Today in Canada, the common law of employment is found in the jurisdiction of the provincial and federal government levels. There before, the employees in Canada had to face several challenges under their employers coupled with the labor laws drafted by Canadian judges. This has however changed today and the laws drafted have enabled even non-unionized employees to enjoy some privileges they could not enjoy in past decades. There has been a constant change in labor and employment law in this country with specific emphasis to certain employers.
This has gone to the extent of becoming a challenge to some employers doing business in Canada. This is compounded by one fact that in different provinces, these employers may encounter varied employment laws. The main objective of this research paper is to show that the common employment law in Canada has changed and the employees have privileges since the modern Canadian judges have drafted laws that are even more protective of the employee concerns. Introduction Canadian employment law refers to that law governing relationship between an employer and an employee.
It refers to the law that relates to the unionized collective bargaining relationships. This is a law that constitutes judge-made or the common law. It is the law relating to the master and his servant on wrongful dismissal and other statute law on human rights, worker’s compensation and occupational health and safety. Even though there are certain exceptions, unionized employees in Canada are protected by statutory parts of the Canadian employment law even though their main concern is on minimum standards as their collective bargaining agreements deal with higher levels in benefits and wages (Christie, 2010).
They are however concerned with certain statutes such as occupational health and safety, human rights, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance laws and pension. In terms of wrongful dismissal, this is a law that is an inherited from mainland England with the exception of Quebec province even though courts in this country rarely depend on English case laws. In general, a Canadian employee today cannot be dismissed with no cause unless a notice had been issued to him/her. Judges have drafted laws that ultimately look at the concerns of the employees and thus this contradicts what used to happen there before.
Main body (discussion) The common law of employment in Canada today is a system of rules that clearly looks at the interests of the employees. An employee in Canada today is protected against any victimization in the hands of his/her employers due to the different legislations enacted constantly. It cannot be said that these are legislations that look at the interests of the employers alone. For example, if compared to the United States, unionization level of the workforce in Canada is higher. This comprises almost 30% of the total workforce in the country (Christie, 2010).
There are several large unions that have recently been instituted such as Teamsters, Canadian Autoworkers Union, United Food and Commercial Workers, United Steelworkers and the International Association of Machinists. There appears to be a similarity between the United States “unfair labor practice” and that of Canada but the penalties imposed in the Canadian ones are more severe. From the laws drafted by the Canadian judges, there are limits as to what a given Canadian based employer can and cannot do in regard to union organizing campaign.
For example, today an employer in Canada cannot threaten his/her employees with employment loss the moment a union is certified. In most provinces, the labor boards have enough power to certify a labor union as the bargaining agent when an employer commits unfair labor practice. Canadian human rights statutes prohibit harassment and discrimination on grounds like religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender and race. There are human rights tribunals with jurisdiction enabling them to give rulings on employee discriminations under their employers.
The tribunals have powers to even reinstate employees who had been terminated as a result of discrimination. Damages may also be awarded to such employees and this shows the reason why the current common laws of employment drafted by judges are not catering for the interests of the employers but they seek to assist Canadian employees (Sbhlawyers. com, 2010) There are minimum entitlements on employment termination for most employees in Canada. These are found in the employment standards legislation. The notice to the employee is determined under different legislation formulas.
In Ontario for example, the employer in question must provide the benefits for the notice period. In some jurisdictions, employees whose their employment has been terminated can apply for job reinstatement if the dismissal has been declared “unjust” or in cases where the dismissal had no economic justification. This shows that an employer in Canada may only dismiss an employee if the reason is lawful. Under the Canadian common law of employment, there is no such a thing as the “at-will” employment concept. Even non-unionized employees are supposed to be provided with “reasonable notice” concerning employment termination.
Courts in Canada have to consider some factors in assessment of the reasonable notice even though under the common law there is no specified formula for determination of the reasonable notice amount. The main factors judges consider in courts include re-employment prospects, nature of compensation, the age and the length of the employee’s service (Sbhlawyers. com, 2010). In fact today it can only be said to be unfortunate for employers since the Canadian courts have become even more unpredictable and generous in terms of awarding notices on common law.
Employers have encountered several liabilities due to the proliferation of claims from employees who have been dismissed and have gone to courts claiming this was done on bad faith or harshly. Many employers have been forced to pay thousands of dollars in damages in recent times. This has even made most employers to seek prior legal advice before dismissing any worker. In Canada, the private insurance companies have very little to play in provision of worker’s compensation. Every province in Canada has worker’s compensation programs run by the government.
This has the mandate of providing income replacement for those employees who have been absent for work due to work related injuries or illness. All employers must participate in this program if they are in the industry under this insurance scheme. Every employer must pay premiums to the worker’s compensation and this is supposed to be a dollar for every hour an employee has worked. Recent drafted laws require all employers in all provinces to be registered with provincial worker’s compensation agency.
They are to pay the premiums as stipulated by the legislation in that province. Conclusion From the above discussion, it is clear that the common law of employment in Canada is not all about rules that cater for the interests of the employer. Existing legislations on employment in Canada seek to protect the interests of the employee. In recent times, judges and lawyers in the labor industry have come up with laws that have protected employees against wrongful dismissal which may emanate from discrimination on grounds of sex orientation, race and religion.
Application of discrimination law in employment has been one of the major breakthroughs for the recent decades due to the constant judicial and statutory developments from our judges. Thus, Canadian employment law has changed for the better and the modern judges have developed rules favoring the employees also. References Christie, I. (2010). Employment law. Retrieved fromhttp://www. thecanadianencyclopedia. com/index. cfm? PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0002599 Sbhlawyers. com (2010). Canadian employment and labor law overview for U. S. employers. Retrieved from http://www. sbhlawyers. com/downloads/CanadianEmploymentLawOverview. pdf