Pets: A Workplace’s Best Friend?

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Research shows that, in addition to happier, healthier employees, pet-friendly employers also witness reduced absenteeism, increased productivity and creativity, a greater willingness to work late, and improved talent attraction and retention. A number of high-profile companies, like fellow B Corps Hootsuite and Etsy, have taken this research to heart and adopted “dog-friendly” policies.

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3 Problems with Union Members Hiring their Own Lawyers

I often receive requests for consultations from unionized workers dissatisfied with their employer, their union or both. Frequently, this dissatisfaction arises out of the worker having a grievance with the company, but he or she feels that they are not receiving proper representation from their union. Before going ahead and hiring a lawyer outside of their union for advocacy, there are 3 challenges that people in this position should know.

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Flex Hours: Making it Work for Your Business

Researchers and pundits alike hail the benefits of flexible work arrangements, which include employee happiness, productivity, and engagement. In certain circumstances, such as where an employee faces health issues or family responsibilities, flexible work hours can also make the difference between retaining and losing a key part of your team.

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Task Force on Cannabis Legalization Releases Final Recommendations

On December 13, 2016, the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation – the nine-member committee mandated by the Federal Government to advise on the design of a new legislative and regulatory framework for legal access to cannabis in Canada- made public its final report on the legalization of recreational cannabis. Review the report in its entirety here.

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Bartering and Bitcoins: The Legality of Alternative Wage Payments

Trading services is as old as commerce itself, but in a modern economy such as Canada it has largely faded away with the rise of currencies, central governments and tax codes. That being said, while cliches of exchanging labour for a bed and a meal may no longer be commonplace, alternative payment models continue to exist. A simple example could include a pizzeria paying a cook with a large pepperoni thin crust in exchange for staying an hour late.

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Can NAFTA Address Your Company’s Labour Shortage?

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Many Canadian companies face ongoing labour shortages in a variety of positions. The frustration of their recruiters and HR professionals is palpable, for despite offering above average wages, group benefits and other perquisites of employment, finding quality personnel to fill vacancies is harder than ever for some professions. Continue reading “Can NAFTA Address Your Company’s Labour Shortage?”

BC to Protect Transgendered People under Human Rights Code

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On July 25, 2016, the British Columbia government passed the first reading of Bill 27, or the Human Rights Code Amendment Act.

If the Bill passes into law (which it is widely expected to do), it will amend the Human Rights Code to add “gender identity or expression” to provisions prohibiting discrimination in :

  • Publications (s.7);
  • Accommodation, service and facility (s.8);
  • Purchase of property (s. 9);
  • Tenancy (s.10);
  • Employment advertisements (s. 11);
  • Employment (s. 13); and
  • Membership in unions or associations (s. 14).

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Independent Contractor Assessment Form

While there are often many benefits to companies engaging contractors instead of hiring employees, businesses must also be careful not to characterize an employment relationship as something it is not. The following are common indicators of a “true” contractor relationship, and in ideal circumstances, most or all of these items will be present. Not all of these items are necessarily required in order to establish a contractor relationship, nor does this list represent an exhaustive summary of all possible factors suggestive of a contractor arrangement.

This list is designed to be used by organizations to assess the health of their contractor relationships. If an organization is checking more often than not in the ‘no’ column, it may be advisable to speak with an employment lawyer and consider ways to strengthen their contractor’s status.

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Non-Union Federal Employees Score Historic Win in Supreme Court Case

In what will no doubt be one of the most impactful employment law cases of the year, the Supreme Court of Canada in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada, 2016 SCC 29 has found that federally regulated employers cannot, absent economic reasons, terminate a non-unionized employee without just cause. The decision appears to have settled a debate that has been ongoing for nearly 40 years as to whether the “unjust dismissal” provisions of the Canada Labour Code preclude an employer from terminating an employee, even if common law severance is provided. Continue reading “Non-Union Federal Employees Score Historic Win in Supreme Court Case”

Making a Manager

I have defended many companies before the Employment Standards Branch (“ESB”), and without fail, one of the most frustrating (and potentially costly) complaints for business owners is when a manager makes a claim for overtime wages.

One of the primary reasons for this frustration is because there is often a disconnect between an employer’s idea of a manager and the definition of manager under the Employment Standards Act. As many employers have learned the hard way, just because someone is referred to as “kitchen manager” or “operations manager” does not necessarily mean that they will satisfy the ESB’s analysis.

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There’s more to it than just a title…

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