Ontario leaning on natural gas to keep electricity reliable and affordable

by James Snell

There is no ‘like-for-like’ replacement. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is recommending the province step-up natural gas use to help avoid an energy shortage.  Ontario will require an additional 4,000 MW of electricity between 2025 and 2027 – the equivalent of adding a city the size of Toronto to […]

Recession for who? Not government employees

by Franco Terrazzano

Bureaucrats didn’t financially suffer during the pandemic. They benefited. Now they want more. And if taxpayers don’t pony up, bureaucrats won’t show up for work.     Different people experience things differently. The pandemic exposed a specific divide. Private-sector workers missed paycheques. Small business owners worried their savings wouldn’t keep the lights on. Meanwhile, federal bureaucrats […]

To grieve or not to grieve?

by Sheryl Johnson

 In choosing arbitration over an OHRT hearing, an employer must consider speed and expense. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   The standard process in Ontario for well over a decade is for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) to defer human rights applications pending the completion of a labour arbitration for unionized employees. If the substance […]

More imbalanced labour laws are bad news for Canada

by Catherine Swift

The whole notion of collective bargaining is predicated on there being a reasonable balance between the union and the employer. Prohibiting the employer from bringing in other workers to carry on operating severely upsets this balance, leaving far too much power in union hands. Photo credit: CityNews   The federal Liberals just announced they are […]

Holiday parties: making your lists and checking them twice

by Sheryl Johnson

Are you an employer looking to throw a company party this holiday season? Read on. Photo credit: Pexels/Kampus Production   With the opening up of COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, many workplaces are looking forward to celebrating together the upcoming holiday season and the ability to socially gather like it was 1999. Putting aside caution […]

Employers beware: how a termination is conducted just as important as why

by Sheryl Johnson

Breaching the ESA’s post-termination payment schedule can now lead to moral and punitive damage awards in wrongful dismissal cases, as the recent Pohl v. Hudson’s Bay Company case described below demonstrates.     There are specific rules for the payment of termination and/or severance pay under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 and its regulations (collectively […]

Trudeau’s luxury tax will harm blue-collar workers

by Franco Terrazzano

With its preoccupation with going after the rich, Ottawa is forgetting about the Canadian workers who will get caught in the crossfire.   Hundreds of people who pull wrenches for a living have a unique point of view on Ottawa’s new luxury tax. Most of us might not be too bothered by a tax on […]

The kids aren’t alright

by Catherine Swift

A recent study showed that Canada’s under-30 crowd is generally pessimistic about the future, especially in regard to employment, income, and the possibility of home ownership. Photo credit: Pexels/Liza Summer   Some very interesting research was published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) recently regarding the state of mind of young Canadians and their expectations regarding […]

Volunteer or employee? Employers beware of volunteer misclassifications

by Sheryl Johnson

The Ontario Superior Court recently ordered Toronto-based student travel firm S-Trip to pay a group of former staff $450,000 after misclassifying the workers as ‘volunteers’, when in reality they should have been categorized and compensated as ‘employees’. Photo credit: Twitter/S-Trip   Are you part of an organization that relies on volunteers? Many not-for-profit corporations such […]

The state of the unions

by Catherine Swift

At right around 31 per cent, Canada has one of the world’s highest unionization rates. However, not all Canadian sectors are created equal, with a stark contrast in rates between the private versus public sectors. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Bernard Weil   In honour of Labour Day, it’s worth having a look at what Canadian labour […]

‘Quiet quitting’ – it’s a thing

by Catherine Swift

Though hardly a new concept, the pandemic has revitalized and made more acceptable the notion of putting in the bare minimum while on the clock.     There has been quite a bit of discussion in the media and workplaces of late about a supposedly new trend that is being called “quiet quitting”. This refers to […]

