British Columbia: Eligible Workers Entitled to Five Days of Paid Sick Leave Beginning January 1, 2022

New Legislation Enacted

British Columbia announced that beginning January 1, 2022, workers covered by the province’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), including part-time, temporary or casual workers, will be eligible to take up to five days of paid leave per year for any personal illness or injury (Paid Sick Leave), provided they have worked with their employer for at least 90 days. Employers must pay their employees their regular wages for these days, which do not have to be taken consecutively.

Ontario: Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 Receives Royal Assent

New Legislation Enacted

On December 2, 2021, Ontario’s Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021 (Act) received Royal Assent and came into force on that day. Among other things, Bill 27 requires specified employers to implement a Disconnecting-from-Work Policy, prohibits certain noncompete agreements, establishes a licensing regime for temporary help agencies and recruiters, and implements certain employment protections for foreign nationals.

Ontario: Court of Appeal Decides Employer Was Justified in Terminating Employee for Cause for Sexual Harassment

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

In a recent decision, the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that if a properly conducted investigation concludes that an employee has engaged in sexual harassment in the workplace, the employer is entitled to take firm action, which may range in severity and, at its most forceful, include termination of employment for cause.

Supreme Court of Canada Finds Exclusive Arbitral Jurisdiction in Manitoba Human Rights Disputes

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently decided that labor arbitrators have exclusive jurisdiction under labor relations legislation over disputes that arise, in their essential character, from the interpretation, application, or alleged violation of the collective agreement. This presumption of exclusivity will only be rebutted where a competing statutory scheme demonstrates the legislature’s express intention to displace arbitrators’ exclusive jurisdiction by carving into it (e.g., by granting exclusive or concurrent jurisdiction over disputes of a specific nature to a competing tribunal). The SCC also held that because Manitoba’s Human Rights Code does not expressly displace the exclusive jurisdiction of the labor arbitrator under the Manitoba Labour Relations Act over such disputes, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission has no jurisdiction over them.

Ontario: Arbitrator Upholds Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

In a recent case, an arbitrator in Ontario dismissed a union’s policy grievance and upheld a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy on the grounds that it was reasonable and did not breach the collective agreement.