Beyond COVID-19: 2021 Year in Review – Cases and Legislation of Note

Employers and human resource professionals will undoubtedly remember 2021 as another year shaped by the pandemic. But … there were also legal developments in 2021 that were not related to COVID-19. In this FTR Now, we look at some of the year’s notable “non-pandemic” cases and legislative developments of interest.

Manitoba Court of Appeal Upholds Public Sector Wage Restraint Legislation

In Manitoba Federation of Labour et al v The Government of Manitoba, the Manitoba Court of Appeal upheld the province’s public sector wage restraint legislation that had previously been ruled unconstitutional. The Court based its decision on the fact that the impugned legislation was broad-based and time-limited, and that it preserved a process of consultation…

Appellate Court Confirms that Employers are not Obligated to Negotiate with Unions in Maintaining Pay Equity

On September 21, 2021, the Ontario Divisional Court issued Ontario Nurses’ Association v. 10 Community Care Access Centres, an important decision on pay equity maintenance. The Court confirmed that a union, in the context of seeking a joint process with an employer to maintain pay equity, does not have a right to negotiate the maintenance…

Court Upholds CMOH Directives #1 and #5 as Reasonable and Consistent with the Precautionary Principle

In Ontario Nurses’ Assn. v. Chief Medical Officer of Health (Ontario), the Ontario Divisional Court upheld Directives #1 and #5 (Directives) of the Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) as reasonable and consistent with the precautionary principle. The Court dismissed an application brought by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA), and others, to amend or quash…

Access To and Use of PPE Governed by CMOH Directive 5: An Inherent Balancing Act Confirmed by Arbitrator Stout

In an award dated May 4, 2020, Arbitrator Stout addressed, among other things, critical aspects of the CMOH’s Directives respecting access to and use of personal protective equipment (PPE). In this HR HealthCheck, we provide an overview of this significant award (Award), a decision of notable impact to health care providers and health care workers alike, in both the Hospital and Long-Term Care sectors.

Alberta Appellate Court Renders Significant Decision on University Autonomy and Expressive Rights

Universities value their autonomy, and though subject to court supervision, have long been accorded significant leeway in managing their academic and non-academic affairs. The Alberta Court of Appeal recently issued a decision that is controversial in its recognition that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms governs an Alberta university’s control over the use of its space. This decision conflicts with jurisprudence in other jurisdictions and may be challenged, but it does highlight the pressures on university autonomy today, particularly as they pertain to matters involving free expression.

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Decision on Post Age 65 Benefits Raises Important Issues

The recent decision from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (Tribunal) in Talos v. Grand Erie District School Board raises important issues about the provision of benefits to employees aged 65 and older. In Talos, the Tribunal found that section 25 (2.1) of the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code), which effectively permits employers to cease providing employees with benefits at age 65, is unconstitutional. More specifically, the Tribunal held that this age-based “carve out” from Code protection violates the equality guarantee under section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) and cannot be justified under section 1 of the Charter as a reasonable limit.

Privacy Rules Around Non-Disclosure of Administrative Records Declared Unconstitutional

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently held that the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) violates section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter), finding that it goes too far to protect the privacy of parties, witnesses and others in matters heard by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, Ontario Labour Relations Board and other statutory tribunals. Learn more in this FTR Now.

Supreme Court of Canada Recognizes Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Digital Communications

There has been significant discussion of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions in R v Jones and R v Marakah – cases in which the Court recognized a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages that police obtained from others. In Jones, the police obtained messages from a telecom company and in Marakah the police…