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					                                                               Bulletin                                            December 2008

Reasonable Notice of
Employment Changes Not Enough: Court
A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal could have    At the end of the period, the employer stated that, as per
significant implications for employers who want to amend       the notice they had provided, the amended contract was
an employee’s terms of employment. Even if you provide         now in place and there would be no job for him if he
adequate notice of a change to an employment contract,         refused. Mr. Wronko again rejected it, left, and sued for
this latest ruling suggests that may not be enough to limit    constructive dismissal.
your exposure to risk.
                                                               The Ontario Court of Appeal concluded that the employer
In the case of Wronko v. Western Inventory Service Ltd.,
                                                    Ltd        had in effect terminated Mr. Wronko without notice or
the Ontario Court of Appeal held that employee                 cause and he was entitled to two years salary less what he
Mr. Darrell Wronko was wrongfully dismissed, even              earned from other employment during the two year notice
though he was provided with two years’ notice of a             period. According to the Ontario Court of Appeal, the
contract change. While the Wronko case deals specifically      employer should have terminated Mr. Wronko when he
with severance pay, this ruling may have implications with     first objected to the changes and offered to rehire him
regard to any unilateral changes to an employment              based on the terms in the amended employment contract.
contract – such as alterations to benefits or retirement       On October 9, 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada denied
savings programs.                                              leave to appeal the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal
                                                               in Wronko.
In the Wronko case, the employer tried to shorten
the severance pay provision (from two years to thirty weeks)
                                                               Application of this ruling in practical terms is difficult as it
outlined in the employment contract of a long-service
                                                               suggests that, if employees reject a change an employer is
employee, Mr. Wronko. Mr. Wronko rejected the employer’s
                                                               trying to implement, the employer must terminate the
proposed changes, and so the employer gave him two
                                                               employee and then offer the employee re-employment on
years’ notice that the new contract would come into effect.
                                                               the amended terms.
Mr. Wronko consistently rejected the change during this
time and refused to sign the amended contract.
                                                                                                         ...continued on page 3

What’s inside                                                                                                                     ..
Page 2
- Travel Vaccinations Reminder – Be on Guard
  When Travelling Outside Canada
Page 3
- Quebec Helps Victims of Crime
- Reasonable Notice of Employment Change
  Not Enough: Court (cont’d)
Page 4
- Newsletter Q & A’s
- Holiday Hours

                                                               We care about what you care about.
Travel Vaccinations Reminder –
           Be on Guard When Travelling Outside Canada
Winter is a busy time for travel. Whether     through bodily fluids and infected          Meningococcal meningitis is a highly
your employees are headed on a                blood. Hep A or combo hep A/hep B           contagious disease that can lead to
business trip abroad, or to the islands       vaccines are available in Canada.           death if not immediately treated. It
for some fun, you may want to remind                                                      is most prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa,
them about the importance of vaccines.        Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection      mainly during the dry season. Travellers
Not only are some vaccinations required       spread via food or water that has not       to Saudi Arabia for the Umrah and Hajj
in certain countries, they can be highly      been properly treated. It has been found    seasons are required to show proof of
effective in preventing a variety of          in many developing countries in Asia,       vaccination before entry.
diseases.                                     Africa and South America. The vaccine is
                                              recommended if travelling to rural areas,   Rabies kills more people worldwide
The Public Health Agency of Canada            smaller cities and villages. Vaccinations   than any other common infection, says
recommends travellers contact their           have been shown to provide 70-90%           the World Health Organization. It is
doctor or public health unit six to eight     protection.                                 prevalent in Southeast Asia, Latin
weeks ahead of the scheduled travel                                                       America and Africa. Pre-exposure
date to determine if immunizations are        There is currently no vaccine for           vaccines are recommended, and the
required. It’s important to bring along a     malaria. Travellers to malaria hot zones    post-exposure vaccine must be
medical history, current medication(s)        such as sub-Saharan Africa, as well as      administered immediately if bitten
and other personal risk factors such as       Asia and Latin America, should consider     by a rabid animal.
allergies, asthma, pregnancy, diabetes        taking anti-malaria medication.
etc. so the proper vaccination program                                                    For more information on travel health
can be administered.                          Travellers may also want to make sure       and other vaccines not listed here, call
                                              their vaccinations are up-to-date for       1-613-957-8739 or visit the website
Common Illnesses                              measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.         www.travelhealth.gc.ca.
If you plan to travel to a developing         Canadians who have not had a tetanus
country – even if your destination is a       shot in the last 10 years should have       If you have a newsletter or Intranet, and
resort – the most common illnesses you        one prior to travel.                        you would like to provide this article to
may encounter include traveller’s                                                         your employees, please contact your
diarrhea (TD), hepatitis A, typhoid           Other required or                           Cowan representative. We would be
fever, and malaria.                           recommended vaccinations:                   happy to provide you with a PDF
                                              Yellow fever is a viral infection           version.
Diarrhea is the most common                   transmitted by the bite of an infected
medical problem affecting travellers          mosquito. The vaccine is required for       *Please note: this article is not meant to
to developing countries. TD is usually        entry to several countries in South         replace the advice of your family physician
caused by ingesting contaminated food         America and Central Africa. There are       or public health unit. Please talk to a
or water. The most common bacterial           another 102 countries that require proof    medical health professional about your
cause of TD is enterotoxigenic E. coli        of the vaccination if travellers have       specific travel arrangements to determine
(ETEC). Oral cholera vaccines are             passed through a yellow fever area.         the best course of action.
available in Canada, which provide
moderate protection to TD.                    Japanese encephalitis is caused by the
                                              mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis
Hepatitis A and B both affect the liver.      virus. It is most prevalent in East Asia,
Hep A is acquired indirectly through          especially in late summer and early fall.
food or water contaminated with human         It also occurs sporadically in tropical
feces. It is common in rural areas, as well   areas of Southeast Asia, such as
as “five-star” resorts. Hep B – the more      Thailand. The vaccine is recommended
serious of the two – is transmitted           for anyone planning on staying a month
                                              or longer in infected areas.

