Employment Law Conference 2013


Course Date: May 09, 2013

Day 1: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Welcome and Introduction

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon K. Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Bill 14 Changes to Mental Disorder Provisions of the Workers Compensation Act

  • background to Bill 14: what led to the changes?
  • the Workers Compensation Act amendments and new policies
  • review of WorkSafeBC decisions to date
  • proposed occupational health and safety policies on bullying and harassment
  • the Downs Construction Ltd. v. WCAT decision and jurisdiction over mental health claims arising from the workplace
  • employer and employee perspectives on dealing with mental disorder claims

Peter Eastwood — Hamilton Howell Bain & Gould, Vancouver
Marino J. Sveinson — Roper Greyell LLP, Vancouver

Arbitration Clauses in Employment Contracts

  • are arbitration clauses in employment contracts enforceable?
  • what is the law relating to the enforcement of arbitration clauses
  • jurisdictional issues relating to arbitration clauses
  • pros and cons of including an arbitration clause in an employment contract
  • drafting tips

Jennifer D. Wiegele — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Networking Break

Two Roads: The Interface Between Common Law and Employment Standards Claims in British Columbia

  • conflicts between contractual versus Employment Standards Act rights
  • claims for overtime pay, statutory holiday pay, vacation pay, and expense allowances and related claims
  • bonuses
  • pre-contractual misrepresentations
  • claims in relation to termination of employment; severance pay in lieu of reasonable notice versus compensation for length of service under the Employment Standards Act
  • procedural advantages/disadvantages associated with either forum including limitations and enforcement/collections issues
  • “class” claims
  • res judicata and issue estoppel

Professor Kenneth W. Thornicroft — Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, University of Victoria, Victoria

Employment Issues in the BC Public Sector

  • exempt employee compensation under Part 3.1 of the Public Sector Employers Act
  • the requirements and nuances of the Employment Terminations Standards Regulation
  • case law review
  • practice tips

Colin G.M. Gibson — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver

Lunch with Featured Speaker: "How to Work and Play Nicely with Others"

D. Murray Tevlin — TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver

Limitation Periods

  • what the new legislation says
  • transitional issues
  • settlement issues

Carman J. Overholt, QC — Overholt Law Corporation, Vancouver

Reinstatement of Employees in Non-Union Settings

  • reinstatement of dismissed employees
  • specific employment contracts
  • statutory office holders
  • due process
  • tactical value in asking for reinstatement for the employee
  • trends: is the reluctance to order reinstatement softening?

Lawrence L. Robinson — Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Class Actions

  • how to go forward with these types of claims
  • conflicts issues
  • legal, practical, and financial issues
  • settlements

Luciana P. Brasil — Branch MacMaster LLP, Vancouver
R. Charles Gordon — Glavin Gordon Clements, Vancouver
Michael R. Howcroft — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver

Closing Questions and Comments


Day 2: Friday, May 10, 2013

Welcome and Introduction

Matthew Cooperwilliams — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Simon K. Kent — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver

Aggravated and Punitive Damages

  • review and update on the law
  • bringing and defending claims for aggravated and punitive damages
  • other claims that may arise in such circumstances, e.g., human rights, certain tort claims
  • practical issues in alleging
    • disclosure of medical records
    • no summary trial
    • pros and cons
  • ethics of it—legal advice as to defending a claim of bad faith

D. Michael Bain — Hamilton Howell Bain & Gould, Vancouver
Donovan G. Plomp — McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Revisiting the Employee’s Mitigation Duty Where Contractual Severance Clauses Exist

  • case law, including ONCA decision in Bowes v. Goss
  • drafting tips on clauses
  • practice points

Blair W. Curtis — TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver

Top 10 Tax tips

  • retiring allowances
  • role of intention in employee vs. contractor disputes
  • employer payments to ex-employee for loss of stock options
  • can the sole shareholder of a corporation be its employee?
  • services PEs
  • Reg. 105/Reg. 102—Withholding
  • personal services businesses and partnerships
  • when is a stock option agreement not a stock option agreement?
  • salary deferral arrangements in union contracts 
  • beyond general damages—other ideas for making settlements more tax effective

Joel A. Nitikman — Dentons Canada LLP, Vancouver

Networking Lunch

Drug and Alcohol Testing: Recent Developments in the Law

  • dismissal law update: when can you terminate an addict?
  • the battle in Alberta: Drug and Alcohol Risk Reduction Pilot Project update 
  • Supreme Court of Canada update: impact of Irving Pulp and Paper and R. v. Cole
  • industry specific implications: mining, oil & gas, and other "dangerous" workplaces

Eleni Kassaris — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver
Claire Marchant — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Calgary

Potential Claims Against Departing Employees Without Written Agreements

  • failure to give reasonable notice of intention to resign in breach of implied term of contract
  • wrongful use of confidential information in breach of implied duty of good faith
  • tort of breach of confidence
  • tort of inducing breach of contract
  • tort of unlawful interference with economic interests
  • tort of conspiracy to injure
  • breach of fiduciary duties

Mark R. Hamilton — Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Vancouver
H. Scott MacDonald — Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Jury Trials: A Panel Discussion

  • practically how it works
  • advocacy
  • how it differs from a regular court case

Christopher R. Forguson — Chris Forguson Employment Law, Vancouver
Gavin A. Marshall — Roper Greyell LLP, Vancouver

ADR in Employment Law

  • ADR clauses
  • negotiation
  • mediation procedures
  • what counsel should keep in mind when dealing with clients
  • how to deal with the power imbalance in employer/employee mediation

Michael J. Lomax — Milton, Johnson, Victoria

Closing Questions and Comments