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Tag Archive: federal government

Public Employee In Legal Mess: Phoenix Payroll Problem

Darrel Delisle, a former contract worker for Global Affairs Canada, is stuck in a legal mess after suing the federal government over the Phoenix payroll problems.

A new computerized payroll system called Phoenix was introduced in Ottawa. It was discovered this year that, following glitches in the system, the two largest unions representing federal public servants were owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in union dues that were not properly collected. Since February of this year, more than 80,000 workers have had issues when it comes to being paid. Some are being paid too much, too little or not at all.

Delisle, the first person to sue the federal government regarding the Phoenix payroll problems, filed a lawsuit after struggling to get paid for three months while Phoenix was rolled out. Before filing the lawsuit, Delisle tried a number of different methods to get paid. This included calling the pay centre 635 times, sending emails, and by setting up meetings with superiors. He even tried filing a labour complaint, but it was rejected. He ultimately left Global Affairs in June. On July 14, he filed his lawsuit in small claims court seeking $24,000 “for the payment of wages, personal hardship experience and extreme inconvenience caused by this unacceptable administrative process imposed by the employer”.

However, in their defence statement, Global Affairs claims that Delisle was only owed $12,599 but was paid a lump sum of $26,707 on July 27. Global Affairs is now claiming that Delisle owes the government $14,692.

In an article by the CBC on the case, lawyer Sean McGee states that the way the government is handling this case could discourage other vulnerable workers from taking legal action. According the McGee, the government’s position on this lawsuit “sends the signal that people aren’t going to be able to take advantage of their rights”. He also stated the government’s response to the Phoenix payroll problem lawsuit could cause people in similar situations to question if they would even be able to work again after a public legal battle.

To learn more, visit the CBC News website.

Story source: CBC News

Featured image source: Career Builder

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Federal Judge allows Medical Marijuana users to grow pot

On Wednesday, February 24 in Vancouver, Federal Judge, Michael Phelan, struck down the Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations that restricted medical marijuana patients from growing their own marijuana.

Judge Phelan ruled that the regulations “were an infringement on charter rights and declared they have no force and effect.” However, he suspended his ruling for six months for the federal government to determine new rules. He also made sure to point out that this new ruling doesn’t change other laws that make it illegal for Canadians to use or grow pot recreationally.

The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations was introduced in 2013 by the Conservative Government. Under it, medical marijuana patients were required to buy cannabis from licenses producers instead of growing their own. Neil Allard and three other British Columbia residents challenged this regulation, stating it violated their charter rights.

While this new ruling is a definite victory for medical marijuana users, there are still some limitations. For one, it only applies to about 28,000 Canadian who already had the proper licenses at the time of the injunction. Lawyer John Conroy, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, stated that there are thousands of other medical marijuana users not covered by the original injunction and they will have to wait six months before they can start legally growing their own cannabis. He also said that if someone had to change the address of their production site, their possession license is no longer valid with Health Canada and warns users with licenses to ensure that they’re up-to-date.

Read more about this case, the new ruling, and Judge Phelan’s decision on the CBC News website.

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Marijuana Legalization is Already Creating Chaos in Canada

Justin Trudeaus Liberal Government

Canada is on the path to legalized marijuana, thanks to the Liberal government led by the much-adored Justin Trudeau. And yet, the nation is already in a state of confusion over marijuana legalization.

Officiated in a public mandate letter sent to the Minister of Justice, Trudeau stated that the government will work towards creating “a federal-provincial-territorial process that will lead to the legalization and regulation of marijuana.”

Even though the Prime Minister of Canada is on board with the legalize marijuana train and the government plans to begin a consultation process on the topic in the coming months, nothing has truly changed.

Marijuana is still technically illegal in Canada, but given the Prime Minsters words and the publicized stance of the government on marijuana legalization, something of a legal grey zone has been created, at least in the eyes of certain citizens.

Cannabis shops are popping up at a new-found rate, with many actively selling marijuana to patrons who don’t necessarily have a medical license.

Weedz Glass & Gifts, a head shop based in B.C., which has recently expanded to Ontario with Quebec on the horizon, is probably the largest perpetrator of such actions. The store has been known to sell to those without a medical license, and even minors, which has raised a bunch of red flags.

Don Briere, owner and operator of the franchise doesn’t really understand what the problem is. In his view, since the government is already working towards legalizing marijuana, then there isn’t anything illegal with what his stores are doing.

Some Canadians agree and are already beginning to grow and sell their own marijuana, believing the practice to be entirely on the level.

President of the Canadian Police Association, Tom Stamatakis, has experienced this first hand. When interviewed by the Globe & Mail, Stamatakis related how there are “citizens who are convinced or have allowed themselves to be convinced that marijuana is now legal and it’s okay to not only use it, but to manufacture and sell it.”

But in actuality, this legal “grey zone” doesn’t exist. The Canadian Criminal Code remains unchanged, and until the Liberal government actually enacts any changes, marijuana is still illegal.

