February 11, 2019 | Vancouver Convention Centre


  Introduction from chairperson
9:00am   Employees behaving badly: just cause dismissal in British Columbia

This session draw on two recent cases in BC to offer guidance on terminating employment for misconduct inside and outside working hours.

  • What is the threshold for a just cause dismissal for out of hours conduct?
  • Lessons from Klonteig v. West Kelowna [2018] regarding termination for off-duty behaviour
  • Mitigating and exacerbating circumstances that the courts will take into account when assessing whether an employer has just cause for dismissal
  • Lessons from Manak v. Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia regarding just cause dismissal for confidentiality breach

Speaker: Nicole Howell, Partner, HHBG Law

9:45am   Cannabis at work: dealing with curve ball situations

Delegates will receive practical guidelines for dealing with complex and unexpected employee situations that arise in a post-legalization workplace

  • How to deal with employees who breach drug and alcohol policies relating to cannabis
  • When can you submit an employee to drug testing?
  • Tips for drafting enforceable workplace drug and alcohol policies
  • To what degree must you accommodate an employee who claims disability on the basis of addiction to cannabis?

Speaker: Eleni Kassenis, Partner, Blakes Cassels Graydon

10:30am   Morning tea
  Accommodation: family status, injuries, medical issues and undue hardship

HR professionals need to be up to date with the complex and growing area of accommodation law. How far do employers need to go to accommodate employees with injuries, medical issues and childcare obligations?

  • At what point does an accommodation request cause undue hardship?
  • When can you deny an accommodation requests to work from home?
  • Accommodation for non-work related illness or injuries – what you need to know
  • Implications of Southwell v. CKF Inc. [2017] regarding the employer’s obligation to accommodate undiagnosed medical issues
  • Accommodating child care obligations –implications of Ziegler v Pacific Blue Cross [2018]

Speaker: Richard Johnson, Partner, Kent Law

11:45am   Employment Standards Amendment Act, 2018 (Bill 6) update

In a short presentation, delegates will receive a concise over view of amendments to pregnancy, parental, and compassionate care leave.

  • maternity, paternity, and compassionate care leave obligations – clarifying the grey areas
  • crime-related child disappearance leave and child death leave

Speaker: Richard Johnson, Partner, Kent Law

12:00pm   Lunch
  Investigating and preventing workplace sexual harassment

The #metoo movement and high profile sexual misconduct allegations have elevated the profile of workplace sexual harassment. What HR policies and procedures will effectively prevent sexual harassment in the workplace?

  • What behaviour constitutes sexual harassment under the BC Human Rights Code
  • Balancing pressure to ‘believe the women' with employee rights to due process
  • Step by step guide to investigating sexual harassment complaints
  • How to handle confidentiality requests from complainants during workplace investigations
  • Dealing with false accusations – what penalties should apply?
  • Can HR professionals conduct sexual harassment investigations in the absence of an official complaint?

Speaker: Muneeza Sheikh, Partner, Levit

1:30pm   Sponsor: Workplace mental health – shifting to a model of prevention

This presentation will provide HR professionals with an understanding of the workplace factors that impact mental health and a toolkit for creating a supportive and mentally health workplace?

  • What is the Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace?
  • Thirteen workplace factors affecting employee psychological health
  • The legal duty to create and maintain a psychologically safe workplace
  • Benefits of creating a psychologically healthy workplace
  • Building a business case for prevention
  • Key takeaways – how to make your workplace psychologically healthy

Speaker: Ashley Spetch, VP Workplace Health and Research, Homewood Health Centre

2:15pm   Afternoon tea
  Accommodating employees with mental health concerns

This session will discuss best practices for approaching the accommodation process in cases involving complex mental health issues in the workplace.

  • When will the duty to accommodate be triggered in a mental health context?
  • Where do courts draw the line between duty to accommodate and undue hardship?
  • How to handle employees who do not cooperate with requests for medical information
  • Mental health accommodation in safety-sensitive roles – when will employee safety be considered to be an undue hardship?
  • Documentation and procedural requirements for processing mental health accommodation requests

Speaker: Andrew Schafer, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

3:45pm   Panel: When rights collide –workplace mental health and the individual

In a thought-provoking panel, our team of lawyers and experts will discuss the ethical and legal dilemmas that arise when the mental health issues of one employee impact the physical and mental health and safety of others.

  • Balancing the needs of the individual with the interests of the business and workforce
  • When can you terminate an employee whose behaviour compromises others’ mental health?
  • Balancing accommodation on mental health grounds with client and employee safety
  • Striking a balance between the rights of the employee and the obligations of HR professionals to ensure a productive and safe workplace
  • Investigating and managing a potential undisclosed mental health issue that impacts the workforce
  • Resolving situations in which an individual employee's rights conflict with those of another employee


Cameron Wardell - Associate, Mathews Dinsdale


Andrew Schafer, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright

Jennifer Fantini, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais


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Cris Warner
Event Coordinator

T: +1 416 644 8740 ext. 284



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