International Energy Agency’s updated net zero scenario is still unrealistic

by Deborah Jaremko

Canada can lead the world with reliable, affordable energy supply and clean technology as countries work to reduce emissions. Photo credit: Cenovus    The International Energy Agency (IEA) has updated its net zero scenario, pushing for governments to implement more aggressive climate policies on the energy industry.   The IEA itself acknowledges the scenario is “a pathway, […]

Oil and gas companies lead top performing stocks on the TSX

by Deborah Jaremko

Highlights ‘the importance of oil and gas in the world’s energy mix for years to come’. Photo credit: Toronto Stock Exchange   For the second year in a row, oil and gas companies are the best performers on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). More than half of the businesses in the annual TSX30 – a ranking of […]

Having ‘confidence’ in your contractual relationships

by Sheryl Johnson

On the ongoing confidentiality obligations of former employees, NDAs, and more. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   Many employers have trade secrets and other proprietary interests relating to commercially sensitive materials and information. Such information may include intellectual property rights like patents, copyrights, trademarks, and client and prospective client lists that they have significantly invested in.  […]

Why Canadian banks should continue to invest in and finance the oil and gas sector

by Gina Pappano

Canadians live the way we do because we have one of the most productive, innovative, and responsible energy industries in the world. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   “The Canadian banking system is well-known for its strength and stability and the sector is an essential contributor to the country’s economic growth and well-being. Canadians rely on […]

Energy literacy providers push for balanced, sustainable future

by Canadian Energy Centre

‘Energy forms and sources are a complex mix, and one doesn’t need to be at the expense of another’. Pictured: This summer Inside Education hosted 24 teachers from eight provinces and territories to explore energy development in Alberta as part of its Energy Futures program. Photo credit: Inside Education via Canadian Energy Centre   Alberta […]

Duty to mitigate extended to independent contractors under fixed term contracts?

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Pexels/Pixabay   The recent Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) decision in Monterosso v. Metro Freightliner Hamilton Inc., 2023 ONCA 413, the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) (“Metro Freightliner”) extends the duty to mitigate their damages upon the early termination of a fixed-term agreement (i.e., take reasonable steps to reduce their damages by attempting to […]

Go woke, go broke

by Catherine Swift

From private companies to public pension funds, countless entities have adopted a woke, ideologically-driven agenda in recent years– with some starting to pay the price. Photo credit: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan   The slogan “Go Woke, Go Broke” has achieved popularity recently as it seems that so many of the companies which have opted to follow […]

Demand rising for Canadian oil: analysts

by Deborah Jaremko

‘Heavy is the crude that wears the crown’. Photo credit: Suncor Energy   Demand for oil from Canada is rising as world oil consumption hits new records.   Heavy, sour oil grades like those Canada primarily exports are experiencing what one analyst calls a “price renaissance,” outperforming the U.S. light, sweet oil benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI).   […]

The ‘fair share’ debate

by Catherine Swift

We consistently hear about how the so-called rich don’t pay enough tax. But is that really true in Canada? And in any instance, does punishing the most productive people in a society really help the overall economy? Photo credit: Getty Images/Gerardo Mora   We’ve been hearing a lot about the mythical “fair share” lately, notably […]

Productivity problems worsen

by Catherine Swift

In the mid-80s, Canada was still quite competitive with most developed countries in terms of productivity, but it has been all downhill since then – with productivity declining significantly after 2015. Photo credit: Flickr/Arild   Canada has had challenges keeping up with other countries in terms of its productivity performance for decades, but recent indicators […]

Canada’s oil and gas sector barrels ahead with record annual exports

by James Snell

‘Every Canadian should be aware that our largest industry continues to thrive’. Photo credit: Cenovus Energy   Canadian oil and gas exports rose significantly in 2022 and show little sign of abating despite a call by Canada’s minister of environment and climate change to ‘phase-out unabated fossil fuels.’  Total exports in Canada rose 22.5 per […]

Taxpayers get shafted with massive auto handouts

by Jay Goldberg

Now that Stellantis and Volkswagen have negotiated a collective $31-billion handout from the feds and Ontario, no doubt other automakers will follow. Photo credit: Bloomberg/Emily Elconin   Thirty-one billion dollars. That’s how much of your money Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford are handing over to two of the world’s largest and most […]

Is a thumbs up emoji legally binding?

by Sheryl Johnson

A recent case out of Saskatchewan sheds first light on the question. Photo credit: CNN   A single emoji can have a variety of meanings, but we nonetheless use them to communicate – more often in our personal lives than our business lives. People have been using emojis and previously emoticons for more than 40 […]

Small business recovery in peril

by Catherine Swift

All indicators point to more tough times ahead for the backbone of Canada’s economy. Photo credit: Pexels/Tim Douglas   Some recent data from various sources indicate that Canada’s small business community has yet to recover from the impact of the pandemic. As this sector represents about half of the economy, this is not a trivial […]

Cash is still king

by Catherine Swift

Though electronic transactions rule the modern marketplace, a recent survey from the Bank of Canada reveals four-in-five Canadians want to retain hard currency as a means of payment. Photo credit: Shutterstock/Stefan Malloch   In our modern technological world of debit cards, electronic financial transactions, and other means of moving money around the globe in split […]

Another sneaky waste of our tax dollars

by Catherine Swift

Granted charitable status and funnelled untold sums from government coffers, not-for-profit organizations promoting social and political causes, particularly the so-called ‘climate crisis’, continue to balloon in size, scope, and number across the country. Photo credit: Pexels/Cottonbro Studio   For some time now, there has been considerable growth in the number of not-for-profit organizations sucking up […]

Small business challenges continue

by Catherine Swift

Recent report indicates small businesses are borrowing more and more taxpayer-backed loans from the government. Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio   Despite some economic indicators that Canada’s economy is not doing too badly considering a general global slowdown, the state of small business does not seem to be very positive. A recent report from the federal […]

At the end of June, it will be a criminal offence for employers to agree with one another to: (a) fix, maintain, decrease, or control wages or other terms of employment; and (b) enter agreements to not solicit or hire each other’s employees. Photo credit: Pexels/Mart Production   On June 23, 2022 significant amendments were […]

Electrification or bust!

by Catherine Swift

Though the business of electrification appears to be booming across Canada, average taxpayers won’t get to share in the economic benefits – in fact, they’re the ones footing the bill. Pictured is Ontario’s Minister of Energy Todd Smith speaking at Electricity Canada’s recent Regulatory Forum. Photo credit: Twitter/Todd Smith   Recent days have seen announcements […]

Pair of Beamsville wineries picked up by nation leading distributor

by The Niagara Independent

Arterra Wines Canada adds Angels Gate Winery and Kew Vineyards to portfolio that already includes top brands from Niagara Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin. Photo credit: Facebook/Angels Gate Winery   The country’s leading wine distributor and marketer has added two more Niagara brands to its growing portfolio. On Friday, May 5, Arterra Wines Canada announced its acquisition […]

To condone or not to condone? – that is the question

by Sheryl Johnson

In a recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision, it was held that an employer cannot infer condonation or consent to a layoff from an employee’s mere silence during a nine-month period of inactive employment. Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio   If an employee does not immediately object to being laid off, does that mean that the […]

Thumbs down on ESG

by Catherine Swift

A new study from the Fraser Institute outlines some of the issues with the environment, social and governance (ESG) framework many businesses have adopted (or were forced to adopt) in recent years, including challenges related to standardization and reporting. Photo credit: Forbes/Getty Images   Just as the whole ESG (environment, social and governance) regime is […]

When a plaintiff is done wrong

by Sheryl Johnson

The recent appeal decision in Northern Air Charter (PR) Inc. v. Dunbar, 2023 out of Alberta is instructive. Photo credit: Northern Air    While not an Ontario case, the decision in Northern Air Charter (PR) Inc. v. Dunbar, 2023 ABKB 171, does carry some weight as it is an appeal decision. This case provides some […]

A summer of labour union discontent

by Catherine Swift

The widespread labour unrest is taking different forms around the world, with unions in France, the UK, US, and Canada all flexing their collective muscles at the same time. At home, the current federal government strike is the largest single public sector strike in around two decades. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   In […]

What does a promotion really change?

by Sheryl Johnson

Over time, contracts entered into at the start of employment may not be worth the paper they are written on – whether due to changes in the law or fundamental expansions of an employee’s duties and responsibilities that trigger established legal doctrines. Photo credit: Pexels/Kampus Production   In response to the question posed by the […]

