No deductions for training costs despite signed form

Contract authorized deductions for training costs if employees left but didn't specify in-house courses were included
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 05/16/2012

An Alberta employer was not entitled to deduct money from employees’ final paycheques to recoup the costs of training the employees, an arbitrator has ruled.

Marco Roy and Bill Thomson were heavy duty truck technicians for Edmonton-based trucking company First Truck Centre. When the two men were first hired — Roy in 1998 and Thomson in 2002 — First Truck required them to sign forms authorizing the company to deduct “monies owed for training received” if they left the company within one year of receiving the training.

Roy and Thomson claimed they were told the form was meant to cover the cost of an apprenticeship program at a post-secondary institute that was required for them to achieve journeyman status needed for the job. They both completed the program early in their tenure with First Truck. First Truck also offered courses for employees, but neither man was told these courses had a cost and believed they were part of the normal training that was part of the job.