In O'Neill v General Motors of Canada
Ltd., 2013 ONSC 4654, a motion for partial summary
judgment was granted in a class action by retired employees of GM
after their health care and life insurance benefits were
substantially reduced to offset GM's financial difficulties.
Just prior to the scheduled trial of an appeal and cross-appeal in
June 2014, the parties settled the matter in its entirety. The
proposed settlement required GM to establish a $9 million fund for
past life and health claims and to restore most of the class
members' health and life insurance benefits effective September
1, 2014. It secured compensation for all 3200 class members,
despite the fact that the claims of some members were less certain
that others. On August 27, 2014, the settlement was approved by an
Ontario court in O'Neill v General Motors of Canada,
2014 ONSC 4742 on the basis that it provided a real and
immediate benefit to class members in terms of the compensation
provided and the avoidance of further appeal proceedings.
In Scott v. Canada (Attorney General), 2013
BCSC 1651, a British Columbia judge allowed a proposed class
action to proceed over the objections of the federal Attorney
General that it disclosed no reasonable cause of action. The action
claimed that members and former members of the Canadian Forces
injured in the course of duty had been provided with inadequate
support and had suffered discrimination with respect to their
benefits and compensation under the government's New Veterans
Charter. The Attorney General appealed the denial of its motion to
strike out the claim. Its appeal was set down for hearing by the
British Columbia Court of Appeal on December 3, 2014.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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