Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2020

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse 23 appealing than wages, Koschinsky adds. "Employers need to focus on the fact that it was an interim measure in a very unique situation and, once those emergent issues dissipated, they were able to require their workers to return," says Tracy Bergeron Lucha, a partner at Dickinson Wright LLP. Health and safety issues are a significant concern for many employees. "If an employee comes back in and appropriate measures haven't been taken to ensure the safety of the workplace, they can refuse to work just as they could before," says Koschinsky. "Employers need to have a comprehensive plan in place that they can share with employees to show that they are taking all of the steps required." Six months since Ontario schools closed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students prepared to return to class- rooms in September, amid much controversy and debate about the health and safety implications. Leola Pon, general counsel, executive officer, legal at the Toronto District School Board, is considering a multitude of labour and employment laws and legislations. "All the key legislation that applies to school boards in terms of health and safety is in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and, in a school context, we are both an employer and a service provider, so it's very complex and very dynamic," says Pon. The act includes a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure the health and safety of staff members. It also has work refusal provisions that may come into play at a time when some teachers and other school staff are concerned about safety. W r o n g f u l D i s m i s s a l • E m p l o y m E n t l a W • H u m a n r i g H t s p o s t E m p l o y m E n t C o m p E t i t i o n • C i v i l l i t i g a t i o n • a p p E l l a t E a D v o C a C y • D i s a b i l i t y 82 Scollard Street, Toronto, Canada, M5R 1G2 | Contact Stacey Ball at (416) 921-7997 ext. 225 or srball@82scollard.com www.wrongfuldismissal.ca ball profEssional Corporation Excellence in Employment & Labour Law • Counsel in Leading Cases | Author of Leading Treatise • Referrals on behalf of employees and employers respected "There may be some work refusals where a teacher or other staff member has a real or irrational fear of contracting the disease at school, so that's something we're going to have to deal with," says Pon. Pon is also considering other pieces of "There may be some work refusals where a teacher or other staff member has a real or irrational fear of contracting the disease at school, so that's something we're going to have to deal with." Leola Pon, Toronto District School Board

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