Hindsight is 20/20: Key cases and developments in labour and human rights

Seasoned counsel will review the most important labour and human rights decisions from the past year and explain how they will affect you in the coming year. The panel will also flag significant ongoing litigation. Final selection of topics will take place a few weeks before the webinar in order to ensure up-to-date coverage of the most important developments. Cases to be discussed include the following:

Duty to accommodate and undue hardship
· International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1620 v. Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers’ Association Inc. (Newfoundland and Labrador Court of Appeal); Maharajh v. Atlantic Offshore Medical Services Limited (Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Commission): What do the latest decisions tells us about the extent of an employer’s duty to accommodate medical cannabis use?

· Edmonton (City of) v. Edmonton Police Association (Alberta Court of Appeal): Does the fact that an employee is being reasonably accommodated in one position prevent that employee from applying for and seeking accommodation in other positions? Can an employer refuse to accommodate the employee in the new role by arguing that it had satisfied its duty by providing reasonable accommodation in the existing position?

Independent medical examinations
· St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton v. Ontario Nurses’ Association (Ontario Labour Arbitration); Halton Regional Police Association v. Halton Regional Police Service (Ontario Labour Arbitration): In what circumstances will a grievor be compelled to undergo an independent medical examination at the employer’s request? When will an employer be entitled to obtain a “defence medical” as a matter
of fairness?

Significant remedial awards
· MP v. JS (British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal); Benton v. Richmond Plastics (British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal); NK v. Botuik (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario); HM v. Toronto Police Services Board (Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario): What are some recent examples from human rights tribunals of significant damage awards for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect?

Pay equity
· Ontario v. Association of Ontario Midwives (Ontario Divisional Court): Is intention required in order to support a finding of systemic discrimination? What lessons can workplace parties learn from
this decision?

Charter cases
· Fraser v. Canada (Attorney General) (Supreme Court of Canada): Will a pension plan’s refusal to allow employees who are participating in a job-share program to buy back pension credits so that they can accrue the same pension as full-time employees violate the right to equality under section 15(1) of the Charter? Can a pension plan justify this limitation by arguing that the employees voluntarily participated in the job-sharing program?

· Manitoba Federation of Labour et al. v. The Government of Manitoba (Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench): In what circumstances will a court find that wage restraint legislation interferes with the right to freedom of association under section 2(d) of the Charter?

· Strom v. Saskatchewan Registered Nurses’ Association (Saskatchewan Court of Appeal): What does the recent Saskatchewan Court of Appeal decision on the imposition of discipline for criticism of one’s employer tell us about the limits on a regulated professional’s right to freedom of expression?