The Balance of Confidentiality

The Balance of Confidentiality

Flickr/knehcsg

Campbell involves an appeal from a decision of the Chief Electoral Officer of Alberta to sanction Jarrett Campbell and Jaskaran Sandhu during the provincial election held on May 5, 2015. The Chief Electoral Officer applied to the Court of Queen’s Bench for guidance regarding what should be contained in a Certified Record produced by the Electoral Officer under Alberta’s Elections Act, RSA 2000, c E-1 [Elections Act]. The main issue before the court was whether the Chief Electoral Officer was able to redact information that is confidential and irrelevant to the appeal (Campbell, at para 2).

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Arbitrator’s Decision re Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Test Upheld on Judicial Review

Arbitrator’s Decision re Post-Incident Drug and Alcohol Test Upheld on Judicial Review

Flickr/Bryan Kiechle

Clearly, challenges surrounding drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures take up quite a bit of time and energy of companies, unions, arbitrators and eventually, courts. The factual context is very important in these cases. This leads to the courts often deferring to the fact finding and conclusions drawn by tribunals.

The facts in this case were summarized by Madam Justice Ritu Khullar as follows. Grievors Landon Potter and Nolan Vanderkley (“Potter” and “Vanderkley”) were part of a site crew installing transmission towers at a remote location outside of Fort McMurray (CEWA, at para 2). The site was accessed by a narrow road with portions that did not permit two-way travel. A Nodwell, a 65,000-pound vehicle that is 25-feet-long and 13-feet-wide, with restricted visibility on the sides, was at the bottom of the hill on the narrow portion of the road and needed to be moved (CEWA, at para 2). Vanderkley directed Potter to move the Nodwell into the working area, and unbeknownst to Potter, Vanderkley next backed his company Ford truck to the side of the road, into the blind spot of the Nodwell, in order to allow a third vehicle to pass. Potter decided to back the Nodwell up to go into the worksite instead of driving forward, and Vanderkley spotted the Nodwell at the last moment and moved forward, but was unable to completely avoid being hit by the Nodwell, incurring some damage to the Ford truck (CEWA, at para 3). Although Potter had done a circle check to ensure there were no obstructions, he had not used a spotter to help him back up and did not see Vanderkley’s truck (CEWA, at para 4).

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Are the Alberta Ethics Commissioner’s actions subject to parliamentary privilege or judicial review?

Are the Alberta Ethics Commissioner’s actions subject to parliamentary privilege or judicial review?

Flickr/Alper Çuğun

Ric Mclver, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, made comments during Question Period about power companies. His comments were subject to a complaint that he was in conflict of interest as his wife is a sole shareholder and director of a power company. The Ethics Commissioner investigated and determined that he breached the Conflict of Interest Act, RSA 2000, c C-23 [CIA][Any following references to legislative sections are assumed to be to the CIA unless otherwise noted] and eventually sanctioned Mr. McIver. He was ordered to apologize to pay $500 and to apologize to the Legislative Assembly. In an application for judicial review, Mr. McIver challenged the Ethics Commissioner’s decision and argued that she exceeded her jurisdiction in interfering with his free speech.

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Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Workplace: Is this Something New?

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault in the Workplace: Is this Something New?

photo: flickr.com/photos/howlcollective/

There has been a great deal of attention in the media lately about allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace. The current “#MeToo Movement” was thought to have started after public accusations of sexual misconduct by former American film producer Harvey Weinstein. The hashtag #MeToo actually developed from the term “Me Too” coined by American civil rights activist, Tarana Burke, who had used the term since 2006 to raise awareness about sexual abuse and sexual assault in. In October 2017, when after allegations were made against Harvey Weinstein, actress Alyssa Milano encouraged social media users to tweet #MeToo (or its equivalent in other languages) widely in order to raise awareness about the prevalence of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

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Suncor’s Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy Continues to be the Subject of Litigation

Suncor’s Random Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy Continues to be the Subject of Litigation

photo: flickr.com/magnumppi/

There have been several previous ABlawg posts on this litigation related to drug testing in the workplace. See here, here, here, and here.

