LIVE and Online February 16, 2021, 9:00 AM - 2:45 PM PST

9:00 am

Registration and networking

9:10 am

Opening remarks

Jesse Friedl

Global Production Manager, HRD

9:15 am

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

As workplaces reopen, employers are managing complex health risks. What practical steps should employers take to keep employees safe?

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

Maxwell Brunette

partner, Gowling WLG

9:50 am

Reducing legal risks during employee layoffs

Failing to effectively manage employee layoffs can leave employers at risk of claims for wrongful or constructive dismissal. This session will provide practical advice on managing employee layoffs during and beyond COVID.

  • 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?
  • Changes to COVID-19-related temporary layoffs in BC
  • Overview of the BC Employment Standards Branch rules regarding layoffs

Michael Howcroft

partner, Blake, Cassels and Graydon LLP

10:25 am

Employee mental health, COVID and the law

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 BC employers around mental health?
  • How will changes to the BC Workers Compensation Act impact mental health claims?
  • Accommodating employees with mental health disabilities that have been exacerbated by COVID-19
  • Managing COVID-19-related work refusals
  • How to look after the mental health of employees who are working from home

Jessica Fairbairn

Partner, Harris & Company LLP

11:00 am

Networking coffee break

11:30 am

Are bonuses payable during a common law notice period?

In October 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada released an important decision for employers regarding the incentive payment entitlements of employees during the period of reasonable notice. 

  • Are employees entitled to incentive payments during their notice period?
  • Overview of Matthews v. Ocean Nutrition Canada Ltd., 2020
  • How the courts are treating incentive payments during the common law notice period
  • How to draft an employment contract to reduce liability regarding bonus entitlements

Michael Kilgallin

partner, Roper Greyell LLP

12:05 pm

Termination clauses and common law notice

Employers can be liable for substantial common law pay outs, even for short service employees, without a well-drafted employment agreement.

  • How to draft a water-tight termination clause
  • How to calculate reasonable notice and severance payments for employees
  • Why the BC Supreme Court awarded nine months’ notice to a short service employee
  • Lessons from Chung v Quay Pacific Property Management Ltd, 2020
  • When would courts award more than 24 months’ notice to employees under common law?

Veronica Rossos

partner, Miller Thomson LLP

Ashley Mitchell

partner, Miller Thomson LLP

12:40 pm

Networking lunch

1:00 pm

Accommodation and human rights in the workplace

Requests for accommodation should be handled very carefully, in compliance with the BC Human Rights Code. How have COVID and recent cases changed the accommodation landscape?  

  • Step-by-step guide to investigating and evaluating requests for accommodation
  • When can employers request medical information before an employee returns to work?
  • Lessons from Tumber v. FlexiForce Canada 2020
  • Accommodation for immunocompromised employees during COVID
  • Has the test for undue hardship changed during COVID?

Stephanie Vellins

partner, Harris & Company LLP

1:35 pm

Back to school? Childcare obligations, accommodation and COVID

This session will provide guidance on managing employees who have childcare obligations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, including situations where schools are temporarily closed, or parents have chosen to home-school their children.

  • What type of leave should employees take when schools and childcare centres are closed?
  • Family status accommodation obligations regarding COVID-related absences
  • What does the Campbell River test tell us about accommodation in BC
  • Home by choice: Do employers need to accommodate employees who have elected to home school their children?
  • To what degree do employers need to accommodate employees with childcare concerns?

Richard Johnson

co-founder and partner, Ascent Employment Law

2:15 pm

Conference Concludes

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