Vacations and Vacation Pay in B.C.

Since the summer months are the common time of the year for employees to take vacation time from work, employers and employees often having questions during this time of year regarding the legal rights and obligations of employers and employees in B.C. as it relates to vacation pay and the scheduling of vacation time.

Here is a list of the most important aspects of vacation pay under the B.C. Employment Standards Act (the “Act”) and under common law:

Vacation Time

Section 57 of the Act provides for the amount of vacation time an employee must be given each year. Employees become entitled to vacation time on the anniversary date of their employment. The amount of vacation entitlement is based on the number of continuous years of service.  An employee who has worked at least 12 consecutive months for an employer becomes entitled to 2 weeks’ vacation time per year. After … Continue reading

Social Media and the Workplace

A couple of recent decisions have highlighted the emergence of social media issues in the workplace.

In a precedent setting decision, a labour arbitrator in Ontario has found an employer liable for failing to protect its workers from harassment and discrimination relating to customer posts on the employer’s Twitter account (Toronto Transit Commission and ATU, Local 113, 2016 CarswellOnt 10550).

Most Recent Cases

The case arose out the Toronto Transit Commission’s (the “TTC”) Twitter account which it established several years ago to respond to passengers’ questions and concerns.  The union representing the TTC’s workers filed a grievance demanding that the TTC’s Twitter account be permanently shut down.  While the union complained about breaches of employee privacy and the lack of workplace safety, the crux of the union’s complaint was that the Twitter account created a platform for passengers to harass, demean and belittle TTC drivers, fare collectors … Continue reading

Wilson v. Atomic Energy: Changing the Landscape of Employment Law in the Federal Sector

On July 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Wilson v. Atomic Energy that the “unjust dismissal” provisions contained in Part III of the Canada Labour Code ensure that non-unionized employees of federally regulated employers are protected from termination of their employment without cause and that federally regulated employers cannot avoid this protection by providing an employee with termination notice and/or severance pay in lieu of notice.

Victory for Federally Regulated Employees

This landmark decision confirms that non-unionized employees working in federally-regulated businesses enjoy the similar protection that unionized employees have managed to collectively bargained in collective agreements with their employers.  Wilson also means that, with some exceptions, a federally regulated employer must prove “just cause” to lawfully terminate an employee.

The common law permits an employer to dismiss a non-unionized employee without cause if it provides the employee with proper notice or pay in lieu of … Continue reading

Probationary Period 
Responsibilities: Employer V.S. Employee

Starting a new job is both an exciting and stressful time in a person’s life. Whether you’re taking up a new position within your field, or venturing into a completely new area of work, it’s incredibly important to begin your employment relationship on a solid foundation and to understand your legal rights at the commencement of the employment relationship.

The beginning of the employment relationship is a critical time in which many employers and employees misunderstand their legal rights and obligations.  It is a common myth that an employer’s risks are limited at the beginning of the employment relationship as a result of the applicable provisions in the Employment Standards Act regarding termination of employment.  To the contrary, the common law imposes additional obligations on employers during the probationary period that could be costly for those employers who are not aware of all of the risks associated with terminating … Continue reading

Overview of Employee Rights and Duties in Canada

As an employee, staying informed about your rights and duties is critical.  Whether you are working as a full-time or part-time employee, knowing your legal rights and obligations is critical.  Along with being familiar with your rights, it is equally important to abide by the duties found in legislation and common law.

The B.C. Human Rights Code outlines the fundamental human rights of the people of Canada. Along with being thorough with these codes, it is important to be familiar with specific employee codes, to ward off any discrimination in the workplace.

The B.C. Employment Standards Act sets out the minimum entitlements for all employees in B.C. who are employed by a provincially regulated employer.  The entitlements under the ESA relate to minimum wage requirements, vacation pay, special leave entitlements, overtime pay requirements, amongst many others.

Employee Rights in Canada

  • Workplace Discrimination and Harassment
  • Minimum Wage Standards
  • Special Leave Permits
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