Lesson 2: Administrative and Labour Law


Activity 1: Administrative Law

In this lesson you will be asking questions to formatively assess what the students know about administrative law. After watching a brief video, you can assess how much of the video the students absorbed by playing an engaging game that will reinforce what was said in the video. Be sure to state the correct answers to the class. Finally, the students are given a matching activity to reinforce what types of administrative tribunals exist here in British Columbia. This can be corrected as a class and/or taken in for completion marks.

Answer Key for Handout 1: What is Administrative Law?

  1. Administrative tribunals are similar to court.
  2. The video compares administrative law to another type of law called invisible Law.
  3. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) regulates cell phone rates.
  4. The Employment Standards Branch regulates hours of work and overtime pay.
  5. Another name for a “law” made by government is legislation (also statute, enactment, regulation, or Act).
  6. Three levels of government have administrative tribunals in BC.
  7. List some advantages of administrative tribunals.
    cheaper easier quicker
  8. An administrative tribunal is less formal than a provincial court.
  9. In general, a person does not need a lawyer at a tribunal meeting because he/she represents himself or herself.
  10. To be hired, an adjudicator must have specialized knowledge in their field.
  11. To resolve a dispute, an adjudicator can provide a written judgment, investigate, mediate, regulate, or make policies.
  12. All administrative tribunals must try to uphold the ‘duty to be fair.
  13. Of the four principles regarding this duty, the first principle is the ‘right to know the case’.
  14. An oral hearing is one in which a person must attend a tribunal in person.
  15. In order to ensure a fair decision, an adjudicator must not be biased.
  16. In the third principle of fairness, the adjudicator hearing the case must also be the one to decide the case.
  17. Along with the adjudicator’s decision, the forth principle states that he/she must give reasons.

Activity 2: Fly Swatter Game

Answer Key: Handout 4: Fly Swatter Questions

  1. What are administrative tribunals similar to?
  2. What other type of law does the video compare administrative law to?
    Invisible Law
  3. Who regulates the eggs and milk that you eat and drink?
    The Canadian Dairy Commission
  4. Who regulates your cell phone rates?
    The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC)
  5. Who regulates the electricity that we use?
    The BC Utilities Commission
  6. Who determines regulations regarding hours of work and overtime pay?
    Employment Standards Branch
  7. What is another name for a “law” made by government?
    Legislation (statute, enactment, regulation, Act, also acceptable)
  8. Which levels of government have administrative tribunals in BC?
    All three levels
  9. Name one advantage administrative tribunals have.
    Less costly than court, quicker to come to a resolution, more accessible.
  10. Which body is more formal, an administrative tribunal or the provincial court?
    Provincial court
  11. In general, who represents a person at a tribunal meeting?
    The individual represents himself or herself.
  12. What characteristic must an adjudicator have in order to be hired?
    Specialized knowledge in their field.
  13. What is the person making the decision for administrative tribunals called?
    Member or adjudicator
  14. List one of the options an adjudicator has to resolve a dispute.
    Written judgments, investigate, make policy or mediate.
  15. What important “duty” must all administrative tribunals try to uphold?
    Duty to be fair.
  16. Of the four principles regarding the duty to be fair, what is the first principal?
    Right to know the case.
  17. What is it called when a person must attend a tribunal in person?
    Oral hearing.
  18. What personal characteristic must a judge have in order to make a fair decision?
  19. What does the third principle state about the adjudicator who hears the case?
    Decide the case
  20. In the fourth principle, what must the adjudicator do in giving their decision?
    Give reasons

Activity 3: Administrative Tribunals

Answer Key: Handout 5: Types of Administrative Law Tribunals

Main Points

  • Are like courts and make decisions that affect people.
  • Also called boards, agencies and commissions.
  • Hundreds of them in BC.
  • Five types
Adjudicative Tribunals Examples
  1. Those that resolve disputes between two parties.
  • Owed overtime wages
  • Employment rights and benefits
  1. Those that make decisions about a person’s rights and benefits.
  • Immigrant and refugee rights
  • Income assistance (payment)
  1. Those that hear complaints about professionals.
  • Doctor, lawyers, dentists, teachers, vets...
  1. Those that hear appeals of decisions that were made earlier by another tribunal.
  • Worker’s compensation 1st settlement appeal
Regulatory Tribunals Examples
  1. Those that make rules for the better operation of an industry to protect the public.
  • Quality of food goods
  • Liquor licenses
  • Wildlife habitat protection
  • Licenses for community care facilities