Quebec Helps Victims of Crime                                                              ...continued from page 1

                                                                                           Reasonable Notice of
With the passage of Bill 58, Quebec has      employee personally injured as the
become the first province to provide         result of a criminal offence, or if his/her   Employment Changes
unpaid leaves of absence from work for       minor child is similarly injured, and/or,     Not Enough: Court
employees injured as the result of a         if the employee’s spouse or child dies
criminal offence. This provision, which      as the result of a criminal offence.          So the traditional thinking of providing
amends the Act Respecting Labour             An absence of up to 52 weeks will be          adequate notice ahead of a major
Standards (R.S.Q.c.N-1.1), also applies to   permitted if the employee’s spouse or         change may now be challenged –
an employee whose minor child was            child commits suicide or if the child         perhaps for any terms of an
injured as the result of a criminal          goes missing.                                 employment contract. Employers
offence. Other provinces are                                                               should proceed with caution and seek
considering similar legislation.             Employers are mandated by the                 legal advice when trying to make
                                             legislation to continue to provide            changes to the “deal” they have with an
This new legislation does not cover          group insurance and pension coverage          employee or a group of employees.
employers regulated by federal labour        during the leave period, as long as the
legislation, such as banking, transpor-      employee continues to contribute to           Rachel M. Arbour, a lawyer with Hicks
tation and telecommunications.               the cost of the plan to the same extent       Morley, spoke about the Wronko
Furthermore, it is not applicable to         as required prior to the leave of             case at a recent Cowan Pension and
employees implicated in the crime or         absence. Several insurers and pension         Benefits seminar in Cambridge, ON.
who may have contributed to the              providers have already confirmed that         She told us that in light of this case,
injury by a “gross fault”. To be eligible    they will assist employers in complying       and in fact even before this case, they
for the leaves of absence, employees         with the legislation. An employee is          were already starting to see letters
must have been credited with at              well advised to confirm with the              from employees rejecting changes
least three consecutive months of            benefits or pension carrier whenever an       to their plans.
uninterrupted service with the               employee takes advantage of the
employer, prior to the event.                legislation.                                  If an employee rejects a change, the
                                                                                           employer should confirm with that
Maximum leaves of absence vary from          If you have any questions on this issue,      employee that they will be moving
26 weeks up to 104 weeks, depending          please contact your Cowan benefits or         forward with the changes. Arbour
on the reason for the absence. Absences      pension consultant, or the author of          also recommends being proactive.
up to 104 weeks are available for an         this article – benefits consultant Fred       She suggests developing
                                             Quinton: 1-800-609-5549 ext. 51101            communication strategies well in
                                             or fred.quinton@cowangroup.ca.                advance of any unilateral changes,
                                                                                           and if communications have not been
                                                                                           clear enough in the past, correct them
                                                                                           going forward. “Don’t just wait for
                                                                                           the claim to drop on your desk.”

