ADM2337 – Chapter 2
The Changing Legal Emphasis: From Compliance to Valuing Diversity
Importance of Understanding the Legal Environment
- Limited potential liability
o (Employers don’t want any lawsuits against them because of actions
they have taken).
- Doing the right thing
- Underlining shared responsibility.
Multiple Legal Jurisdictions for Employment/Labour Law
- Provincial/territorial employment laws govern 90% of Canadian workers
- Federal laws govern 10% of workers - the federal civil, Crown corporations
and agencies, transportation (via. Rail), banking and communications.
Legal Framework for Employment law in Canada
- Constitutional law (from the Constitution act):
o Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Legislated Acts of Parliament
o Laws that regulate some areas of HR.
o Example: Income Tax Act, Occupational Health & Safety Acts
- Regulations (for legislate acts)
o Rules to aid in the interpretation of laws – Regulatory bodies such as
the Human Rights Commissions.
- Common Law
o Judicial precedents (they don’t go through the parliament, they come
from the courts).
- Contract law
o Collective agreements/employment contract.
Major Forms of Employment Legislation
- Employment /Labour Standards Legislation
o Establish minimum employee entitlements pertaining to:
Paid Holidays and Vacation
Parenting and adoption leaves
Bereavement and compassionate care leave
o Set limit on maximum number of work hours permitted per day or
o Principle of equal pay for equal work:
Cannot pay male and female workers differently if performing
the same work.
- Legislation Protecting Human Rights
o Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982)
Guarantees fundamental freedoms to all Canadians
Section 15 guarantees the right to:
Equal protection and equal benefits of the law without
discrimination, and in particular, without
discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin,
colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.
The charter applies to all levels of government
o Distinction, exclusion or preference based on a prohibited ground
which nullifies or impairs a person’s rights to full and equal
recognition and exercise of human rights and freedoms.
o Broad application
o All provinces and territories have legislation which prohibits
discrimination on a number of grounds.
*There are 14 Jurisdictions (10 provinces, 3 territories, Federal)*
- During a job interview, is it OK to ask if a candidate is married when you are
just curious and have no intention to discriminate?
o No it is not OK to ask a candidate if they are married. Intention doesn’t
have anything to do with it, but you can be charged for discrimination
because it is not related to the job.
- Is it OK to ask a candidate for his/her age because, if the candidate is hired,
this information will be needed for filling out health insurance forms?
o Only ask questions you need to ask that are relevant in the interview.
They can ask the person to fill out the form once they are hired.
Systemic vs. Intentional
- Systemic (or Unintentional):
o Employment criteria that have the effect of discriminating on
prohibited grounds but are not used with the intent to discriminate.
o Policies or practices (example: height requirements for flight
attendants to reach the overhead bins. These requirements are
important, but can be discriminative to other groups, so they need to
specify the reasons.)
- Intentional: Deliberate use of race, religion or other prohibited criteria in
Prima Facie: Means you need to show proof.
Examples Figure 2.2