April 27, 2021 | 9:00 am - 2:10 pm ET

EDI logo-min

This program contains 30 minutes of EDI Professionalism content and 3 hours of Substantive content.

9:00 am

Registration and virtual orientation

9:10 am

Opening remarks

9:15 am

Session 1: Constructive dismissal: Updates and new developments

The economic fallout from the pandemic, disruption to workplaces, and changes to employment and regulatory standards have created more challenges and pitfalls for employers as they make workforce changes in their operations. What are the key risks associated with constructive dismissal that employers need to be aware of? How are policy changes and rulings from the courts impacting these risks?

  • What qualifies as constructive dismissal?
  • Legislative and regulatory update
  • Case law developments
  • Impacts on employment contracts
  • Mitigating constructive dismissal claims

Irfan Kara

Senior Associate, Torys LLP

Rebecca Wise

Senior Associate, Torys LLP

9:50 am

Session 2: Vaccines in the workplace

As the COVID-19 vaccination program continues to roll out, employers of all types need to assess how it will impact their relationships with employees, the demands of their clients and customers, and their obligations to provide a safe work environment. Can employers require their employees to take the vaccine as a condition of employment? What factors will influence how employers can respond if employees refuse?

  • Previous rulings on vaccinations in the workplace
  • Human rights and privacy considerations
  • Liability risks in voluntary settings
  • Impact on workers' compensation

Shane D. Todd

Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

10:35 am

Session 3: Employer terminations after Waksdale and Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd

Recent decisions by the courts have potential ramifications for the enforceability of future employment contracts, specifically with respect to the language used in termination clauses and entitlements involving wrongful dismissals. They could also significantly increase actions related to employee dismissals and impact the drafting and language of future employment contracts. How will these cases affect employment agreements going forward, and what can employers do to better protect themselves?

  • Case overview and analysis
  • Impact on future employment contract language
    • Termination clauses
    • Reasonable notice
  • How these cases might influence future court decisions
  • What employers can do to mitigate risk going forward

Camille Dunbar

Associate, Koskie Minsky LLP

11:05 am

Networking and coffee break

11:15 am

Session 4: Human rights and mental health accommodation

Employers have a duty to accommodate employee needs when they stem from one or more prohibited grounds of discrimination. The pandemic's continual impact on workplaces means employers must stay up to date on their responsibilities to employees who request an accommodation, whether due to mental health or other medical conditions, family status, or issues related to public health. What are the steps employers need to take to ensure they are properly accommodating employees? What types of staff mental health issues are employers facing, and how do they accommodate employees when these arise?

  • The boundaries included in human rights and mental health accommodation duties
  • Legal update on human rights accommodation in the workplace
  • The employer’s duty to enquire and other mental health obligations
  • The types of HR and mental health accommodations employers are facing
  • Practical issues related to accommodating employees in a hybrid work setting

Rick M. Dunlop

Partner, Stewart McKelvey LLP

11:45 am


11:50 am

A. Session 5: Safe worksites and employer liability during the pandemic

As employees return to the workplace or continue to work remotely long-term, employers need to consider their legal obligations and liabilities under health and safety and emergency legislation. What are some of the health and safety issues employers need to consider with a 'return to work'? How can they protect themselves from civil actions and other liabilities?

  • Overview of health and safety obligations under OHS legislation, emergency orders and municipal by-laws
  • The types of health and safety issues employers will be facing at this stage of the pandemic
  • Enforcing onsite health and safety protocols and practices
  • Employer liabilities related to worksite COVID-19 infections
  • Workers' compensation associated with COVID-19 infections

Adrian Miedema

Partner, Dentons

12:20 pm

Lunch break

12:50 pm

B. Session 6: Practical challenges of managing a return to work in a hybrid setting

As employees slowly begin to return to the workplace, employers will be confronted with various practical challenges when reintegrating staff within an office setting. Helping employees readjust to working in an office environment after facing substantial disruption – from changes to their personal circumstances to the adoption of remote workplace habits – could create many legal challenges for employers. What are some of the issue's employers need to consider prior to bringing back employees? How can they best reacclimatize employees after their experience of the pandemic crisis?

  • How to account for workers who have moved to different locations
    • What laws govern employment?
  • Covering remote expenses within employment contracts
  • How employers should respond to employee requests to continue ‘work from home’ when staff are called back to the office
  • What to do when ‘societal issues’ are brought into the workplace
  • How to reconcile social aspects of work with safety considerations in an office setting
  • Amending workplace policies and procedures

Erin Kuzz

Partner, Sherrard Kuzz LLP

1:25 pm

Session 7: Diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace

As society, governments and employees put the spotlight on the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, employers need to mindful of their legal obligations. They need to keep up to date on changing rules and regulations as they introduce D&I policies and protocols within their workplaces. How can employers develop effective programs and achieve positive outcomes within legal boundaries that impact both existing workforces and new hires? What effect does a hybrid work environment have on diversity efforts?

  • Important provincial standards and regulations that impact D&I
  • Updates on changes to workplace harassment and violence regulations
  • Critical legal issues related to hiring and promotion practices
    • Types of data employers can collect
  • How to deal with racist and sexist behaviour in the workplace
  • Practical advice for achieving positive outcomes
  • Key takeaways from the recent Caplan decision

Natasha R. Yard

Legal Counsel, TD Bank Group

Laura Blumenfeld

Associate, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Holly Reid

Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

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