“No discrimination on the basis of family status” by Carmela Allevato

December 17, 2014

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I had occasion to participate on a panel at the Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector 2014 Conference organized by Lancaster House. The panel, “What’s on the Bargaining Table: Emerging Issues, Creative Solutions”, canvassed a number of topics including pensions, health and welfare benefits and work-life balance. The obligation to accommodate employees on the basis […]

Posted in: Uncategorized

Ghomeshi v CBC – Can the Courts Hear His Claim?

October 27, 2014

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Aside from the social media buzz that the public dispute between Jian Ghomeshi and the CBC has generated, Ghomeshi’s announcement that he will sue his former employer for $50 million, claiming “among other things, breach of confidence and bad faith” raises an interesting legal question: Do the courts have the jurisdiction to hear Ghomeshi’s claim? […]

Posted in: Law

“Fair” Elections Act – Government Backing Down on Disenfranchising Canadians?

April 2, 2014

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I was legal counsel in a challenge to the introduction of mandatory Voter ID in Canadian federal elections.  We argued that the government needed to provide a fail-safe mechanism to protect people’s right to vote.  We said that people without the necessary ID should be able to swear a declaration confirming their identity and residence.  […]

Posted in: Law, Politics, Uncategorized

Supreme Court confirms union’s right to employee contact information

February 22, 2014

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A few days ago, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a decision confirming a union’s right to personal contact information about the people it represents, in Bernard v. AG of Canada and PIPSC Under federal legislation, Elizabeth Bernard was able to opt out of membership in the union representing her government service bargaining unit, […]

Posted in: Law

Disclipline Investigation – when the police are also involved

February 9, 2014

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Some of the trickiest situations unions face when representing members facing disciplinary investigations by their employers arise where the same activity has attracted the attention of the police.  That is because the rules surrounding police investigations and workplace investigations are incompatible. One of our most fundamental democratic rights, enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights […]

Posted in: Law

Utility Regulation Demystified – Part 2, the Energy Policy Dilemma

January 26, 2014

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The energy sector is one of the most complex and difficult areas of policy in the world today.  Energy policy-makers and regulators face a three-cornered dilemma. The imperatives of each corner tend to defeat the others. The competing objectives are: 1.  maintaining sufficient reliable energy supply 2.  maintaining affordability and accessibility 3.  mitigating climate change […]

Utility Regulation Demystified – Part 1, Origins and Basic Principles

January 25, 2014

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Despite a wave of deregulation which came into vogue in the early 1980’s, many important services and systems we all rely upon are overseen by regulatory agencies and tribunals who set the prices for services, determine minimum service standards, and approve major contracts, projects and capital investments.  Here in British Columbia, for example, our electricity […]