Small business pandemic carnage

by Catherine Swift

The true extent of the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic and its associated government policies on Canada’s mom-and-pop shops will take years to be fully realized and revealed. However, for preliminary illustration, a recent survey found that 17 per cent of small businesses across the country were preparing to close permanently because of inordinately […]

Employers must not solely rely on the self-interested decision making of their insurance companies when making very important employment decisions. One such decision is when the employment contract is “frustrated”.    After a five-week trial in the Ontario Superior Court case of Baker v. Blue Cross, on Jun. 24, 2022 a Toronto jury granted the […]

Will the detonator be set?

by Sheryl Johnson

 If and when the deemed IDEL ends it will be a game changer for employers, employees, and the courts in Ontario, as the detonator will be set for both parties to assess the viability of their ongoing employment relationship. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   As you may recall from my earlier articles, there is paid […]

Five reasons President Biden should ask Canada, not Saudi Arabia, for more oil

by Deborah Jaremko

 The U.S. and Canada should work together to build new oil pipelines to strengthen North American energy security. Photo credit: Reuters via BBC   There’s an important message for U.S. President Joe Biden as he heads to Saudi Arabia this week to ask for OPEC to increase oil production: he should be asking Canada instead.   […]

A sign of the times?

by Sheryl Johnson

Two recent divergent decisions regarding Alectra Utilities’ and FCA Canada’s ability to uphold mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace underscore the need for organizations in Ontario to re-examine and, if necessary, update their respective policies. Photo credit: Twitter/Alectra Utilities    Labour arbitrators remain the frontline decision-makers regarding workplaces and how they balance the needs of […]

Brace yourself for more inflation

by Catherine Swift

As a new round of union negotiations gets underway, expect any resultant public sector pay raises to increase everyday costs for the 80 per cent of Canadians who do not work for the government. Pictured: Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members rally for “fair wages” in Ottawa, June 8, 2022. Photo credit: Facebook/PSAC   […]

High and hidden taxes driving up the pump price

by Franco Terrazzano

Photo credit: Pexels/Engin Akyurt   As far as Canadian politicians are concerned, the soaring cost of living is like winter slush, summer mosquitos and other unfortunate forces of nature. They would love to help, but what can they do? Here’s an idea: our politicians just need to follow the lead of other countries and cut […]

To be or not to be a case of constructive dismissal: that remains the question

by Sheryl Johnson

A recent Court of Appeal case involving a laid off Tim Hortons assistant manager failed to shed new light on whether pandemic-related layoffs or IDEL constitute constructive dismissal at common law.    In Ontario employers and their counsel have been waiting for a decision from the Courts to provide guidance and some certainty on whether […]

Establishing a framework for similar scenarios in the future, the Ontario Superior Court recently dismissed a judicial review application challenging the implementation of McMaster University’s mandatory vaccination policy. Photo credit: McMaster University    Recently in Michalski v. McMaster University the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a challenge to the Hamilton university’s mandatory vaccination policy by […]

Turning the other cheek

by Sheryl Johnson

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal workplace misconduct case involving a tap/slap on the buttocks of a female employee by a male manager yields interesting result, sets new precedent.    Render v. ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Limited (2022 ONCA 310) is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal (“OCA”) that has set a new and surprising precedent. […]

Important legislative updates for employers

by Sheryl Johnson

 The recent passing of the Working for Workers Act, 2022 and Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2022 means certain Ontario employers will have to add and implement various changes in the coming months. Photo credit: Pexels/Cottonbro   Working for Workers Act, 2022 First and further to my previous article last month, on April 7, 2022 […]

On Mar. 22, 2022, an Ontario arbitrator upheld the Toronto District School Board’s mandatory vaccination policy, maintaining it did not infringe section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and CUPE, Local 4400 case is the first arbitration award in Ontario […]

The Now Hiring Hamilton project commenced research in June 2021 as a collaboration between the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, Mohawk College, Workforce Planning Hamilton, and the city’s economic development department. Photo credit: Tourism Hamilton   Canada is facing a significant labour shortage across several sectors.  Per data collected by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business […]

