Canadian Lawyer

February 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 10 ATLANTIC UPDATE NEWS BRIEFS Employers must be clear on 'just-cause' firings N.B. decision highlights the need for careful wording on for-cause termination if severance is to be upheld A RECENT New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision, which ruled that a fired employee should receive 24 months' pay as compensa- tion instead of the four weeks he was initially offered, is a reminder to employers to be careful in wording contracts and termination letters, employment lawyers say. In Abrams v RTO Asset Management, RTO argued that it had cause to terminate employee James Abrams and said he was compensated with four weeks of wages as required under his employment agreement. However, the termi- nation letter that Abrams was given said he was not being fired for cause. The termination letter was the only docu- ment relied on by RTO to meet the written notice required under the Employment Standards Act. As a result, the New Brunswick Court of Appeal ruled it must conclude that Abrams' employment could only have been terminated without cause and compensate him accordingly. If the dismissal of Abrams was done on a without-cause basis, "cause is evidently not part of the equation" in the letter, wrote N.S. adds 39 sex offender registration sites Nova Scotia has added 39 sex offender registration sites as a part of its commitment to promoting safety among its communities and assisting in the conduct of investigations. The province now has a total of 58 registration sites, which include the municipal police agencies of Cape Breton Regional Police, Halifax Regional Police and the New Glasgow Regional Police. This change aims to support police in ensuring compliance and in accessing up-to-date information about registered sex offenders, said Mark Furey, Nova Scotia's justice minister and attorney general. Domestic violence training proposed for N.B. lawyers The Domestic Violence Death Review Committee in New Brunswick has proposed that the Law Society of New Brunswick include a course for articling students seeking admittance. It also proposes a requirement that every member of the law society complete a course on domestic violence as part of mandatory professional development. Other recommendations of the review committee include domestic violence education and training to front-line employees, judges, Crown prosecutors, family and criminal court lawyers and other lawyers who may represent victims, perpetrators and child victims exposed to domestic or intimate partner violence. P.E.I. whistleblower legislation strengthened Prince Edward Island has passed legislation strengthening the protection of whistleblowers. An Act to Amend the Employment Standards Act (No.4), which received royal assent in July, prohibits employers from discriminating against or taking reprisal on employees who report or threaten to report to a lawful authority an actual or potential offence by the employer. The authority could be a police or law enforcement agency or a direct or indirect supervisor of the employee. An exception to this law can be made if the employee's report is found to be frivolous or vexatious. James Igloliorte to contribute to N.L. missing persons inquiry James Igloliorte, a retired judge of the Provincial Court of Newfoundland and Labrador, will contribute to the province's Inquiry into Ground Search and Rescue for Lost and Missing Persons in Newfoundland and Labrador. Igloliorte has served as the province's Child and Youth Advocate, as commissioner for the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and as Labrador director with the Innu Healing Foundation. He currently is a board member of the McLean Day Schools Settlement Corporation. His work for the search and rescue inquiry will investigate whether the current system has gaps that need to be addressed. N.B. introduces service for recalculating child support New Brunswick has introduced new family law legislation that establishes a provincial recalculation service for child support orders. Bill 7 (An Act Respecting the Family Law Act) provides a way to adjust child support orders to reflect changes in income without needing to appear in court. The new provincial service will simplify the process for recalculating child support orders and reduce costs of those involved and the burden on the resources of courts, said N.B. Justice and Public Safety Minister Hugh Flemming.

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