Photo credit: Bloomberg/Eddie Seal via Getty Images   Spending on oil and gas exploration and production needs to rise dramatically to avoid global supply shortages, says a new report published by commodity and energy market analysts.  Annual investment needs to rise 28 per cent to reach $640 billion by 2030, according to the report by the International […]

The balancing act of Generation Z

by Catherine Swift

Studies and surveys indicate Generation Z values work-life balance more than any other generation to date. Its members, the oldest of whom are now in their mid-20s, are resistant to working long days, do not want to respond to emails on weekends and evenings, and value mental health and time off more than the daily […]

What’s remote got to do with it? – part two

by Sheryl Johnson

To read part one, click here. Photo credit: Pexels/Anna Shvets   On March 20, 2023, Bill 79, Working for Workers Act, 2023 (“Bill 79”) was tabled.   Bill 79, if passed, would provide further protections for remote employees under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) and make changes to other employment related legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). […]

New technology could help reduce oil sands emissions in the future. Pictured is a conceptual rendering of the BWRX-300 SMR plant by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy. The plant will be located at the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station site near Oshawa. Photo credit: GE Hitachi   North America’s first commercial small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) is […]

What’s remote got to do with it?

by Sheryl Johnson

To date it has been unclear for employers as to how to fit remote workers into the mass termination regime in light of the location-based definition of “establishment” under the ESA. This is because the term “establishment” under the ESA is defined as “a location at which the employer carries on business”. Photo credit: Pexels/Andrea […]

Plastic – it’s fantastic!

by Catherine Swift

Despite certain government actors and activist groups trying to paint the material with a broad brush of all-bad-all-the-time, the benefits of plastic abound. Photo credit: AMAC Technologies   The federal government’s foolish and misinformation-driven war on plastics continues. After implementing a ban on the manufacture and importation of a handful of plastic products such as […]

Too many eggs in the EV basket?

by Catherine Swift

On Monday, the provincial and federal governments announced that Volkswagen picked southwestern Ontario to build its first electric vehicle battery plant in North America. The announcement was met with much fanfare. But is all this money being thrown at EVs a good use of our tax dollars and the focus from governments, or just the […]

Tax revolt time

by Catherine Swift

Canadians get the worst of both worlds – high taxes and poor public services. Perhaps it’s time for a change. Photo credit: Getty Images via Bloomberg   Get out the torches and pitchforks Canadians. A number of recent polls and studies have found that a strong majority of Canadians believe they are overtaxed and not […]

The sustainable jobs nothingburger

by Catherine Swift

For now, the only part of the Liberals’ Sustainable Jobs Plan that could actually be called a plan is the hiring of more government workers. Pictured is Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   After three years of jabbering on about the so-called “Just Transition”, the federal Liberals recently came […]

The enduring appeal of socialism

by Catherine Swift

A recent multi-national study commissioned by the Fraser Institute revealed, among other findings, that many people – particularly young people – continue to view socialism as the ideal economic system.    Over the decades, different political directions and trends come and go, depending on the conditions at the time and the appeal of various politicians. […]

Uncertainty regarding employer liability for terminations during pandemic continues

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Getty Images/Runstudio    You may recall from my previous articles, the Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) in Dawe v The Equitable Life Insurance Company of Canada, 2019 ONCA 512 reaffirmed the leading decision on the issue of notice of Lowndes v Summit Ford Sales Ltd. (2006), 206 O.A.C. 55 (Ont. C.A.) that the determination […]

Tory’s reckless record

by Jay Goldberg

Former mayor of Toronto John Tory’s time in office was marked by a level of financial imprudence that rivals that of even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo credit: CBC/Evan Mitsui   It’s time to dispel a yearslong myth: former mayor John Tory was no friend to Toronto taxpayers. He shouldn’t let the door hit him […]

Hey CEOs, stop ‘just transitioning’ yourselves out of business

by Catherine Swift

The corporate heads who don’t speak up against bad government policies might think they are being constructive by going with the flow, but they don’t do anyone any favours in the long run, including themselves.    The first time I saw a bunch of CEOs from large energy companies lined up behind politicians who were […]

Qatar, Norway and ‘The Trouble with Canada’

by David Yager

Resource developers in Canada face unique geographical, jurisdictional, regulatory and political obstacles. Pictured is Pearl Island in Doha, Qatar. Photo credit: DEME Group   That Germany has given up on Canada to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) and instead signed a massive multi-year LNG purchase agreement with Qatar has left many angry and disappointed.   Investment […]

Shameless public sector unions up the ante

by Catherine Swift

Already better compensated and more secure in their respective positions than their private sector counterparts, public sector employees – at least, the unions that represent them – are coming back to the taxpayer trough for yet more feed. Photo credit: PSAC   Recent weeks have seen a veritable frenzy of public sector unions demanding outrageous […]

ChatGPT: The business tool of the future

by Mark Hardwick

The AI-powered technology is an ideal tool for businesses looking to create chatbots that can understand and respond to customer inquiries naturally and intuitively. Photo credit: Freepik   Business and chatbots have become increasingly intertwined in recent years, with more and more companies turning to chatbots to improve customer service and automate repetitive tasks. One […]

Fairness needed for Canadian manufacturers

by Catherine Swift

The current federal government in particular does not seem overly concerned about defending Canadian businesses, and is too lenient when enforcing the law against foreign companies. Photo credit: Fiat Chrysler Automotives   Amid the massive increases in taxation and regulatory red tape that has been introduced in recent years by the Trudeau government in the […]

Human trafficking in the employment context

by Sheryl Johnson

A successful claim for the statutory tort of human trafficking in the context of labour under the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act can be made out by employees in vulnerable positions who experience employers’ abuse.     Farm operations in Niagara rely heavily on temporary foreign workers (“TFWs”).  As such, the recent case of […]

Year in review: top five Canadian privacy law developments

by Sheryl Johnson

 In an increasingly data-driven world, it’s more important than ever that Canadian employers stay up-to-date on any and all developments on the privacy law front. Photo credit: Pexels/Ingo Joseph   This past year saw many developments in the area of privacy law that underscored the need of organizations to keep up with a data-driven world. […]

A taxing year ahead

by Catherine Swift

Courtesy of your federal Liberal government. Photo credit: Reuters/Blare Gable   As if all the talk about a looming recession wasn’t enough, we also know that Canadians will be facing a number of tax increases in 2023, courtesy of the federal Liberal government. For starters, both Employment Insurance premiums and Canada Pension Plan premiums will […]

Canada’s trillion-dollar rock

by James Snell

Western Canada Sedimentary Basin (WCSB) contains some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves. Two geological formations in the WCSB are driving oil and gas development in Canada today: the McMurray and the Montney. Pictured is the Ante Creek development, located on the Montney. Photo credit: ARC Resources   The Western Canada Sedimentary Basin […]

Niagara bakery nominated for ‘Ontario Made’ award

by The Niagara Independent

Paz Bakery makes Brazilian-inspired cheese buns with local ingredients. Pictured is co-founder Paloma Lara. Photo credit: Facebook/Paz Bakery    If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that global supply chains are fragile creatures, and the more we make at home the better.  Homegrown products don’t only provide security in uncertain times, they […]

What Ontario employers need to know about ‘mitigation’

by Sheryl Johnson

Lake v. La Presse (2018) and its recent appeal help shed light on the subject. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   When we speak of wrongful dismissal damages, assuming there are no contractual provisions limiting such damages or their calculation, we speak of an employee’s “reasonable notice entitlements” under the common law. Such “entitlements” amount to […]

Ontario leaning on natural gas to keep electricity reliable and affordable

by James Snell

  There is no ‘like-for-like’ replacement. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons   Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) is recommending the province step-up natural gas use to help avoid an energy shortage.  Ontario will require an additional 4,000 MW of electricity between 2025 and 2027 – the equivalent of adding a city the size of Toronto […]

Recession for who? Not government employees

by Franco Terrazzano

Bureaucrats didn’t financially suffer during the pandemic. They benefited. Now they want more. And if taxpayers don’t pony up, bureaucrats won’t show up for work.     Different people experience things differently. The pandemic exposed a specific divide. Private-sector workers missed paycheques. Small business owners worried their savings wouldn’t keep the lights on. Meanwhile, federal bureaucrats […]

To grieve or not to grieve?

by Sheryl Johnson

In choosing arbitration over an OHRT hearing, an employer must consider speed and expense. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   The standard process in Ontario for well over a decade is for the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) to defer human rights applications pending the completion of a labour arbitration for unionized employees. If the substance […]

