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Discrimination in the Workplace



Tattoos, Piercings and Cigarettes:  Discrimination in the Workplace

The British Columbia Human Rights Code (the “Code”) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on grounds such as race, religion, and disability. However, the Code does not mention whether employers can discriminate against employees who smoke or employees who have tattoos and piercings.

Can employers discriminate against employees who smoke?

As mentioned, the Code prohibits employers from discriminating against employees with disabilities. The question, then, is whether smoking is a disability.

In a British Columbia case named Cominco Ltd v United Steel Workers of America, Local 9705 (2000), an arbitrator ruled that a company policy preventing employees from smoking on company property discriminated against heavy smokers. The arbitrator defined heavy smokers as those employees who smoked more than 25 cigarettes a day, and would suffer withdrawal symptoms if they were unable to smoke every few hours. The arbitrator concluded that smoking was a disability, and that the employer could not discriminate against employees who smoked.

On a similar note, in Stevenson v City of Kelowna, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”) denied an application to dismiss a woman’s complaint that an employer refused to hire her because she was a smoker. The Tribunal ruled that the woman had provided evidence that linked her smoking addiction to her unsuccessful application for an employment position.  As such, the Tribunal stated that it was not appropriate to dismiss the woman’s application before it went to trial. The matter was eventually settled out of court.

While this is a new and emerging area of the law, these early cases suggest that the courts and tribunals are inclined to rule that smoking is a disability. As a result, employers may be prohibited from discriminating against employees who smoke.

Can employers discriminate against employees who have tattoos and piercings?

The Code does not expressly prohibit employers from discriminating against employees who have tattoos and piercings.

That said, in The Ottawa Hospital and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4000, an Ontario arbitrator ruled that dress code policies in unionized workplaces must be reasonable. In this case, the Ottawa Hospital was requiring its employees to cover their tattoos and piercings in the workplace. The arbitrator stated that the policy was unreasonable, because it did not relate to the safety or wellbeing of the hospital patients.

This ruling only applies to unionized workplaces. In other words, there is no requirement that dress code policies in non-unionized workplaces be reasonable. Accordingly, employers could discriminate against employees who have tattoos and piercings depending on their workplace roles and job requirements

If you have questions about your employees’ rights please call McQuarrie Hunter LLP at (604) 581-7001 or visit our website at

Surrey604 is an online magazine and media outlet based in Surrey, BC. Through writing, video, photography, and social media, we secure an intimate reach to the public. We promote local events and causes.

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Award Winning Boosh Food Expands To Larger, Multipurpose HQ in Cloverdale



Rapidly Growing Plant-Based Food Company Boosh Food responds to increased consumer demand for plant-based food options

Boosh Food Inc. (“Boosh Food”), a delicious plant-based ready-to-eat comfort food company that caters to the entire family, recently leased a multipurpose 8,500 sq ft headquarters located in Cloverdale, BC.

Upon completion of the tenant improvements, the facility will include a commercial grade test kitchen for new product development, a professional studio for filming cooking segments with guest chefs, extensive warehousing for their products and traditional offices and meeting rooms.

Founded by a seasoned entrepreneur Connie Marples in 2017, Boosh Food began distributing their family oriented, plant-based comfort food in early 2018. By the end of 2020, Boosh was being distributed to major retail outlets and independent grocery stores throughout Canada.

Current Boosh Food products feature six different 100% plant-based, heat and eat family-oriented entrees and meals. Boosh Food offers Single-Serve Bowls or sharable Entrées for two, including Coconut Curry Cauli Bowl, Veggie Bolognese Bowl (with Beyond Meat™), Mac & Cheeze & Peas Bowl, Mexican Fiesta Bowl, Rustic Veg Pot Pie Entrée, and Hearty Shepherd’s Pie Entrée.

“We are extremely excited about our rapid expansion and growth,” states Connie. “Over the past quarter we’ve made significant hires in key areas to assure we build a solid, fundamentally strong, corporate platform. The new multipurpose facility will allow us to continue and expand, invent new plant-based dishes, invite guest chefs into our kitchen, and create outstanding podcasts and videos in order to share the Boosh story.”

In Canada, more than 40% of the population is actively trying to incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. Their compatibility with vegetarian, vegan and “flexitarian” lifestyles is now putting the spotlight on plant-based protein sources. (National Research Council Canada, Sept, 2019).

Globally, the plant-based protein market size was valued at USD 3.3 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.4% from 2020 to 2027. (Grand View Research, Sept. 2020).

Boosh products are currently in the freezer aisle, with new products coming to the grocery aisle and cooler section of grocery retailers over the coming months. All products are gluten-free and non-GMO.

