skip to main content

We have been advised that fraudulent emails and faxes regarding unclaimed insurance money have been received by members of the public from a source claiming to be Aird & Berlis LLP. These communications are not from Aird & Berlis LLP. Disregard them and do not engage with the sender in any way. Please report the attempted fraud by contacting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.





Back to all publications
Jun 12, 2019

Employment Case Law Update: No Tort of Harassment in Ontario

By Meghan A. Cowan

In its recent decision in Merrifield v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 ONCA 205, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that a common law tort of harassment does not exist in Ontario.

The Court’s landmark decision overturned a Superior Court of Justice decision, which had established the new tort of harassment. In those proceedings, the trial judge had found that the elements of the new tort of harassment were satisfied in relation to a constable’s allegations of harassment against his employer, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), with respect to his transfer to a different unit. The trial judge awarded the constable $141,000.00 in general and special damages.

The Ontario Court of Appeal rejected the lower court’s decision and held that no legal authority supported the existence of a tort of harassment. Moreover, the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court’s finding that the tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering had been made out. The Court of Appeal therefore overturned the trial judge’s findings in their entirety and awarded costs to the RCMP.

While the tort of harassment no longer exists in Ontario, harassment in the workplace is still prohibited by the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the Ontario Human Rights Code. Employers must still comply with these statutory requirements and should therefore ensure that their policies and training are up to date and their investigation processes are current.

Areas of Expertise

Related Publications

Publications Article
Doing Business in Canada - Fall 2019 Oct 18, 2019 Aird & Berlis is pleased to present the Fall 2019 edition of Doing Business in Canada. This publication was developed to provide a general overview of Canadian federal and Ontario law, and is intended for those planning to start, acquire or invest in a business in Canada.
Publications Article
A Mareva Injunction Refresher: Can a Strong Prima Facie Case of Fraud Alone Support an Inference of Asset Dissipation and/or Disposal Risk? By Mark van Zandvoort, Dennis M. O'Leary and Codie Mitchell Oct 09, 2019 In 1985, the Supreme Court of Canada decided Aetna Financial Services Ltd. v. Feigelman. The Court adopted the Ontario Court of Appeal decision in Chitel v. Rothbart, holding that a Mareva injunction is limited to circumstances in which there is a real risk that the defendant will remove its as...
Publications Article
What U.K. Employers Should Know About Canadian Employment Law By Fiona Brown and Michael F. Horvat Sep 30, 2019 Canadian employment law shares many similarities with U.K. employment law by virtue of Canada having inherited its common law system from the U.K. Nevertheless, it is important for U.K. employers seeking to expand operations into Canada to understand how Canadian employment legislation operates w...