More imbalanced labour laws are bad news for Canada

by Catherine Swift

The whole notion of collective bargaining is predicated on there being a reasonable balance between the union and the employer. Prohibiting the employer from bringing in other workers to carry on operating severely upsets this balance, leaving far too much power in union hands. Photo credit: CityNews   The federal Liberals just announced they are […]

Holiday parties: making your lists and checking them twice

by Sheryl Johnson

Are you an employer looking to throw a company party this holiday season? Read on. Photo credit: Pexels/Kampus Production   With the opening up of COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, many workplaces are looking forward to celebrating together the upcoming holiday season and the ability to socially gather like it was 1999. Putting aside caution […]

CMHC’s own study finds home equity tax 95 per cent unpopular

by James Wood

The federal government, via the CMHC, has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding to study the idea of a home equity tax. Photo credit: Bloomberg/SeongJoon Cho   Despite spending nearly half a million dollars studying and promoting a home equity tax, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s own study found 95 per cent […]

Yes, payroll taxes are taxes. No, Trudeau shouldn’t be raising them

by Franco Terrazzano

 If something looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. Likewise, if it takes money from you like a tax, funds government spending like a tax, and even the government admits it’s a tax, then it’s a tax. Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images   Political pundits are […]

Employers beware: how a termination is conducted just as important as why

by Sheryl Johnson

Breaching the ESA’s post-termination payment schedule can now lead to moral and punitive damage awards in wrongful dismissal cases, as the recent Pohl v. Hudson’s Bay Company case described below demonstrates.     There are specific rules for the payment of termination and/or severance pay under the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 and its regulations (collectively […]

Trudeau’s luxury tax will harm blue-collar workers

by Franco Terrazzano

With its preoccupation with going after the rich, Ottawa is forgetting about the Canadian workers who will get caught in the crossfire.   Hundreds of people who pull wrenches for a living have a unique point of view on Ottawa’s new luxury tax. Most of us might not be too bothered by a tax on […]

Oil crisis: Why the world needs more of ‘The Great Canadian Barrel’

by Deborah Jaremko

Reduced oil production from Canada is bad for the world, veteran Wall Street energy analyst says. Photo credit: Bloomberg   The outlook for production growth from Canada’s oil sands is down again, limiting supply of what one analyst calls “the Great Canadian Barrel” to a world growing increasingly short on oil to meet its needs. “Canada is […]

The kids aren’t alright

by Catherine Swift

A recent study showed that Canada’s under-30 crowd is generally pessimistic about the future, especially in regard to employment, income, and the possibility of home ownership. Photo credit: Pexels/Liza Summer   Some very interesting research was published by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI) recently regarding the state of mind of young Canadians and their expectations regarding […]

Singling out oil and gas doesn’t make sense. Here’s why. Photo credit: Cenovus Energy   Canada’s strategy to single out greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry could make it harder to meet overall reduction targets, according to two leading energy analysts.   Neither of Ottawa’s two proposed policies to cap and reduce oil […]

Volunteer or employee? Employers beware of volunteer misclassifications

by Sheryl Johnson

The Ontario Superior Court recently ordered Toronto-based student travel firm S-Trip to pay a group of former staff $450,000 after misclassifying the workers as ‘volunteers’, when in reality they should have been categorized and compensated as ‘employees’. Photo credit: Twitter/S-Trip   Are you part of an organization that relies on volunteers? Many not-for-profit corporations such […]

The state of the unions

by Catherine Swift

At right around 31 per cent, Canada has one of the world’s highest unionization rates. However, not all Canadian sectors are created equal, with a stark contrast in rates between the private versus public sectors. Photo credit: Toronto Star/Bernard Weil   In honour of Labour Day, it’s worth having a look at what Canadian labour […]

Canada is letting down its allies and losing money by not encouraging LNG investment.   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t optimistic about LNG exports to Europe because he says there’s no business case.   Even though the Chancellor of Germany just came to Canada asking for LNG to help fill the five new import terminals it is building. And […]

‘Quiet quitting’ – it’s a thing

by Catherine Swift

Though hardly a new concept, the pandemic has revitalized and made more acceptable the notion of putting in the bare minimum while on the clock.     There has been quite a bit of discussion in the media and workplaces of late about a supposedly new trend that is being called “quiet quitting”. This refers to […]

Small business pandemic carnage

by Catherine Swift

The true extent of the economic damage inflicted by the pandemic and its associated government policies on Canada’s mom-and-pop shops will take years to be fully realized and revealed. However, for preliminary illustration, a recent survey found that 17 per cent of small businesses across the country were preparing to close permanently because of inordinately […]

Employers must not solely rely on the self-interested decision making of their insurance companies when making very important employment decisions. One such decision is when the employment contract is “frustrated”.    After a five-week trial in the Ontario Superior Court case of Baker v. Blue Cross, on Jun. 24, 2022 a Toronto jury granted the […]

Inflation slows slightly, as gas prices fall

by Nicholas Tibollo

Rise in the CPI decelerated to 7.6 per cent in July. Gas prices fell considerably across the country on a month-over-month basis, dipping most precipitously in Ontario where the Ford government temporarily lowered the provincial gas tax. Though Bank of Canada officials acknowledged inflation likely peaked in June, the central bank said it intends to […]

Courts in Ontario and Nova Scotia have thus far tended to decline to deduct, while courts in BC, Alberta, and Saskatchewan have tended to deduct. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Jason Franson   In my assessment, the official expiration of deemed IDEL in Ontario triggers a domino effect in relation to several legal issues. One is […]

Will the detonator be set?

by Sheryl Johnson

 If and when the deemed IDEL ends it will be a game changer for employers, employees, and the courts in Ontario, as the detonator will be set for both parties to assess the viability of their ongoing employment relationship. Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki   As you may recall from my earlier articles, there is paid […]

Five reasons President Biden should ask Canada, not Saudi Arabia, for more oil

by Deborah Jaremko

 The U.S. and Canada should work together to build new oil pipelines to strengthen North American energy security. Photo credit: Reuters via BBC   There’s an important message for U.S. President Joe Biden as he heads to Saudi Arabia this week to ask for OPEC to increase oil production: he should be asking Canada instead.   […]

A sign of the times?

by Sheryl Johnson

Two recent divergent decisions regarding Alectra Utilities’ and FCA Canada’s ability to uphold mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace underscore the need for organizations in Ontario to re-examine and, if necessary, update their respective policies. Photo credit: Twitter/Alectra Utilities    Labour arbitrators remain the frontline decision-makers regarding workplaces and how they balance the needs of […]

Architects of TMX cost explosion and delays remain unaccountable

by David Yager

How could twinning an existing pipeline that has been operating safely for 69 years be this late and this expensive? Photo credit: Trans Mountain    On June 22, Ottawa’s Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) reported that the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX) is “no longer a profitable undertaking.”  The updated cost is $21.4 billion, the latest […]

As a recent Ontario case involving a terminated dental hygienist demonstrates, employers that wish to put forth fraud allegations must provide incontrovertible evidence of falsification or be prepared to face the consequences of the court. Photo credit: Pexels/Anna Shvets   Gracias v. Dr. David Walt Dentistry, 2022 ONSC 2967 is a recent wrongful dismissal case […]

Brace yourself for more inflation

by Catherine Swift

As a new round of union negotiations gets underway, expect any resultant public sector pay raises to increase everyday costs for the 80 per cent of Canadians who do not work for the government. Pictured: Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) members rally for “fair wages” in Ottawa, June 8, 2022. Photo credit: Facebook/PSAC   […]

Employees’ duty to mitigate during a pandemic: law unchanged

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Getty Images/Ryan Fletcher    The case of Okano v. Cathay Pacific Airways (2022 BCSC 881) confirms that the negative impact of COVID-19 on certain industries does not alter the courts’ expectations on what is reasonable (the “how” of) when employees mitigate their damages – in this case, the airline industry. In Okano the […]

High and hidden taxes driving up the pump price

by Franco Terrazzano

Photo credit: Pexels/Engin Akyurt   As far as Canadian politicians are concerned, the soaring cost of living is like winter slush, summer mosquitos and other unfortunate forces of nature. They would love to help, but what can they do? Here’s an idea: our politicians just need to follow the lead of other countries and cut […]

Canada ousts OPEC as lead oil importer to U.S. Gulf Coast

by Deborah Jaremko

New pipeline infrastructure is helping connect supply with demand, and there is significant room to grow. Pictured is Marathon Petroleum Corporation’s Galveston Bay oil refinery in Texas City, Texas. Photo credit: Marathon Petroleum Corporation    The tables have turned in the largest refining market in the U.S., with oil imports from OPEC countries like Saudi […]

