The controversial firing of former CBC radio host and personality Jian Ghomeshi has captured the public’s attention in recent days for many reasons, most of which have nothing to do with the law. In terms of the legal issues arising from the termination of Mr. Ghomeshi’s employment, these will largely be decided in a grievance arbitration between Mr. Ghomeshi’s union and the CBC, in which he will be seeking reinstatement. The most interesting legal issues, however, concern the $55-million civil lawsuit filed by Mr. Ghomeshi’s lawyers on Monday, which is likely to face some significant challenges. (more…)
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Canadian civil plaintiffs can now access wiretaps collected by authorities in the context of criminal investigations. The issue of access arose in the aftermath of the Competition Bureau’s octane investigation. Between 2004 and 2008, the Bureau intercepted and recorded 220,000 private communications among individuals suspected of fixing the price of retail gasoline. Charges, guilty pleas, convictions – and eventually a civil class action – followed. To advance their case, the class action plaintiffs requested disclosure of the Bureau’s wiretaps. The Quebec Superior Court ordered disclosure. The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed an appeal of that order in Friday’s decision Imperial Oil v Jacques, 2014 SCC 66. (more…)
On October 29, 2014, the following three new job-protected leaves of absence will come into effect under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA):
- family caregiver leave: up to eight weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care or support to a family member with a serious medical condition.
- critically ill child care leave: up to 37 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to provide care to a critically ill child.
- crime-related child death or disappearance leave: up to 52 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a missing child and up to 104 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for parents of a child who has died due to a crime.
The B.C. Supreme Court has recently clarified the interpretation of section 8 of the B.C. Water Act. Section 8 relates to the power of the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission (OGC) to grant approvals to oil and gas companies for the short-term use of surface water bodies such as lakes, rivers, streams, and storage dugouts. Many oil and gas companies rely on section 8 approvals in various exploration and development activities. (more…)
By Graeme S. Harrison and Arnold Fridhandler
On October 7, 2014, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced the conclusion of its first investigation and enforcement action under Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) since coming into force on July 1, 2014.
A computer reseller based in Saskatchewan was placed under investigation by the CRTC after large numbers of complaints were made through the Spam Reporting Centre. The CRTC revealed that a server owned by the computer reseller sent millions of e-mail spam messages through Saskatchewan-based internet service provider, Access Communications. (more…)
In the latest installment in a series of recent employment class actions, the Court of Appeal for Ontario has dismissed an appeal by class action plaintiffs in Brown v Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The decision (upholding the lower court’s finding that a proposed misclassification overtime class action was not suitable for class treatment) confirms that for misclassification class actions to be viable in Ontario, class members will be required to demonstrate they have virtually identical roles and responsibilities. (more…)
In Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board v Fair, the Ontario Divisional Court upheld two noteworthy decisions of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. In the Tribunal’s first decision, it found that the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board discriminated against its employee, Sharon Fair, by failing to accommodate her disability-related needs. In its second decision, the Tribunal ordered that Fair be reinstated more than nine years after her employment was terminated and it also awarded her damages of over $400,000 — one of the largest damages awards made by the Tribunal to date.
These decisions serve as a reminder to Ontario employers about the need to canvass all possible alternatives when faced with a request for accommodation, including reinstatement, and to accommodate employees to the point of undue hardship. (more…)
The BC Supreme Court recently clarified several principles under the Environmental Management Act relating to liability for remediation costs for contaminated sites. In JI Properties Inc v PPG Architectural Coatings Canada Inc, 2014 BCSC 1619, the Court ordered a former landowner, who was also the historical polluter, to compensate the current owner for $4.75 million in reclamation costs incurred to remove contaminants caused by the former owner’s industrial activities. The case is significant not only due to the size of the award, but also because it sends a strong signal that the Court will interpret the Act in a manner which gives full effect to the “polluter pays” principle. (more…)