Category Archives: Labour law

Great Law Event in Toronto, Canada! LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK: 40 YEARS OF RESISTANCE

LAW UNION

Join us on Saturday, March 16, 2013, for the Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference! 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Law Union, and this year’s conference will bring progressive legal and activist communities together to discuss an exciting and challenging series of issues. To register for a day of inspiring and provocative panels, workshops, and discussion click here: REGISTER

The conference will be held at Victoria College, on the University of Toronto campus. The address is 91 Charles Street, with the building just south of Charles. This facility is wheelchair accessible. Follow this link for a map of the exact location of the conference: http://map.utoronto.ca/building/501

Scroll down for the full schedule of panels and speakers.

CPD hours pending.

FRIDAY, MARCH 15TH: ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT THE TRANZAC

In honour of the Law Union’s 40th anniversary, join other conference-goers on the evening of Friday, March 15th, for a celebration with live music, drinks, reflections, and awards. This event will be held at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, from 7:30 pm onwards. All are welcome!

CONFERENCE PROGRAM: MARCH 16TH
Victoria College

REGISTRATION: 8 AM

PANELS: 9 – 10:30 am

Envisioning the New Law Practice Program
Renatta Austin, Articling Student, City of Toronto
Elena Iosef, Osgoode Hall Legal and Literary Society
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher

Deconstructing the Doctrine of Discovery
Tannis Nielsen, Artist and Educator

Mental Health and Justice: Three Unique Voices
Sarah Shartal
TBA

Working on the Margins: Perspectives on Migrant Work in Canada
Fay Faraday, Osgoode Hall Law School, Faraday Law
Kelly Botengan, Magkaisa Centre, Phillipine Women’s Centre
Evelyn Encalada, Justice for Migrant Workers

MORNING PLENARY: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Panels full of Women: 40 Years Later, Has Anything Changed?
Beth Symes, Symes Street & Millard LLP, Law Society Bencher
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher
Jessica Wolfe, Legal Aid Ontario
Sharon Walker, Dykeman Dewirst O’Brien, LLP

PANELS: 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Resonance: Police Racial Profiling and Intelligence Gathering
Vickie McPhee, Rights Watch Network
TBA

Decolonizing Relationships: Treaties and Beyond
Diane Kelly, Former Ogichidaakwe (Grand Chief), Treaty #3
Crystal Sinclair, B.S.W., Activist and Organizer, Idle No More Toronto
Lorraine Land, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Advocacy out of the Courtroom: Skills without Gowns
Asha James, Falconer Charney LLP
Janina Fogels, Human Rights Legal Support Centre
Diana Zlomistic, Toronto Star

Resisting Neoliberal Reductions in Access to Justice
TBA

PANELS: 3:15 – 4:45 pm

Solidarity City Now: Legal and Community Organizing for Immigrant Justice
Rathika Vasavithasan, Parkdale Community Legal Services
Faria Kamal, Health for All
Sarah Mikhaiel, Sanctuary Network
Liza Draman, Caregivers Action Network

The End of the Employee: A Critical Discussion on the Rise of Contract Work, Internships and Underemployment
Claire Seaborn, Canadian Intern Association
Jenny Ahn, CAW, Director for Membership, Mobilization and Political Action
TBA

Aboriginal Youth and Child Welfare
Rina Okimawinew, Attawapiskat First Nation
Billie-Jean McBride, George Brown College
Judith Rae, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Prison Litigation as Harm Reduction
TBA

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: 5 – 5:30 pm

Delia Opekokew is a lawyer and a deputy Chief Adjudicator for the Independent Assessment Process. From the Canoe Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, she was the first First Nations lawyer ever admitted to the bar association in Ontario and in Saskatchewan, as well as the first woman ever to run for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations.

Childcare will be provided – please email us in advance at lawunionofontario@gmail.com with the number and ages of the children who will be attending.

If you would like to donate to the conference, you may do so through
the Jur-Ed Foundation at Canada Helps

Questions? Email us at lawunionofontario@gmail.com, and include “conference” in the subject heading.