To be or not to be a case of constructive dismissal: that remains the question

by Sheryl Johnson

A recent Court of Appeal case involving a laid off Tim Hortons assistant manager failed to shed new light on whether pandemic-related layoffs or IDEL constitute constructive dismissal at common law.    In Ontario employers and their counsel have been waiting for a decision from the Courts to provide guidance and some certainty on whether […]

The world’s remarkable reversal on the future of oil

by David Yager

The message is now to resume normal activities even though ‘civil society’ has spent years trying to crush the industry. Photo credit: YouTube/CBC News   The love/hate relationship between oil companies and the world’s billions of customers is unique in the world of commerce.   Until recently, the plan was to replace oil and gas with […]

Yes, deficits and debt do matter

by Jay Goldberg

This year, Ontario is set to spend over $13 billion simply servicing the provincial debt. That’s money that comes from Main Street and heads into the pockets of bondholders on Bay Street. If Ontarians didn’t have to pay interest on the $440-billion provincial debt, more money would be free for other priorities. Photo credit: Flickr/Jonathan […]

Establishing a framework for similar scenarios in the future, the Ontario Superior Court recently dismissed a judicial review application challenging the implementation of McMaster University’s mandatory vaccination policy. Photo credit: McMaster University    Recently in Michalski v. McMaster University the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dismissed a challenge to the Hamilton university’s mandatory vaccination policy by […]

Canada’s oil and gas workers don’t need a forced ‘just transition’

by Deborah Jaremko

Only threat to the industry is policy that seeks to shut it down while still needed. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Aaron Lynett   The idea of the need for a “just transition” for Canadian oil and gas workers is based on the false narrative that global demand is now decreasing and therefore Canada’s industry will […]

Turning the other cheek

by Sheryl Johnson

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal workplace misconduct case involving a tap/slap on the buttocks of a female employee by a male manager yields interesting result, sets new precedent.    Render v. ThyssenKrupp Elevator (Canada) Limited (2022 ONCA 310) is a recent Ontario Court of Appeal (“OCA”) that has set a new and surprising precedent. […]

Province budgets for twin bridge over canal, GO service expansion in Niagara

by Nicholas Tibollo

The government also reaffirmed its commitment to the local tourism sector’s pandemic recovery. Photo credit: Metrolinx   The Ontario government released its 2022 budget Thursday afternoon.  A major part of the PCs’ record-breaking spending plan is transportation infrastructure and public transit, with $86.7 billion set aside over the next 10 years for highway rehabilitation, bridge […]

Important legislative updates for employers

by Sheryl Johnson

 The recent passing of the Working for Workers Act, 2022 and Pandemic and Emergency Preparedness Act, 2022 means certain Ontario employers will have to add and implement various changes in the coming months. Photo credit: Pexels/Cottonbro   Working for Workers Act, 2022 First and further to my previous article last month, on April 7, 2022 […]

CMHC giving $200,000 more to home equity tax advocates

by James Wood

The crown corporation previously gave Generation Squeeze $250,000 to write a report that recommended targeting the “housing wealth windfalls gained by many home owners while they sleep and watch TV.”   The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is pumping another $200,000 of taxpayers’ money into an organization calling for a home equity tax, according to […]

Local chambers applaud launch of province’s new centralized business website

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: The Niagara Independent   Earlier this week, the provincial government launched, a one-stop online resource shop for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.   Part of the government’s broader Fewer Fees, Better Services Act, the new website is designed to reduce administrative burdens by providing the most pertinent information for starting and growing a business […]

Start of summer to bring small bit of relief at the pump

by Nicholas Tibollo

On July 1, the provincial gas tax will be lowered by 5.7 cents per litre. Photo credit: The Niagara Independent    With supply chain issues, cuts to production, foreign wars, and federal carbon taxes all helping hike the price of gas, the Ford government is doing its part to make trips to the pump a […]

On Mar. 22, 2022, an Ontario arbitrator upheld the Toronto District School Board’s mandatory vaccination policy, maintaining it did not infringe section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and CUPE, Local 4400 case is the first arbitration award in Ontario […]

Canadian oil a ‘godsend’ for U.S. energy security: chamber of commerce leader

by Deborah Jaremko

 Reliable supply supports jobs and helps lower consumer energy costs. Photo credit: Canada Action   A senior leader with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce would rather see the U.S. focus on oil imports from Canada than other potential partners as the global energy security crisis from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine grows.   “From a pure, selfish U.S.-centric viewpoint, […]

South Niagara Chambers of Commerce launches new ‘Let’s Talk’ initiative

by Nicholas Tibollo

It’ll provide chamber members with access to accurate information on topics of local importance and allow them to engage in meaningful dialogue. Photo credit: Pexels/Ketut Subiyanto    After months of pandemic-induced disconnection, the South Niagara Chambers of Commerce (SNCC) is trying to kickstart dialogue between members with a newly launched initiative called ‘Let’s Talk’.  The […]

One change involves disclosure requirements around electronic monitoring of employees. Photo credit: Pexels/Thirdman As I have previously noted, the pandemic has had a significant impact on how and where we work.   Prior to the pandemic remote work was the exception, not the rule.   Following employers and employees needing to pivot to remote work during the […]

Inflation hits 31-year high, as gas and grocery prices continue rapid ascent

by Nicholas Tibollo

February marked the second month in a row in which headline inflation topped 5 per cent. Gas was up 32.3 per cent year over year, while groceries were up 7.4 per cent. Photo credit: Pexels/Artem Beliaikin   On Wednesday, Statistics Canada confirmed what many struggling Canadians already knew: everyday life is getting more and more […]

Amongst several other changes, Bill 88 would guarantee “gig workers” – such as Uber drivers and DoorDash delivery people – a minimum wage, tip protection, and dispute resolution rights. Photo credit: Pexels/Norma Mortensen On the heels of the passage of the Working for Workers Act, 2021, Ontario introduced Bill 88, Working for Workers Act, 2022 on February 28, 2022, […]

Canadians experience ‘historic year’ of financial losses due to fraud

by Nicholas Tibollo

Based on reports to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, $379 million was lost to scams and fraud in 2021. Photo credit: Poike/iStock   For nearly two decades now, relevant industry partners, government agencies, and law enforcement in Canada have observed March as ‘Fraud Prevention Month’. This year’s campaign to help individuals and businesses recognize and avoid fraud in all […]

Photo credit: Radio-Canada/Ivanoh Demers   Though the Ontario government ended patron volume restrictions for all remaining indoor public settings on Monday, some establishments will continue to operate at reduced capacity for the foreseeable future.  For many businesses, however, the choice to continue limiting operations is not necessarily out of an abundance of caution. Rather, it’s […]

Ford’s removal of licence fees earns praise from taxpayer advocacy group

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: Global News   On Tuesday, the provincial government announced that effective Mar. 13, 2022, Ontario would be eliminating licence plate renewal fees and the requirement to have a licence plate sticker for passenger vehicles, light-duty trucks, motorcycles, and mopeds.  Premier Doug Ford said elimination of the fees “is a concrete way we can […]

What employers can expect when most of Ontario’s restrictions are lifted next week

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Government of Ontario What has changed? On Valentine’s Day 2022 many retailers, restauranteurs, and employers in the hospitality and tourism sectors hearts fluttered when the government of Ontario shared the decision to lift the following two public health measures if public health and health system indicators continue to improve effective March 1, 2022: […]

The changing business of the Olympics

by Karin Schnarr

Declining viewership – and tricky politics – means less value for sponsors. Photo credit: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins   So full disclosure: I haven’t actually watched a single minute of coverage of the current 2022 Olympic winter games that are currently taking place right now in Beijing, China – half a world away for most of […]

Industry leaders join forces to help make nuclear fusion a reality in Ontario

by Nicholas Tibollo

Photo credit: General Fusion/Bruce Power   Last week, Bruce Power, General Fusion, and the Nuclear Innovation Institute (NII) announced that the trio have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on accelerating the delivery of fusion power in Canada.  Together, the organizations will evaluate potential deployment of a fusion power plant in Ontario, […]

When it comes to non-competes, in with the new does not mean out with the old

by Sheryl Johnson

Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton. Minister McNaughton introduced the Working for Workers Act, 2021 at the end of last year. The act, amongst other legislative changes, banned the use of non-compete agreements. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Frank Gunn   With the passing of Ontario’s Working for Workers Act, 2021 (“WWA”) on Dec. […]

