What is Collective Bargaining?


Simply put, collective bargaining refers to the negotiation of salary, benefits, and conditions of employment by a body or group of employees.  People are most often familiar with the term “labour union” or just “union” as the common name for a body of employees that enters into collective bargaining.  As a specialized field of negotiation, collective bargaining between labour unions and their employers allows for employee rights that extend beyond government labour laws, but these negotiations are still covered by legal requirements.

It is important to know that legal statutes protect employees’ rights to form collective bargaining units in order to negotiate employment terms.  This means they may negotiate as a group for any number of rights from salary and benefits to working hours and working conditions.  For many employees, negotiating employment terms as a collective affords them an opportunity to help and protect each other from potential consequences associated with their negotiations.  Similarly, legal statutes also afford unions in the private sector extended rights for unpaid leave as a means of negotiation – in other words, unionized workers in the private (and often public) sector have the right to strike.

However, unions in North America must also be appropriately recognized through a certification process.  This process requires that the union, or collective bargaining unit, can demonstrate majority support for the union before it can claim to represent the collective rights of the group.  Typically, governmental bodies must validate the union as most provinces hold jurisdiction over working conditions including minimum wages, working hours, termination requirements, and general working conditions.  For example, in British Columbia, the Employment Standards Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of workers and employers in the province.

With respect to collective bargaining negotiations, one might view the issue as two sides of the same coin.  Employers and employees sometimes have conflicting interests but share a common goal.  Most often, conflict will arise from economic concerns but working conditions that impact health and safety are also common motivators for collective bargaining negotiations.  As unions have become more sophisticated in North America, unions now often petition for improved working benefits such as extended health plans, increased vacation time, and leave to attend to personal emergencies.

Collective bargaining is a complicated process that involves specialized legal know how.  In most cases, an employee represented by a union cannot seek outside legal council in Canada, unless they feel they are not adequately represented by their union.  Moreover, union employees pay careful attention to the stipulations of their collective bargaining unit because they are often required to act in the best interests of their unit even if these contradict their personal interests.  Ultimately, collective bargaining is common in Canada and North America and there are benefits and drawbacks for both employees and employers.

Image-Duty, Service, Sacrifice

Duty Service SacrificeOn Saturday, 26 June 2017, Sebastien Anderson was humbly honoured to receive from Cst. Leo Johnston’s parents and family 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.


Sadly, Leo Johnston is buried in an unmarked grave in the RCMP cemetery at Depot in Regina, Saskatchewan.











Shamefully, the RCMP to this day refuse to disclose his precise grave site to his family. Leo’s mother Grace died in January 2017 without knowing the location of Leo’s grave.

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 we thank you for your service to your country. Your sacrifice for enforcing the rule of law will not be soon forgotten. We continue to mourn his loss with Leo Johnston’s family and we will recommit our firm’s efforts to the family to discover the precise location of his gravesite.

Employment Group Benefits

Employment Group Benefits

As an employer, you might be asking yourself about the pros and cons of employment group benefits.  Employer-sponsored benefit plans cover everything from drug and dental coverage to life insurance.  Job seekers are drawn to positions that offer group benefits, especially when it comes to extended health coverage that provides more insurance than offered through government health plans.  So, employer-sponsored health plans can help Canadian employees cover more of their healthcare costs, but are there benefits for employers.

In a nutshell, employment group benefits may include life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, extended healthcare coverage, dental care coverage, and even disability benefits.  Generally speaking, the costs of these benefits are moderate for the employer, especially given the value they offer.  This is especially true since insurance providers will often offer much more affordable rates for group packages when compared to the retail market.  And all your employees will be eligible to receive these benefits in most cases.  Insurance companies offer benefits for all group members without the need for medical exams to determine eligibility since the plans tend to be lucrative for them as well.

As mentioned, job seekers are drawn not just by salaries but also benefits packages and the peace of mind offered by these packages is often psychologically more attractive than a salary increase that costs the employer the same amount.  There are even flexible benefit plans available that allow employers to offer various benefit options for different job classifications.  And sometimes, employers can subsidize the cost of some benefits packages by requiring employees to make contributions to participate in a plan.

But beware.  Unionized workplaces are well-known for offering insurance benefits to employees, particularly in order to protect employers from worker disputes or grievances.  Unfortunately, even when certain benefits are not offered, employees can still try to make legal claims for benefits that are not outlined in a collective bargaining agreement – and there are precedent cases that provide evidence.

