Employment Law Conference 2015


Course Date: May 7, 2015

Day 1: Thursday, May 7, 2015

Welcome and Introduction

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

BC Code of Conduct Rule 5.1-2(E): "Knowingly" Deceiving a Tribunal with False Evidence

  • can a balance be achieved between the ethical duties of zealous representation and not knowingly misleading with false evidence?
  • what is the appropriate response if a client gives false evidence?
  • what does “knowingly” mislead really mean?

Gavin Hume, QC — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Case Law Update

  • key cases
  • analysis and trends
  • effects on practice

Andres Esteban Barker — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver
Cameron Wardell — Overholt Law – Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver

Purchase and Sale of Businesses and/or Business Assets—Labour and Employment Issues

  • applicable legal principles from seminal cases through to the most recent developments
  • policy reasons underlying those decisions, where the law is, and where it will go
  • practical tips and best practices

Nicole Marie Byres, QC — Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver
Martin Sheard — TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver

Lunch with Featured Speaker: "Media Crises Management"

Zdenka Buric — Managing Partner, National Public Relations Inc., Vancouver

Employment Law Issues in Relation to the Aging Workforce in Canada

  • impact of an aging workforce on our workplaces
  • employers’ obligations to older workers
  • disability versus age-related health needs—thinking about accommodation and aging
  • practical tips for lawyers and their clients on avoiding age discrimination or ageism
  • responding to age-related issues with respect

Krista James — National Director, Canadian Centre for Elder Law, Vancouver

Networking Break

Workplace Investigations from the Perspectives of the Worker, the Employer, and the Investigator

  • the importance of proper workplace investigations
  • issues such as bullying and sexual harassment
  • investigations conducted by employers concerning misconduct, theft and fraud, workplace violence, and other serious allegations
  • legal issues for the complainant, the investigator, and the investigated

Peter Eastwood — Hamilton Howell Bain & Gould, Vancouver
Jason R. Fisher — Davis LLP, Prince George
Marli Rusen — Marli F. Rusen Law Corporation, Victoria

Jurisdictional Principles and Employment Law

  • procedural aspects of challenging the jurisdiction under Rule 21-8
  • deference to the jurisdiction of arbitrator under the BC Arbitration Act and under the BC Labour Relations Code
  • substantive law under BC’s Court Jurisdiction and Proceedings Transfer Act, and in the jurisprudence, when jurisdiction is challenged in employment litigation, both in terms of territorial competence and forum non conveniens
  • jurisdictional principles as they apply when drafting employment and other agreements
  • case studies and hypotheticals in respect of the above

Colin J. Edstrom — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Michael James Schalke — Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Vancouver

Closing Questions and Comments

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


Day 2: Friday, May 8, 2015

Welcome and Introduction

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

Mass Privacy Breaches by Employees: A Review of Recent Developments in Vicarious Liability and Privacy Actions

  • using privacy statutes in BC and the common law breach of privacy tort in Ontario in tandem with class proceeding legislation to bring mass claims against large institutional employers
  • vicarious liability linking employers to a mass privacy breach by employees
  • review of recent BC and Ontario case law
  • practical tips for employers to manage such risks without crossing the line into breaching employee privacy in the workplace

Michael R. Howcroft — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver
Thomas Posyniak — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver

British Columbia's New Pension Options: What Employers, Unions, Plan Members, and their Labour & Employment Counsel Need to Know

  • overview of legislative developments (i.e. upcoming pension reform in BC)
  • review of new and improved pension plan designs
  • considerations for workplaces without existing pension plans
  • considerations for workplaces with pension plans

Colin Galinski — Galinski Pension and Benefits Law Corporation, Vancouver

Networking Break

Duty of Honesty and Duty of Good Faith in Contractual Performance

  • review of recent case, Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71
  • effect of Bhasin on the contextual approach set out in McKinley v. BC Tel

Blair W. Curtis — TevlinGleadle Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver
Nazeer T. Mitha — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver

Jurisdiction Over First Nations' Employment Issues

  • review of NIL/TU, O Child and Family Services Society v. B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union, 2010 SCC 45
  • analysis of inconsistencies in lower court and adjudication decisions since NIL/TU, O
  • what conclusions can be drawn from these subsequent decisions

Jennifer D. Wiegele — Miller Titerle + Company LLP, Vancouver

 Lunch: "An Update on BC Law Institute's Employment Standards Act Reform Project"

Tom Beasley — Chair, Employment Standards Act Reform Project Committee, BC Law Institute; Bernard LLP, Vancouver
Gregory Blue, QC — BC Law Institute, Vancouver 

Supporting Employees with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • clinical characteristics associated with ASD along with the unique set of employment characteristics that can impact workplace environments; how those characteristics are a benefit or a deficit to an employer 
  • psychological and legal implications of ASD disclosure
  • accommodation techniques for an ASD employee 
  • legal framework for issues arising for ASD employees, including: hiring; creating an appropriate job description/duties; harassment and bullying under WorkSafe BC legislation; human rights complaints; court actions for wrongful dismissal
  • case examples: CEO and Factory Worker

Tom Beasley — Bernard LLP, Vancouver
Dr. David Worling — Registered Psychologist, Westcoast Child Development Group Inc., Vancouver

Networking Break

The Terms, They Are A Changin’: Constructive Dismissal Update

  • unique dynamic nature of employment agreements
  • Potter v. New Brunswick Legal Aid Services Commission, 2015 SCC 10
  • considerations surrounding substantial changes to essential terms
  • imposition of substantial changes
  • practical tips

Christopher M. McHardy — McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Vancouver
Ryley M. Mennie — McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Vancouver

Insubordination and Insolence as Just Cause for Dismissal

  • general principles regarding insubordination and insolence as just cause for dismissal
  • review of relevant authorities, including Grewal v. Khalsa Credit Union, 2011 BCSC 648, aff’d 2012 BCCA 56
  • when does rude and disrespectful behaviour or misconduct towards the employer constitute just cause for dismissal?
  • can a single act of gross insubordination or disobedience justify dismissal for just cause?
  • at what point will an employee’s public criticism of his/her employer and supervisory authority, such as on social media, or letters to the Board of Directors, or letters from employee’s counsel, which serve to undermine the corporate structure, hierarchy, management, and authority of the employer constitute just cause?
  • does an employee’s lawsuit against his/her employer repudiate the contract of employment?

Jennifer Kwok — Overholt Law – Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver
Carman J. Overholt, QC — Overholt Law – Barristers & Solicitors, Vancouver

Closing Questions and Comments

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


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