One year later, Keystone XL cancellation represents a massive missed opportunity

by Deborah Jaremko

The U.S. needs reliable energy partners. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Alex Panetta   It’s been one year since President Joe Biden cancelled approval for the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, and the United States’ thirst for oil is as strong as ever and rising.  U.S. oil imports from Saudi Arabia and Russia have increased, and gasoline prices are higher than they have been […]

Pandemic pay hikes show a tale of two Ontarios

by Jay Goldberg

Bureaucrats are getting raises, while average Ontarians are undergoing endless pay cuts and closures. Photo credit: Associated Press/Wilfredo Lee   Ontario has been experiencing a tale of two pandemics. One is a fairy tale for bureaucrats and the other is a grim story for the rest of us. Bureaucrats working for the province and its […]

Practically speaking: COVID-19 mandatory vaccination policies

by Sheryl Johnson

Port of Hamilton, where vegetable oil refiner Bunge manufactures and ships its product. An arbitrator recently upheld the company’s workplace vaccination policy that does not allow alternatives to inoculation, such as frequent testing. Photo credit: HOPA Ports   As we get reset to re-open under the Ontario government’s three-phased reopening plan commencing Jan. 31, 2022, […]

 Premier Doug Ford and Minister Steve Clark met with municipal leaders from across Ontario on Wednesday to address the housing crisis and discuss ways in which the province can increase supply.     Housing supply in Canada is at an all-time low. Per the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), prospective buyers across the country are facing […]

Caution: employers need to avoid COVID-19 fatigue too

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Calm for Business   Given that we are in the fourth wave of the pandemic, greater expectations will be placed on employers to get their responses to the pandemic right.   Meaning, employers are expected to be more than well familiar with and used to the occupational health and safety, and as applicable, public […]

At Toyota, be prepared to pay to start your car

by Karin Schnarr

Photo credit: Bloomberg/George Frey   There has been a lot of attention in the press about the current and future increases to consumer prices across the globe. A recent survey by Ipsos of 20,000 people in 30 countries found that two-thirds of respondents were feeling the pressure of rising inflation and almost half also noted […]

Ontario readies for first new nuclear build in nearly three decades

by Nicholas Tibollo

Artist rendering of the planned Darlington small modular nuclear reactor. Construction on the project could begin later this year and be completed by as early as 2028. Photo credit: GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy   If you’re an Ontario resident, there is a two in three chance that the electricity used to charge the phone or […]

One of the measures includes the closure of schools. Photo credit: CTV News Toronto   So far in 2022 there are a number of COVID-19 response measures employers, businesses, and organizations alike in Ontario need to be aware of as we move forward.   Current Phase of Our Roadmap to Reopening Effective Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 […]

Business community rips into Ford government for latest round of restrictions

by Nicholas Tibollo

Ontario residents are no longer permitted to dine inside restaurants. Photo credit: Getty Images/CourtneyK   On Monday, the provincial government announced a return to a modified ‘Step Two’ of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopening.  The shift includes limiting retail capacity to 50 per cent, closing gyms, banning indoor dining at restaurants, and shutting down a variety […]

Report by taxpayers’ advocacy group reviews tax changes for 2022

by The Niagara Independent

Photo credit: Pexels/Mikhail Nilov   The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) released its annual New Year’s Tax Changes report on Monday. The report highlights the major tax changes set to come into force in 2022. “If you’re making more than $40,000, you’ll see your federal income tax bill go up thanks to rising payroll taxes,” said Franco Terrazzano, […]

Major discussions and developments in Ontario employment law in 2021: year in review

by Sheryl Johnson

The institution of mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace was perhaps the most talked about development in Ontario employment law this year. Photo credit: Canadian Lawyer Magazine   The first three areas of employment law examined below have been much discussed throughout 2021; the last two areas involve new developments – the first on a […]

The mythical construction industry ‘open period’

by Sheryl Johnson

Just longer than the cycle for a lunar eclipse, the construction industry’s “open period” occurs under the Ontario Labour Relations Act (the “Act”) every three years for two months. Given that the majority of collective bargaining agreements (“CBAs”) in the construction industry expire on April 30, 2022, the upcoming “open period” will be from March […]

Don’t be deceived about the extreme elements of Canada’s ‘Just Transition’

by Lennie Kaplan and Ven Venkatachalam

Oil and gas supports jobs and economic growth across many industries and in all provinces and territories. Photo credit: Imperial Oil   There has been lots of talk about Canada’s so-called “Just Transition,” but so far little comprehensive analysis of its impact on the national economy and workforce. One of the most controversial elements of […]

Continued government action needed to support business recovery

by Ian McLean

Re-opening, whether partial or full, does mean automatic recovery for many business sectors. According to president and CEO of the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, government support remains a necessity for certain industries, even as the pandemic passes through what are hopefully its final stages. Photo credit: Pexels/Maria Lindsey   All governments across Canada […]

Working for Workers Act – it’s official

by Sheryl Johnson

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton with the passed Act. Photo credit: Facebook/Monte McNaughton   On Nov. 30, 2021, the Ontario government passed the Working for Workers Act (WWA) with Royal Assent expected to follow within the coming weeks.   The WWA impacts a number of employment related areas and legislation, including but not […]

What the courts have decided to date regarding workplace vaccination policies

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Pexels/Ekaterina Bolovtsova   To date we don’t have a court decision on the merits of an employer’s vaccination policy nor a court or arbitration decision addressing an employee’s termination for non-compliance under such a policy.  What we have are four court injunction decisions stemming from unionized employees attempting to prevent application of the […]

Escalation of anti-oil and gas activist tactics has frightening implications

by Shawn Logan and Deborah Jaremko

David Suzuki warns pipelines will be ‘blown up’ as opponents become more extreme. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick   Anyone who’s been paying attention to the increasingly fraught battles over oil and gas projects has seen a decided shift in the strategies employed by industry opponents. While peaceful protest by earnest citizens remains the […]

Why oil and gas matters to Ontario

by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan

Analyzing ‘on the ground’ realities for local businesses and employment.    The headline screamed: “The end of oil age” in the Economist in 2003. Fast forward 18 years and that still doesn’t make sense in many ways. The demand for oil is increasing across the globe. Even U.S. President Joe Biden is now asking OPEC to produce more oil. […]

Europe changes course as green ambitions collide with energy reality

by David Yager

European energy crisis prompts course change about revisiting the role of natural gas in green energy future. Pictured is president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen speaking at COP26, Nov. 1, 2021. Photo credit: European Commission   No part of the world has done more to tackle the climate change challenge and execute […]

Lessons from 10 years of the oil and gas divestment movement

by Gina Pappano

Canadians should reject calls to abandon oil and gas and support innovation for cleantech solutions. Pictured is the University of Toronto. U of T recently announced it will divest from direct investments in fossil fuel companies within the next 12 months. Photo credit: University of Toronto News/Nick Iwanyshyn    The global divestment movement initiated by the […]

Mandatory disclosure and voluntary vaccination policies upheld at arbitration

by Sheryl Johnson

Beyond it being Remembrance Day, November 11, 2021 is memorable for the fact that Arbitrator John Stout was the first Ontario arbitrator to allow a grievance challenging an employer’s mandatory vaccination and disclosure policy (“MVD Policy”). This case involved the Power Workers’ Union (the “PWU”) and the Electrical Safety Authority (the “Employer”). Of import, in […]

Former chairman of Walt Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International division Kevin Mayer delivers address at the D23 Expo in August 2019. Disney opened pre-subscriptions to its new streaming service at the expo. Disney+ officially launched on Nov. 12, 2019, two years ago last Friday. Photo credit: Disney    Disney is a company that can never be […]

A matter of fact: more Canadian oil could be helping the U.S. right now

by Deborah Jaremko

U.S. President Joe Biden speaking at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, Nov. 2, 2021. The U.S. should say yes to more oil from Canada and no to more oil from Russia and OPEC. Photo Credit: Associated Press   President Joe Biden says it is Russia and OPEC’s fault that consumers across the U.S. are […]

Business community asks province to reconsider timeline of minimum wage increase

by The Niagara Independent

President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce Rocco Rossi. Rossi was one of several officials representing the province’s business community to recently ask the Ford government to reconsider its expedited introduction of a $15 per hour minimum wage. Photo credit: Flickr   While some have complained that Ontario’s new $15 per hour minimum […]

Can you legislate work-life balance?

by Sheryl Johnson

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development recently introduced legislation that if passed would, among other things, force employers with over 25 employees to establish “right to disconnect” policies, such as no emails before or after work hours. But are the changes really necessary? Photo credit: Pexels/William Fortunato   The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted […]

Ten years post-Steve Jobs: is Apple still the king of innovation?