One change involves disclosure requirements around electronic monitoring of employees. Photo credit: Pexels/Thirdman As I have previously noted, the pandemic has had a significant impact on how and where we work.   Prior to the pandemic remote work was the exception, not the rule.   Following employers and employees needing to pivot to remote work during the […]

Inflation hits 31-year high, as gas and grocery prices continue rapid ascent

by Nicholas Tibollo

February marked the second month in a row in which headline inflation topped 5 per cent. Gas was up 32.3 per cent year over year, while groceries were up 7.4 per cent. Photo credit: Pexels/Artem Beliaikin   On Wednesday, Statistics Canada confirmed what many struggling Canadians already knew: everyday life is getting more and more […]

Amongst several other changes, Bill 88 would guarantee “gig workers” – such as Uber drivers and DoorDash delivery people – a minimum wage, tip protection, and dispute resolution rights. Photo credit: Pexels/Norma Mortensen On the heels of the passage of the Working for Workers Act, 2021, Ontario introduced Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022 on February 28, 2022, […]

Canadians experience ‘historic year’ of financial losses due to fraud

by Nicholas Tibollo

Based on reports to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, $379 million was lost to scams and fraud in 2021. Photo credit: Poike/iStock   For nearly two decades now, relevant industry partners, government agencies, and law enforcement in Canada have observed March as ‘Fraud Prevention Month’. This year’s campaign to help individuals and businesses recognize and avoid fraud in all […]

Photo credit: Radio-Canada/Ivanoh Demers   Though the Ontario government ended patron volume restrictions for all remaining indoor public settings on Monday, some establishments will continue to operate at reduced capacity for the foreseeable future.  For many businesses, however, the choice to continue limiting operations is not necessarily out of an abundance of caution. Rather, it’s […]

Ford’s removal of licence fees earns praise from taxpayer advocacy group

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Global News    On Tuesday, the provincial government announced that effective Mar. 13, 2022, Ontario would be eliminating licence plate renewal fees and the requirement to have a licence plate sticker for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles, and mopeds.  Premier Doug Ford said elimination of the fees “is a concrete way we can […]

What employers can expect when most of Ontario’s restrictions are lifted next week

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Government of Ontario What has changed? On Valentine’s Day 2022 many retailers, restauranteurs, and employers in the hospitality and tourism sectors hearts fluttered when the government of Ontario shared the decision to lift the following two public health measures if public health and health system indicators continue to improve effective March 1, 2022: […]

The changing business of the Olympics

by Karin Schnarr

Declining viewership – and tricky politics – means less value for sponsors. Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins   So full disclosure: I haven’t actually watched a single minute of coverage of the current 2022 Olympic winter games that are currently taking place right now in Beijing, China – half a world away for most of […]

Industry leaders join forces to help make nuclear fusion a reality in Ontario

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: General Fusion/Bruce Power   Last week, Bruce Power, General Fusion, and the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) announced that the trio have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on accelerating the delivery of fusion power in Canada.  Together, the organizations will evaluate potential deployment of a fusion power plant in Ontario, […]

When it comes to non-competes, in with the new does not mean out with the old

by Sheryl Johnson

Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. Minister McNaughton introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2021 at the end of last year. The act, amongst other legislative changes, banned the use of non-compete agreements. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   With the passing of Ontario’s Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“WWA”) on Dec. […]

One year later, Keystone XL cancellation represents a massive missed opportunity

by Deborah Jaremko

The U.S. needs reliable energy partners. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Alex Panetta   It’s been one year since President Joe Biden cancelled approval for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and the United States’ thirst for oil is as strong as ever and rising.  U.S. oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Russia have increased, and gasoline prices are higher than they have been […]

