Employment Law Conference 2017

Course Date: May 4, 2017

Total: 11h 20min

Day 1: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Welcome and Introduction

Implications of the Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. 

  • substantive review of the Supreme Court of Canada's decision in Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
  • employment law implications of Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.
  • practical considerations flowing from the decision
  • advice and recommendations for federally regulated employers

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

Networking Break

The Law of Employment Probation: Suitability, Severence, and the Statute

  • the meaning and history of the term "probation" in employment
  • considering "probation" in the context of reasonable notice
  • the decision in Ly v. IHA, points and counterpoints
    • the valid and invalid probationary terms in the case
    • the developing law on the implication of ESA notice on probation
    • the assessment of suitability and application to the facts of the case
    • notice periods for suitable but probationary employees
    • the expenses piece, relying on breached contracts
  • probationary employees, advice on attacking validity and assessment of suitability
  • employers contracting for probationary periods, advice on contracting, and assessing suitability

Cameron R. Wardell — Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP, Vancouver
Frederick Wynne HHBG Employment Lawyers, Vancouver

Marijuana in the Workplace

  • medical marijuana
    • what do you do if an employee comes to work with a prescription?
    • do you have to accommodate all medical marijuana users?
    • human rights/privacy vs. safety - which trumps?
  • legalization of recreational marijuana in 2017
    • what are the implications for employers of recreational marijuana users?
    • is your workplace ready?
  • case study — workplace marijuana possession/use
    • medical vs. recreational?
    • what are you obligated to do?
    • what are you entitled to do?

David M.J. Brown — Kent Employment Law, Kelowna 
Paul D. McLean
 — Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP, Vancouver

Networking Lunch

The Nevsun Case: Litigation in Canada Alleging Forced Labour in Overseas Operations 

  • review of BC lawsuit by Eritrean refugees against Vancouver-based Nevsun Resources alleging they were forced labourers at Nevsun's mine in Eritrea including
    • claim of direct liability against Nevsun for its role in the alleged forced labour deployed by contractors and the Eritrean military at the mine
    • traditional common law torts and claims for torts in violation of customary international law, including slavery, forced labour, torture, and crimes against humanity
    • applications by Nevsun to stay the BC case under the doctrine of forum non conveniens in favour of Eritrea, to dismiss the case under the act of state doctrine, and to strike the customary international law claims (which were denied and now under appeal)

Matt Eisenbrandt — Legal Director, Canadian Centre for International Justice, Victoria

Networking Break

Things Employers and Employment Lawyers Don't Know About Family Law (But Probably Should) 

  • financial issues that involve employers such as benefit division, pension division, and RRSP division
  • how the powers of the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) can affect business, directly or indirectly
  • options available to employees going through a separation/divorce, including collaborative divorce, negotiation, mediation, and litigation
  • disclosure obligations of employees in the context of family law litigation, which can include statements of earnings, letters from employers, and (in the case of certain directors, officers, and shareholders) more detailed financial documents
  • real-life scenarios in which the "personality" dimensions of family law intersect with the employment world including spouses contacting the employer; co-worker spouses going through a separation or divorce; and the circumstances involving allegations of family violence between co-worker spouses

Alex Boland — Connect Family Law, Vancouver
Jessica Fairbairn
— Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Richard D. Hart, C.Arb
— Director and Conflict Management Specialist, ProActive ReSolutions Inc., Vancouver

Leisha Murphy — Connect Family Law, Vancouver

Starting Right—Effective Demand Letters for Wrongful Dismissal Claims

  • a practical look at what works and does not work from an employee and employer perspective:
    • did they really say that? — what makes an effective demand letter and an effective response
    • how much do you offer without giving away the farm? — strategies for effective negotiations
    • how much detail do you need and how much do you want? — considering how much to include in an initial demand

Michael R. Howcroft — Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, Vancouver
Martin Sheard — Tevlin Gleadle Curtis Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver

Closing Questions and Remarks

Reception Hosted By: 

Day 2: Friday, May 5, 2017

Welcome and Introduction

Fixed-Term Contracts—Law Not As Fixed As We Once Thought: Recent Developments and Legal and Practical Considerations

  • recent developments in the jurisprudence, including Howard v. Benson Group Inc., 2016 ONCA 256, rev'g 2015 ONSC 2638
  • jurisdictional differences in the treatment of fixed-term contracts
  • the formation and enforceability of fixed-term contracts, including termination clauses
  • damages which might arise, including fixed liquidated damages, and the application of the duty to mitigate

James D. KondopulosRoper Greyell LLP, Vancouver 
Matthew Larsen Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, Vancouver


Post-Employment Duties and Obligations: Protecting Unregistered Intellectual Property

  • who owns confidential information in the employment relationship
  • contractual protection—restrictive covenants, confidentiality clauses, and assignments of rights
  • a summary review of the relevant case law
  • available remedies including pre-trial applications for injunctive relief

Veronica S. C. Rossos — Singleton Urquhart LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break 

Undue Hardship: Recent Cases Exploring the Process of Accommodation and Meeting the Threshold of Undue Hardship

  • review of recent cases exploring the duty to accommodate, including:
    • the obligations of both parties involved in the accommodation process
    • how the process of accommodation will influence whether the threshold of undue hardship has been satisfied

Erin Brandt — Kent Employment Law, Vancouver
Shanti P. Reda HHBG Employment Lawyers, Vancouver

Worker Status or How "Independent" Is Your Independent Contractor? 

  • the continuum: employee—dependent contractor/intermediate status—independent contract
  • why do it?
  • the tests for determining worker status
  • risks for both employees and employers
  • recent cases and practical tips

Heather Hettiarachchi — Integritas Workplace Law, Vancouver
Nicole R. HowellHHBG Employment Lawyers, Vancouver


Lawyers as Employers

  • who owns confidential information in the employment relationship
  • contractual protection—restrictive covenants, confidentiality clauses, and assignments of rights
  • a summary review of the relevant case law
  • available remedies including pre-trial applications for injunctive relief

Sara Forte — Forte Law Corporation, Surrey 
Steve M. Winder — Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Vancouver

Networking Break

Section 257 Applications under WCAT

  • basics of best practices for s. 257 applications
  • review of recent s. 257 decisions of WCAT relating to claims for mental distress and other injuries suffered in the workplace
  • the impact of a successful s. 257 application, according to the Court of Appeal's decision in Downs Construction Ltd. v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Tribunal and decision rendered since 2012
  • the use of stay of proceedings applications in connection with s. 257 proceedings

Valerie S. Dixon — Miller Thomson LLP, Vancouver
Cory Sully — Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Vancouver

31 Flavours of Damages

  • aggravated and punitive damages—developments in the legal framework and recent application
  • torts in employment law
  • bonuses during the notice period

Ian Kennedy — Tevlin Gleadle Curtis Employment Law Strategies, Vancouver
Richard Truman — Harris & Company LLP, Vancouver
Gradin D. Tyler — Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP, Vancouver

Closing Questions and Remarks