25 September 2017
St Andrews Club & Conference Centre


  Registration opens – Continental Breakfast
8:45am   Chairperson opening remarks


Lorenzo Lisi, Partner, Aird & Berlis LLP

9:00am   Mental illness in the workplace

This succinct session will provide a rundown of new research, science and data about mental illness and how it affects the workplace.

  • Recent statistics on mental illness
  • How much does mental illness cost employers annually?
  • How many people in your workplace are affected by mental illness?
  • Gaps in care and the science behind it
  • What employers and HR departments can do


Dr. Sam Ozersky, President & CEO, Mensante Corporation

9:15am   Update on accommodation and disabilities in the workplace

What are the best practices, principles and processes for dealing with accommodation requests? How do you prepare yourself for a solid undue hardship defence?

Recent developments in legislation have changed the way you handle accommodation and disability requests. This session will use case studies to illustrate your legal obligations in disability and accommodation.

  • Legal considerations for accommodating visible and invisible disabilities
  • What needs to be included in an individual accommodation plan (IAP) for an employee with disabilities?
  • Update on the orders, fines or penalties being awarded under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA)
  • How is the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) viewing complaints of discrimination?
  • What is the current threshold for establishing undue hardship?
  • Overview of the obligations outlined in section 15(2) of the Canadian Human Rights Act relating to health, safety and cost
  • How to prepare an undue hardship defence that is supported by objective and direct evidence


Lorna Cuthbert, Partner, Stikeman

  Update on Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017

On the heels of the release of the Final Report from Changing Workplaces Review, the Ontario government introduced the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) legislation.

This session will review the key points of Bill 148, highlighting those aspects which will be of greatest concern to employers, and outlining best practices for employers in preparation for the likely changes.

  • Significant increases to minimum wage
  • Amendments to the leave provisions of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA)
  • Increased scrutiny upon classification of employees versus independent contractors
  • Modifications to existing ESA scheduling requirements
  • Establishment of equal pay provisions for full-time, part-time, temporary and casual employees performing the same job
  • Enhanced ESA enforcement including hiring more enforcement officers and increased penalties for violations
  • Providing for card-based union certification in certain industries
  • Increased union access and entitlement to employee lists and contact information
  • Enhanced protection of unionized employees with respect to the exercise of collective bargaining rights


Stephen Shore, Partner, Ogletree Deakins International LLP

  Morning Refreshment Break – brought to you by Acclaim Ability Management & Maximus Rose
11:15am   Discipline and termination – Drafting enforceable termination clauses

Termination clauses have been in the spotlight over the last year, with some significant cases relating to the drafting of termination provisions, fixed term contracts and dismissals with cause. Do your terminations clauses protect your company?

  • Can your termination clauses be voided by the court?
  • What is the threshold that employers must meet when terminating for just cause – Sinnathamby v. The Chesterfield Shop Limited [2016]
  • Is a breach of company policy sufficient to justify a summary dismissal?
  • Does progressive discipline affect the employee’s common law entitlement to reasonable notice?
  • Implications of Wilson vs. Atomic Energy Canada on disciplinary procedures and dismissal with cause
  • How to draft enforceable termination clauses - lessons from Oudin v. Centre Francophone de Toronto [2016]
  • When is a fixed-term employee entitled to payment to the end of the term? Implications of Howard v. Benson Group [2016]


Muneeza Sheikh, Partner, Levitt LLP

  Networking Lunch – brought to you by Banyan Work Health Solutions Inc.
12:20pm - 12:40pm   Lunch & Learn: Managing mental health & helping your personnel

Do you know what to do when your employees fall subject to mental health issues? This lunch session will use a case study to illustrate a common workplace challenge and how you can manage it effectively.

  • How do you spot an employee who begins struggling with mental health?
  • How can temporary accommodations improve the working environment and support affected personnel?
  • Support your employees struggling with mental health and encourage productivity at the same time
  • Best practices and legal considerations


Stéphanie Clément, M. Éd., Senior Trainer, Banyan Work Health Solutions Inc.