Indeed, unionized employers may be liable for group benefits even when they have insurance coverage.  It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the collective bargaining agreement specifically outlines the details of the insurance policy with respect to the nature and amount of the benefits.  In other words, if there are discrepancies between the collective bargaining agreement and the insurance policy, the employer may be liable.

Ultimately, employment group benefits can provide employers a cost-effective way of attracting the top candidates to positions in their company, but it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the details of the benefits are clearly and accurately stipulated in any employment contract.  That being said, with a meticulous employment contract, group benefits are often one of the best ways to attract talent to your business.

How Much is a Severance Package?

How-Much-is-a-Severance-PackageMake no mistake, in British Columbia (BC) employees have few rights when it comes to dismissal from employment and associated severance packages.  Unless you have negotiated terms of dismissal and severance in a unique employment contract or you are a union member, the terms of your employment are likely outlined in the BC Employment Standards Act.  According to the regulations in this document, employers may dismiss any staff member for any reason at any time; though, there are essentially just two categories of dismissal – just cause or without cause.  If you’re wondering about how much severance you are owed, it is important to understand each of these categories and the provincial laws that govern them.

Just Cause and Severance

There are a few reasons your employer may dismiss you with cause or just cause.  These cases are not common because a serious infraction by the employee must have occurred.  For example, theft, dishonesty, fraud, and assault or harassment of co-workers or clients are examples of reasons and employer may dismiss you for cause.  In the case of just cause, an employee is not eligible for severance pay or notice, though the burden of proof falls on the employer.  If you have been dismissed for so-called “just cause” and you dispute the reasons for your dismissal, you may want to consult with an employment lawyer.

Without Cause and Severance

Unfortunately, employees have few rights when it comes to dismissal; however, when an employee is terminated without cause they are entitled to severance pay or adequate notice.  There are many reasons an employee may be dismissed without cause including downsizing, poor workplace performance of the employee, or company restructuring.  But what are your rights if you are dismissed without cause?

In a nutshell, BC employers must either provide employees notice of termination or severance.  Depending on your term of service, your entitlement varies.  With respect to severance, an employee who has served three consecutive months with a company is entitled to one week paid severance; after 12 consecutive months of service, your entitlement is 2 weeks’ pay; and after three consecutive years, your entitlement is three weeks’ pay plus one week’s pay for every additional year of employment.  Maximum severance in BC is set at 8 weeks’ pay.

In lieu of compensation, an employer may also provide written notice of dismissal which is calculated in the same way.  For example, if you have been employed for 4 years, you are eligible for 4 weeks’ notice.  Moreover, an employer may choose to combine severance and notice; again, if you have been employed for 4 years and an employer provides 3 weeks’ written notice of dismissal, you are still entitled to 1 week of severance pay.


There are exceptions to these laws; for example, collective agreements and unique employment contracts often outline specific guidelines for dismissal and severance.  If you are unsure of your rights, speak to your union official or an employment lawyer.


The Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch awarded Labour Rights Law Office the Innovative Workplace Award for 2017. In a letter informing 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. Once again, on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, I extend our congratulations.

Innovative Workplace Award

Dealing with Discrimination at Work

Dealing with Discrimination at Work

While employment law in Canada is designed partly to protect against workplace discrimination, the sad reality is that discrimination still happens.  Indeed, harassment and discrimination manifest in many ways, but federal law protects everyone in the workplace regardless of ethnicity, nationality, gender, religion, ability, age, sexual orientation, and other identities.  If you are an employee and you feel unfairly subjected to harassment or discrimination, it is important that you take steps to protect your right to a discrimination-free workplace.  So how do you deal with discrimination at work?

Document Inappropriate Acts

Sometimes people are ignorant to discrimination.  They may not feel their actions are discriminatory, but this is not an excuse for the behaviour.  As a victim, you should take care to document your experiences ensuring to include all the relevant details.  Describe the event in question, whether witnesses were present, and include facts such as date, time of day, and even the weather or other conditions that substantiate your account of events.  If there is physical evidence of harassment or discrimination such as photos, emails, or notes, you should keep those as well.