Despite all of this confusion, however, the Liberal government doesn’t feel the need to rush themselves. Liberal representatives have gone on the record to state that the party will take all the time necessary to ensure the legalization process is done correctly. They were sure to note that all existing laws are still enforced, regardless of what may happen in the future.

And yet, even when the consultation process held between the federal and provincial governments on marijuana legalization is done, the mechanics of enforcing whatever decisions are made will be even more difficult to hammer out.

Provinces, and even municipalities, may have starkly varying approaches on marijuana laws, which could create more confusion for both political leaders and citizens alike.

So while things are a bit chaotic and confusing now, Canada is probably in for much of the same as the nation heads into the age of legalized marijuana.

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First patient dies under Quebec’s new death with dignity laws

death with dignity laws

This month, a patient died with the assistance of a physician in Quebec City — marking the first time a Canadian has exercised their legal right to die with dignity.

Quebec’s law that allows for assisted dying came into effect on December 10th of last year. While this is the first publicly-known circumstance of a patient dying with the aid of a doctor in the province, it remains unclear whether or not there are more cases: Quebec health agencies aren’t obligated to report them, given patient confidentiality. However, a report on all cases is set to be prepared by a parliamentary committee for the Quebec National Assembly this fall.

In December, Quebec became the first Canadian province where terminally ill patients were granted the legal right to die with the assistance of a doctor. The law came about when a Quebec Court of Appeal panel with three judges overturned the previous Quebec Superior Court ruling, which stipulated that the province couldn’t allow for its dying with dignity law to come into effect, until the Criminal Code changed some of its provisions.

The Court of Appeal also encouraged the implementation of assisted dying laws at the federal level, rather than just the provincial. While the federal government had requested six more months to draft new assisted dying laws, this month, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed the federal government to have only a four-month extension. The court also ruled that Quebec’s right-to-die laws can continue to be implemented. Now, it remains to be seen whether more provinces will follow Quebec’s lead, and right-to-die advocates hold on to hope that the country as a whole will adopt similar legislation.

For more on this story, visit CBC News.

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New Laws In Ontario That Came Into Effect In 2016

A new year brings many changes, and in 2016, that includes some new laws on both federal and provincial levels.

Put in place by the Trudeau government and the province of Ontario, here are the new laws you’ll need to know about in 2016:

Lower Tax Rates For The Middle Class

If you earn anywhere between $45,282 and $90,563, you’ll enjoy a lower income tax rate in 2016, dropping down to 20.5% from 22%.

Those who earn over $200, 000, however, can expect to get taxed a bit more, with the rate increase from 29% to 33%.

TFSA Limit Lowered

Be wary if you’ve been putting funds into your Tax Free Savings Account, as the federal limit will now be set at $5, 500, a significant drop from the previous $10, 000.

Winter Tire Discount

Put winter tires on your car, and get a discount thanks to a new legislation from Ontario’s Liberal government. The discount will come from insurance companies, and will likely vary in amount, but know that you are legally entitled to some form of tax break.

Stricter Crossover Fines

Pay attention to when pedestrians are crossing the street, because if you accelerate before they’ve reached the sidewalk, you could get slapped with a $150-$500 fine.

Note, however, this only applies to crossovers, not crosswalks, which are different. Crossovers are a zone where drivers are alerted to potential pedestrians via signage and alert lights, whereas crosswalks is the term used when a real traffic light is present. You should also know that the new law applies to crosswalks when a school crossing guard is there.

No More Nuclear Plant Fee

You stand to save around $5.60 on all of your upcoming hydro bills thanks to the removal of tax in place to offset the costs of nuclear power plants. This only applies to citizens, however, as registered businesses will still be required to pay said tax.

Higher Hydro Bills

Despite the aforementioned savings on your hydro bill, you still stand to pay more, due to several changes made by the government. The biggest culprit is an increase in time-of-use rates put in place by the Ontario Energy Board, made worse by the removal of the Ontario Clean Energy Benefit.

Featured image courtesy of: The City Of Toronto

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Canadian Courts Threaten Action Against Federal Government

Following the federal government’s decision to force courts to go through Shared Services Canada for all their IT purchases which could compromise independence, the Supreme Court is readying itself to take on the government in a legal battle.

The Supreme Court could also be joined by the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, Court Martial Appeal Court and Tax Court in the constitutional challenge that could see purchases of servers, routers and legal software all vetted by the federal government.

The courts all had autonomy when it came to these kinds of purchases until September 1, when the rule was implemented and the courts became a client of the government’s IT department, Shared Services Canada. This department’s main focus is overseeing purchasing and digital services of the top 43 IT-consumers in the government.

The Conservative government approved this change in May of last year, with the intent of saving money, because Shared Services can purchase in bulk, and also to increase security, because the department also makes an extra effort to purchase from safe suppliers only.

But after Prime Minister Trudeau took office, he raised concerns that this kind of government involvement in the court would infringe on their independence. He was also warned by the courts that if the cabinet decision is not reversed, they will take legal action. Now, Trudeau’s government must decide what they will do with the implemented IT control, and how they will quell the concerns of the most powerful court in the country.

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