Answer Key: Handout 6: Administrative Tribunals

# Tribunals Scenarios
  1. BC College of Teachers
  1. An employee was unloading a skid of boxes in a warehouse and broke his leg when some boxes fell on him.
  1. BC Review Board
  1. A person in a wheelchair was denied a promotion because of their perceived inability to travel internationally.
  1. BC Securities Commission
  1. A famous band publically plays a song that is not theirs and does not pay compensation to the songwriter.
  1. Canada Revenue Agency
  1. A bilingual executive applied for, was interviewed and did not get the job in a Crown corporation (Federal Government Corporation). The person who did get the job is not bilingual.
  1. Canadian Human Rights Commission
  1. A student teacher has graduated from school and would like to begin working.
  1. Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
  1. A political party is accused of spending more than it is allowed on its election campaign.
  1. Copyright Board of Canada
  1. A person who has not yet completed his or her jail term would like an early release.
  1. Immigration and Refugee Board
  1. A person has been tried but found to be not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.
  1. Labour Relations Board
  1. A homeowner’s tax bill has increased by 22 percent in one year.
  1. National Parole Board
  1. A person has been accused of insider trading on the stock exchange.
  1. Office of the Chief Electoral Officer
  1. A student has been evicted from his or her apartment and has not received back his or her deposit.
  1. Office of the Commissioner of the Official Languages for Canada
  1. A mother is particularly upset about the amount of violence, swearing and nudity there was on a TV program shown during the daytime.
  1. Property Assessment Review Panels
  1. A person has been told that they owe thousands of dollars in income tax.
  1. Residential Tenancy Office
  1. A “foreigner” has arrived at the airport with only a one way ticket and is seeking landed immigrant status here in Canada.
  1. WorkSafe BC – Review Division
  1. Nurses are threatening to go on strike if they are not given better working conditions.

Activity 5: Labour Law

You will ask questions and assess how much your students know about British Columbia’s Employment Standards Act. Then, after they have completed the Gallery Walk, you can either mark the questions together or collect them for marks.

