British Columbia Employer Advisor Blog – Quarterly Review

This is our Quarterly Review, gathering posts on our British Columbia Employer Advisor blog. Follow the links to any of these specific posts, or visit the blog at where you can sign up to get each new post as it is published. As always, your comments and suggestions are most welcome.

The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal and Online dispute resolution: Will it work for your business?
By Christopher McHardy on June 30th, 2014

This fall, British Columbians will have a new option for resolving small claims disputes. The new Civil Resolution Tribunal will use a mix of online platforms, telephone, videoconferencing, mail and in some cases, in-person meetings, to resolve small claims matters under $25,000 and certain strata disputes. The Tribunal provides a multi-stage process designed to reach …

Employer’s Potential Liability in Class Action for Employee’s Breach of Privacy A Good Reminder For All
By Ryley Mennie on June 25th, 2014

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice highlights the increasing focus on (and potential liability arising from) customers’ and clients’ privacy rights and the importance for employers to properly monitor the activities of their employees. Additionally, while the decision comes from Ontario, which, unlike British Columbia, has endorsed the tort of "intrusion upon …

Wal-Mart (Still) Pays High Price for Failing to Investigate Employee’s Complaint
By Ryley Mennie on June 12th, 2014

Our colleagues in Ontario recently published a blog post on a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal involving Wal-Mart that is of interest to employers. The case is a good reminder of the importance of properly implementing and following a comprehensive investigation procedure in response to employee complaints of discrimination and/or harassment.

Saskatchewan: New Hotbed of Labour Law?
By Rosalie Cress on June 11th, 2014

With brand new labour and employment legislation, and a major case before the Supreme Court of Canada, Saskatchewan seems to be the current ‘centre of the action’ in Canadian labour law. Constitutional Right to Strike? On May 16, 2014, a very significant labour law appeal – Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, from the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal …

No Anonymity for Grievors
BC Labour Board rules that grievors and witnesses should be identified in labour arbitration decisions
By Donovan Plomp on June 3rd, 2014

The Labour Relations Board has upheld BC Arbitrator Stan Lanyon’s decision in Sunrise Poultry Processors Ltd. v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 1518 (discussed previously here) that the names of grievors and witnesses should, as a general rule, be published in labour arbitration awards. The union argued that British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act …

"Control and Dependency Define the Essence of Employment", SCC Rules
Focus is on substance, not form
By Ryley Mennie on May 22nd, 2014

The Supreme Court of Canada released a highly-anticipated decision for professional partnerships, employers and employees today in McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. We commented previously on the facts of the case and the history of proceedings to the British Columbia Court of Appeal here. In short, McCormick, a partner at a large law firm, claimed …

Duty to Accommodate Child Care Obligations? The Federal Court of Appeal Weighs In
The Federal Court of Appeal takes a "broad" approach to family status discrimination – with limitations – in two recent decisions
By Rosalie Cress on May 9th, 2014

What is an employer’s duty to accommodate an employee’s child care obligations? This topic continues to be a hot one in the workplace, as employers try to balance the need to retain talent and ensure a productive workplace. Part of the problem is that "family status" is not defined in either the British Columbia Human Rights …

What Do Your Policies Say About Termination?
… and does it matter?
By Donovan Plomp on May 9th, 2014

Many employers have policies about termination, and specifically about what an employee is entitled to if terminated without cause. It is a good idea to try to manage the cost of terminations, but it needs to be done properly to be effective. Oliver v. Sure Grip Controls is a recent case where a termination policy …

From the Desk of the HR Manager: Spring Cleaning – Performing an HR Audit
By Ryley Mennie on May 5th, 2014

Our colleagues in Ontario recently posted a very useful outline of an HR audit that will help BC employers ensure they stay up-to-date and on top of the wide variety of employment-related demands in their operations. As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

British Columbia Privacy Commissioner Recommends Limits on Police Information Checks
Employers who rely on police information checks to assess the suitability of prospective employees may now have to make do with less information.
By Rosalie Cress on May 2nd, 2014

In an investigation report released this month, the British Columbia Information and Privacy Commissioner made recommendations which will limit information disclosed by police departments in employment-related police information checks. Until recently, police departments in British Columbia have included information about prior criminal convictions, outstanding charges, contact with the police during an investigation (e.g., as a …

Temporary Foreign Worker Program Under Fire
By Christopher McHardy on April 30th, 2014

It is no secret that the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) is under attack. Personally, it is a concern that the government has suspended a significant part of the TFWP based on allegations that a small number businesses have allegedly abused the TFWP (at this point, the claims remain allegations, although it seems likely that …

Federal Government Promises Major Changes to Temporary Foreign Worker Program
By Ryley Mennie on April 16th, 2014

Canadian employers have been promised a more streamlined, effective and engaging process for hiring skilled foreign workers. Following an initial announcement in October of last year, the Government of Canada recently issued a news release providing further details on its new system for qualified economic immigrants, called "Express Entry", which is set to launch in ...

Hot Off the Press – Doing Business in Canada: Navigating Opportunities for Investment and Growth
By McCarthy Tétrault LLP on April 2nd, 2014

If your organization is currently thinking about establishing or acquiring a business in Canada, the newest edition of Doing Business in Canada, written by McCarthy Tétrault, will prove to be a valuable resource. The guide provides a broad overview of the legal considerations that non-residents should take into account to help ensure their success as …