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 –


Rulings critical of WorkSafeBC spawn call for review

Giorgio Cima’s WorkSafeBC claim was denied, even though the organization has never interviewed him. The B.C. Supreme Court has ordered WorkSafeBC’s independent appeal tribunal to take another look.— Image Credit: Giorgio Cima

Coquitlam man Giorgio Cima hasn’t once been interviewed by WorkSafeBC, yet his claim for workers’ compensation was rejected in a case his lawyer described as “outrageous.”

Fort Nelson resident Bruce Erskine remains hobbled by a forklift accident more than eight years ago, but his WorkSafeBC claim remains unresolved.

These two cases have prompted the NDP’s WorkSafeBC critic, MLA Shane Simpson, to call for a review of the organization.

Simpson was reacting to two recent B.C. Supreme Court decisions that found the decisions by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal— the independent body that hears appeals of WorkSafeBC rulings—were “patently unreasonable” in denying the claims made by Cima and Erskine.

“The system is far too litigious,” Simpson said. “This can go on for years…If you’re dealing with corporation to corporation, that’s one thing…but when you’re talking about individuals and their families and they’re worried about their income and families, it’s got to work a different way.”

Lawyer Sebastien Anderson, who represented Cima pro bono, said he believes many people with genuine workplace injuries that merit compensation, simply throw their hands up and walk away because they can’t afford to hire a lawyer or pay for medical experts to back their claim.

“If they don’t have a mental condition before they enter the system, they surely do shortly thereafter,” he said.


Antibiotics were flowing into the vein in Giorgio Cima’s right arm at a clinic in downtown Vancouver when his lawyer phoned to deliver some good news.

It was Wednesday, May 25, and the B.C. Supreme Court had just ruled in the 57-year-old’s favour and set aside a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal that rejected his claim.

“Finally, someone believed in me,” Cima wrote in an email to Black Press about the decision. He said it brought tears to his eyes and some hope to his family.

His supervisor at Delta’s Intact Distributors had been bullying him, Cima claims, specifically after an illness robbed him of his speech in 2012 and he began to communicate with e-mail and text messages. (Cima was previously diagnosed with the fatal neurological disease ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, but is now undergoing treatment for Lyme disease, whose symptoms mimic ALS.)

The situation came to a dramatic head on Christmas Day in 2013.

As he sat down for dinner with family and friends, he received a shocking text message from his boss, who called him a “retard” and a “crayon-eating motherf**ker.”

WorkSafeBC denied his claim for compensation, and when he appealed, the tribunal said in its ruling that the supervisor didn’t intend to “intimidate, humiliate or degrade” Cima.

He has been reflecting since the court set aside that ruling, and is hopeful he’ll soon get better news about his claim.

“I was shocked to find that an organization that should be there for workers is in fact more for the employer,” wrote Cima, who has worked in Canada for more than 25 years. “The fact that they didn’t interview me or contact me to this date supports that.”

Anderson said he agreed to represent Cima because it was “one of the most outrageous” cases he’d ever come across.

“If his case didn’t meet the standard for workplace bullying and harassment, there is no standard,” he said.


On the same day Cima was sitting inside that downtown Vancouver clinic, a Fort Nelson man heard from his lawyer about his own court case.

But Bruce Erskine, 63, didn’t view his win as good news.

Back in 2008, he was run over by a forklift driven by his boss at Skinner Bros. Transport in Fort Nelson.

“I thought he cut me in half,” Erskine recalled of the forklift knocking him to the ground and its tire crushing his left foot as his leg was pulled under the counterweight.

WorkSafeBC denied his claim for compensation, he said, because a doctor chalked his injury up to soreness from pushing an ATV weeks earlier and not the forklift after an initial X-ray suggested his foot was merely strained.

But eight months later, Erskine’s foot still hadn’t healed.

It wasn’t until 2014, four specialists later, that a different type of X-ray revealed an injury that another doctor attributed to the forklift accident.

