Atlantic Employers’ Counsel – Fall 2014

The Editor’s Corner

Clarence Bennett

This issue focuses on the family and the interaction between employment and family obligations.

As 2014 comes to a close, I would like to extend Seasons Greetings to all of our readers and to thank you for your kind comments and e-mails over the past year. I have enjoyed my time as Editor of this publication and am proud to have reviewed more than 150 articles by my Labour and Employment group colleagues during my tenure. However, I am stepping aside to take on a new role in our Labour and Employment Group and, as such, this is my last issue as Editor of the Atlantic Employers’ Counsel.

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Who’s responsible for who? Family matters.
Melissa Everett Withers

All of the provinces and territories in Canada (except New Brunswick), prescribe human rights protections based on “family status” (or “civil status” in Quebec, which has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada to include familial relationships). TheCanadian Human Rights Act (“Act“) also prohibits discrimination based on family status.

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What do I do with the kids? Finding a reliable babysitter – now an employer issue
Michelle McCann

Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on “family status” under the Human Rights legislation in every Canadian jurisdictions, except in New Brunswick. Although the legislation across jurisdictions is fairly similar, until this year there has been widespread debate about if, and when, an employee’s child care obligations can trigger the duty to accommodate.

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What about the old people?
Michelle Black 

The basis of family status extends beyond childcare; there is also the developing issue of eldercare, that is, when members of the workforce need to take time away from work in order to tend to the needs of elderly and infirm parents. The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal was asked to deal with this very issue in Devaney v. ZRV Holdings Limited (2012 HRTO 1590).

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Need a couple of days for family responsibilities?
Patti Wheatley

While New Brunswick does not protect discrimination based on “family status”, each province in Atlantic Canada has legislation that provides for family leave. In general terms, these provisions require employers to grant employees a specified amount of time off to fulfill routine family responsibilities, such as caring for a child during a minor illness. Family leave is distinct from compassionate care leave, which is a more substantial absence granted when an employee’s family member is seriously ill. The legislative schemes in each Atlantic province are similar, but different.

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A fox in the henhouse – growing your business beyond family members
Ruth Trask

There are so many shapes and sizes of family businesses in Atlantic Canada, from husband-and-wife entrepreneurs just starting out, to well established household names. I don’t wish to generalize, but there are some things that many family businesses have in common. The titular fox refer to the general reluctance felt by many small, family business owners about bringing in “non-family” employees.

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Caution – Reform ahead for Newfoundland and Labrador automobile insurance

April 18, 2019

Rodney Zdebiak and Anthony Granville On Monday, April 15, 2019, the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature passed a number of changes to the Automobile Insurance Act (“Act”) stating that the intent is to help stabilize insurance rates,…

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The Ocean Supercluster – Navigating Innovation Together

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs The Canadian government has placed itself in the “global innovation race”. In response to the demands for innovation, the Canadian government has established the Innovation Superclusters Initiative which…

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No Compass Needed – Ocean Supercluster Activities Explained

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs Canada’s Ocean Supercluster is a co-investment initiative between Canada’s federal government and the private sector that is part of the Innovation Superclusters Initiative. As we wrote about in…

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Mapping Out Your Plan for a Technology Leadership Project in the Ocean Supercluster

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs As we discuss in our article, No compass needed – Ocean Supercluster activities explained, there are many ways to participate in the Ocean Supercluster and the Innovation Superclusters…

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Project Eligibility in the Ocean Supercluster – Making Sure Your Proposal Can Set Sail

April 12, 2019

Andrea Shakespeare, Kevin Landry and Matthew Jacobs Technology Leadership Projects are collaborative projects undertaken by the Ocean Supercluster led by industry members in which industry members and the Ocean Supercluster will co-invest to perform research,…

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Employer or employee: who owns social media accounts or contacts?

April 4, 2019

Grant Machum and Richard Jordan Employers carefully safeguard customer or client lists as confidential information. Gone are the days, however, where an employer’s customer list is only found in a Rolodex or in a closed…

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Paper light employment files

March 28, 2019

Grant Machum and Guy-Etienne Richard Maintaining employment files requires physical space and can be costly. Nowadays many employers are moving away from keeping paper files to electronic storage. This brings up two issues: Are employers…

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Nova Scotia announces changes to defined benefit pension funding

March 13, 2019

Level Chan and Dante Manna On March 12, 2019, the Nova Scotia legislature introduced long anticipated amendments to the Pension Benefits Act (“PBA”) which, according to a statement by Finance Minister Karen Casey, are aimed…

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Supreme Court rules bankrupt companies cannot walk away from their environmental liabilities in Redwater decision

March 6, 2019

Julia Parent and Graham Haynes In the long-awaited decision in the case of Orphan Well Association v Grant Thornton Ltd, the Supreme Court of Canada held that end-of-life environmental cleanup obligations imposed by Alberta’s provincial…

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Richards Estate sets the limits on actions against LTD insurers

March 6, 2019

Michelle Chai & Jennifer Taylor Justice Ann Smith of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia recently dismissed an action against a disability insurer for being out of time. The case, Richards Estate v Industrial Alliance…

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