devastated as it faced an unforeseeable reality: the World Health Organization announced that a deadly pandemic was rapidly spreading throughout the globe. The immediate questions facing Canadian employers were whether they would be permitted to operate in this dangerous circumstance and, if so, how they could prevent their workplaces from becoming hotbeds of COVID-19 transmission. Before long, “remote work” became the way of the world; businesses not suited to it were fighting desperately for their economic survival. During lockdowns of significant duration, only workplaces that provide essential services were permitted to remain open.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time. Canada announced that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines met Health Canada's requirements on December 9, 2020, and December 23, 2020, respectively; additional vaccine approvals may soon be announced.

With this progress, 2021 brings new questions for Canadian employers; the most challenging of all is whether, in the unprecedented circumstance of a global pandemic, they can require their employees to be vaccinated. To date, the federal government and provincial governments have not mandated vaccination and they are unlikely to do so. Prime Minister Trudeau promised all Canadians that they could be vaccinated by September 2021 but only if they wanted to. Furthermore, we do not have existing case law addressing the mandatory vaccination of employees in the context of a global pandemic. Any existing case law relates only to mandatory flu vaccination programs in a unionized context in hospitals and long-term care homes and these decisions are inconsistent.

Arbitrator Upholds Mandatory Employee COVID Testing

covid 19
In Christian Labour Association of Canada v. Caressant Care Nursing & Retirement Homes (D. Randall), a union filed a group grievance on behalf of a number of its members working at an Ontario retirement home to challenge the reasonableness of a policy imposing bi-weekly COVID testing on all staff. In a December 9, 2020 decision, the arbitrator dismissed the grievance on the basis that the policy is reasonable when the privacy intrusion is weighed against the objective of preventing the spread of COVID in the retirement home. Read More...