by Karin Schnarr

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs giving one of his iconic keynote addresses in 2005. Three weeks ago, Oct. 5, 2021, marked exactly 10 years since the legendary innovator’s passing. Photo credit: Getty Images/David Paul Morris   Consumers and developers alike have become accustomed to Apple’s famous keynote events with each one targeting a different element of […]

Why choking off oil and gas supply does the world more harm than good

by Deborah Jaremko

Demand to continue growing to 2050, new outlooks show.   Two new global energy outlooks released amid major shortages in Asia and Europe underscore the reality that it will take decades for the world to shift to low carbon energy. Rash policies that cut off traditional supply can have unintended consequences that threaten the ultimate goal, […]

Ontario’s QR codes – be in the ‘know’

by Sheryl Johnson

Ontario’s enhanced vaccination certificates with scannable QR codes have officially launched. While such codes may renew privacy debates, their intended purpose is to provide an easier and more convenient process for businesses to verify patrons’ vaccination status, while protecting their privacy.  Why is it “enhanced”? The QR code is built on the “SMART Health Card […]

Oil and gas good news boosts outlook in Atlantic Canada

by Mario Toneguzzi

Major project to proceed, First Nations announce plans for first-ever equity ownership offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. Photo credit: Suncor Energy   Recent developments in Atlantic Canada’s oil and gas sector are giving the region a boost, providing a more positive outlook as the industry moves out of recent challenging times. First, giant Suncor Energy and […]

The world must respect the key role of natural gas in the energy transition

by David Yager

Hard lessons are learned only after the lights go out. Photo credit: FortisBC   The world’s most important but least appreciated energy source is natural gas. While the headlines are about what is good or bad about coal, oil, nuclear power, hydroelectricity and renewables, the second largest global primary energy source is natural gas. BP’s […]

Europe’s oil from tyrannies and autocracies: 3.1 trillion Euros worth since 2005

by Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan

As energy prices rise, Europe remains dependent on imported oil from repressive states. Pictured: Germany’s Frankfurt (Main) Hauptbahnhof train station. Photo credit: Pexels/Sascha Hormel   One of the more bizarre developments in Europe in recent years has been the twin policy path whereby fossil fuels are discouraged in favour of wind and solar, but deals […]

A difficult hurdle to clear: workplace vaccination medical exemption in Ontario

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Healium   At this juncture, the temporary pandemic rules under the regulation to the Ontario Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) continue to be in place until January 1, 2022 for unpaid IDEL (Infectious Disease Emergency Leave) through the most recent extension of the “COVID-19 period”, and paid Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Benefit to December […]

Guess where Canada’s $488 billion in foreign oil came from?

by Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan

Quebec leads in oil imports from other countries despite Canada’s vast oil reserves. Pictured is downtown Montreal. Photo credit: Tourisme Montréal   In one of the great ironies of modern Canadian life, a country with plentiful oil reserves has imported $488 billion in foreign oil since 1988. This is so despite the presence of the […]

Canada’s ‘Just Transition’ exercise is a horrible idea for Indigenous communities

by Joseph Quesnel

Responsible development contributes to overall reconciliation and Indigenous self-determination. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Yader Guzman   If the federal government was serious about Indigenous economic reconciliation and self-determination, it would not engage in the “Just Transition” exercise it is contemplating. After all, observers for awhile now have concluded that responsible development contributes to overall reconciliation […]

No mere coincidence

by Sheryl Johnson

Ontario’s Attorney General Doug Downey, the minister responsible for overseeing the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC). On the day that the province’s vaccine passport system came into effect, OHRC released a statement in support of the system’s implementation in limited circumstances. Photo credit: Twitter/Douglas Downey   The Commission asserts that employers must accommodate people who […]

A customer presents proof of vaccination to enter a restaurant. Photo credit: New York Times/Victor Blue   What might have been missed in the election fervor is that on September 14, 2021 the Ontario government released the regulations (Reg 645/21) and guidance for businesses and organizations to support them in implementing proof of vaccination requirements, […]

Empty shelves at a retail store: a common sight at the beginning of the pandemic. If proactive steps aren’t taken early, persistent issues all along the supply chain could trigger a similar occurrence this holiday season. Photo credit: Getty Images/Justin Sullivan   Even though we are only in mid-September and many of us are still […]

Photo credit: Pexels/Anna Shvets   During the pandemic temporary employment standards measures were implemented that temporarily avoided the complex and difficult subject of employee constructive dismissal claims.     The complexity and difficulty arises from the fact that a constructive dismissal is made out based on two steps. First, the employer must unilaterally make a significant change […]

Photo credit: Alamy/The Economist    A new study by researchers with University College London (UCL) perpetuates the false narrative that the world can flip a switch to turn off oil and gas use and reduce emissions without devastating economies across the globe. The report, which specifically targets Canada – saying that Canada must leave more […]

Ontario’s vaccination passport – what every business should know

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Rose Magazine   On September 1, 2021, to confront the health and safety challenges arising from the Delta-driven fourth wave of the COVID-19, the Ontario government created new rules effective September 22 limiting access to certain public indoor business settings assessed to have a higher-risk of transmission because face coverings cannot always be […]

Politicians want to improve affordability? Look in the mirror

by Franco Terrazzano and Jay Goldberg

Photo credit: Pexels/Mikhail Nilov   Political parties are trying their best to convince Canadians they can make life more affordable. But if politicians want us to believe them, they need to look in the mirror. That’s because really making life more affordable means tackling the damage government does through regulation, high taxes, and run-away spending. […]

Photo credit: Pexels/Tim Mossholder   What we all feared has come to pass – COVID-19 case numbers are increasing and Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table confirmed that we are indeed bracing for a fourth wave of the pandemic. In many ways we’re ready for it. Ontario is better equipped to deal with the pandemic than […]

Mandatory vaccination workplace policies score card: what’s the score?

by Sheryl Johnson

Sun Life Financial Inc’s Canadian head office in Waterloo, Ontario. On August 17, Sun Life informed its 12,000 Canadian employees that they need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to their offices in Toronto, Montreal, and Waterloo. Sun Life is one of a plethora of employers across North America that have recently come […]

New rules for the ‘Haves’ and ‘Have Nots’ – what employers need to know

by Sheryl Johnson

The provincial government recently released new guidelines around testing and self-isolation for those potentially exposed to COVID-19, with different rules for the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Photo credit: Getty/Forbes  Under the Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act Ontario workers, employers, volunteers, non-profits and other organizations who make an “honest effort” to follow public health advice, public health guidance […]

Lush oasis with true farm-to-table cuisine creates memorable experience

by Sherri Haigh

Honsberger Estate Winery’s wood fired pizza. Supplied photo. Greeted by the “SLOW Grapes at Work” sign, I pass lush foliage to a parking lot where behind a gate, baby doll sheep and an alpaca are milling about. This is a working farm as well as home to Honsberger Estate Winery and its picturesque outdoor restaurant. […]

Comparing Ontario COVID-19 lockdowns in reducing electricity demand

by Parker Gallant

Power lines run from Ontario Power Generation in Bath, Ont. Photo credit: The Canadian Press/Lars Lagberg  Earlier this year the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator) released its 2020 stats and noted Ontario’s electricity demand fell 2.1 per cent (down 2.9 terawatt hours [TWh]) from 2019, or about what 325,000 average households would consume in a year. In […]

The skinny on mandatory testing and vaccination policies in the workplace

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Canadian Lawyer Magazine Under the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) employers must take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of workers – including protecting workers from hazards posed by infectious diseases like COVID-19.      As part of fulfilling this obligation, Ontario employers must already have in place their […]

Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo credit: No. 10 Downing Street/Andrew Parsons The British newspaper The Sun noted in a July 7, 2021 piece that the Boris Johnson government’s “Net Zero” agenda will cost £50,000 per household. That’s British pounds – which at today’s exchange rate is in the order of $86,000 Canadian. Per household! That’s just to get there. […]

Each Canadian owes $57,000 in government debt

by Franco Terrazzano

Photo credit: Pexels/Mikhail Nilov Fifty-seven thousand dollars. That’s the average amount each Canadian will owe in provincial and federal government debt by the end of the year.  It’s not just the rich or big corporations that will be mopping up this budget mess if politicians don’t take some air out of their bloated budgets.  Politicians are already […]

Is a COVID-bump emerging?

by Sheryl Johnson

Photo credit: Pexels/Sora Shimazaki  In a previous article I wrote that so far there was no traction for the argument that an additional factor – a COVID-bump – should be considered when assessing reasonable notice entitlements in Ontario. Is the Court changing its tune?     What is a COVID-bump? A COVID-bump is the argued for (by […]

Federal budget projected to go unbalanced for next half century

by The Niagara Independent

Temporary House of Commons Chamber in West Block. Federal parliamentarians will meet in the space until at least 2030, as Centre Block undergoes $5 billion worth of renovations. While a long way away, the renovations will be complete some four decades before the federal government is projected to achieve fiscal balance. Photo credit: Parliament of […]

Vaccination and reopening – the carrot or stick approach

by Ian McLean

Photo credit: Pexels/Gustavo Fring Vaccinations are the silver bullet to end COVID-19. In fact, they are the only thing to protect our businesses, families, and communities. Around the world, including Canada, virtually all new COVID deaths and hospitalizations are occurring among unvaccinated people. Where vaccines are available, there is no reason that anyone 12 or […]

Autonomous driving is finally here – or is it?

by Karin Schnarr

Last Saturday marked the 165th birthday of Nikola Tesla, the Serbian-American who invented the first alternating current motor. The company Tesla, helmed by CEO Elon Musk, took the occasion to release the long-awaited Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta Version 9 software, the next advancement in the company’s plan for autonomous driving vehicles.

