Following the Senate’s historic vote in favor of Bill C-45, the Cannabis Act, the Federal Government announced on June 20, 2018 that recreational marijuana will become legal on October 17, 2018. In anticipation of Bill C-45 becoming law, the provinces have begun preparing a framework for regulating the production, distribution, sale, possession and consumption of cannabis. Ontario’s response is Bill 174. With legalization fast approaching, we outline below key aspects of Bill 174 and steps to help employers prepare for the new reality.

Click here for more specifics on the bill and how employers should prepare.

(Huge thanks to our own Jordan Kirkness and Susan MacMillan for sharing this with us.)

Two recent events in the US vividly illustrate the growing centrality of gender pay equity issues. On one side of the ledger, in early April 2018, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education, held that an employee’s prior salary—either alone or in a combination of factors—cannot be used to justify paying women less than men in comparable jobs. On the other side of the ledger, the US Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, on April 20, 2018, announced that it is upending standards implemented during President Obama’s administration designed to promote gender pay equity among federal contractors. Under this new policy, employers will be able to decide for themselves how their employees should be categorized and analyzed for purposes of fair pay investigations by the government.

These two US events are merely the latest examples of increased activity around the globe with regard to the issue of pay equity.  Click here to read more.

(Many thanks to George Avraam and Susan MacMillan for sharing this insight with us.)

Despite the longstanding nature of equal pay and pay equity legislation in Canada, on average, women still earn less than men. The Ontario Government and the Federal Government recently took steps aimed at improving women’s equality in the workforce and addressing the gender pay gap in these jurisdictions.

Click  here to download the full report, which includes helpful information on how employers can prepare for Ontario’s upcoming Pay Transparency Act.

In our Global Employer Monthly eAlert, we capture recent employment law developments from across the globe to help you keep up with the ever-changing employment law landscape around the globe.

In this month’s issue, we share updates from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Italy, the Netherlands, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Click here to view.

Jordan Kirkness and Susan MacMillan in our Toronto office report that the government of Ontario announced yesterday that it will introduce new legislation to require certain employers to track and publish their compensation information.

The proposed legislation is part of the province’s initiative to advance women’s economic status and create more equitable workplaces (the initiative is titled “Then Now Next: Ontario’s Strategy for Women’s Economic Empowerment”). Yesterday’s announcement comes on the heels of last week’s budget plan in which the Canadian federal government outlined proposed proactive pay equity legislation that would apply to federally regulated employers — see here for our article on the proposed federal legislation.

For more on Ontario’s new pay transparency legislation, see here.

Baker McKenzie partner Susan Eandi introduces Chris Burkett from Toronto to talk about employment laws in Canada and give an overview of what’s changed in 2017 as well as what we can expect in 2018.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Employers must review their workplace health and safety policies to ensure that anti-harassment polices are up to date and that training is in place, particularly around sexual harassment.
  2. Review termination clauses in employment agreements to ensure compliance with ESA and clarity of language and intent.
  3. Implement the minimum wage and equal pay obligations that are now in force.
  4. Be proactive in managing the use of cannabis in the workplace, particularly where accommodation requests come into play.
  5. Prepare for expanding supply chain + ESG transparency and global corporate human rights obligations. If operating globally, ensure you have a policy and due diligence program in place to mitigate adverse human rights impacts and lower risk of exposure to human rights lawsuits and reputational damage.

Download now on iTunes | Android | Stitcher | TuneIn | Google Play.

We asked our Canadian colleague, partner Christopher Burkett, to describe the current labor and employment landscape in Canada and here’s what Chris had to say:

It’s evolving at a fast pace. With a left-leaning Liberal government in power at both the federal and provincial level (Canada and Ontario), legislative priorities have included legalizing marijuana, improved parental and care-giving benefits and strengthening other employee rights. As with many other parts of the world, the ever-increasing compliance landscape and the expectations of the public and employees are reshaping the workplace, and there is an increasing emphasis on internal investigations and legislative protections for workers. In addition, Canada is beginning to look closely at corporate activity abroad in terms of labor/human rights and supply chains. The government recently announced an ombudsperson for responsible business. The government is also considering a Modern Slavery Act. All of this means we are partnering with employers to look around the corner and help our clients be proactive and to fight back where there has been overreach.

We recommend subscribing to the Canadian Labour and Employment Law blog to keep up-to-date on these and other new developments impacting employers with operations in Canada.

Keeping up with the pace of change in employment law around the world is quite a challenge.

In our Global Employer Monthly eAlert, we capture recent key developments in employment law from across the globe.

In this month’s issue, we share updates from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Vietnam, Ukraine, the UK and the US.

Click here to read the latest eAlert!

 

A recent Court of Appeal decision in the UK (Tillman v Egon Zehnder Limited) found that a post-termination non-compete restriction was unreasonably wide (and therefore unenforceable) on the basis that there was no carve out for shareholdings in the typically broad restriction which provided that the employee could not “directly or indirectly engage or be concerned or interested in any business carried on in competition with” the employer.

The Tillman court declined to sever (or “blue pencil”) the offensive wording and enforce the remaining provisions. Instead, the court invalidated the entire agreement.

Lots of non-compete covenants are broadly drafted and include catchall phrases like “concerned or interested in” and often do not include an express carve-out for shareholdings. As such, we suggest a quick review of your non-compete covenants in the UK (and other Commonwealth jurisdictions such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada) to determine if they are at risk of being deemed invalid. Seeking to enforce an invalid restriction could have costly consequences. However, there are steps you can take now, to mitigate the risk of voiding a restriction, even with existing employees.

Reach out to your Baker McKenzie lawyer for more details.