Environmental Law and Development Creating the Right Environment for Success

by ,

Environmental Law and DevelopmentThe environment is on everyone’s mind these days. National governments, regional assemblies and local authorities are fighting a strange fight. Balancing the need to meet carbon reduction targets and at the same time trying protect vital landscapes and species. While many individuals would argue that they are concerned about the environment and are doing their ‘bit’ to save energy and re-cycle, these same individuals can often be found objecting to large scale wind farm schemes. There is a huge paradox when it comes to green developments. Often these potentially beneficial developments are blocked on, wait for it, environmental grounds. For the developer, understanding environmental law and legislation is a major factor that can save time and money. Environmental consultants or solicitors can play a crucial role at all stages of the proposed development.

It’s probably easier to answer the one about the egg and the chicken. However any developer, whatever the scale of development, will be aware of the niggling presence of objectors. When these objectors form a pressure group and begin to look into ‘environmental factors’ only the bravest developer does not feel the urge to run for (or from) the hills.

Employment Law – Important Developments in a Changing Economy

by ,

In the current economic climate, continued employment and employment relationships are more critical than ever. Loyal and productive employees will provide an employer its best chance to emerge unscathed at the end of this lengthy recession. During these uncertain times, economic pressures may require an employer reorganize or restructure its workforce. Doing so properly, and in accordance with the law, will ensure continued survival of your business, your profitability and your reputation.

The laws regarding employment standards have changed little in recent years. Still, you must know them when considering leave, layoffs and terminations.

What’s Old?

The Employment Standards Act is the corner-stone of most Canadian employment relationships, although in recent years, the common law is being applied much more often in the determination of reasonable notice for termination.

Employment LawThe purposes of the Act are to ensure basic compensation and conditions for employees and to ensure fair treatment. The Act applies to all employees other than those excluded by regulation (such as certain professionals, enumerated jobs and where collective agreements speak to certain rights). The minimum requirements of the Act cannot be waived (except regarding hours of work and overtime for managers and certain employees).

Amongst many other rights and protections, the Act provides for overtime pay, statutory holiday, vacation leave and various other leaves of absence from employment and for penalties for breaches of these and other rights.

Most importantly, and subject to exceptions set out in the law, the Act provides at sections 63 and 64 for the liabilities of employers to provide notice or pay in lieu of notice. After three months of employment, an employee who is terminated is owed one weeks’ wages on termination. After 12 months of service the entitlement rises to two weeks wages. Finally, after three years of service to three weeks’ wages and an additional weeks pay for each year of service thereafter to a maximum of eight weeks’ wages on termination. In addition, where more than 50 employees are to be terminated in any two month period, certain modified rights to special notice arise and rise further if more than 100 employees are to be affected and further still if more than 300 employees are impacted.

The Director appointed under the Employment Standards Act, and the Employment Standards Tribunal are charged with enforcement and remedies under the Act. The Director has full investigatory and prosecutorial powers to ensure compliance and to enforce stiff penalties.

However, there are limits to their powers which are important to know in order to protect your company from wrongful intrusion by Provincial officers.

Employers may also be liable for wrongful dismissal and/or constructive dismissal at common
law as will be discussed below. The liability at common law for wrongful dismissal can be up to three times higher the awards statutorily mandated under the Act. Doing things right matters.

Employment contracts remain the key way to record and protect the all-important employment relationship. Properly drafted, they protect both parties, ensure compliance with the relevant laws and ensure peace in the workplace. This is especially the case for employees such as managers and professionals to which the Act does not apply; a properly drafted contract and policies are the only way that the parties can record their rights and relationship. Continue reading

Immigration Law Trends and Developments

by ,

In this day and age one of the most contentious areas of the law involves immigration issues. Through this article you are provided with an overview of trends and developments relating to immigration law at this juncture in time.

The most significant arena in which immigration law trends and developments needs to be considered involves the number of men, women and children who currently are in the United States illegally. While no one really knows for certain, it is estimated that there are at least 12,000,000 people in the United States illegally at this point in time. A considerable percentage of this number of people originally hail from Mexico. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are a considerable number of illegal immigrants within the U.S.A. from other countries as well.

Immigration Law TrendsHistorically, this is not the first time in the history of the U.S.A. that immigration issues have been on the forefront of the minds of people across the country. However, with that said, the present situation does involve a larger number of illegal immigrants than were under consideration in the past. For example, in the 1980s during the Administration of Ronald Reagan an issue involving immigration law arose involving 3,000,000 illegal immigrants that were said to be living in the country. The Reagan Administration essentially granted to these immigrants amnesty which allowed them to take a course through which they could become legal citizens of the United States.

The debate over how to best handle the 12,000,000 plus illegal immigrants is contentious at this juncture in time. In point of fact, despite this debate being ongoing for a significant period of time, no definitive solution has been reached.

One part of the debate involves the reality that these people in the country illegally are playing a role in the economy of the United States. Business owners have expressed concern that forcing these individuals to leave the country very well could have a significant impact on the economy of the country. This has become a particularly significant serious consideration considering the other problems facing the economy in the United States at this juncture in time.

Another concern that people express when it comes to illegal immigrants in the United States centers on the prospect that some of these individuals in the country illegal could be intent upon doing harm to the country and its people. Terrorism is a major concern in this day and age and it does impact the debate over illegal immigrants.

If you are an individual who has an issue in regard to his or her status in the United States, you do need to understand that there is a growing segment of the bar that is dedicating its practice to immigration law. Therefore, if you are facing the prospect of having to deal with the legality of your own status in the United States – or that of a family member – you will want to engage the services of a skilled and educated lawyer such as apricotlaw.com who practices in the area of immigration law to ensure that your own interests are protected today and into the future.