Activity 6: Employment Standards Gallery Walk

Answer Key: Handout 10: Employment Standards Gallery Walk

  1. Who is not covered under the Employment Standards Act (ESA)?
    Babysitters, secondary students, newspaper carriers who attend school and any person receiving federal financial assistance.
  1. What do you have to do if you would like to work and you are under 15 years of age? Do you need to get the Employment Standards Branch’s permission if you are under 15 and want to work as a babysitter?
    If you want to work in a paying job, you will need to get the permission of the Employment Standard Board and you will also need your parent’s permission. You do not need to get the ESB’s permission to babysit.
  1. What is the current minimum wage in British Columbia?
  1. If you are scheduled to work an eight hour shift, show up but then are sent home are you entitled to pay? If yes, how much?
    Yes, you are entitled to pay—two hours for an eight hour shift.
  1. Are you entitled to pay if you are required to attend job training or meetings?
    Yes, you must be paid for job training. If you work more than eight hours and then are required to attend a meeting, you are entitled to overtime.
  1. What is your employer entitled to deduct from your wages? Also, can an employer deduct any money if you accidentally break something while working?
    Canada Pension Plan, Employment Insurance, Income Tax and any court ordered garnishing of wages. No, an employer cannot deduct anything you broke from your wages. If he or she can prove that you deliberately damaged something, you may be fired.
  1. When are you entitled to weekly overtime wages? How much more are you entitled to?
    If you work over 40 hours you are entitled to time-and-a-half.
  1. How many hours are you entitled to be off in between shifts and must an employer give you consecutive days off?
    An employer must give a minimum of eight hours between shifts and a minimum of 32 hours off in a row.
  1. Do you have to pay for your work uniform?
    If it is a specific work uniform, employers must pay for it. If it is a dress code using regular clothes, than you must supply the clothes. If part of the dress code is specific, such as a ruffled shirt, the employer should pay.
  1. If I am asked to work more than my eight hour shift, am I entitled to overtime pay?
    Yes, you should be paid time-and-a-half, unless you have a previous agreement with your employer and bank your overtime.
  1. What is a split shift and what happens if the shift is not finished in 12 hours?
    It is when you work some hours, have time off work then come back to work. If your shift is not finished within the 12 hour window, you are entitled to time-and-a-half.
  1. Are you required to work overtime?
    Your employers have the right to ask you to work overtime as long as they are paying you overtime wages. If you feel you are working too much overtime, talk to your employer and communicate your feelings. If nothing changes, you may want to contact the ESB.
  1. Is my employer required to pay me sick benefits?
    No, employers are not required to pay sick benefits although many do offer sick days. If you are sick too often, an employer may terminate your employment.
  1. How often are you entitled to get a work break?
    You are entitled to a 30 minute lunch or dinner break for every five hours you work. Employers are not required to give you a coffee break, though many do.
  1. If you’ve been working for your employer for just over a year, how much vacation time are you entitled to and what steps do you have to do in order to take that time off?
    You are entitled to two weeks off. You must request your vacation time in advance, preferably in writing. Your employer has the right to tell you when you can take your vacation. Your vacation must take place within 12 months of earning it.
  1. How much vacation pay are you entitled to after a year of work?
    Minimum of 4% of your gross pay.
  1. What options do you have if you feel your working conditions are unsafe?
    Bring up your concerns with your employer. If things do not improve you may want to call the Workman’s Compensation Board (WCB) which will walk you through the whole process.
  1. How do statutory holidays work, do you still get paid even though you’re not working? What happens if you are asked to work?
    If you’ve been working for more than 30 days, you should get paid for a stat holiday. Or, if you’re asked to work, you should get time-and-a-half for the first 12 hours and double time after that.
  1. What should you do if you are being discriminated against on the job?
    Become familiar with the BC Human Rights Code and contact your local branch to ask for advice.
  1. What are two things an employer must do if you have a disability?
    The employer must adjust your work schedule to accommodate the disability and also make sure the workplace is assessable.
  1. How many days does an employer have to pay you after you have quit?
    An employer has six days to pay you.
  1. If you take an unpaid leave, what rights do you have upon your return? Also, what type of unpaid leaves fall under the Employment Standards Act?
    You should be given your old job back, or one with the same duties and salary. Any benefits and salary increase that you were entitled to should still be given. Benefits should have continued during leave.  Types of unpaid leave: pregnancy, parental, family responsibility, bereavement and jury duty.
  1. What can you do if you want to apply for a job and you do not want your employer to know?
    You would note that you are applying “in confidence” on your resume or on your application. Then you have the option of giving the name of a co-worker rather than your supervisor.
  1. In what circumstances can an employer fire an employee? And what must they do if they fire an employee?
    Poor work performance, chronic lateness, not showing up for work or having a bad attitude. If an employer fires an employee they must give a notice of termination or give payment or severance instead of giving notice.
  1. If you have been laid off, does your employer still have to pay you? How long do you have to be laid off before you are considered terminated?
    No, your employer is not required to pay you if you’ve been laid off. You are considered terminated after being laid off for more than 13 weeks in a 20 week period.
  1. What should you do if you have a problem at work?
    Report it and document the time, the people involved and where it took place. Talk to someone you trust and ask for advice. Speak to your employer, when you are calm. If you are still concerned, you may want to contact the Employment Standards Branch.
  1. What can the Employment Standards Branch do to help in a difficult situation between an employee and an employer?
    Provide the employee with a self-help kit to get him or her started. Mediate between the employee and the employer. Help write a settlement which both sides agree to abide by. Adjudicate the dispute. If the judgment is against the employer, they can be given a $500 fine for their first offence.
  1. Why might your employer want you to quit rather than them terminating you?
    If you quit, your employer does not have to pay compensation. You still might be entitled to it if the questions surrounding your dismissal are questionable.
  1. Can you be terminated and receive no compensation?
    Yes, if you were hired for a limited time period or if you were offered a similar job and you refused it. Another circumstance is if the workplace is destroyed (fire or flood) or if the employer has “just cause” (meaning the employee was caught stealing or was charged with assault).