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Unconscionable Employment Contracts in Alberta

The Courts in Alberta generally strive to uphold contracts and the agreement that parties make amongst themselves. This is not always the case, especially when a contract is unconscionable.


The Court looked at the issue of unconscionability in an Employment Contract in the case of Phillips v Westcan, 2020 ABQB 764. The Court said at paragraph 32:


Judicial intervention may be warranted in the case of an unconscionable employment contract:


The test for unconscionability is strict. It is usually founded in some misconduct or sharp practice at the formation of the contract, often when there is an imbalance in bargaining power: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce v. Ohlson, 1997 ABCA 413 at paras. 18-24, 57 Alta. L.R. (3d) 213, 209 A.R. 140 (Alta. C.A.). In Harry v. Kreutziger (1978), 1978 CanLII 393 (BC CA), 95 D.L.R. (3d) 231 at p. 241, 9 B.C.L.R. 166 (B.C. C.A.) at p. 177 the doctrine was said to come down to the "single question of whether the transaction, seen as a whole, is sufficiently divergent from community standards of commercial morality that it should be rescinded".


If you have a question about this or any other legal issue, please feel free to contact us.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.






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