Inform your Employer

The first step in protecting yourself is informing your employer about perceived discrimination or harassment.  In many cases, acts of discrimination can go unnoticed in the workplace either because the perpetrator avoids inappropriate actions where witnesses are involved or because colleagues are ignorant to the acts.  As a victim, it is important to declare that you are experiencing discrimination, and in fact this is your legal responsibility.  Also, make sure your employer knows that you are taking matters seriously and you plan to contact the appropriate legal parties to make a formal complaint regarding the discrimination.

Know Your Rights

Not only should you review local and federal protections regarding harassment and discrimination, you should also review your company’s policies so you know how you are protected.  Most employers will have an official anti-discrimination policy which will support your position so you should retain a copy of that policy in case it is required for future legal action.

You’re Not Alone

Many employees ignore discrimination and/or harassment conducted against them or their colleagues, but this does not mean you are alone.  Whether your colleagues lack the courage to speak up or they are complicit in the inappropriate acts, it is important to know that there is legislation enacted to protect you from harassment and discrimination.  It is also important to know that ongoing discrimination can have a significant negative impact on your health and well-being, so if you’re already experiencing stress and anxiety around what you perceive to be discrimination, don’t ignore it.  Seek help so that at the very least you can establish a safe and comfortable working environment for you and your colleagues.

RCMP rehires Mountie who developed PTSD after Mayerthorpe shootings


The RCMP has been forced to reinstate a Mountie who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the deadly 2005 standoff in Mayerthorpe, Alta., his lawyer told The Globe and Mail.

Trevor Josok, who launched a legal challenge after being medically discharged last year, will be allowed to return to a position that accommodates the injuries that he suffered more than a decade ago.
The legal victory comes in the same week the RCMP was slammed by three external reports for failing to effectively deal with issues of workplace harassment and mental-health problems. The federal government has said it could place the national police force under greater civilian management to ensure that it drastically improves and modernizes the way it treats its nearly 20,000 members across Canada.

Mr. Josok’s lawyer, Sebastien Anderson, said the decision by the RCMP to reinstate his client will put an end to a judicial review that was launched in Federal Court last year. However, he said similar cases are still going through the legal process, adding the RCMP has not changed the way it deals with members who suffer from mental-health conditions.

“This is the first one that is resolved,” Mr. Anderson said. “We don’t expect them to change their policy; we will have to continue this fight. In order to get there, there is going to have to be a change in mindset within the RCMP, and I wouldn’t say it is there yet.”

Mr. Josok, who joined the RCMP in 1997, was part of the team of RCMP members who responded to a call at the farm of James Roszko near Mayerthorpe, northwest of Edmonton. The Mounties went to the property late in the day on March 2, 2005, to help bailiffs repossess a truck. Mr. Roszko had fled the scene, but the Mounties found evidence of stolen auto parts and a marijuana grow operation in a Quonset on site.

A constable at the time, Mr. Josok spent the night on the property, guarding the location until his colleagues returned the following morning to conduct a search. Unknown to the Mounties on site, Mr. Roszko had returned overnight, and killed four RCMP members in an ambush on March 3.

Mr. Josok, who felt guilty for being at home and resting while four of his colleagues lost their lives, developed PTSD and went on medical leave in September, 2006. He tried to return to work a year later, but never found a proper fit given his work limitations.

“While he had made every effort to progress and recover, he was continually placed in positions that did not permit him to demonstrate his full potential and instead was tasked with duties that were menial and demeaning,” his application for judicial review said. “Overall, the RCMP’s accommodation process was very disappointing and made him feel completely defeated, demoralized and humiliated.”

Mr. Josok went back on medical leave in 2008. Three years later, the RCMP advised Mr. Josok that it was seeking his medical discharge – a process that led to his formal ouster in 2016.

Mr. Anderson argued in Federal Court that the medical discharge violated Mr. Josok’s Charter rights and constituted discrimination based on a disability. He sought Mr. Josok’s reinstatement with retroactive salary.

“They have agreed to grant the order that we sought,” Mr. Anderson said. “We haven’t decided on a position yet, that is still to be determined. But we’ve got their agreement that they will reinstate him in a position that will accommodate his limitations.”

Mr. Josok is out of the country on holidays and could not be reached for comment.

“He is pleased to have avoided the litigation and to have an opportunity to go back to work,” Mr. Anderson said. “That is the devastating part of these medical discharges, it fundamentally affects [police officers] in terms of who they are, not just what they do. … He is quite pleased to return to his occupation of choice.”