He appealed to the tribunal, but the body refused to admit the new medical evidence, saying Erskine was not credible.

In May, the court ordered the tribunal to take a second look, saying that line of reasoning was “patently unreasonable.”

But the judge didn’t bring him any closer to his goal of getting WorkSafeBC to review how its staff handled his case and revoke their credentials.

The words of a WorkSafeBC claim manager many years ago infuriate him to this day.

“He told me on the phone, ‘If we had to look after people like you, we would be bankrupt overnight,’” he said. “They think they can walk over and step on people.”


Scott McCloy, spokesperson for WorkSafeBC, said he was unable to comment on the two cases, noting that both legal matters are ongoing.

WorkSafeBC and its staff “work hard to get decisions right the first time,” he said, and both the appeal tribunal and B.C. Supreme Court are in place “to ensure justice can be done.”

McCloy denied that WorkSafeBC is an adversarial system, and said it’s actually an “inquiry-based system.”

He said sometimes facts are obvious, but in some cases “issues are highly complex. Often people try to make them simple, but they’re not.”

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Man Who Boss Called ‘retard’ Wins Review of Claim


A man, who wrestled with the sudden onset of a debilitating speech impediment and then received a profanity-laced text message from his boss that described him as a “retard” as he sat down with family for Christmas dinner, has won his B.C. Supreme Court bid to have his rejected WorkSafeBC claim reconsidered.

“This is one of the most outrageous cases I’ve ever had,” said veteran lawyer Sebastien Anderson who represented Giorgio Cima pro-bono after learning about the circumstances. “It was just so wrong what had happened to him.”

Cima, a married father, was working as a sales representative for Delta’s Intact Distributors in 2013, when he developed a slurred speech disorder that progressively worsened to the point it was difficult for people to understand what he was saying.

But his employer accommodated his speech disorder by allowing him to communicate with his boss, peers, customers and suppliers via e-mail and text messages.

Following the onset of the speech disorder, Cima alleged that his supervisor “treated him like a child and spoke to him in a condescending manner.”

Cima said that his supervisor would “repeatedly use phrases like ‘what you don’t understand is’; ‘do you understand?’; ‘do you comprehend what I am saying to you?’”

A work colleague “often reminded the supervisor that the worker was losing his voice not his intelligence,” a B.C. Supreme Court ruling said. Cima did not return to work following an upsetting e-mail he received from his supervisor on Christmas Day in 2013.

The supervisor texted: “Merry Xmas a buddy! Not every flower can say love, but a rose can. Not every plant survives a thirst, but a cactus can. Not every retard can read, but look at you go, little buddy!! Today you should take a moment and send an encouraging message to a f**ked up friend, just as I have done. I don’t care if you lick windows, or f**k farm animals. You hang in there cupcake, because you’re f**king special to me, and you are my friend. Look at you smiling at your phone, you crayon eating mother f**ker! Merry Christmas.”

Anderson, Cima’s lawyer, said Cima received the text message just as he was sitting down with his wife, daughter and friends for Christmas dinner.

“He burst into tears, and he immediately began to fret about returning to work,” Anderson said.

Cima also began to suffer from headaches, poor focus, anger, humiliation, sadness, depressed mood and poor sleep.

Two weeks later, Cima was diagnosed by his family doctor with a major depressive disorder as a result of the text message.

Cima applied for Workers Compensation Board benefits, but that claim was denied despite the fact Cima was never interviewed by WorkSafeBC and that WorkSafe never paid for a promised assessment by a psychologist.

Cima was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, on Jan. 28, 2014. His employer discontinued his pay in April of 2014.

Cima appealed the denied claim to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal, but a review officer found that “while the supervisor’s actions were ‘in bad taste’ and an exercise of poor judgement and unprofessional, they did not constitute bullying and harassment, because the review officer was not persuaded that conduct was intended to, or should reasonably have been known would intimidate, humiliate or degrade the worker.”

