The Deductibility of Damages Received Under Disability Plans: Sylvester v. British Columbia

(1997) 31:2 University of British Columbia Law Review 353-361

11 Pages Posted: 20 Jul 2013

See all articles by Anita Anand

Anita Anand

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law

Gita Anand

Miller Thomson LLP

Date Written: 1997

Abstract

In Sylvester v. British Columbia, the Supreme Court of Canada held that disability benefits received by an employee during the notice period are deductible from damages received for wrongful dismissal. The Supreme Court of Canada held that absent an intention to provide otherwise, there will be a presumption in favour of the employer that disability benefits will be deducted from damages for wrongful dismissal. This article examines difficulties with the Sylvester ruling that may serve to narrow its applicability in future cases. First, the question of intention of parties to an employment contract is often indeterminable. Second, the principle of equality between employees, cited as a reason to deduct disability benefits from wrongful dismissal claims by the court, overlooks the fact that employees who receive disability benefits are not on an equal footing with their counterparts who are working. Third, the Supreme Court of Canada failed to discuss McKay in its ruling, thereby neglecting the importance and role of the duty to mitigate. Finally, it is unconvincing to hold that unless employers are able to deduct disability benefits, they will be altogether deterred from establishing disability plans.

Suggested Citation

Anand, Anita and Anand, Gita, The Deductibility of Damages Received Under Disability Plans: Sylvester v. British Columbia (1997). (1997) 31:2 University of British Columbia Law Review 353-361. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2295701

Anita Anand (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5
Canada
4169464002 (Phone)

Gita Anand

Miller Thomson LLP ( email )

2500 - 20 Queen Street West
P.O. Box 1011
Toronto, ON M5H 3S1
Canada

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