The RCMP has yet to respond to a request for comment.


Mountie suffering PTSD following Mayerthorpe massacre battles discharge from RCMP


A former Mayerthorpe RCMP officer who developed post-traumatic stress disorder following the 2005 murder of four of his colleagues is claiming his Charter rights were violated when he was discharged from the force because of his disability.

Former constable Trevor Josok was dismissed June 13, 2016, more than a decade after the tragic shooting that triggered a “disabling condition” that forced him to take a medical leave.

Josok was finally let go following changes to the RCMP Act that allow for the dismissal of an officer having a disability. If Josok’s application for a judicial review by the Federal Court is successful, it could have implications in a number of cases across Canada, his lawyer Sebastian Anderson, a B.C.-based labour rights attorney, said earlier this week.

On the afternoon of March 2, 2005, Mayerthorpe RCMP were called to James Roszko‘s property by bailiffs trying to repossess Roszko’s truck. Roszko had set his dogs on the bailiffs before speeding away.

Officers responding to the call found a substantial marijuana grow operation and a chop shop of stolen vehicle parts inside a Quonset on the property. According to Anderson, Josok was among the officers that worked the overnight shift, guarding the property until the search could resume in the morning.

Sometime during the night, unbeknownst to Josok and his colleagues, Roszko managed to sneak back onto the farm and into the Quonset.

When the end of his shift came, Josok met up with a fellow officer for coffee. When they were done, Josok went home to bed.

“While he was asleep, the other member he’d had coffee with received a call to come in and work overtime, to be engaged in the raid on Roszko’s farm,” Anderson said.

When that officer arrived at the property, he and three others entered the Quonset where Roszko was lying in wait. After fatally shooting all four Mounties — Peter Schiemann, Leo Johnston, Brock Myrol and Anthony Gordon — Roszko walked out of the Quonset and was shot twice by another officer. He then retreated into the building and shot himself in the head.

Anderson said the incident triggered serious PTSD in Josok, connected to the guilt he felt about not being there for his co-workers. He went on medical leave in September 2005.

Josok returned to work through the RCMP’s accommodation program in September 2006.

According to the court application, Josok tried to recover, but felt he was continuously given tasks that were “menial and demeaning,” and the distress pushed him to take another medical leave in November 2008.

“Overall, the RCMP’s accommodation process was very disappointing and made him feel completely defeated, demoralized and humiliated,” Josok’s application states.

Anderson said that because of the PTSD, Josok cannot bring himself to wear his uniform, but is otherwise fully able to perform police duties.

In March 2011, RCMP notified Josok it was seeking a medical discharge for him. More than four years went by, and then the RCMP withdrew that notice and issued a new one based on changes to the RCMP Act, which included an amendment allowing dismissal of an officer on grounds other than violating the code of conduct.

In his application to the court, Josok said the RCMP cited that section of the act, as well as a section of the Commissioner’s Standing Orders that allows for dismissal of a member for having a disability as defined by the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Josok will argue that the existence of that section violates section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that it should be struck down as unconstitutional.

Josok is also requesting reinstatement as an officer, and that the RCMP pay his associated costs.

Anderson said a date has yet to be set for a hearing, which Josok has requested be held in Edmonton. He said the RCMP is in the processof amending the administrative record, and that the judicial review won’t proceed until that process is finished.

The RCMP said Friday that it would be inappropriate to comment while a legal process is underway.

Monty Robinson sues RCMP for breach of duty, alleged threats to legal funding


Former Mountie Monty Robinson is suing the RCMP for ruining his career and reputation, claiming his access to legal funds was restricted to stop him from going public.

Robinson claims that misinformation released by the RCMP after the death of Robert Dziekanski lead to a media storm that ruined his promising 16-year career and destroyed his reputation.

Dziekanski, a Polish immigrant, was jolted with a Taser and died at the Vancouver airport in October 2007.

The B.C. Criminal Justice Branch laid perjury charges against (clockwise from top left) Const. Gerry Rundel, Const. Bill Bentley, Cpl. Monty Robinson and Const. Kwesi Millington in connection with their testimony at the Braidwood Inquiry. (CBC)

Robinson was one of four Mounties who raced to the airport after police received reports that a distraught man was causing a disturbance.