About Boosh Food Inc.

Founded in 2017 by Connie Marples, Boosh Food is a Surrey, BC-based company that creates nutritionally balanced, heat and serve, family-oriented comfort meals that are 100% plant-based, non-GMO and gluten-free.

Boosh Food emphasizes less sodium and sugar in their entrees and bowls and contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. Currently available for purchase in over 150 British Columbian retailers, Boosh Food continues to expand across the country.

For additional information on where to find Boosh Food products please visit

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Leading CO Extraction Company Commences International Expansion with First Products Arriving in Canada This Week



U.S.-Based Cannabis Brand Spherex Debuts Vaporizer
Products in Canada Through Partnership With Motif Labs

Spherex Brings Its Advanced Extraction Technologies and Ultra-Clean Concentrates for 510 Cartridges and Pax Pods to Canadian Cannabis Marketplace

Spherex, a U.S. leader in ultra-clean cannabis extracts and infused products, continues its international expansion in Canada this week, launching two signature vaporizer cartridges in British Columbia. The prefilled vaporizer cartridges consist of highly purified THC and CBD distillate cannabis extracts with naturally derived terpenes.

Spherex has partnered with Motif Labs, a Canadian licensed producer of cannabis extract products, which will utilize proprietary extraction technologies developed by the Colorado-based company to manufacture Spherex-branded signature strain profiles, Grand Daddy Purple and Mango Kush in 510 CCELL cartridges, targeting 300 stores province-wide. British Columbia is the first province to introduce Spherex in Canada, with Alberta and Ontario to follow later this year.

“The collaboration between one of the top brands in the first legalized recreational state in the U.S., and a top-tier manufacturer in the first G8 country to legalize cannabis, is a very profound moment in cannabis globalization. We are excited to introduce our full line of vaporizer products to the discerning Canadian public,” said Niccolo Aieta, Spherex Founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Throughout 2021, more than 20 Spherex SKUs are scheduled to roll out in Canada, including award-winning PAX ERA pods. Spherex is one of a select number of American companies approved by vaporizer technology company Pax to develop and manufacture distillate for its proprietary pods.

The Spherex-Motif Labs collaboration marks Pax’s first U.S.-based brand partnership to launch in Canada. Spherex’s array of PAX ERA concentrate options includes the award-winning Mango Kush, Grand Daddy Purple, Lemon Haze and Sweet Jack.

Established in 2015, the Colorado-based cannabis manufacturer Spherex developed a proprietary extraction process using supercritical CO2 extraction. These processes remove impurities and produce cannabis oil up to 95% THC.

Spherex’s focus on efficient extraction and quality products has led to a large consumer following in the United States. For more information, visit:

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How To Do A Proper Market Study For Your Business And Why You Should Do It.



When starting a business, one of the main difficulties is getting people to know about it. It is a common mistake for entrepreneurs to focus on creating the best product, designing the best logo, preparing eye-catching packaging, but leave the most important thing last: marketing. In these times, it is not enough to have a website and social networks, you have to know how to take advantage of them.

The first step is to conduct a market study based on the detection of the needs of your target audience. Knowing your audience will generate sales almost immediately, if you do not have a budget for this assignment, you can turn to the best working capital loan for small businesses.

The main reason why startups fail is due to the lack of adequacy of a product to its market (34%), according to the Failory platform. In this sense, a correct marketing strategy can position you as a reliable brand, thanks to the engagement it can generate with your customers.

If you think this process is out of your reach or budget, you are very wrong. You can implement it by yourself or approach a specialized agency, in either case it does not have to be a blow to your economy if you use financial products such as the working capital loan.

What is a market study for?

Before starting a business or to correct the course of a ship that has already sailed, a market study will allow you to know the offer and demand of the product or service you will sell.

With a market study, you will be able to know age ranges, tastes, needs, promotion channels and more implementations that will give an added value to your entrepreneurship.

Among its advantages is an optimization of your product or service, from the results you will be able to implement specific improvements to your offer and above all, you will understand better the added value that you provide.

If any of the results of your market research implies making an investment that you had not considered, find the best financial loans and do not limit your growth.

How to do a market study?

It is important to start with a simplified process so that, depending on the size of your company or its current situation, you can modify it.

Relying on a working capital loan can be a good way to solve the pain points you identify. Take note of the 4 keys to carry out an effective market study.

1. Identify your objective

What do you want to achieve with the study, get to know your customers, increase your sales, improve your product or optimize your operational processes, all are valid reasons. Set the main goal and make sure you don’t get sidetracked.

