Call to Learn How We Can Help 613-701-0898 | 866-252-0670
Vice & Hunter LLP

Ottawa Employment, Elder and Municipal Law Blog

New cases of elder abuse in Ottawa nursing homes

A comprehensive series of investigative articles last year by the Ottawa Citizen showed rampant cases of abuse in most of the city's nursing homes -- some resulting in death. It seems not much has changed at these homes in 2018. The newspaper in Ontario's capital had a look at reports from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and has found that 16 of the city's 27 long-term care facilities have received infractions regarding elder abuse in the first few months of 2018.

The 83 infractions run the gamut -- from those less serious like incomplete record keeping to those which are severe, like residents abusing other residents. There were 16 cases of abuse reported -- four in which residents' care was cited prior to the residents' deaths. Many incidents of abuse allegedly go unreported, so accurate documentation is often difficult to come by. In one of these facilities, one particular resident was referred to as having sexually abused other residents numerous times, but ministry reports refer only to residents by a number due to privacy issues. 

Estate beneficiary advice: The executor role not easy

There are instances when an executor of a will is also a beneficiary of the will. The duties of an executor in Ontario aren't for the faint of heart. There are many things associated with the task and having some estate beneficiary advice to move forward may help the process. When the executor is the adult child of the testator -- or the one who has written the will -- it can be doubly stressful since there may be other family members to appease as well.

There is no sugar-coating it. An executor's duties can be a chore, and it is sometimes a job in itself and for an executor who is also grieving. It can be a lot to handle.  The person so named should be prepared to invest some time in accomplishing all the tasks and would do well to keep copious and complete records of all transactions. With new estate rules in Ontario, executors must now complete a seven-page Estate Information Return that asks for many details regarding taxes, bank accounts and assets.

Employee rights: Can a former employee sue a past employer?

There are certain instances when employees could launch litigation against their former employers. When it comes to employee rights in Ontario, if an employee was fired he or she may have grounds to sue -- unless the employee was a union member. Union members should talk to a union steward or have a look at the collective agreement.

If the reason for the lawsuit is in regard to wages, an employee must either sue in a court of law or approach the Ontario Ministry of Labour (OML) with an employment standards claim. He or she can't do both. Small Claims Court may be an option if an employee is trying to recoup $25,000 or less from a past employer, whereas if it is more than that, the case could be headed to Superior Court.

Help is available for the fight against wrongful termination

The last thing an Ontario worker wants is to be dismissed from his or her employment. Most people are entirely reliant on their salaries, and the prospect of not earning an income while seeking a new job could cause severe anxiety. However, there are steps that can be taken when there is evidence of wrongful termination.

Under the Employment Standards Act, employers must give employees fair warning, and only just cause is a valid reason for instant dismissal. That is meant to cover an inexcusable act such as embezzlement, fraud or similar circumstances. However, the employer must prove such misconduct. Otherwise, the norm is to give adequate notice or severance pay equal to one month's income for every year in the company's employ.

What to look for before signing employment contracts

Employers often want their employees to sign a contract. But before doing so, employees might be wise to read everything contained in the contract, including the fine print. No employees in Ontario should ever feel pressured into signing any documents presented to them by employers and in fact, they have every right to get a lawyer to look over any employment contracts if they so choose.

An employment contract should include when a job begins and when it ends. The language should indicate if the employee is terminated that it is for just cause. In terms of a pay rate -- it should be clearly defined in the contract. It should spell out if the employee could qualify for any bonuses and how that would play out. Benefits should also be stated, if there are any.

Ontario employee rights: Getting sacked at work

Employees never want to be called into the boss's office when things haven't been going so well at work. No one enjoys the moment when one is informed that he or she is fired. Those in Ontario who find themselves in such situations be wondering what their employee rights are. When it comes to getting the ax, an employer doesn't have to give a reason as to why.

What employers do need to do is to give a terminated employee a written notice of termination, meaning they can tell an employee ahead of time the individual will be let go and when, or by letting an employee go immediately and giving him or her the equivalent amount of pay had the worker been told beforehand. It is crucial that an employee knows his or her rights since there are some reasons for which an employee can't be fired, according to the Employment Standards Act (ESA). Some of those reasons include making a Ministry of Labour complaint against an employer, taking pregnancy leave and returning to work afterwards, asking an employer to obey the laws within the ESA or refusing to sign any agreement which is against an employee's rights.

Ontario elder abuse: Residents abusing residents in nursing homes

Family members would like to think when their loved one has to move to a nursing home, that he or she will be safe. The truth is, if a resident isn't being abused by a staff member, he or she may be on the receiving end of abuse by another resident. Elder abuse in Ontario can be caused by the elderly themselves.

A recent in-depth investigation by the CBC shows that resident-on-resident abuse is escalating in Ontario's nursing homes. The family of a man who died in one of these homes recently obtained video footage of an incident in which their loved one was attacked by another resident. The home told the deceased man's family he had broken his hip by falling twice. 

What are employee rights in Ontario when a co-worker is a bigot?

Most people in the workplace try to get along with one another. But when one of those co-workers is an alleged bigot or racist and makes comments that make others uncomfortable, employee rights in Ontario could be infringed upon. Often, these sorts of people have no filters and risk offending their co-workers with inappropriate remarks that are either racist, sexist or show a high level of intolerance of people's differences.

If an employee finds him or herself in this situation, it makes sense  to speak to a manager because Ontario employers, by law, must have policies in place that clearly prohibit any sort of racism or sexism in the workplace. More often than not, however, the employees making the untoward comments may not even be aware they're doing anything wrong since this kind of conduct may have been a part of their environment their entire lives and so don't understand the incorrectness of what they say or do. This doesn't excuse their actions, however.

Ontario estate beneficiary advice: Using inherited money well

People who spend hours fashioning comprehensive estate plans likely want to make sure that the person or persons to whomever they leave their financial assets use them well. How to make the best use of inheritance funds in Ontario is one of the most important pieces of estate beneficiary advice available. People who are left a good chunk of money can plan wisely for their retirement years.

Making hasty decisions about what to do with the money could be the worst move possible. Getting a sizable inheritance may have come as a surprise, so time is needed just to sit back and think about things, including the financial future. Being on the receiving end of an inheritance may mean that any debts owing could be paid, especially those carrying hefty interest rates. It could also mean breathing easier financially.

From tipping to breaks: What the law says about employee rights

All workers have certain rights under the law. But what do those laws say exactly about employee rights in Ontario? There are many things of which many people are probably unaware -- rules that govern everything from tips to breaks and everything in between. Speaking of tips, if an employer says that employees aren't allowed to accept tips, that's perfectly fine as long as the employer makes it clear to the employees it's not allowed. 

Although the Employment Standards Act (ESA) doesn't say which businesses can or can't accept tipping, it does regulate the tips employees do get. Employers aren't allowed to take money from employees' tips, take their tips entirely or make them give tips back. Contrary to what may be popular opinion, an employer doesn't have to give employees a paid lunch, but must give a minimum half hour break. Generally, employers aren't mandated to give employees breaks, other than to eat.