Family Status Discrimination: The Federal Court takes a stand on Childcare Issues for Workers

Canada’s Federal Court has recently issued two decisions finding a lack of consideration towards workers’ childare issues discrimination on the basis of ‘family status’. Both decisions were penned by The Honourable Leonard S. Mandamin.

First, on January 31, 2013, the Federal Court released  Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, 2013 FC 113 (CanLII). Here, Ms. Fiona Johnstone complains of human rights discrimination at work due to family status. Johnstone argued that her employer, the Canadian Border Services Agency, “engaged in a discriminatory employment practice with respect to family status, specifically, in relation to her parental childcare obligations.”  Johnstone had been working rotating shifts and requested full-time, fixed day shifts  to accommodate childcare for her kids. The Employer’s policy prohibited fixed day shifts. Johnstone was therefore ineligible for benefits available to full-time employees.

The Court reasons, at paras 125-128:

[125]      Simply stated, any significant interference with a substantial parental obligation is serious. Parental obligations to the child may be met in a number of different ways. It is when an employment rule or condition interferes with an employee’s ability to meet a substantial parental obligation in any realistic way that the case for prima faciediscrimination based on family status is made out.

[126]      In Amselem the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a person’s freedom of religion is interfered with where the person demonstrates that he or she has a sincere religious belief and a third party interfered, in a manner that is non-trivial or not insubstantial, with that person’s ability to act in accordance with the belief.

[127]      The phrase “a substantial parental duty or obligation”equates with and establishes the same threshold as a sincere religious belief. Amselem.

[128]      In my view, the serious interference test as proposed by the Applicant is not an appropriate test for discrimination on the ground of family status. It creates a higher threshold to establish a prima faciecase on the ground of family status as compared to other grounds. Rather, the question to be asked is whether the employment rule interferes with an employee’s ability to fulfill her substantial parental obligations in any realistic way.

This decision is cited and further bolstered by a second decision on the same topic, released February 1, 2013.  In Canadian National Railway v. Seeley, 2013 FC 117 (CanLII) , the Federal Court dismisses an appeal against finding of discrimination on the basis of family status.  Denise Seeley was employed by CN as a freight train conductor. She was on lay-off and was recalled to report to a temporary work assignment to cover a major shortage in Vancouver, British Columbia. She advised she could not report to Vancouver because of childcare issues, as Vancouver was far away from her home in Jasper, Alberta. CN gave Ms. Seeley additional time, however, she did not report for work; as a result, CN terminated her employment.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal reinstated her employment, amongst other remedies, and CN appealed the decision. An important component of the decision is at para 78 where Mandamin suggests the following test in assessing whether there is discrimination on the basis of family status:

[78]          In trying to distil the principles the above cases represent, I would venture to suggest there are underlying questions one or the other has either raised or  addressed:

a.         does the employee have a substantial obligation to provide childcare for the child or children; in this regard, is the parent the sole or primary care giver, is the obligation substantial and one that goes beyond personal choice;

b.         are there realistic alternatives available for the employee to provide for childcare: has the employee had the opportunity to explore and has explored available options; and is there a workplace arrangement, process, or collective agreement available to the employee that may accommodate an employee’s childcare obligations and workplace obligations;

c.         does the employer conduct, practice or rule put the employee in the difficult  position of choosing between her (or his) childcare duties or the workplace obligations?

The Federal Court dismissed the appeal, ruling that “the Tribunal’s finding that parental childcare obligations comes within the term “family status” in the Act.” Moreover, the finding  “was reasonable in keeping with the Supreme Court of Canada guidance in Dunsmuir,Khosa and Mowat.”

Episode 35 – Rethinking Legal Structures

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise.This month the program is entitled, “Rethinking Legal Structures.”

“C’est pas extrêmement du fun.”

Listen to the Episode Here

Law?

