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Legal Guide

In Canada, labour and employment relations are, for the most part, governed by the laws of the province in which an employee works. The term “labour relations” is used to refer to the union context, while “employment relations” is a general term covering employment laws and practices which are not specific to trade unions. Federal jurisdiction in the labour and employment field is limited to federal works or undertakings, including interprovincial transportation, telecommunications, broadcasting and banking. All other businesses are provincially regulated. A manufacturing operation, for example, with plants in different provinces may, therefore, find itself subject to the laws of several jurisdictions.

Notwithstanding the different jurisdictions, as a general rule, all Canadian jurisdictions are consistent in overall direction. However, the specifics of legislation and the administering agencies vary greatly from province to province.

In some jurisdictions, directors and officers of a corporation may be held personally liable for a variety of matters relating to labour and employment law. For example, in Ontario, directors of a corporation may be jointly and severally liable to the employees of the corporation for up to six months’ unpaid wages and 12 months’ vacation pay. Directors may also be exposed to liability under occupational health and safety legislation for failure of a corporation to comply with safety regulations. In Quebec, they can be jointly liable for up to six months unpaid wages (including vacation pay).

Additional posts from the blog



Environment Canada issues Hydrofluorocarbon reporting requirement

by Nalin Sahni

On April 7, 2014, the Minister of the Environment issued a Notice with respect to hydrofluorocarbons (the “Notice”), pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. The Notice imposes reporting requirements on those who imported, exported, or manufactured certain hydrofluorocarbons (“HFCs”) from 2008 and 2012. A non-exhaustive list of HFCs subject to these reporting requirements can be found in Schedule 1 of the Notice.



“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

by Andy Pushalik

In an interesting decision, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has ruled that an employer is not liable for discriminatory and harassing texts sent by a rogue employee to another of its workers.



Canada’s Digital Privacy Rethink: Fines, Enforceable Compliance Agreements and More!

by Timothy Banks

On April 8, 2014, Canada’s government introduced Bill S-4, the Digital Privacy Act, in the Senate. Bill S-4 is the federal government’s latest attempt to reform the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”). It would be a mistake to say that it is largely recycled from the government’s last attempt to reform PIPEDA in 2011 through Bill C-12, which died on the order paper. Here’s what’s different, what’s been dropped, and what seems to be largely the same. Caveat: This is a first read!

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