Category Archives: The Firm

Sebastien Anderson that the Labour Rights Law Office had been selected for the award, the Michael Walsh, President, said, “Mr. Anderson, your involvement and profile in the legal community reflects the highest values and commitment to the profession.

Anthony Moffatt has accepted our offer to join the Firm as an Associate Lawyer!

We are pleased to announce that Anthony Moffatt has accepted our offer to join the Firm as an Associate Lawyer commencing Wednesday, 3 January 2019. Anthony obtained his LL.B. from UBC in 2006. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2007, and was called to the BC Bar in 2010. Since 2011 he has worked as Senior Policy and Legal Advisor for WorkSafeBC, where he led his department to make complex policy and regulation amendments.

Prior to WorkSafeBC, Anthony practiced in Labour and Employment Law at Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP (now Norton Rose). Prior to that, he practiced in Employment and Labour Law at Ogilvy Renaud LLP, in their Ottawa Office (also now Norton Rose). Following law school, Anthony articled with McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Ottawa. Anthony brings with him previous sales and marketing experience, which he looks forward to applying with the firm.

Please join me in giving Anthony a very warm welcome to the Firm.

What are the Benefits of Employment Insurance?

Benefits of Employment Insurance

In Canada, employment insurance (EI) is operated by the government and provides temporary income assistance for eligible employees who cannot work.  There are different types of benefits offered through EI in Canada including regular benefits and special benefits.  Of course, as with any kind of insurance, there are specific eligibility requirements.   Let’s take a moment to review the eligibility criteria as well as the types of benefits of employment insurance that are available to workers in Canada.

Ultimately, there are several eligibility requirements for EI in Canada.  First, you must be employed in insurable employment – which means you and/or your employer have been contributing to EI premiums.  Next, you can only collect EI regular benefits if you have lost a job through no fault of your own.  Once you have been off work and not receiving pay for at least seven consecutive days, you can apply for EI.  However, in order to qualify, you must have worked between 420 and 700 insurable hours in the 52-week period before your claim starts.  Finally, you must be ready, willing and capable of working while you’re collecting benefits, and you must also be actively seeking work to qualify.  Nevertheless, there are some special exceptions for eligibility so if you are not certain of your eligibility status, you should apply for benefits regardless.

So then, speaking of benefits, what are the benefits of employment insurance in Canada?  Essentially, EI represents temporary income assistance for individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own.  The exact amount of income assistance depends on your earnings.  The basic EI rate is about 55% of your average weekly income with a maximum amount of $547/week.  Also depending on the length of your employment, you may be eligible to receive EI benefits for a period of 14 weeks to a maximum of 45 weeks.  The length of time you can collect benefits is also determined by the unemployment rate in your area.  Additionally, a family supplement is available to individuals with children and a spouse (who receives the Canada Child Benefit) if their net family income is below $25,921 per year.  This supplement can bump your EI benefits up to as much as 80% of your average weekly income, but this figure also depends on your net family income.

Finally, EI benefits are also available to certain individuals who are off work because of sickness.  You may qualify for temporary income assistance through EI if you cannot work because of sickness, injury, or quarantine.  Typically, the maximum length of eligibility for sickness benefits is 15 weeks.  Also, you might be surprised to learn that maternity and paternity benefits through the government are also part of your EI benefits.

RCMP lawsuit that alleged sexist, racist workplace settled

RCMP lawsuit that alleged sexist, racist workplace settled

The RCMP officer who has settled her claim says she is now able to move forward in a better work environment. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

There has been a settlement in the case of a Vancouver Island RCMP officer who alleged a supervisor made derogatory comments against women and First Nations people.

Labour Rights Law Office represented Cpl. Swann, but we are not at liberty to discuss the terms of the settlement.

The statement of claim filed in August 2017 named several supervisors, including the former commanding officer of British Columbia’s E-Division, claiming they did nothing to stop the harassment.

Cpl. Jill Swann said she could not reveal the terms of the settlement because she signed a non-disclosure agreement.

In a phone interview this week, she said she was relieved it’s behind her.