                                                                                           For more information, please call
                                                                                           your Cowan consultant, or Teresa
                                                                                           Norris-Lue, Vice President of
                                                                                           Southwestern Ontario for Cowan
                                                                                           Benefits Consulting at:
                                                                                           1-800-609-5549 ext. 51304 or

Newsletter Q & A’s
In the last Bulletin newsletter, we            2) If the claim is for the spouse –               Holiday Hours at
mentioned that from time to time, we
would include answers to
                                                  the reverse order must be used.
                                                  The claim first goes to the
                                                                                                 Cowan Benefits
commonly-asked questions for our                  spouse’s insurer then to your                  Consulting
readers. Here is another question we              plan’s insurer.
often get asked.                                                                                 Christmas Eve
                                               3) If the claim is for a dependant                 - Office closes at noon
Q: My employee is covered                         child – the claim must first be
   under our group plan. Her                      sent to the insurance company of               Christmas Day
   spouse has coverage with                       the parent with the earliest                    - Closed
   another employer. Can she                      birthday in the year. For example:             Boxing Day
   and her spouse claim from                      if one parent’s birth date is
                                                  January 27, 1980 and the other’s
                                                                                                  - Closed
   both insurance companies,
   for the same medical or                        is May 25, 1976, all claims for                New Year’s Eve
   dental claim?                                  dependant children must first go                - Office closes at 3pm
                                                  to the insurance company for the
                                                                                                 New Year’s Day
A: Yes, claims can be charged                     parent with the January birthday.
   against both plans, but with                   Unpaid balances may then be                     - Closed
   restrictions. Group plans contain a            sent to the other insurer.
   Coordination of Benefits (COB)
   provision. The purpose of this is to
   restrict the reimbursement of
   claims to no more than 100% of
   the incurred expense.

  To make it easier for insured plan
  members to understand how
  claims are administered, the
  insurance industry has set a
  protocol for how claims are paid
  under COB.

  1) If the claim is for the member of
     your plan – the claim must be
     sent to your insurer for payment,
     first. Any unpaid portion of the
     claim may then be sent to the
     spouse’s insurer for payment, up
     to a maximum paid of 100% of
     the total expense.

  This bulletin is produced by Cowan Benefits Consulting, a member of the Cowan family of companies. We are a full-service
  advisory firm helping public and private-sector clients manage their group benefits, retirement and health and disability
  management plans. We do this by consulting and providing administrative services tailor-made to any size and
  type of organization.
  Contact us to subscribe to our newsletter, find out more about the contents discussed in this issue or
     learn more about any of Cowan’s service offerings.                                                            Cowan Benefits Consulting
                                                                                                                            705 Fountain Street North
                                                                                                   700-1420 Blair Place                   PO Box 1510
                                                                                                   Ottawa, ON K1J 9L8        Cambridge, ON N1R 5T2
                                                                                                 Phone: 613-741-3313             Phone: 519-650-6361
                                                                                                     Fax: 613-741-7771              Fax: 519-650-6367
                                                                                             Toll free: 1-888-509-7797      Toll Free: 1-800-609-5549

                                                                   2008 Headlines of the Year

The Bulletin by Cowan Benefits Consulting has covered a variety of topics over the last 12 months. For your
reference, below is a list of headlines separated out by issue. To visit online issues of the newsletter, please go to:

  March 2008                                                      September 2008
  • WSIB Claims - It May be Time                                  • What Goes Into an Effective
    to Take a Second Look                                           Wellness Program?
  • 2008 Budget Highlights                                        • The Tax Free Savings Account – What
  • The Importance of Beneficiary                                   It Means For You
    Designations                                                  • Unfulfilled Expectations
  • B.C. Latest Province to Ban                                   • Notice: Quebec Basic Drug Plan Changes
    Mandatory Retirement                                          • Don’t Miss the Deadline for Registering
  • Federal Government Increases                                    Over-Age Students
    EI Maximum

