The Workers’ Rights Division represents low-income, non-unionized workers with many different employment or work-related issues. We represent workers at various courts and tribunals:
- Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Labour Relations Board (unpaid wages, termination and severance pay, Employment Standards Act and Occupational Health and Safety Act reprisals)
- Small Claims Court (wrongful dismissals, unpaid wages, workplace human rights violations)
- Superior Court for exceptional cases (wrongful dismissals, unpaid wages, workplace human rights violations)
- Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (workplace human rights violations)
- Social Security Tribunal of Canada (Employment Insurance appeals, Canada Pension Plan-Disability appeals)
- Tax Court of Canada (Independent contractor/employee rulings)
- Canada Labour Arbitration (Canada Labour Code violations, unjust dismissal)
We are proud of our success. Since the summer of 2011, we represented more than 620 workers and provided summary legal advice to 2,400 further workers. In the last six years, we have recovered more than $3 million in wages, wrongful dismissal damages, human rights compensation, and other employment entitlements.
Below is a small sample of our reported cases. We thank all the workers who fought for the rights of all workers and allowed us to tag along.
Martinez Alfaro v. 1567370 Ontario Inc., 2018 HRTO 1066 (CanLII)
A sales clerk at a clothing retailer asked her employer if she could sit while performing certain tasks as she had a medical condition, which caused her great pain if she stood for a prolonged period of time. Initially, the employer agreed to the simple accommodation request but later withdrew the accommodation and fired her. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario found that the employer fired the sales clerk due to her disability. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded the worker $13,500.00 in general damages and $9,097.22 for lost income.
Hinic v. Classic POS Inc.,  OJ No 7099
The plaintiff, who worked as a programmer and customer support worker for the defendant, sued for unpaid wages and constructive dismissal damages. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was an independent contractor. The Court determined that the plaintiff was an employee because the defendant directed and controlled the plaintiff’s work. The Court awarded unpaid wages, vacation pay, and public holiday pay to the plaintiff.
Loggie v. Classic POS Inc.,  OJ No 7098
The plaintiff, who worked as an office assistant for the defendant, sued for unpaid wages and constructive dismissal damages. The defendant argued that the plaintiff was an independent contractor and relied on a written independent contractor agreement between the two parties. The Court agreed with the plaintiff that the subjective intent of the parties is not a determinative factor when assessing whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor. The Court awarded unpaid wages, vacation pay, public holiday pay, and constructive dismissal damages to the plaintiff.
P&S VanBerlo Limited operating as Berlo’s Best Sweet Potatoes v Philip J. Banton, 2016 CanLII 12223 (ON LRB)
An agricultural employer fired an injured worker after he files an Employment Standards Act claim. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ordered the employer to pay $26,786.09 as reprisal damages, which included a confirmation that pain and suffering awards are now higher.
Alberto Celis, and others v Lisa Lavonne Gilmour o/a Gilmour Services, 2016 CanLII 9813 (ON LRB)
Reco Cleaning Services subcontracted Gilmour Services, who then recruited workers to clean newly built condominium buildings. When Gilmour Services failed to pay the workers, fourteen of the workers filed Employment Standards Act claims, arguing that Reco Cleaning Services should be held liable for the unpaid wages. The Ministry of Labour found that the subcontractor, and not Reco Cleaning Services, was solely responsible for the wages. On the Application for Review, the Ontario Labour Relations Board agreed with the fourteen workers and imposed liability on Reco Cleaning Services, the top contractor, rather than the subcontractor.
Fiorildo Tenace v Sense Appeal Brands Inc. (Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters), 2015 CanLII 49516 (ON LRB)
In finding that an employer dismissed a worker for filing an Employment Standards Act claim, the Ontario Labour Relations Board confirmed that if an employer’s decision to dismiss an employee is in any way tainted by the fact that the employee asserted his or her rights under the Employment Standards Act, then a reprisal has occurred.
Decision No. 2114/14, 2014 ONWSIAT 2632 (CanLII) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onwsiat/doc/2014/2014onwsiat2632/2014onwsiat2632.html?resultIndex=1
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal reversed the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s decision and granted the injured worker psychotraumatic disability entitlements and partial Loss-of-Earnings benefits.
Gordon v Octave, 2014 CanLII 59095 (ON LRB)
A live-in caregiver/cleaner filed an Employment Standards Act claim for unpaid wages and termination pay. Citing a previous Parkdale Community Legal Services’ case, the Ontario Labour Relations Board confirmed that a worker who is required to remain in the place of employment must be paid regardless of whether the worker had active duties.
Dahir v. Corvin Building Maintenance Ltd., 2014 HRTO 1149 (CanLII) https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onhrt/doc/2014/2014hrto1149/2014hrto1149.html?resultIndex=1
In a preliminary hearing at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the applicant employee and the respondent employer disagreed as to when the final act of discrimination occurred, i.e. whether the discrimination occurred on the date the employee received notice of dismissal or on the date the dismissal is effective In refusing to dismiss the application for delay, the Tribunal agreed with the applicant that the final act of discrimination occurs when a dismissal becomes effective.
Marin v. Zeitz,  OJ No 6457
In this case involving a live-in caregiver, the Court determined that it may make a negative inference against employers for their failure to keep a record of hours worked by their employee and for their failure to provide written pay statements. The Court awarded the live-in caregiver full wages sought.
Work v. Northwood Collection Inc.,  OJ No 2293
While quoting from a New Brunswick Court of Appeal decision about “class prejudice” in determining notice period, the Court awarded seven months’ pay to the plaintiff factory worker with seven years of service.
Leys v Likhanga, 2012 CanLII 29267 (ON LRB)
Employers of a live-in caregiver filed an Application for Review to the Ontario Labour Relations Board, arguing that they did not owe wages to the caregiver. In detail, the Board explained that work is deemed to be performed by a worker as long as the worker must hold her or himself at the place of employment.
Hill-LeClair v. Booth, 2009 HRTO 1629 (CanLII)
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario awarded $25,000 to the applicant who was subjected to sexual harassment.
Hayat v. Clegg Campus Marketing, 2006 CanLII 19392 (ON LRB)
The employer hired the worker to solicit people at shopping malls to apply for a credit card. The Ministry of Labour found that the worker was a commissioned salesperson who worked away from the employer’s place of business and thus exempt from minimum wage. The Ontario Labour Relations Board found the worker to be entitled to minimum wage, determining that the level of control the employer held over the worker made him a route salesperson.