“You’re just happy it’s been resolved, that you can close the door on it and move forward,”  Swann said.

“And that’s what I want to do.”

She confirmed that the case was resolved at the end of July, almost a year after it was filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

‘There’s great people’

Swann, a  22-year RCMP veteran who had been off work for seven months in 2015 because of the harassment she faced, said she loved her work.

“It’s a great job and there’s great people,” Swann said, adding that there are new supervisors and management who “get it.”

“We have a process in place in the organization and when it works, it works very well. It’s just everybody has to know what the process is,” she said.

However, like many RCMP members who have spoken out about harassment or taken court action, Swann says she is still contacted by women who have had bad experiences seeking help and insight.

Swann’s suit claimed her immediate boss, Cpl. Roger Collin, called her names like “meth face” after she had some facial surgery, and “Big Red Machine” referring to her hair and weight gain.

Swann also claimed he often made derogatory comments about Indigenous people. Her husband — also an officer with the RCMP —  and children are Métis.

And she alleged Collin sent her a box of condoms in a bouquet of flowers when she gave birth to her youngest child, and also drew a bull’s-eye target symbol on her soft body armour along with some derogatory names.

The suit alleged that the RCMP “failed to provide … Swann with a safe workplace, free from all forms of harassment and intimidation,” contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canada Labour Code, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the RCMP’s own rules.

Contacted by CBC News, now retired Cpl. Roger Collin said he had no information and nothing to say but his signature is on the settlement document filed this week.

The RCMP also declined comment.

In an email, E-Division spokesperson Staff Sgt. Annie Linteau wrote:  “We were advised by legal that a Consent Dismissal Order was entered and approved by the Court on September 18, 2018. We have no additional information that we can provide.”


Choosing an Employment Lawyer

Choosing an Employment Lawyer

Employees and employers alike sometimes require the services of an employment lawyer.  Whether you are negotiating an employment contract, dealing with the difficult circumstances around a possible wrongful dismissal, or even managing the nuances of a human rights complaint, employment lawyers offer a breadth of expertise that may effectively serve employees as well as employers.  Indeed, just as there are a wide variety of services provided by employment lawyers, there are a wide variety of individuals from a wide range of sectors who seek these services.  So, how do you ensure that you are choosing the right employment lawyer?

Whether you are a freelancer, contractor, entrepreneur, employee, or business owner, the process of selecting an employment lawyer will generally follow similar stages.  First, you want to identify potential employment lawyers and set up an initial meeting.  But then, even finding lawyers can be a trick – you can search online or ask friends, family, and colleagues.  Ideally, you want to gather some information about the services the employment lawyer provides, and the quality of that service and then narrow your search to your top candidates.

After identifying your preferred candidates, you’ll arrange an initial consultation to discuss your concerns and the lawyer’s expertise and past experience.  Always make sure to meet with the lawyer who will ultimately take on your case.  During this initial meeting, you can get a sense of the employment lawyer’s professionalism and communication style to determine if it’s a good fit for you.  Additionally, you should ask about the cost of services, the lawyer’s opinion about the likely outcome and action plans, as well as potential timelines for your case.

You may also want to ask for references from your employment lawyer.  They may be able to offer testimonials or even put you in touch with previous clients who would be willing to speak to their experience with that lawyer.  However, given confidentiality rules, you may not always be able to get in touch with past clients, which is why it is always advisable to seek recommendations from friends and colleagues first.

Next, you want to get a better sense of the lawyer’s experience.  You can ask about how long they have been practicing employment law and the kinds of cases they have handled in the past.  Even ask the employment lawyer about their rate of success.  Speaking again about lawyer’s fees, you can also get more information about how you will need to pay the fees (up-front, at the end of service, or monthly bills, for example).

Finally, consider logistical factors such as the lawyer’s location and the size of their firm.  Ideally, you want to work with a lawyer that is local and accessible to you.  And while you may have preferences between working with a large firm with extensive expertise, smaller and medium-sized firms often develop closer relationships with their clients.