Photo credit: Pexels/Tima Miroshnichenko Recall the passing of Supporting Ontario’s Recovery Act, 2020 that provided protection from COVID-19 related liabilities to Ontarians – including employers and businesses – who act within its parameters so that: (a) no proceedings may be brought or maintained against them that relate to COVID-19 related liability causes of action, regardless […]

First Nations and the petroleum industry – from conflict to cooperation

by Tom Flanagan

There are many signs of growing cooperation between First Nations and the oil and gas industry. Production of hydrocarbons on reserve land is economically important to dozens of First Nations. Although a few First Nations opposed the Northern Gateway, TMX, and Coastal Gas Link pipelines, most were willing to sign transit agreements that offered them substantial benefits in cash, employment, and contract opportunities. First Nation leaders now routinely join petroleum executives in public forums to encourage support for the industry. First Nations are even taking an ownership stake in the industry by investing in pipelines and other projects.

Economy must be fully reopened before Canada heads to the ballot box

by Ian McLean

Only in Ottawa during a pandemic would the top issue of the day be forcing an unnecessary federal election.
With the House of Commons rising for the summer last week, speculation has ramped up of the possibility of a fall federal election.

Global tax cartel is a march to higher taxes and more corporate welfare

by Franco Terrazzano

Canadian politicians like Chrystia Freeland see tax competition as a “race to the bottom.”

But for the rest of us, a global tax cartel will mean an inevitable march toward higher tax bills and more pork for companies with access to politicians.

Considerations for returning to the workplace: mandatory vaccination policies

by Sheryl Johnson

On June 30 Ontario moves to Step 2 of its phased reopening plan. Given that the province-wide vaccination rate has surpassed established targets, can employers impose mandatory vaccination policies as part of their roadmaps to reopen?

Reopening the Ontario economy requires a collective effort

by Ian McLean

As we think back to the last 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic we will remember the three lockdowns of the provincial economy in Ontario.

Is it time to move Ottawa out of Ottawa?

by Loleen Berdahl

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in much of the federal public service shifting to remote work. Ottawa invested in telecommunications and found new ways for employees to work effectively from far-flung locations.

Vaccines critical to reopening Ontario economy

by Ian McLean

There is no doubt that vaccines are the silver bullet to end the current COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, there are many effective tools for cutting risks to businesses and residents across Ontario. One of the most important tools is rapid screening kits.

Constructive dismissal in Ontario – a tale of two decisions

by Sheryl Johnson

There are two recent decisions of the Ontario Superior Court that contradict one another on the issue of whether placing an employee on IDEL (Infectious Disease Emergency Leave) amounts to common law constructive dismissal.

On June 10, Ontario’s independent Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released its spring 2021 ‘Economic and Budget Outlook’ report. The report provides an overview of the province’s current finances and an assessment of future economic outlook.

Do you ever feel good when someone won’t tell you how much something costs – something you have to pay for?

No? Me neither.

Teachers’ compensation is the cost elephant in the room

by Jay Goldberg

Ontario Liberal Party leader Steven Del Duca. Del Duca recently announced that, if elected, he would add several billion more to the province’s already bloated education budget. Photo credit: Postmedia Network/John Lappa

While thousands of Ontario teachers are receiving six-figure salaries, a budget crunch at the Ministry of Education means it’s time to bring their sky-high pay down to earth.

Short answer: Very little in law in Ontario. This is regardless of such considerations as: the timing of an employee’s termination prior to the pandemic, during, or due to the pandemic; and the actual time it takes an employee to find new employment. This is not to say that terminations during the pandemic, depending on the individual circumstances, may not have a negative public relations or brand impact, but that is another issue.

Politicians haven’t been honest about their carbon taxes

by Franco Terrazzano

When you got straight A’s on a report card, it’s a good bet you rushed home from the school bus to show your mom and dad. Maybe they even stuck it on the fridge. But if that report card was covered with F’s you probably weren’t that eager to bring it up at dinner time.

Trudeau is sticking future generations with his spending bill

by Franco Terrazzano

Canadian babies born on federal budget day 2021 had more than $28,000 of debt the moment they opened their eyes. That’s each Canadian’s share of the federal government’s $1-trillion debt. And it’s going up.

By the time those little ones blow out their candles on their fifth birthday, Ottawa projects their shares of the federal debt will be about $35,000 each.

The changing nature of work in Ontario

by Sheryl Johnson

In re-examining your workplace, consider your workplace realities and what is and will be important to address and what you should be prepared to deal with.

In doing so, consider what your employees’ current terms and conditions of employment are, relative to what they should be going forward to protect your business, reduce potential liabilities, and increase inclusion.

The party with taxpayers’ money must be put to bed

by Jay Goldberg

Ontario Premier Doug Ford promised to end the party with taxpayers’ money. Instead, he’s replaced the iPod playlist and chip dip with the booming beats of a live DJ and a laser light show.

When he was campaigning across the province during the 2018 election, Ford promised to end the government’s free-spending ways and restore fiscal responsibility to Queen’s Park.

What the United States can learn from Canada’s cannabis clarity

by Michael J. Armstrong and Paul Seaborn

The inherent contradictions of American cannabis laws seem to appear in the news almost every week.

At the state level, for example, Virginia recently became the latest jurisdiction to allow adult cannabis use, effective this July 1. But just days later, a court upheld United States federal tax laws that treat state-licensed cannabis businesses as illegal drug traffickers.

Canada’s next natural gas market – Asia, where prices are 775 per cent higher

by Mark Milke and Ven Venkatachalam

If you’ve heard that Canada should skip plans to export natural gas to Asia, including from a few anti-oil and gas academics, you’ll notice one theme that pops up: how Canadian energy firms really shouldn’t waste their time, because there’s no money in it. This reasoning is daft. If there was no profit potential, energy firms would figure it out or go broke trying. The attempt by some to “helpfully” warn off Canadian energy companies is a transparent attempt by anti-oil and gas advocates to find yet another reason to bash one of Canada’s biggest employers and providers of tax revenues to all levels of governments.

Nearly one million in taxpayer dollars used by CMHC changing name

by James Wood

Documents show the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has spent over $900,000 on a plan to change its name, even though former CEO Evan Siddall told a parliamentary committee no public funds had been spent on the project.

Taxpayers shouldn’t bailout Laurentian University

by Jay Goldberg

It’s a bad idea to keep adding water to a leaky bucket. Millions of dollars have been gushing out of Laurentian University for years. And it’s not right to plug the holes with taxpayers’ cash.

Laurentian University is facing a debt crisis of its own making, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s political opponents are calling on the government to come to its rescue.

Freeland must watch out for the quicksand of debt interest

by Franco Terrazzano

If you think the federal government’s so called historic spending on a national child-care scheme is big, wait until you hear how much the government is spending to cover its debt interest costs.
In its 2021 budget, the Justin Trudeau government is promising to spend $30 billion over five years on a national child-care program. That’s a tonne of money considering we couldn’t afford it pre-pandemic.

Federal government plans to spend more on everything with no plan to pay for it

by Franco Terrazzano

The British politician Nigel Lawson once said: “To govern is to choose – to appear to be unable to choose is to appear to be unable to govern.”

If Lawson is correct, then the only conclusion to be drawn from Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s federal budget is that the Trudeau Liberals appear to be unable to govern.