Suncor Energy Inc. appealed an interim injunction granted by the ABQB (Unifor, Local 707A v Suncor Energy Inc., 2017 ABQB 752 (CanLII)), which prohibited it from implementing random drug and alcohol testing of members of Unifor Local 707A (Unifor) in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo until a new arbitration is ordered, unless the Supreme Court of Canada determines that a new arbitration is unnecessary (application for leave to appeal Suncor Energy Inc v Unifor Local 707A, 2017 ABCA 313 (CanLII) (the arbitration matter) to the SCC was initiated in November 2017). In the instant case, a majority of the Alberta Court of Appeal (per Justices Ronald Berger and Patricia Rowbotham) upheld the interim injunction.

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SCC Overturns ABCA Ruling on Mandatory Interlocutory Injunction re: Information on Media Outlet’s Website

SCC Overturns ABCA Ruling on Mandatory Interlocutory Injunction re: Information on Media Outlet’s Website

photo: flickr.com/Asbjørn Sørensen Poulsen

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently overturned the Alberta Court of Appeal’s ruling on this case and reinstated the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision. This case has been the subject of previous blog postings by my colleague, Hasna Shireen; see here, here and here.

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Charter of Rights and Homeless Persons

Charter of Rights and Homeless Persons

photo: flickr.com/Hanibaael

Many Canadians are living in poverty, and people from certain groups are overrepresented in those who are suffering poverty’s adverse effects, no matter how we measure or define “poverty”. For example, a 2015 study by the Edmonton Social Planning Council revealed troublesome statistics:

  • one in eight Edmontonians lives below the poverty line;
  • Alberta has the largest percentage of working people living in poverty in Canada;
  • one in five children under 18 in Edmonton live in poverty, and that number increases to one in two if the family has a single parent;
  • Aboriginal persons are twice as likely as non-Aboriginal persons to be living in poverty; and
  • Recent immigrants have comparatively lower incomes than other Canadians.
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Human Rights Law and Employment: Does Context Trump Relationship?

Human Rights Law and Employment: Does Context Trump Relationship?

photo: flickr.com/yoni sheffer

Human rights legislation across Canada has similarities and differences. Most legislation covers discrimination in specific contexts (such as services customarily available to the public) and membership in professional associations or trade unions, or relationships (such as employment or landlord and tenant). Many also cover statements made in public. People are often protected from discrimination on grounds which include race, religious belief, gender, colour, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability (mental and physical), age and the like. The wording of various statutory provisions is similar but not identical between jurisdictions. The varying interpretations given by the courts and human rights tribunals to the statutory provisions has led to a very complicated set of cases and principles on employment and discrimination.

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Interveners in Human Rights Cases

Interveners in Human Rights Cases

photo: flickr.com/Sally T. Buck

In Canadian courts, even though they are not litigants, third parties may have an interest in intervening in court proceedings because the court’s judgment may affect them or others whom they represent. They often have information that they believe may be relevant to the courts in making their decisions. In Canada, interveners usually appear in appellate proceedings, but they can also appear in trial proceedings. Interveners commonly intervene on either side of a human rights or Charter dispute because these cases often deal with broad public policy issues. Interveners may include human rights statutory bodies (e.g., the Alberta Human Rights Commission), governments, unions, employer groups and interest groups (e.g., the Council of Canadians with Disabilities). While governments (e.g., Attorneys General) have the right to intervene in Charter cases and must be given notice in advance of a Charter claim, private interveners must seek leave (permission) from the court to intervene. It is quite usual for several interveners to seek leave to intervene in major human rights and Charter cases.

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Yet Another Development in the Saga of Random Drug and Alcohol Testing at Suncor

Yet Another Development in the Saga of Random Drug and Alcohol Testing at Suncor

photo: flickr.com/fstorr/

Recently, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench (per Justice R. Paul Belzil) granted Unifor, Local 707A (the Union) an interim injunction prohibiting Suncor Energy Inc (Suncor) from implementing its random drug and alcohol testing policy pending either a successful application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada or, failing that, the parties holding a fresh arbitration hearing in early 2018.

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