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Employment & Labour Law

Employment & Labour Law Quebec Spotlight

Quebec government expected to impose labour agreement on its lawyers and notaries

The Quebec government is expected to impose a labour agreement on government lawyers and notaries that will give them the lowest salary hike of all Quebec public civil servants after months of negotiations with a mediator failed to find common ground.

Without a collective agreement since March 2015, Quebec ‘s 1,100 government lawyers and notaries held the longest Canadian strike by public civil servants, from October 2016 to March 1, 2017, before it was forced to back to work after the government passed an unusual back-to-work decree.…

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Employment & Labour Law Quebec

Quebec administrative justice paralysed by strike

The longest Canadian strike by public civil servants came to an abrupt end after the Quebec government passed a special law that compelled striking government lawyers and notaries back-to-work following a labour conflict that paralyzed the province’s administrative justice system and incapacitated the government’s efforts to pass legislation and enact regulations.

The unusual back-to-work decree calls for the provincial government and Les avocats et notaires de l’État québécois (LANEQ) to return to the negotiating table to bargain “in good faith” with the help of a mediator whose recommendations are non-binding. If an agreement is not reached within 105 days following the passage of Bill 127, the provincial government will impose a labour agreement that calls for a 5.25 per cent salary increase over five years compared to the 9.15 per cent increase Quebec’s 450,000 public sector workers received.…

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Employment & Labour Law Quebec Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Montreal blue collar union fined $100,000 for contempt of court

Montreal’s blue collar union and its controversial president and executives were sentenced to pay $103,000, the maximum fine allowable, for contempt of court after organizing an illegal one-day strike in spite of an injunction issued by a labour tribunal the previous day.

The stern ruling, one of only a handful over the past decade that have found Quebec unions guilty of contempt of court, is intended to send a harsh warning to the labour movement that the courts will not tolerate willful blindness, according to labour lawyers.…

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Employment & Labour Law Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

Quebec government discriminated against jurists on maternity leave, rules appeal court

Quebec government lawyers and notaries, forced back to work after Canada's longest public sector strike, won a legal battle against the provincial government after the Quebec Court of Appeal held that the government discriminated against jurists on maternity leave.

In a nuanced decision that will provide comfort to both employers and labour organizations, the appeal court found that it is not discriminatory if employers under certain circumstances “distinguish” for purposes of compensation between employees who provide services to employers and those who do not such as those in maternity or sick leave.

But the appeal court added that it is discriminatory if employers provide different compensation to different groups of employees who do not provide services to employers, if the distinction was based on prohibited grounds.…

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Employment & Labour Law Quebec Quebec Human Rights Tribunal Rulings

Quebec Human Rights Tribunal awards damages to employee fired because of her health condition

A retirement home has been ordered by the Quebec Human Rights Tribunal to pay more than $11,000 in material, moral and punitive damages to an employee who was fired because of her health condition.

The “important” decision reaffirms the wide reach of article 18.1 of the Quebec Charter of human rights and freedoms, which circumscribes information-gathering at the pre-hiring stage, highlights the importance for employers to have thorough pre-employment medical questionnaires that do not breach the Charter, and underscores the need for employers to take immediate action when employees demonstrate bad faith, according to employment and human rights lawyers.…

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Employment & Labour Law Legal business Quebec

No end in sight of strike by Quebec government lawyers and notaries

general strike by Quebec government lawyers and notaries shows no signs of abating as the provincial government is remaining firm while the bargaining agent has received the approval of the overwhelming majority of its members to shore up its war chest.

Without a contract for more than a year, the 1,100 members of the Les avocats et notaires de l'État québécois (LANEQ) have been on strike since late October to push for a change in the negotiation process from the current mediation process. LANEQ is calling for binding arbitration, buoyed by a compensation committee, with a chair chosen and appointed by both parties. The mandate of the compensation committee would include assessing reasonable compensation while taking into the account the provincial government’s capacity to pay. In exchange, the association is willing to give up its right to strike.…

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Canada Employment & Labour Law Rulings Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court divided over standard of review for arbitrators

A teacher’s union can call witnesses from an in camera school board meeting to testify about a dismissal ruled the Supreme Court of Canada divided by the kind of judicial standard of review that should apply to an arbitrator’s decision.

The ruling opens the door for employees to examine members of a decision-making authority over motives leading to a disciplinary sanction, reaffirms that deference must be shown to arbitrators in order to “preserve the expeditious, effective and specialized dispute settlement method represented by grievance arbitration,” and by the slimmest of margins held that the standard of review applicable to arbitrator’s decisions is not correctness but reasonableness.…

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Business Court of Quebec Employment & Labour Law Legal business Legal Practice Management Quebec Quebec Court of Appeal Rulings

Appeal court provides guidance on workplace investigations

A controversial lower-court ruling that ordered a Montreal lawyer to pay moral damages to a college teacher for pain and suffering after an investigation she had headed into psychological harassment complaints breached the duty of procedural fairness was overturned by the Quebec Court of Appeal in a precedent-setting ruling that provides guidance on workplace investigations.

In a closely-watched ruling by the business and legal community, the Quebec Court of Appeal held that workplace investigations are “intrinsically linked to an employer’s exercise of power in matters of management and discipline,” and therefore do not have to abide by the same procedural fairness standards applied in administrative law.…

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Business Civil Code of Quebec Employment & Labour Law Quebec Quebec Superior Court Rulings

Employers have duties towards employees working abroad

An electrician who launched a $190,000 suit against the scandal-plagued engineering firm SNC-Lavalin for failing to “rapidly and efficiently” evacuate him from Libya while the African nation was in the midst of a civil war lost his court battle after Quebec Superior Court held that the “troubles and inconvenience” he suffered were due to the “insurrection” in the country.

In a ruling that sheds light on the responsibilities employers have towards employees who work abroad, Justice Louis Lacoursière held that while article 51 of the Quebec Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (Act) does not apply beyond the borders of Quebec, employers are nevertheless bound under article 2087 of the Civil Code of Québec to take “any measures” to protect the health, safety, and dignity of employees even if they work out of the country.…

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