January 26, 2017

Seasoned counsel will review the year’s most important cases and explain how they will affect you in the coming year. Our experts will also flag significant litigation on the horizon. Final selection of topics will take place a few weeks before the audio conference, ensuring coverage of late-breaking decisions. Specific cases to be discussed include:

Major Cases Decided Recently

Human rights

  • University of British Columbia v. CK (British Columbia Court of Appeal); Strudwick v. Applied Consumer & Clinical Evaluations Inc. (Ontario Court of Appeal): Do these cases, which awarded substantial damages, reflect a growing trend where employees suffer discrimination or harassment? Are the cases consistent with recent awards in other cases, including arbitral, tribunal and court decisions? What lessons can be learned from the awards in these cases?
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board v. Fair (Ontario Court of Appeal): Does this decision, upholding a tribunal order to reinstate an employee nine years after termination, signal a new trend towards reinstatement at human rights tribunals?
  • Providence Health Care v. Dunkley (B.C. Supreme Court): What type of evidence will an employer need to call to establish that the financial cost of accommodation will amount to undue hardship? How cautious are courts and tribunals when assessing justifications based on the cost of accommodation?
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 1620 v. Lower Churchill Transmission Construction Employers’ Association Inc. and Valard Construction LP (Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court): In what circumstances are employees required to disclose their off-duty use of medical marijuana? What are the consequences of failing to do so?


  • Commission scolaire de Laval v. Syndicat de l’enseignement de la région de Laval (Supreme Court of Canada): What is the significance of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding an arbitral ruling that an employer’s closed-door deliberations over a teacher’s dismissal had to be disclosed?

Violence and harassment

  • Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Toronto Transit Commission (Ontario Grievance Arbitration): What obligations are imposed on employers to protect employees from harassment on social media?
  • Maritime Employers Association v. Longshoremen’s Union, CUPE, Local 375 (Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal Canada): Do employees in federally-regulated industries have an effective veto over the appointment of a workplace violence investigator? Does this decision have any impact on the rights of employees in provincially-regulated workplaces?

Freedom of association

  • British Columbia Teachers’ Federation v. British Columbia (Supreme Court of Canada); Gordon v. Canada (Ontario Court of Appeal); CUPW v. Canada (Ontario Superior Court); OPSEU v. Ontario (Ontario Superior Court); Federal Government Dockyard Trades and Labour Council v. Canada (British Columbia Court of Appeal): Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in BCTF, which requires good faith consultation when a government interferes with collective bargaining, can governments meet the s.2(d) test by consulting with a union prior to passing what may otherwise be unconstitutional legislation? Are the Ontario court decisions in OPSEU v. Ontario, CUPW v. Canada, and Gordon v. Canada consistent with the Supreme Court’s judgment in the BCTF case? Which, if any, aspects of the courts’ analyses in these cases are problematic in light of the BCTF ruling?

Federal labour law

  • Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (Supreme Court of Canada): What is the significance of the Supreme Court’s ruling that non-unionized employees in federally-regulated industries cannot be dismissed without cause?

Key Cases Pending before the Supreme Court

Substance dependency/disability discrimination

  • Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corporation (Alberta Court of Appeal): What is the proper approach to disability-related misconduct?

Interplay between human rights and workers’ compensation legislation

  • Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail v. Caron (Quebec Court of Appeal): Are workers’ compensation boards required to consider whether an employer has met its duty to accommodate under human rights legislation?