  May 2008                                                        November 2008
  • Helping Plan Members Weather                                  • How to Help Employees Through
    the Stormy Market                                               Turbulent Financial Times
  • Ontario Budget Highlights                                     • Helping Employees Deal With an
                                                                    Unexpected Illness
  • ODB Delists Dozens of Drugs
                                                                  • Chronically Absent Employees – When
  • Put Us to Work For You                                          to Call in Help
  • The Benefits of a Benchmarking                                • Newsletter Q & A

                                                                  December 2008
  July 2008                                                       • Court Decision Has Implications for
  • Workplace Wellness Helps Tone                                   Benefits Changes
    the Bottom Line                                               • Travel Vaccinations Reminder: Be on
  • Pension Plan Participation During                               Guard When Traveling Outside Canada
    an Absence                                                    • Quebec Helps Victims of Crime
  • Waiver of Participation                                       • Calendar of Awareness Campaigns 2009
  • Third Party Administrators You                                • Newsletter Q & A
    Can Trust

                                                                       We care about what you care about.
                                                                       National Awareness
                                                                   Calendar of Events 2009
There are so many important awareness campaigns throughout the year that we thought we would highlight a few of the
health-related ones. We will also be writing about a few of these topics in 2009. Stay tuned!

  January                                                         July
  • Alzheimer Awareness Month (www.alzheimer.ca)                  • Cell Phone Courtesy Month
  • National Non-Smoking Week (www.nnsw.ca)                       • Personal Health Month
                                                                  • Social Wellness Month
  • National Heart Month (www.heartandstroke.ca)                  August
  • Eating Disorders Awareness Week (www.nedic.ca)                • First Aid Month

  March                                                           September
  • National Kidney Month (www.kidney.ca)                         • Ovarian Cancer Month (www.ovariancanada.org)
  • “Help Fight Liver Disease” Month (www.liver.ca)               • National Arthritis Month (www.arthritis.ca)
  • National Nutrition Month (www.dieticians.ca)                  • Muscular Dystrophy Month (www.muscle.ca)
  • National Epilepsy Month (www.epilepsy.ca)                     • Prostate Cancer Awareness Week (www.prostatecancer.ca)
  • National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month
    (www.colorectal-cancer.ca)                                    October
  • Red Cross Month (www.redcross.ca)                             • SIDS Awareness Month (www.sidscanada.org)
                                                                  • Autism Awareness Month (www.autismsocietycanada.ca)
  April                                                           • Celiac Awareness Month (www.celiac.ca)
  • National Dental Health Month (www.cda-adc.ca)                 • Eye Health Month (www.opto.ca)
  • Parkinson’s Awareness Month (www.parkinson.ca)                • Lupus Awareness Month (www.lupuscanada.org)
  • Daffodil Month/National Cancer Month (www.cancer.ca)          • Breast Cancer Awareness Month (www.cancer.ca)
  • National Physiotherapy Month (www.physiotherapy.ca)           • Influenza Immunization Awareness Month
  • World Health Day (www.who.int/world-health-day/en)              (http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dc-ma/influenza/)
  • National Immunization Awareness Week                          • Healthy Workplace Month (www.healthyworkplacemonth.ca)
    (www.immunize.cpha.ca)                                        • Brain Tumour Awareness Month (www.braintumour.ca)

  May                                                             November
  • Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month (www.mssociety.ca)         • Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Month (www.ccfc.ca)
  • Hepatitis Awareness Month                                     • Amaryllis Month (www.huntingtonsociety.ca)
  • Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month                          • CPR Awareness Month (www.heartandstroke.ca)
                                                                  • Diabetes Month (www.diabetes.ca)
  • Cystic Fibrosis Month (www.cysticfibrosis.ca)
                                                                  • Osteoporosis Month (www.osteoporosis.ca)
  • Allergy Awareness Week
  • National Mental Health Week (www.cmha.ca)                     December
                                                                  • Christmas Seal Campaign (www.lung.ca)
                                                                  • World AIDS Day (www.cdnaids.ca)
  • ALS Awareness Month (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) (www.als.ca)
  • Brain Injury Awareness Month (www.biam.ca)
  • National Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus Awareness Month
  • Stroke Awareness Month (www.heartandstroke.ca)
  • Thyroid Awareness Month (www.thryvors.org)

                                                                  We care about what you care about.

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