2. Know your target market

It is not enough to imagine what they think or ask your close circle, do surveys to the customers you have in your database or to your potential market.

Prepare closed questionnaires that allow you to obtain quantitative results: Where they live, how much they spend, how they prefer to close a sale, are some questions that can help you.

3. Analyze your competition

Observe the actions that your competitors follow to reach their customers. Analyze their good and bad practices, even buy from them and live the complete buying experience, in this way you will find windows of opportunity for your company.

The lack of a planned budget for this purpose may arise as a reason for not doing it, do not let the growth of your business stop for this reason. Investigate financial products such as working capital loans and choose the type of financing according to your needs.

Tell us, have you done a market study in your company? What have been the results?

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Local Businesses Team Up For The Ultimate Wine Subscription Service


on and Wine Vikings Teams up for the Ultimate Wine Delivery Service:

British Columbians deserve good wine and two local suppliers have partnered up to ensure they receive it. Joseph Richard Group, owner and operator of, has partnered with Parade Agency, co-founders of Deighton Cup and Hopscotch Festival, to offer the Wine Vikings Wine Club on

Wine Vikings is a subscription-based wine club focused on providing high-quality, less common wines.

Parade Agency was in the business of hosting in-person events pre-pandemic. They approached the JRG team to collaborate on a contactless experience that involves wine because cocktails are in their wheelhouse.

Due to the pandemic, liquor delivery services have been popping up across the country. Not only do these delivery services decrease the interactions and touchpoints of customers, but they also support local businesses and suppliers.

Each Wine Viking subscriber will receive six exclusive wines, with each bottle being personally discovered, sipped, and vetted by some of BC’s badass chefs, restaurateurs, and wine directors.

Each Wine Viking delivery will be accompanied by a video that will guide customers through a visual tasting experience to help them understand the wines they enjoy.

Knowing what you are sipping on, where it comes from, and what to pair it with are the key steps in elevating your wine knowledge. Interested buyers can now get the Wine Viking subscription at

JRG Subscribers can exclusively receive 25% off of the first quarter subscription when using the Promo Code JRGVIKING at checkout, which is valid until Wednesday, January 27th

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Updates One Year Since Uber’s Launch Into Metro Vancouver



Can you believe it’s already been one year since Uber launched in Metro Vancouver? Although the year has not looked the way any of us expected, it’s been great to make the ridesharing app available to drivers and riders in Metro Vancouver thanks to the support of many British Columbians.

Uber’s focus this year was to ensure the health and safety of all drivers and riders as we navigate this difficult time. With the guidance of health experts, important measures were taken to keep everyone safe including a wide distribution of PPE and cleaning supplies for drivers, providing Public Health Officials with contact tracing support, and the release of a new Door-to-Door safety standard so people can safely move around in their communities.

Uber was also the first rideshare platform to implement a mandatory mask standard with their “No Mask. No Ride.” policy. With their ‘Go Online’ checklist, riders and drivers will have to confirm that they have taken certain steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including the confirmation that they are wearing a mask or face cover. Safety is and continues to be at the heart of Uber.

Over the past year, British Columbians have been taking rides all over the city. To celebrate one year since launch, here are some facts to share what riders and earners have been up to since launch:

  • The first ride with Uber after launch was in a Tesla Model 3, which is not surprising given Vancouver has the highest % of low-emission vehicles across all Canadian markets and is 2nd in North America on the % of KMs driven by Hybrids and EVs
  • Since that first trip, over 94% of rides have been 5-star experiences according to both drivers and riders
  • With those 5-star experiences comes BC’s top 5 most generous cities for tipping are:1) North Vancouver; 2) Vancouver; 3) West Vancouver; 4) Coquitlam; 5) Langley
  • When the second wave of the pandemic hit, Uber partnered with Fraser Health to send a PSA to all riders and drivers amplifying key safety messages;
  • Uber also distributed 275,000+ PPE to drivers to help project and keep their communities safe

“It’s been exciting to provide a safe, reliable and affordable transportation alternative and flexible earning opportunities in Metro Vancouver over the past 12 months, and we’re looking forward to the Uber and Uber Eats apps becoming available in more communities this year.

I’d like to thank drivers and riders for their commitment to respecting Uber’s health and safety protocols, doing your part to keep everyone healthy whether you needed to get across town for an essential appointment or wanted to support your favourite local restaurants while staying at home,” says Matthew Price, General Manager of Uber Canada.

While we might not return to normal right away, Uber looks forward to expanding this year to Victoria and Kelowna, creating new and flexible opportunities for residents to earn money.

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