In Budget 2021, Freeland needs to get runaway federal spending under control

by Aaron Wudrick and Franco Terrazzano

As Canadians wait to see just what will be in the first federal budget in more than two years, this much is certain: that the amount of red ink will surge past any other deficit records in Canada’s modern history.

What’s less certain is whether Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland plans to put Canada on a path back to fiscal sanity, or if she simply plans a dangerous double-down on sky-high spending.

Hardworking Ontarians need help, and Ford can give it to them

by Jay Goldberg

Going for a drive is one of the few things families can do to get out of the house, but now they’re being hit with gas prices that have spiked to their highest point in two years. Filling up a minivan now costs $95.

Local chambers of commerce comment on new ‘stay-at-home’ order

by Nicholas Tibollo

Though the distribution of vaccines to Ontario’s most vulnerable populations has seen deaths due to Covid-19 fall off precipitously in the last few months, daily case rates are on the rise. In an effort to slow the precarious climb of positive transmissions, the Ford government recently made the difficult decision to thrust the entire province into its second ‘stay-at-home’ order of the pandemic.

Dining out helped feed the soul and felt safer than many shopping experiences

by Sherri Haigh

When it comes to dining out, the experience has always been just as important to me as the food.
As Niagara eases back into the “Red Zone” and restaurants slowly begin to open again, I wondered, was I ready to get back out there? The barrage of messages about staying home had been ingrained in my mind. But, after a very long stretch of cooking at home and take out, I longed for the restaurant experience.

Ontario union workers push to save critical Line 5 pipeline

by Shawn Logan

Sarnia’s Scott Archer could only shake his head when Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared an energy emergency in the midst of a severe February storm. The union leader said the declaration was particularly galling given the governor continues a fight to shut down the pipeline responsible for providing most of the heating propane for her state.

Darryl Sittler Captains a Private Sector Team Looking to Score for Ontario Businesses

by The Niagara Independent

A new private sector relief fund is being launched this week to help support as many Ontario food and beverage establishments as possible in reopening and recovering from the financial setbacks of the pandemic. Hockey legend Darryl Sittler has laced up his skates to endorse the Restaurant & Bar Support Fund, which looks to raise as much as $5 million for Ontario restaurants, bars, pubs, pool halls and sports bars.

Innovation during lockdown

by Brock Dickinson

There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has made things difficult for many small businesses over the past year. From initial shocks to our supply chains, to mandatory social distancing, to fluctuating lockdowns, it’s been a challenging year for many. But with a growing array of vaccines available, there are increasing signs of hope, and the first indications of an economic recovery.

Aerobiovac Canada hopes to see air decontamination system in Canadian hospitals

by Kevin Vallier

Dr. David Kirschman began his medical career as a spinal surgeon in Ohio. In addition to spending hours in the operating rooms trying to fix people’s spines, Kirschman has an entrepreneurial side to him. He likes to invent things that will solve problems and benefit people around the world.

Growing a flower business and giving back

by Kevin Vallier

John Van Vliet started in the floral industry back in 1993 buying and selling Ontario grown flowers. From 2006 until just last year he had a prosperous business distributing flowers into Rochester, NY and northern Pennsylvania. Thanks to the global pandemic that successful business was cut short.

Will the pandemic feed cancel culture? How to Avoid it.

by Sheryl Johnson

Given our limited social activities during the pandemic, I’d hazard to guess Ontarians are avid consumers of news and social media more than ever. Is or can this quote still be true? Or true within limits given the ease, speed, and vast distribution of a media and social media messages with the use of cancel culture on line?

Innovate Niagara alum, raises one of the largest investments in EdTech history

by Special to TNI

In 2011, Prodigy Education founders Alex Peters and Rohan Mahimker came to Innovate Niagara to explore the potential of an idea, which started as a fourth-year undergrad project.

Nearly 10 years later Prodigy, a curriculum-aligned math game for students in grades 1 through 8, has become one of the fastest-growing EdTech companies in North America with over 100 million users worldwide.

The Ontario wine industry is ‘at a fork in the road’- Part 2

by Carolyn Hurst

In Ontario the channels for Ontario Craft wineries to sell wine are constrained.
The LCBO controls all channels for pricing, sales and distribution. The Canadian consumer has been fed a constant stream of advertising and marketing from well-funded international wine companies. Antiquated alcohol legislation and the retail environment favours the large incumbents and imported wines. And Ontario wines struggle to distance themselves from a consumer perception of low quality and high cost. After decades of LCBO advertising and marketing to favour imported wines, Ontario grown VQA wines have less than 10% market share in our local domestic market. Our market is dominated by large conglomerate-made international blends presented as local product and cheap imported bulk wines are dumped into our market. Imported wine production is subsidized in their countries of origin and heavily subsidized marketing efforts place them ahead of our products on the shelves of the LCBO.

The Ontario wine industry is ‘at a fork in the road’- Part 1

by Carolyn Hurst

Every problem, challenge or impediment to the growth in our industry is caused by a complicated web of past government decisions, regulations and legislation. And at the heart of all this complexity is the collection of tax revenue. There has never been an Ontario government view of our industry as an economic growth sector or a cultural jewel. The Ontario Ministry of Finance holds all the cards and therefore, for almost 100 years the Provincial government has regarded the Ontario wine industry as nothing more than a tax opportunity.

Manufacturer moves jobs from overseas to Beamsville facility

by The Niagara Independent

The Ontario government is investing $2 million from the Ontario Together Fund to support Ophardt Hygiene in Beamsville as the local manufacturer of soap and sanitizer dispensers expands, creating 75 new jobs and retaining 96 positions while producing vital products to support the fight against COVID-19.

Biden’s canceling of Keystone a “punch in the face” to Canada

by EnergyNow Media

TC Energy Corp will eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs in coming weeks and halt work on the Keystone XL oil pipeline after U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the project’s presidential permit within hours of being sworn into office, the company said in an email to employees.
Calgary-based TC Energy confirmed the authenticity of the email, sent by KXL President Richard Prior on Wednesday and seen by Reuters.

Public will have chance to own Guinness World Record items

by Kevin Vallier

For more than four decades the iconic Clifton Hill tourist attraction, Guinness World Records Museum, entertained and mesmerized millions of visitors from all over the globe. While the popular Niagara Falls landmark has closed its doors permanently, members of the public can soon bid on some of the unique items that were once on display.

Unleashing Ontario’s auto sector

by Vic Fedeli

It’s been a banner season for Ontario’s auto industry and its workers. Over several months, we’ve seen more than $5 billion in investments, with upgrades and new technologies for facilities across the province. These investments will be critical to the long-term sustainability of the sector and will help to bolster our vibrant auto parts supply chain, meaning a positive outlook for the workers and their families who rely on the good jobs the auto industry provides.

Protecting Ontarians contributing to Ontario’s recovery from the pandemic

by Sheryl Johnson

On Nov. 20, 2020, the Government of Ontario Bill 218, Supporting Ontario’s Recovery and Municipal Elections Act, 2020 came into force. Under Schedule 1 of the Act retroactive protection against civil liability from March 17, 2020 has expressly been provided to any ”person” who makes a “good faith effort” to follow public health guidance and laws relating to COVID-19.

Blackberry Stock Price Rollercoaster Continues

by The Niagara Independent

The once shining star of the Canadian tech sector Blackberry saw its stock price on a whirlwind tour over the past few months.
Following a late 2020 rally of 37 per cent on the news of an inked deal between Blackberry and Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Jeff Bezos’, its price has since fell by 23 per cent following underwhelming third quarter fiscal 2020 numbers.

No 50 Shades of Grey – Just 2

by Sheryl Johnson

Where are we at so far in 2021?
As likely everyone is aware, when Ontario Regulation 780/20 came into effect on Dec. 26, 2020, Ontario entered the “Grey Zone” – aka our second province-wide lockdown. Southern Ontario (27 regions including Niagara) for 28-days and Northern Ontario for 14-days (7 regions) if all goes to plan.

It’s been a persistent narrative that opponents of Canada’s oil and gas industry eagerly wield even as a growing number of First Nations turn to energy projects to carve out brighter futures for their communities.

Businesses facing massive insurance premium hikes

by Kevin Vallier

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has sounded the alarm bells that businesses of all sizes, but particularly small businesses, were being hit with yet another body blow during an already horrific year.

Anti-Trust lawsuit filed against Facebook by US federal and state regulators

by The Niagara Independent

The popular and omnipresent social media platform Facebook is facing two anti-trust lawsuits for allegedly eliminating any competition that may threaten Facebook’s overwhelming supremacy within the social media environment.


  • Politics

  • Sports

  • Business