Anderson argued in court that if what happened to Cima “doesn’t meet that standards (for harassment/bullying), there simply is no standard.”

On Wednesday, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Cima.

“Given that I have found certain conclusions drawn by (Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal) to be patently unreasonable, I am remitting this claim back to WCAT to be reconsidered on the merits.”

Justice Barbara Young ruled that Cima should first be interviewed, and then assessed by a board psychologist or psychiatrist “if the Board intends to challenge the opinion of (Cima’s family physician). That assessment may shed some light on whether or not the event was traumatic or a significant stressor.”

Anderson noted that Cima’s case was also dismissed by the Human Rights Tribunal.

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Please download full court decision here

RCMP Deputy Commissioner Dubeau misrepresents Privacy Commissioner’s findings!

On Friday, 19 February 2016, Deputy Commissioner Daniel Dubeau, RCMP Chief Human Resources Officer, distributed an e-mail to all RCMP Member’s e-mail addresses prior to the airing of Global’s “16X9” program about the RCMP’s serious breach of the Privacy Act. In his e-mail, Deputy Commissioner Dubeau misrepresents the Privacy Commissioner’s findings with respect to the RCMP’s breach of Members’ mental health records.

Dubeau states, “In other words, the internal disclosure of personal information constituted a consistent use pursuant to the Privacy Act.” However, that is NOT what the Privacy Commissioner said. Here is exactly what the Privacy Commissioner said about the internal disclosure of RCMP member’s personal information

The RCMP is of the opinion that the use of the complainants’ personal information contained in the progress reports was consistent with RCMP PPE 808, which allows for information to be shared with a ‘Commanding Officer, Appropriate Officer, or the police of local jurisdiction in order to ensure the safety of the public, including RCMP members.’ The RCMP did not provide any further information to support this claim.

There is no evidence to suggest that the use was for the purpose of ensuring the safety and security of the public or of RCMP members. In order for this to be considered a consistent usage, the RCMP would have to demonstrate in the case of each of the complainants that there were serious concerns that they might cause harm to themselves as a result of Dr. W’s treatment, or that they presented signs indicating they may cause harm to others. The RCMP has not established that any of the complainants exhibited this type of behavior.

The RCMP is also of the opinion that RCMP PPE 808 allows for personal information in the bank to be used for “research, planning, evaluation and audit and statistical purposes….

We consider the review of the progress reports by RCMP psychologists to be a consistent use of personal information contained in RCMP PPE 808. While we do not agree that this usage fits within the definition of “research, planning, evaluation and audit and statistical purposes,” we are of the opinion that the quality control function is consistent with the goal of ensuing that there is an adequate treatment plan in place to help members return to work or to continue in their jobs…

Given the sensitivity of the personal information at issue in this matter, we consider this to be a serious privacy breach. We therefore encourage the RCMP to provide all of its health services professionals in “E” Division with enhanced privacy training in order to ensure that they are aware of their obligations under the [Privacy] Act.

We also have concerns about the description of consistent use for RCMP PPE 808 where it states that ‘This information may also be used for research, planning, evaluation and audit and statistical analysis…’ it is unclear as to the specific uses of the sensitive personal information held in this bank that are anticipated by this statement. We strongly encourage that the RCMP revise the InfoSource entry for RCMP PPE 808 and its associated polices to limit and clarify the uses of the sensitive information of its members held in that PIB. ” [our emphasis added].

According to the Privacy Commissioner’s ruling, the “acceptable internal disclosure” is limited only to the RCMP Psychologists in the Health Services Office, not to other administrators or operational line managers!

We strongly encourage RCMP Members to seek advice from Executive Board Members of the Mounted Police Professional Association or from a lawyer practicing in the fields of employment and privacy law before consenting to disclose their personal health information to the RCMP, including the RCMP’s Health Services Office (who actively participated in the disclosure in the above-referenced case).