Robinson’s lawsuit against the RCMP claims that there was a breach of statutory duty and abuse of office.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

Misinformation went uncorrected

The lawsuit argues that the RCMP’s failure to “correct misinformation” ramped up public scrutiny and interest in the case, and created a perception of a “cover-up” by the four officers involved.

Soon after the event, RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre described Dziekanski as “combative” and said police used a Taser on him to “immobilize a violent man.”

Those initial reports were later proven untrue by a bystander’s video. Lemaitre’s widow is also suing the RCMP, in the wake of her husband’s suicide.

Robinson’s lawsuit singles out former RCMP Commissioner William Elliot for also making allegedly “inaccurrate and misleading” statements about RCMP training policies around the use of a Taser and levels of force.

In 2010, Elliott agreed with the public inquiry findings on the death of Dziekanski, saying the officers “fell short” and did not properly “de-escalate” the situation.

Mountie struggled with PTSD

Robinson claims the ordeal ruined his life.

As the Delta B.C. man struggled with PTSD and alcoholism, he claims he endured ongoing threats from his superiors that legal funding would be withheld if he went public with criticism. He left the force in 2012.

Robert Dziekanski holds a small table at the Vancouver Airport before he was hit with a Taser five times. The officers involved were accused of lying at a public inquiry when they testified that they hadn’t talked about what happened after the death. (Paul Pritchard/Canadian Press)

“Various representatives of the RCMP provided repeated warnings to the Plaintiff throughout this period that any public comment by him would result in immediate withdrawal of public funding for independent legal counsel,” says the suit.

Robinson was the duty supervisor the night Dziekanski died at the airport,

Dziekanski was acting erratically when the four officers arrived and he was hit five times with a Taser before he died.

Amateur video of the killing caused public outrage, and Robinson’s lawsuit claims that the RCMP’s refusal to correct misinformation initially released, made anger at the four officer’s involved much worse.

Robinson blames his superiors for the overwhelming public anger aimed at him and the other three officers — Constables Kwesi Millington, Bill Bentley and Gerry Rundel — involved the night of the death on Oct. 14, 2007.

The document filed in court on Friday said: “The RCMP’s failure to correct the misinformation disclosed on the public record created an ever increased amount of public interest.”

Robinson and the three other members involved “were subject to public hostility, death threats, and contempt while their policing careers and professional reputations languished,” the document says.

The model X26 Taser is used by police forces across Canada. ((CBC))

Robinson said he struggled with undiagnosed PTSD, alcoholism and family strain, which affected his marriage and children.

In January of 2008, he requested help paying his legal expenses and was told he would be jointly represented with the other RCMP officers involved.

That led to a long dispute because he wanted to be independently represented. He won that right after it was determined no criminal charges would be laid against him.

In the meantime, Robinson was also convicted of obstruction of justice in a fatal motorcycle accident.

Robinson alleged scapegoat

Legal documents say that days before the public inquiry into Dziekanski’s death, the RCMP released a statement that “Tasers can kill agitated subjects,” which led to the public to “reach the unfounded conclusion” that the RCMP members used “wrongful and excessive” force in the Polish man’s death.

Then in 2010, RCMP Commissioner William Elliott conducted a television interview providing “inaccurate and misleading statements” about RCMP use of force training policies.

Another RCMP official publicly apologized to Dziekanski’s mother later that year, “signaling” that the members involved in Dziekanski’s death “had engaged in wrongful and blameworthy” conduct.

RCMP Const. Bill Bentley pleaded not guilty to lying at a public inquiry into the case and won. (Darryl Dyck/Candadian Press)

The four officers were eventually charged with perjury for their testimony during the Braidwood Inquiry. None of the officers ever faced criminal charges for their actions related to the death.

Two of the officers were acquitted of perjury, despite the fact all four were repeatedly accused of colluding.

Robinson is set to appear in court on Tuesday Oct. 11 for the appeal of his perjury conviction.

If upheld, he could face jail time.

Const. Millington was sentenced to 30 months for his perjury conviction, but the judge said Robinson’s case was more serious because of his higher rank.

Finance Monthly Magazine – 2016 Global Awards edition has now been published.

GlobalAwards16-WinnersLogoFinance 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 organisations 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.

For your reference please follow a link to the publication – http://globalawards.finance-monthly.com/winners-edition/