Pandemic pay hikes show a tale of two Ontarios

by Jay Goldberg

Bureaucrats are getting raises, while average Ontarians are undergoing endless pay cuts and closures. Photo credit: Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee   Ontario has been experiencing a tale of two pandemics. One is a fairy tale for bureaucrats and the other is a grim story for the rest of us. Bureaucrats working for the province and its […]

Practically speaking: COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policies

by Sheryl Johnson

Port of Hamilton, where vegetable oil refiner Bunge manufactures and ships its product. An arbitrator recently upheld the company’s workplace vaccination policy that does not allow alternatives to inoculation, such as frequent testing. Photo credit: HOPA Ports   As we get reset to re-open under the Ontario government’s three-phased reopening plan commencing Jan. 31, 2022, […]

 Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark met with municipal leaders from across Ontario on Wednesday to address the housing crisis and discuss ways in which the province can increase supply.     Housing supply in Canada is at an all-time low. Per the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), prospective buyers across the country are facing […]

Caution: employers need to avoid COVID-19 fatigue too

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Calm for Business   Given that we are in the fourth wave of the pandemic, greater expectations will be placed on employers to get their responses to the pandemic right.   Meaning, employers are expected to be more than well familiar with and used to the occupational health and safety, and as applicable, public […]

At Toyota, be prepared to pay to start your car

by Karin Schnarr

Photo credit: Bloomberg/George Frey   There has been a lot of attention in the press about the current and future increases to consumer prices across the globe. A recent survey by Ipsos of 20,000 people in 30 countries found that two-thirds of respondents were feeling the pressure of rising inflation and almost half also noted […]

Ontario readies for first new nuclear build in nearly three decades

by Nicholas Tibollo

Artist rendering of the planned Darlington small modular nuclear reactor. Construction on the project could begin later this year and be completed by as early as 2028. Photo credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy   If you’re an Ontario resident, there is a two in three chance that the electricity used to charge the phone or […]

One of the measures includes the closure of schools. Photo credit: CTV News Toronto   So far in 2022 there are a number of COVID-19 response measures employers, businesses, and organizations alike in Ontario need to be aware of as we move forward.   Current Phase of Our Roadmap to Reopening Effective Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 […]

Business community rips into Ford government for latest round of restrictions

by Nicholas Tibollo

Ontario residents are no longer permitted to dine inside restaurants. Photo credit: Getty Images/CourtneyK   On Monday, the provincial government announced a return to a modified ‘Step Two’ of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening.  The shift includes limiting retail capacity to 50 per cent, closing gyms, banning indoor dining at restaurants, and shutting down a variety […]

Report by taxpayers’ advocacy group reviews tax changes for 2022

by The Hamilton Independent

Photo credit: Pexels/Mikhail Nilov   The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released its annual New Year’s Tax Changes report on Monday. The report highlights the major tax changes set to come into force in 2022. “If you’re making more than $40,000, you’ll see your federal income tax bill go up thanks to rising payroll taxes,” said Franco Terrazzano, […]

Major discussions and developments in Ontario employment law in 2021: year in review

by Sheryl Johnson

The institution of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace was perhaps the most talked about development in Ontario employment law this year. Photo credit: Canadian Lawyer Magazine   The first three areas of employment law examined below have been much discussed throughout 2021; the last two areas involve new developments – the first on a […]

The mythical construction industry ‘open period’

by Sheryl Johnson

Just longer than the cycle for a lunar eclipse, the construction industry’s “open period” occurs under the Ontario Labour Relations Act (the “Act”) every three years for two months. Given that the majority of collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) in the construction industry expire on April 30, 2022, the upcoming “open period” will be from March […]

Don’t be deceived about the extreme elements of Canada’s ‘Just Transition’

by Lennie Kaplan and Ven Venkatachalam

Oil and gas supports jobs and economic growth across many industries and in all provinces and territories. Photo credit: Imperial Oil   There has been lots of talk about Canada’s so-called “Just Transition,” but so far little comprehensive analysis of its impact on the national economy and workforce. One of the most controversial elements of […]

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