November 4, 2014

Alberta is embarking on a public consultation to solicit comments regarding proposed changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Code. You can go through the survey to see the proposed changes and provide your input. Deadline is January 31, 2015. For more information:

Last year, in Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. UFCW local 401 the SCC declared Alberta’s Personal Information and Privacy Act (“PIPA”) to be invalid, but suspended that declaration for 12 months so the law could be amended. With the November 15, 2014 deadline for making those amendments quickly approaching, Alberta has been granted a six month extension:

In Clarke v Syncrude Canada Ltd, 2014 ABCA 362, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld a lower court decision ruling that the employer had just cause to dismiss the employee for one night of “misbehaviour” at a dinner meeting:

[4] At an annual dinner meeting with high-level representatives of Syncrude’s pension fund administrator Clarke misbehaved. He slapped or grabbed one woman’s buttocks during cocktails. At dinner, he placed his hand on the knee of another under the dinner table. Following dinner, Clarke pulled a third woman onto his lap. And in the lounge afterwards, Clarke made inappropriate comments to the women in attendance. Still later, during a taxi ride back to his hotel, Clarke put his hand on the thigh and under the skirt of one of the women. She tried to push him away told him to stop. Another woman sitting next to Clarke told him to leave the woman alone.

[5] Apart from this series of events there had been no sexual harassment complaints against Clarke. His record of employment disclosed a reasonably satisfactory work record.

The case also touches briefly on sufficiency of reasons in the trial decision and whether termination satisfied the proportionality requirement described by the SCC in McKinley v. BC Tel.

In Ontario, the Divisional Court sided with the Globe and Mail in the Jan Wong case. Wong had earlier settled and signed a confidentiality clause as part of a resolution to her dispute with the Globe and Mail. She later wrote a book and alluded to terms of her settlement in those pages. The Globe and Mail applied to an arbitrator to have Ms. Wong pay back the settlement funds and was successful. On appeal, the Divisional Court upheld the arbitrator’s decision. The decision was November 4, 2014, but I’ve yet to find a copy online. More information is here:

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