  Legal guide to drugs in the workplace – Cannabis update

The legalization of cannabis has been at the top of the political agenda for the last year and the ramifications for employers still remain uncertain. This session will provide guidance on drug testing, impairment testing and monitoring cannabis use in the workplace.

  • How will the legalization of Cannabis affect employers?
  • Risk mitigation for marijuana use in the workplace for people working in safety-sensitive positions
  • Update on workplace drug and alcohol testing regulations and guidelines
  • How should HR departments determine fitness for work in in safety sensitive workplaces?
  • Update on obligations to accommodate employees who have legal permission to consume marijuana for medical purposes
  • Legal guidelines for disciplining employees who are impaired at work
  • Sample policies and procedures on drug testing, workplace cannabis use and impairment testing


Holly Reid, Partner, Blake, Cassels & Graydon

1:45pm   Recent developments relating to accommodation, elder care and family status

Attention on discrimination based on family status has grown in the public eye, with a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling that expands coverage to caring for the elderly.

  • Implications of Misetich v Value Village Stores Inc [2016] regarding eldercare applications
  • Overview of the various and conflicting tests for evaluating family status applications
  • How do employees establish prima facie family status discrimination?
  • To what degree does the “legal responsibility” test apply in the context of eldercare?
  • How do the Ontario Superior Court and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario differ in their approaches and what does this mean for employers?
  • What questions can employers legally ask employees regarding family status applications?


Meaghen Russell, Partner, Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

  Afternoon refreshment break – brought to you by Acclaim Ability Management & Maximus Rose
2:45pm   Mental health and accommodation – What you need to know

The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits employers from treating disabled employees adversely because of their disabilities. This becomes more complex and difficult in cases involving mental health issues.

  • What constitutes a reasonable accommodation for an employee with a mental illness?
  • What are the procedural and substantive components of the duty to accommodate in a mental health context?
  • How far so employers have to go to properly accommodate employees suffering with a mental disability?
  • How to conduct a thorough accommodation process in a mental health context
  • How is the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal treating mental health cases?
  • When do stress and anxiety fall into the realm of mental illness?
  • To what degree is employee morale taken into account when considering undue hardship in a mental health case?


Lisa Cabel, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright


Assisted by:

Lauren Berdock, Partner, Norton Rose Fullbright

3:30pm   Panel: Balancing empathy with risk mitigation: Mental health and the disciplinary process

Employers face a plethora of legal risks and responsibilities when disciplining employees who have mental illnesses. Obligations arise under common law, collective agreements, human rights, occupational health and safety, and workers' compensation.

In this session, panelists will discuss and debate the ethical and legal challenges of dealing with this delicate area of human resource management.

  • What is the legal definition of mental illness in Ontario?
  • When is discipline an appropriate or necessary method for dealing with an employee with a mental health issue?
  • What is the most humane way of dealing with an underperforming employee who also suffers from poor mental health?
  • Should behaviour related to mental health even be treated as a disciplinary issue?
  • Supporting employees with mental health issues (and the employees around them) within the confines of discrimination and privacy laws
  • How to handle a situation where performance issues are directly related to mental health issues
  • Dealing with an employee who has mental health issues and that presents safety risks to colleagues
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board treatment of PTSD claims
  • What are the privacy obligations of employers relating to mentally ill employees?


Dawn Yearwood, Vice President of Operations, Acclaim Ability Management


Matthew Certosimo, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais
Karen Bock, Partner, DLA Piper
Erin Kuzz, Partner, Sherrard Kuzz




Chairperson closing remarks




Networking Drinks Reception - brought to you by HRD



Close of conference




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14 HRPA CPD Seal


The Employment Law Masterclass has been pre-approved for 6 CPD hours by the HRPA.


This program may be eligible toward the Law Society of Upper Canada’s CPD Requirements as substantive hours.

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General Information

Karen Tan
Event Coordinator

P: +1 416 644 8740 ext. 278



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