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Author: vpayne

Ontario class action settlement reclassifies volunteers as employees, setting new precedent

CBC reports on the settlement of this class action

Update: you can watch the interviews here:


The CBC interviewed representative plaintiff, D’Andra Montaque, and counsel, Josh Mandryk, in reporting on the settlement of the S-Trip class action.

D’Andra says that she is “… very relieved, very happy for it … just knowing that something can be changed that is going to impact others and not just myself.” She led a student trip to Cuba in 2017.

Josh explained what is different about this settlement:

According to Montaque’s lawyer, Joshua Mandryk with Goldblatt Partners LLP in Toronto, there are 1,170 class members on record. A notice will go out to them; anyone who led a trip between June 3, 2014, and Oct. 23, 2020, will be eligible to file a claim for compensation.

The amount of money trip leaders will be entitled to depends on a number of factors, including how many former staff put in a claim for compensation and how many trips they took. Mandryk said it’s estimated that the compensation should cover the equivalent of eight hours of work a day for each trip a claimant took.

As a labour lawyer, Mandryk said he handles many of these types of cases, but what stands out about this one is that the company actually agreed to change its policies.

“I thought it was really significant and a really positive development to be able to get a class action settlement that actually results in people being reclassified on a go forward basis.”

Mandryk believes the case will send a message to workers and employers that there is recourse for employment misclassifications. He acknowledged it’s not always easy for workers to push back.

“It takes a lot of courage. And that’s especially the case like in D’Andra’s situation, where she was a young worker, she was just starting her career off just finishing school when this class action was launched in 2018,” said Mandryk.

“To come forward in those circumstances and to achieve what she was able to achieve — we’re just tremendously proud of what’s happened here.”

Read the entire article here.

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Attend the Settlement Approval Hearing

You can attend the Settlement Approval Hearing on June 27th at 10 a.m. at the following Zoom link:

Join Zoom Meeting

https://ca01web.zoom.us/j/61722790991?pwd=c3M0ZE5pcFozcW9ZbGVYbjRoTWl5UT09

Meeting ID: 617 2279 0991
Passcode: 823840

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A settlement has been reached!

A tentative settlement has been reached in this class action. The settlement, which is subject to court approval, provides that the corporate defendants will pay $450,000 to the class members, inclusive of legal fees, disbursements, administrative expenses and an honorarium to the plaintiff.

The settlement also provides that the corporate defendants shall classify destination staff as employees pursuant to the Employment Standards Act, 2000, S.O. 2000, c. 41 (“ESA”), the Employment Insurance Act, S.C. 1996, c. 23, and the Canada Pension Plan, R.S.C., 1985, c. C-8 (“CPP”) on a go-forward basis following final approval of the settlement.  “Destination staff” includes Directors, Coordinators, Trip Leaders/Bus Captains and any future positions performing substantively similar duties or roles under different job titles.

In accordance with the classification of destination staff as employees pursuant to the ESA, the corporate defendants will be required to implement a system to track and record their hours of work for the purposes of compensating hours of work and overtime and maximum allowable hours of work, and any other obligations imposed by the ESA or subsequent amendments..

The settlement was reached following a mediation between the parties, which took place in May 2021. The Minutes of Settlement can be read here .

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will fully and finally resolve this class action. Following court approval, the settlement funds will be distributed to the class members for the claims arising during the class period. Payment will be made based on records provided by the defendants.

The Notice of Certification and Settlement Approval Hearing has been sent to class members by email and SMS text. The Notice is also available here. Class members, please read the Notice carefully.

Among other things, the Notice:

  • provides details of the proposed settlement;
  • defines which employees and former employees are class members;
  • notes that the Settlement Approval Hearing has been set for June 27, 2022, and provides more information about the hearing. Instructions for viewing the hearing remotely will be provided at a later date; and
  • describes the opt-out process for any class members who do not wish to be included in the settlement. The deadline for opting-out is May 15, 2022. Class members who opt-out will not be entitled to share in the benefits of the settlement. The opt-out form can be found at the end of the Notice.

 

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You can attend the motion for certification via Zoom

The hearing to decide whether this case can continue as a class action is scheduled for Thursday, October 22.  It will begin at 10:00 a.m.

You can watch the hearing by clicking on the Zoom video link below.

**Please join the hearing 10-15 minutes prior to 10 a.m., and remember to mute your microphone.

Join Zoom Hearing:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86340217633

Meeting ID: 863 4021 7633

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The plaintiff’s motion record has been served

The plaintiff’s motion motion record and amended statement of claim have been served on the defendants.

The motion record sets out the plaintiff’s evidence supporting certification of the class action.  The defendants must now prepare their responding motion record.  After that, the parties may cross-examine the persons who submitted affidavits, and then the parties will prepare their written legal arguments.

Read the evidence in the plaintiff’s motion record here.

Read the amended statement of claim here.

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CBC News reports on the S-Trip class action

CBC reports on the S-Trip class action. After the ads, skip to 9:44 in the video below to see the coverage:

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