Labour law in canada
Purpose – The goal of this assignment is to allow students to develop their skills in researching and analyzing key questions in labour law. It will also give students
further experience in dealing with legal documents and court rulings.
Requirements and Organization – Your paper should be in essay format and focused on answering a particular issue in labour law. You are expected to take a clear
position and support it by building an argument with lots of evidence.
Possible Topics – There are basically two types of topics students can examine. They can address a broad question about labour law, OR they can choose a particular
case, dispute, or situation and explore how it was handled by the legal regime.
? Within these parameters, students will be given considerable freedom in choosing a topic. However, to pursue a topic that is not on the list of suggestions, you need
approval from the instructor. In particular, you need to not only select a topic, but also frame a question that you will answer in your essay.
Among the broad issues in labour law, possible legal/policy questions for students to explore include:
1. Who has the greater duties in the individual employment relationship, the employer or the employee?
2. Critically assess the following statement: “Whatever the laws on the books, it is still easy for employers to get rid of an employee.”
3. Has pay equity proven to be an unworkable policy?
4. Does the law regarding organizing drives balance rights of employers, workers and unions – or does the law favour one side?
5. Critically assess the following statement: “The law is effective in forcing employers to sit down with unions and collective bargain in good faith.”
6. Critically assess the following statement: “The law basically shuts down most effective forms of union strike action and picketing.”
7. Choose two examples that show that Quebec’s legal system is considerably more favourable to unions than Ontario’s.
8. Critically assess the following statement: “Politicians have no justification for complaining that the legal system forces them to make excessively costly
collective agreements with essential service workers.” Note: you can limit this question to one group of workers, such as police or firefighters.
9. Critically assess the following statement: “The courts’ recent rulings on the right to organize or strike are truly revolutionary changes in labour law.” Note: you
can cover either the right to organize or the right to strike or both.
10. Has human rights legislation provided effective protection for disadvantaged groups? (You can, and perhaps should, focus on one or two particular groups).
There is a wide array of particular cases or situations students could explore, including:
1. Choose a recent strike or dispute and assess which side gained an advantage thanks to the legal system.
2. Choose a recent pay equity settlement and assess whether it effectively corrected previous inequalities in pay rates.
3. Choose a recent plant or office closure and determine whether the law provided adequate protections for the interests of the affected workers.
4. The changes to the labour by the Rae and Harris governments were the subject of a lot of controversy. But just how significant were the impacts of these changes in
the end? (You can focus on either Rae or Harris or both?)
Citation Method – Footnotes and a bibliography are required. For this assignment, standard social science (ie references in brackets) are fine when citing secondary
literature, but when citing laws or legal cases, you will need to use the standard method of citing them. The text-book provides clear examples of this method,
including a useful list of abbreviations of Law Reports, Statutes, and Boards and Courts to use in citations (pp.21-2). It is not that hard – there is no need to freak
out over this.
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