Pay Attention to the Fine Print – Chattels

Have you heard of horror stories that upon purchase of a new home, a couple may encounter that there are no appliances. Not just a microwave or toaster oven, but the fridge, range, washer and dryer, all gone?

It happens all the time.

You have to declare in the sale what items are included with the purchase, they are called chattels.

Continue reading Pay Attention to the Fine Print – Chattels

On the Hook for Debts of an Estate?

When someone leaves you some cash, land, a turtle, behind in their will, who is on the hook for any outstanding debts?

It goes without saying, nowadays there are fewer and fewer people retiring with a mound of cash. Some of our elderly folks need to work well into their seventies, and even then they’ll end up racking up debt to stay afloat.

In a will a Executor is appointed over the estate to divvy everything up. But what happens when you have more debts than assets? Continue reading On the Hook for Debts of an Estate?

General vs. Specific Practices

There’s a lot to be said about specific law practices. In fact, there are few ‘general’ practices. Unlike the trades, lawyers typically aren’t ‘Jack of all Trades’. One guy doesn’t specialize in all forms of law. Certainly, there is a general knowledge of other areas, but specialization is very real and something you should pay attention to when selecting an attorney. just going with someone’s cousin Guido doesn’t mean you’re a shoe in for success.

Continue reading General vs. Specific Practices

Confidential Employees – Collective Bargaining

Confidential employees are excluded from collective bargaining because they might be able to give the union access to matters that the employers do not wish them to know about such as bargaing strategy, grievances, etc. (Canadian Union of Bank Employees v. Nova Scotia). That being said, confidential employees will only be excluded if there is a demonstrated conflict of interest (see test).

Managers and Collective Bargaining

Managers are usually excluded from collective bargaining as it is a fundamental premise of labour law that there is a conflict of interest between management and workers (Children’s Aid Society). The most important factors in determining if an individual is a manager are: the power to discipline, the power to hire, promote, demote, and grant wage increases (Children’s Aid). In addition we look to see the discretion exercised by these individuals (Quebec Telephone), being sure to distinguish whether the discretion exercised is “real” discretion, or just implementation of a rubric or policy manual.

Professional and Public Employees – Collective Bargaining

Some statutes exclude certain professional employees from collective bargaining, on the basis that these employees already enjoy a privileged economic position. Traditionally, public employees were excluded from collective bargaining but nowadays we see more public sector employees involved in collective bargaining. Often public employees are covered by special collective bargaining statutes which put certain restricts on the subject matter of collective bargaining.

Collective Bargaining – Excluded Employees

As per labour relations legislation, some employees are excluded from collective bargaining. In the past this exclusion has survived Charter scrutiny as it has been held that the freedom of association and freedom of speech do not guarantee a right to collectively bargain. However, newer case law seems to suggest that there is a Charter protected right to collectively bargain. In Health Services, it was held that the Charter includes a procedural right to collectively bargain, but does not guarantee particular objectives. Further, the Charter does not protect all aspects of associational activity, only those which constitute a substantial interference with associational activity. Notably, Bill 5 in SK designates certain employees as “essential services”, and restricts their rights to collectively bargain.

STATUS UNDER COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

Introduction (In a Canadian Context)

Collective bargaining legislation determines who is entitled to bargain collectively and who is excluded. Notably, managers, independent contractors, public workers, privileged employees, confidential employees, and whomever else the statute says so may be excluded. This gives rise to the threshold question of “who is an employee”? The two most commonly cited tests are the Montreal Locomotive Test and the “purposive” aka Hearst test.