2017 In Review: A Look Back At The Top Cases And Key Legislative Changes That Impacted Your Workplace

With major legislative amendments made to the Employment Standards Act, Labour Relations Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Workplace Safety and Insurance Act; and precedent-setting decisions by the Courts, 2017 has been an important year for employers and employees. Here is a recap of our top cases and major legislative changes along with links to the original blog.

Top Labour and Employment Cases of 2017

Travel Time was not Work Time Tradium Mechanical Inc. v Abdellatif Jaidane, 2016 CanLII 86508: In December 2016, Brian Silva of CCPartners successfully argued before the Ontario Relations Board on behalf of the applicant employer. The Board ruled that time spent by an employee travelling from home to the first job site of the day and back home from the last job site of the day in a company vehicle was commuting time and not time spent working for which the employer was required to pay. However, employers should note that in this case the employee was not obligated to take the company vehicle home, instead he was provided with the option to take the company vehicle home. Although not binding, employers should be mindful of the Ministry of Labour's Travel Time Policy as it still suggests that commute time is time worked under certain circumstances. Read more here.

Just Cause Dismissal Upheld for Nurse Stealing Drugs from Employer Hospital Cambridge Memorial Hospital v Ontario Nurses' Association, 2017 CanLII 2305: In January 2017, an Ontario arbitrator upheld the termination of a nurse because she was stealing narcotic drugs from her employer and patients. The arbitrator was convinced that the nurse's addiction did not cause her to steal the drugs. The arbitrator noted that the nurse did not need to be on drugs while working and did not suffer from physical withdrawal symptoms while being treated for her addiction. Her termination was upheld, notwithstanding her drug addiction disability. Employers should be diligent, but also very careful, when disciplining employees dealing with possible addiction issues, and be sure to explore potential accommodation obligations for such employees. Read more here.

Employment Contract Termination Clause Struck for Excluding Benefits Wood v. Fred Deeley Imports Ltd., 2017 ONCA 158: In March 2017, the Ontario Court of Appeal determined the enforceability of a termination provision in a written employment contract. The Court ruled that the termination clause outright excluded employment benefits during the notice period and hence, was unenforceable. Employers should note that the Court's finding in this case was not based on the fact that the contract failed to expressly provide for benefits continuation. Additionally, it is important to note that the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave in Oudin v. Centre Francophone de Toronto, where a termination provision was upheld despite the fact that it did not specifically set out every obligation owed to the plaintiff under the Employment Standards Act. Employers ought to be cautious in drafting enforceable termination provisions that are consistent with these decisions. Read more here.

Employment Contract Clause Denying Bonus to Terminated Employee Upheld Kielb v. National Money Mart Company, 2017 ONCA 356: In March 2017, Susan Crawford of CCPartners successfully argued on behalf of National Money Mart. The Ontario...

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