Dismissal Without Cause in BC

Dismissal Without Cause in BC

As an employee in British Columbia (BC), it is important to know your rights.  While there are very few protections from dismissal without cause in BC, there are still several entitlements that ensure employers are at least somewhat considerate in their decisions to terminate employment.  Unless you have a specific employment contract, the BC Employment Standards Act outlines all the conditions of employment in this province, and that includes the rules and regulations associated with dismissal.

First, let’s talk about the bad news.  Under the BC Employment Standards Act, any employer may terminate employment at any time for any reason.  This means there is no real case for dismissal without cause in BC unless you have an employment contract that outlines a broader scope of rights than the BC Employment Standards Act.

That being said, the vast majority of employees are entitled to some kind of compensation when their employment is terminated.  In order to be eligible for compensation in BC, an employee must have completed three consecutive months of employment.  Moreover, compensation is only provided in lieu of advance written notice of termination from the employer.

So then, if you’ve been employed for three or more months with the same company and you’re terminated without written notice, your employer must provide financial compensation.  All employees are entitled to one week’s pay after three consecutive months of employment, two weeks’ pay after 12 consecutive months of employment, and three weeks’ pay plus one week for each additional year after three consecutive years of employment.  Compensation in BC is maxed out at 8 weeks’ compensation.

However, it is important that employees in the province know that they are not entitled to compensation if employers provide advance written notice of termination providing this notice is equal to the number of weeks’ compensation to which the employee is entitled.  For example, if you have been employed with a company for three consecutive years, they must provide written notice 3 weeks in advance of the termination date.

You may also not be eligible for compensation under the following conditions:

  • Dismissal with just cause,
  • Termination of an on-call or temporary assignment,
  • The end of contracted employment,
  • The end of a defined term of employment,
  • Teachers employed by a board of school trustees.

Still, there are other factors covered by common law that may influence the amount of compensation or written notice to which an employee is entitled.  For example, length of service, employee age, position held, and even availability of similar employment may impact compensation.  If you feel you’ve been dismissed without just cause and you’re unsure of your rights, contact an employment lawyer to ensure you are compensated appropriately.

We are Pleased to Announce We Have Won Several Awards in 2017

awards 2017

The Worldwide Financial Advisor Awards Magazine is an internationally acknowledged online magazine based in the United Kingdom.  With readership exceeding 74,000 lawyers, advisers, consultants, and executives per issue representing 92,500 online subscriptions and subscribers in 159 countries, Worldwide Financial Advisor Awards Magazine is dedicated to recognizing the best professional and financial institutions around the world.

2017-AI-awardWith great success, the magazine published a Financial Monthly Global Awards 2016– Labour & Employment Lawyer of the Year issue wherein they recognized us for global leadership and expertise among the highest quality lawyers around the world.  Additionally, The Lawyers Worldwide Awards Magazine  presented us with the Lawyers Worldwide Awards Super Lawyers 2017 celebrating prolific law firms that stand for excellence and tenacity, thereby positioning themselves as the preeminent firms in their areas of specialization.


Given the prestige of these awards, we are proud to announce that we have won several awards in the Lawyers Worldwide Super Lawyers 2017 campaign.  Through a process that involves evaluation by a panel of highly respected judges, as well as feedback from the readership of Lawyers Worldwide Awards Magazine, we were nominated in the category representing Labour and Employment Law Firms.  Along with our many esteemed competitors, our firm was assessed on factors such as client retention, speed of response, and ability to manage complex cases while maintaining the utmost in client satisfaction and comfort.  Indeed, these awards are presented to firms that navigate all manner of multifaceted cases while ensuring clients are treated with unparalleled respect and provided uncompromised support.

seal - awards 2017As such, we are now rated one of the Top 3 Employment Lawyers in Coquitlam, BC.  Our efforts to consistently provide exceptional law services to our clients throughout Coquitlam and the Lower Mainland have been validated by not only our clients, but now by our international community. This is no small feat.  Utilizing a 50-point inspection process, our firm excelled across categories including reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, and cost.