Host Garret Zehr guides us through three main topics, all of which force a reconsideration of the present legal structure in place. In order: 1) the Quebec Student Movement and the legal struggles of CLASSE and other activists in the courts – J-P MacKay speaks with Me Sibel Ataogul; 2) Adelle Blackett offers an evaluation of the legal framework of labour law, especially as it applies to workers from the global south and in relation to domestic workers; and 3) Me Étienne Poitras sur la sujet des mouvements sociales et les droits de manifestants.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive of law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at]ckut.ca or check our podcast library for past programming.

Episode 27 (Nov 2011) – Remembering and Responsibility

LegalEase – CKUT 90.3 Montreal – Episode 27 (Nov 2011) – Remembering and Responsibility

Bread and Roses

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month the program is entitled, “Remembering and Responsibility.” Listen to the Episode Here

On this Remembrance Day, LegalEase remembers the past, honours the past, and asks questions on how to build a society with lasting peace. Host Preeti Dhaliwal dedicates this episode to life of Alexandra Dodger, a fellow law student and one-time contributor to LegalEase.

We bring you original and hard-hitting content this month. First, we return to the ever present Munaca Strike with an Update from Katrina Peddle. Stephanie Lapierre and Kieran Gibbs nous offrir un presentation de la mouvement “Occupy” a Montreal: Ground footage of la place des peuples et une entrevue avec prof Eric Pineau. Third, we present you a feature lecture by lawyer Veena Verma on Seasonal Agricultural Workers in Canada. Finally, Garret Zehr does a piece on drone assassinations and the rule of law.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com

Episode 26: Crimes

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month the program is entitled, “Crimes.” Listen to the Episode Here: http://goo.gl/wVnjX

This month’s show features a diverse set of programming on the topic of crime. New contributor Mark Phillips conducts an interview Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and how it relates to prisoners in the justice system. Garrett Zehr presents a piece on efforts to charge Bush administration officials with war crimes. Host Preeti Dhaliwal revisits some older content on Insite, in light of the new Supreme Court decision which recently came down on the subject. She also offers an update on the MUNACA strike. Finally, Jesse Gutman breaks down the jargon on the Conservative’s Omnibus Crime bill, the Safe Streets and Communities Act.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com

Episode 25 (Sept 2011) – On Strike!

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month the program is entitled, “On Strike!” Listen to it by clicking here.

Munaca on Strike at McGill - Fall 2011

First off, we head to the picket lines. Host Preeti Dhaliwal investigates the Fall 2011 MUNACA strike at McGill University. She canvasses opinions and gets a perspective on the strike based on the context of labour relations in Quebec.

In our second segment, Jesse Gutman presents a piece on Unions in North America. This documentary focuses on narratives of unions presented by labour and big business, especially surrounding labour strife in Wisconsin and Michigan in Spring 2011. Naomi Klein offers an application of her “Shock Doctrine” theory to unions, arguing that the powers-that-be are using the global economic crisis to crack down on organized labour.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com

Episode 19 (Feb 2011) – Executive Actions

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT. We broadcast law broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un group des etudiants et etudiantes en droit de la communaute montrealaise. This month’s program is entitled, “Executive Actions.” Listen by clicking here.

Decent work for domestic workers

First, Mae Nam presents a piece on the upcoming international convention on Domestic Workers. Lindsay Cheong, intern at the International Labour Organization in Geneva, Switzerland sits down with LegalEase for an interview. Note: since this interview, LegalEase has learned the convention was adopted. More information is available if you click on the ILO image to your left.

Second, we feature a lecture by Kent Roach and Evan Fox-Decent recorded at McGill in Winter 2011 entitled, ” How Far Can the Charter Go? Omar Khadr, the Royal Prerogative and the Supreme Court of Canada.” LegalEase breaks down some of the legal jargon from this dense, yet prescient presentation.

Tune in live every second Friday of every month from 11h00-12h00 on CKUT 90.3 FM in Montreal or listen on-line at http://www.ckut.ca. For more programming, check us out at http://legaleaseckut.wordpress.com