BC Court of Appeal Affirms Plaintiffs Can Bring Novel Claims for Duty of Good Faith Breaches in Employment Contexts

In the recent decision of British Columbia v Taylor, 2024 BCCA 44, the BC Court of Appeal found that the duty of good faith is a developing area of law in the employment context and courts should permit plaintiffs to bring novel claims in this area.

In this case the plaintiff, Ms. Taylor, claimed that she was wrongfully dismissed from her employment with the Province of British Columbia in 2017 and that the Province breached their duty of good faith in her employment and termination of her employment.

Ms. Taylor’s allegations of bad faith included particulars of the employer’s conduct in 2012 when Ms. Taylor was seconded to the Ministry of Health to help with an investigation into alleged misuse of private healthcare data by government employees and contractors. The investigation led to the termination of a number of Ministry of Health employees, which attracted considerable public attention. Ms. Taylor claimed that the Province incorrectly identified her as the ‘lead investigator’ who was responsible for the Ministry of Health terminations. In June 2017, Ms. Taylor was terminated without cause and without notice half an hour before the Province announced that they would compensate those affected by the Ministry of Health terminations.

In her pleadings, Ms. Taylor stated that she was unfairly terminated and made a scapegoat for the Ministry of Health terminations, pleading that the Province breached their duty of good faith by incorrectly naming her as lead investigator and failing to support her while the investigation was ongoing.

The Province brought a motion to strike Ms. Taylor’s bad faith pleadings, arguing that Ms. Taylor’s bad faith allegations arising well before her termination. Justice Powell dismissed the application and the Province appealed.

On appeal, the Province’s principal position was that Ms. Taylor’s pleadings concerning the Province’s prior treatment of her over as unrelated to the manner in which the Province terminated her.  According to the Province, the duty to exercise good faith in the manner of termination, when applied to a case involving a termination without cause, requires an examination of the employer’s actions at the time of termination only. Ms. Taylor, asserted that her pleadings disclose a consistent and continuing pattern of problematic behaviour that led to and culminated in her termination. She asserts that these acts are directly connected to her termination.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the Province’s appeal, finding that pleadings should be read generously at this stage to allow for novel claims to be pursued and that given the recognized potential for development of the law surrounding the duty of good faith in an employment context, it could not be said that Ms. Taylor’s pleadings are bound to fail.

Key Takeaways

  • The duty of good faith is a developing area of law in the employment context;
  • Novel but arguable claims of bad faith in the employment context will be read generously by the courts at the pleadings stage and left to be determined at a trial on a full record;

This action remains before the court and we will have to wait and see if the employer’s pre-termination conduct will be found to be relevant to whether the employer acted within its duty of good faith when it terminated this employee’s employment and whether the duty of good faith will be expanded in the employment context and to what extent.


About Us

Lawson Lundell's Labour and Employment Law Blog provides updates on the most recent legal developments impacting the Canadian workplace and offers practical tips for employers. We cover a range of topics, including labour relations, employment law, collective bargaining, human rights, employment standards, employment equity, workers' compensation, business immigration, privacy, occupational health and safety and pensions and employee benefits. 

Legal Disclaimer: The information made available on this webpage is for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on as such. Please contact our firm if you need legal advice or have questions about the content of this webpage. 




Recent Posts



Jump to Page