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Bill 148 and the government attack on independent contracting

Among the many provisions of Bill 148 is the Ontario government’s intention to hire many more employment standards officers (175) and send them out into the business world (you know, the folks that pay taxes) with a mandate to classify independent contractors as employees and then sanction the business now deemed to be an “employer”. […]

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Gen. Lawson, RCAF

Gen. Tom Lawson (RCAF, ret.), former Chief of Defence Staff, gave an engaging talk to a Canadian Club crowd including many high-schoolers. I thank Gen. Lawson for making time for me at the end to discuss the F-35 and educate me a bit on it.

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Unjust Enrichment

Unjust enrichment is a doctrine for the compensation of one who has unjustly received a benefit from another in a manner that the law will correct. It is a principle of “equity”. Thomson-Carswell’s Dictionary of Canadian Law (3d ed) neatly summarizes the doctrine: “ An action for unjust enrichment arises when three elements are satisfied: […]

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On the proposed LSUC name change from “Upper Canada” to “Ontario”

LSUC Bencher Michael Lerner has asked our opinion on Convocation’s decision to change the Law Society’s name away from “Upper Canada”. Here is my letter in reply. Good morning, Mr. Lerner. Thank you for seeking our opinions. That said, and with respect, I really don’t think it should have been a benchers’ decision at all. […]

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“Wrongful Dismissal Damages Awarded to an Employee with No Service” (!)

Lisa Carlson of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (September 27, 2017) brings our attention to a BC case that may bode ill for employers: “Most employers are aware of the general requirement to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice to an employee who is being terminated without just cause during the employment relationship. However, […]

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Negative references for former employees?

Shannon Whyley of MLT Aikins Law in her article “Say What You Need to Say: Employers not Liable in Defamation for Negative Employee References” provides a good summary of two Superior Court decisions [see below] which give former employers more room to provide a negative reference: “the dual judgments should give employers some comfort that […]

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A welcome win against excessive technicalities

Biancaniello v. DMCT LLP 2017 ONCA 386 Ontario’s Court of Appeal has struck a welcome blow for wide-ranging general language and against requiring excessive length and specificity in contracts.  The Court decided that clarified that “exceptionally comprehensive” language wasn’t necessarily required to release claims that were unknown at the time the release was signed. “[T]he language […]

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Some useful thoughts on probationary employee terminations

Grant Machum and Sean Kelly of Stewart McKelvey note in their article “You gotta have (good) faith: terminating without notice during the probationary period” the struggle that employers may face in choosing between different ways of terminating probationary employees. In examining two recent BC and Alberta cases, “these decisions suggest that, provided there is a […]

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Marijuana may be covered by employee benefit plan.

“Denial of coverage for medical marijuana under employee benefit plan found to be discriminatory”. McCarthy Tetrault, May 2, 2017 Key quote: “While the Skinner decision does not mean that medical marijuana must be covered under every private benefit plan, it does demonstrate the necessity of considering human rights obligations when deciding how to respond to […]

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Think twice before making generous termination clauses

Stringer LLP (in their First Reference post “Generous termination clauses: Think twice before making promises“) note the dangers in contract language ambiguity: it is a weak spot which will invite litigation and result in judicial intervention.  In Holmes v Hatch Ltd.  it was the word “appropriate”.  Stringer LLP’s takeaway is accurate: “Employers may choose to […]

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