2020 Agenda

Pre-approved for 5.5 CPD points
8:50 am

Registration & Virtual Orientation

9:00 am

Re-opening Ontario: what does Bill 195 mean for employers?

The end of Ontario’s declared emergency has brought changes to the rules regarding emergency leave, temporary layoffs and constructive dismissals. This session will cover the practical implications of these changes for employers in Ontario.

  • Overview of Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020
  • Changes to Declared Emergency Leave (DEL) and Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)
  • Increased risk f constructive dismissal under the ESA – what you need to know
  • New measures to replace the Canada Emergency Support Benefit (CERB)
  • Changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) program

Brian MacDonald

Partner , Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

9:45 am

Reducing legal risks during employee layoffs

Failing to properly manage employee layoffs can leave employers at risk of claims for wrongful or constructive dismissal. This session will provide practical advice on laying off employees during COVID.

  • Step-by-step guide to laying off employees
  • What are the laws relating to temporary and permanent layoffs?
  • Should layoff clauses be included in employment contracts?
  • How to amend employment contracts to add a temporary layoff clause
  • What benefits are reasonable to offer in exchange for agreeing to a layoff clause?

Sunira Chaudhri

Partner , Levitt LLP

10:30 am

Short talk: Key changes to the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (the “CEWS”)

This short session will provide employers with a brief and practical overview of the main changes to the CEWS.

  • How are top-up subsidy calculated under the scheme?
  • What reference periods are used to calculate revenue decline for the purposes of the top-up subsidy?
  • How much do eligible employers receive under the new wage subsidy calculation?
  • Can employers receive the subsidy for employees while employees are on leave?

Chantel Goldsmith

Partner , Samfiru Tumarkin LLP

10:40 am

Networking coffee break

11:00 am

Case study: When acceptance is not enough: offering employees “onerous” contract terms

In Battiston v Microsoft Canada Inc [2020], the court found in favour of the employee because the employer did not expressly draw the employee’s attention to “harsh and oppressive” contract terms, even though the employee agreed to them. This case study will outline the practical lessons of this decision for employers.

  • Why did the courts rule the contractual provision to be unenforceable in the Microsoft case?
  • Is it enough to provide an employee with a copy of an agreement to read, review and sign?
  • How to demonstrate that you have expressly drawn an employee’s attention to onerous terms
  • How to ensure that your contracts are enforceable

Jonathan Dye

Partner , Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

11:40 am

Termination clauses and reasonable notice – the latest developments

While statutory minimum entitlements are prescribed by legislation, the calculation of reasonable notice under common law can be complex, confusing, and expensive. This session will draw on recent case law to provide guidance on common law notice periods and payments.

  • When is an employee entitled to reasonable notice?
  • Who determines what is a reasonable notice period?
  • Implications of Waksdale v. Swegon North America Inc [2020] on termination clauses
  • How are courts interpreting termination clauses?
  • What constitutes a ‘just cause’ dismissal in Ontario?
  • Which employees are exempt from receiving severance and notice or pay in lieu of termination?
  • When will a termination clause be determined as illegal and unenforceable? Rutledge v Canaan Construction Inc. [2020]

Stephen Wolpert

Partner , Whitten & Lublin LLP

12:25 pm

Networking lunch

1:00 pm

Childcare obligations and COVID

This session will provide guidance on managing employees who have childcare obligations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including situations where schools and childcare centres are temporarily closed.

  • Employee leave entitlements under s.50.1 of the Employment Standards Act, 2000
  • What type of leave should employees take when schools and childcare centres are closed?
  • Family status accommodation obligations regarding COVID-related absences
  • To what degree do employers need to accommodate employees with childcare concerns?

Jennifer Bernardo

Associate, Employment & Compensation Law , Baker McKenzie

1:45 pm

Panel: Employee mental health, COVID and the law

The COVID-19 situation has cused heightened anxiety and stress for many employees. This session will cover the complex and sometimes conflicting employment laws and best practices relating to mental health in the workplace during COVID.

  • What are the obligations of Ontario employers around mental health?
  • How should employers accommodate employees with mental health disabilities that have been exacerbated COVID-19
  • Managing COVID-19-related work refusals
  • Managing COVID-related issues including psychological stressors, customer aggression and isolation
  • How to look after the mental health of employees who are working from home

Nhi Huynh

Employment and Human Rights Lawyer , Achkar Law

Dr. Katy Kamkar Ph.D., C. Psych.

Clinical Psychologist , Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

2:35 pm

Workplace health and safety update: Is your re-opening plan compliant?

As workplaces reopen, employers will inevitably need to manage complex health risks and even cases of COVID-19. What practical steps should employers take to keep employees safe during COVID?

  • Overview of the latest sector-specific guidelines regarding COVID
  • How to identify, assess and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Can employers compel employees to undergo COVID testing?
  • How to manage confirmed and alleged cases of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • Step-by-step guide to managing potential cases of COVID-19 in the workplace
  • How to develop your COVID-19 safety plan

Stefanie Chimienti

Associate , Dentons

3:15 pm

Conference Concludes

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