Administrative Suspension … Or Constructive Dismissal?

All employers have the power to terminate the employment of their employees; it derives from their power of direction and control. Some provisions of the Labour Standards Act contain guidelines for the exercise of that power and prevention of its abuse by employers. Thus, an employer who dismisses an employee without good and sufficient cause must give the employee reasonable prior notice or compensation in lieu thereof. Such dismissals are generally effected by a notice to the employee stating that their services are no longer required or will no longer be required after a certain date. However, employers will sometimes proceed much more subtly when they wish to sever the employment relationship with an employee. The term associated with that is “constructive dismissal”.

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Dunkin’ Donuts

The Quebec Court of Appeal’s decision in Dunkin’ Brands Canada Ltd. v. Bertico et al.1 is of tremendous importance, as it undertakes an in-depth and thorough examination of the rights and obligations of the parties to a franchise agreement.

The judgment is the culmination of a decade-long court battle that Langlois Kronström Desjardins and Fasken Martineau waged on behalf of 32 Dunkin Donuts franchisees.

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Environmental Liability of Directors and Officers

On August 29, 2013, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change (the “Minister”) ordered the company Les Équipements de puissance Reliance Ltée (“Reliance”) to clean up its storage site for PCB-contaminated material in Pointe Claire, Quebec. Reliance failed to do so, whereupon the Minister proceeded to have the site decontaminated and secured, at a cost of $3.8 million. On March 5th of this year, Radio-Canada revealed that in connection with this matter, the Minister had registered a notice of legal hypothec against a house belonging to Ms. Birdie Marshall, on the basis that she was the director and shareholder of Reliance. This matter highlights the importance of being aware of certain rules in Quebec regarding the environmental liability of directors and officers.

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New and Important Construction-Law Judgment on Claims for Delays and Impact Costs

Quite often, faced with a claim or potential claim for delays and impact costs, stakeholders in the construction industry will ask themselves the following questions: What does “impact costs” mean? Aren’t impact costs already included in the cost of each change order? Should I add a notation on change directives and change orders regarding additional delays or impact costs? Alternatively, should I strike out any such notation? A decision rendered on April 10, 2015 by the Quebec Court of Appeal answers these questions.

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