Yet, as an even greater tribute our firm was also recognized by Global 100 as Employment and Labour Lawyer of the Year – Canada 2017.  This is certainly a humbling prize, and one that demands we recognize our amazing community of clients, as well as our international colleagues.  As an Employment Law Firm, we know the stress and uncertainty that many of our client’s face, and while our main goal is to provide quality services and the best possible support in their times of need, we feel very privileged to receive this award.  We take it as a representation of our dedication to the individualized needs of each of our clients and our determination to serve them each with excellence and respect.

Finally, we are incredibly honoured to be acknowledged by the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association with their Innovative Workplace Award.  Recognizing creative leadership and innovation in the workplace, we are pleased to represent the forefront of virtual law practice by receiving this award.  As one of the first virtual law firms awarded, the Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch applauds our use of user-friendly, reliable technology in delivering efficient, affordable, quality legal services to a wide range of clients in British Columbia.  Through the use of pioneering technology, we have been selected for providing exceptional services to clients even in remote locations where they normally would not benefit from access to labour or human rights legal services.  Combining creative solutions and leadership to promote innovation in the practice of law are the foundations that allowed us to win the Innovative Workplace Award – a prestigious honour that we very graciously accept.

Sebastien Anderson – Finance Monthly 2016 Global Awards Winner


Finance Monthly Magazine is pleased to announce that its 2016 Global Awards edition has now been published.

Every year Finance Monthly Global Awards celebrate the success of financial organisations and advisors worldwide who have performed in the highest level possible.

When tasked with identifying the most successful organizations and advisors from around the globe in order to produce this special awards edition, Finance Monthly’s research team has through careful consideration worked hard to assess nomination entries, and conduct extensive research involving clients and peers. As a final result we are excited to present you a publication which contains some of the most successful and trusted firms operating in the dynamic financial sector, which will undoubtedly continue to experience growth through their commitment to excellence in 2016 and beyond.

Finance Monthly would like to thank all contributors and participants in the 2016 Global Awards.
Congratulations to our winners and finalists.

To view the awards publication please visit:

Image-Duty, Service, Sacrifice

Duty Service SacrificeOn Saturday, 26 June 2017, Sebastien Anderson was humbly honoured to receive from Cst. Leo Johnston’s parents a limited edition print, “Duty, Service and Sacrifice” in appreciation of the pro bono legal assistance he provided to them. The back of the framed print is inscribed in Leo Johnston’s mother’s handwriting as follows: “Thank you for your Support in our time of need. Grace & Ron Johnston.”

This limited edition commemorative print was created exclusively in the memory of Cst. Leo Johnston, Cst. Brock Myrol, Cst. Anthony Gordon, and Cst. Peter Schiemann, who gave their lives in service to their country on 3 March 2005, near the town of Mayerthorpe, Alberta. Proceeds from the purchase of the print go directly to The Fallen RCMP Family Fund.

The following poem by J.S. McGregor informs the visual content of the print.

Four Black Horses
Four black horses without riders
Galloped the Alberta plain;
Four black horses, sent from depot
To bring them back again;
Four black horses with empty saddles
Racing the cold prairie sun;
Four black horses arrive at the farmyard
As the last bullet leaves the gun;
Four black horses stand with head bowed
Wait ‘til the echoes subside;
Four black horses turn as they’re mounted,
Now their heads held high with pride,
Four mounted policemen take hold of the reins
Spur their mounts hold lances high;
Four black horses, red surge in the saddles,
Disappear in the Alberta sky.

Leo Johnston was killed in the line-of-duty, died a hero, and is interred at Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan.









Shamefully, the RCMP  refused to disclose to Leo’s parents the time, place , and precise location of the re-interment of his remains.

Sadly, Grace, Leo’s mother, died in January 2017, still grieving over the tragic loss of her son.

Leo Johnston we thank you for your service to your country. Your sacrifice enforcing the rule of law will not be soon forgotten. We continue to mourn his loss among with those who lost their lives with him along with with Leo Johnston’s parents, brother, family, and those that served with him. Lost  but never forgotten!