CL-01ONLINE EVENT | JULY 14, 2020 | 12PM - 1PM EST



The COVID-19 pandemic has brought significant disruptions to the traditional model of the employer-employee relationship. Further, economic stress, dispersed workforces and changing government regulations have meant employers need to be fully aware of how this impacts their current obligations to employees and what this means for new hires. What are the key contractual issues employers need to be aware of as they adjust their workforces? How are employers navigating their obligations through an uncertain and evolving business climate?

  • Examine how changes in employment standards legislation has impacted employment agreements
         - Other emergency measures impacting contracts
  • Constructive dismissal considerations - changes to the nature of the job, hours, pay or layoff period
  • Explore the niceties of employment agreements and remote work
  • Modifying the terms of the employment agreements
  • Disciplining and terminating employees
  • Examine the nuances of employee furloughs and layoffs
  • Explore how government relief and economic stimulation measures will impact the industry
         - Steps to consider in temporary layoffs
         - Leaves of absence
         - Frustrated contracts
         - Recalling workers
  • What are the important contract considerations for new hires?
  • How might the pandemic impact future employment agreements?


Tom Ross

Partner, McLennan Ross LLP (Moderator)

Tom is recognized as a leading practitioner in western Canada in advising and representing employers (both union and non-union) in respect to labour arbitrations, Labour Relations Board applications, collective bargaining, wrongful dismissal, human rights, investigations, privacy, employment standards, workers’ compensation, and various other labour and employment matters.

He advises employers regarding the drafting, implementation, and application of executive contracts, employment agreements, non-competition and confidentiality provisions, change of control agreements, drug and alcohol testing programs, harassment policies, and general employment policies and practices.

Tom also advises employers regarding corporate structure from a labour relations perspective, particularly in respect to major industrial construction, and leads employers in respect to collective bargaining.

Neena Gupta

Partner, Gowling WLG

P.A. Neena Gupta is a partner at Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP where she has a broad employment and human rights practice. She is also co-chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. She has been repeatedly recognized by Lexpert® and Best Lawyers® for her excellence in employment and human right law. She was awarded one of the 2017 Zenith Awards recognizing Women in the Legal Profession and the Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Awards for her service to the legal profession. She has taught at the Faculties of Law at both Queen’s University, Kingston and the University of Toronto. Neena serves on the board of BioTalent Canada, an industry not-for-profit addressing the skills and labour shortages in the bioscience industries in Canada. She has also served on the boards of several corporations – both publicly-traded and private. She is a popular and informative speaker on a variety of topics and is a published author on matters relating to employment contracts, wrongful dismissals, human rights and investigating harassment. Neena is the mother to a wonderful teenager (18 going on 28) and is the “grandmother” to a 500-kilo horse, whom she considers her “fur grandchild”.

Rick Dunlop

Partner, Stewart McKelvey

Rick works with clients such as construction companies, radio companies, government, food services companies, international organizations, trucking companies, finance companies and power companies. He has appeared before all levels of Court in the province and labour and employment related tribunals, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. Some of the ways in which he has assisted his clients include:

- Successfully represented municipality in interest arbitration involving police union.
- Secured substantial monetary damages award for consulting business whose  
   employees secretly competed while employed.
- Successfully represented private sector employers’ organization before Nova Scotia
  Court of Appeal in high profile medical marijuana benefits human rights appeal.
- Successfully represented employer in wrongful dismissal involving malingering
  employee that received national attention.
- Successfully represented employer in constitutional challenge to essential services
- Successfully represented an energy company in a complex construction industry
  labour relations matter before the Labour Board.
- Successfully represented an international organization in a wrongful dismissal suit
  before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada.
- Successfully represented employers in upholding dismissal of employees for theft
  before arbitrators, the Labour
- Standards Tribunal and the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.
- Successfully represented car dealerships before the Nova Scotia Labour Board.
- Successfully represented a securities company before the Nova Scotia Supreme Court
  in a wrongful dismissal suit.

Eleni Kassaris-1

Partner, Dentons

Eleni Kassaris is a partner and practice group leader in the Employment and Labour group of Dentons’ Vancouver office.

Eleni has extensive experience advising employers in all aspects of employment and labour law. She represents clients in a wide range of industries, including technology, mining, property management, oil and gas, construction and life sciences.

As part of her practice, Eleni acts in both an advisory capacity and as litigation counsel on matters relating to workplace disputes, including general workplace crisis management, hiring, discipline and termination matters; wrongful dismissal litigation; post-employment competition by former employees; human rights violations in the workplace; privacy and cybersecurity matters; workers compensation, and occupational health and safety matters; compliance with employment standards; and executive compensation matters.

Eleni has appeared before the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia and the Federal Court of Canada, and regularly represents clients on matters before various administrative bodies and tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal and the British Columbia Labour Relations Board.

Eleni is a frequent speaker and author on labour and employment law topics, and has spoken to many groups on legal topics, including training seminars for other lawyers and for clients. She holds degrees from the University of British Columbia (BSc) and Western University (LLB).

David Whitten

Partner, Whitten & Lublin PC

David is a highly sought after lawyer with expertise in employment law and a senior partner at Whitten & Lublin, a Toronto-based employment law firm focussing on the strategic resolution of complex workplace issues and challenges for both employers and employees.

What sets David apart is his abiding belief in fairness. He holds that the most productive and successful work environments are those in which both the employer and employees are treated with respect. This ethical standard makes him a compelling advocate in negotiations or in court and an opponent to be reckoned with.

He has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario and a range of tribunals, including: The Ontario Labour Relations Board, Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

For private and public sector employers, he has provided knowledgeable counsel on a broad range of issues, including: workplace safety and insurance, employment standards, human rights, hiring, terminations, involuntary and voluntary buyouts and common law obligations in Canada.

David’s expertise and straight talk are widely recognized in Toronto media circles. His viewpoint has been sought by The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and The National Post, and he has commentated on employment issues in interviews with CBC Radio One’s, Here and Now, and News Talk 1010.

Camille Dunbar

Associate, Koskie Minsky LLP

Camille’s practice is focused on employment and civil/commercial litigation. She regularly acts on behalf of both employers and employees in all aspects of the employment relationship, from recruitment and contract drafting to termination and human resources law. She is experienced in wrongful and constructive dismissal claims, human rights and disability matters, and contract drafting for all levels of employees.

Camille is a skilled negotiator and advocate, appearing before all levels of court in Ontario and administrative Tribunals, including professional regulatory bodies, the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Labour. She handles a broad range of civil and insurance litigation matters, including defending professional negligence claims.

Prior to joining Koskie Minsky LLP, Camille practiced at a leading commercial litigation boutique for several years, where she gained significant experience in insurance coverage and defence, product liability, civil fraud, employment and tort matters.

Camille takes pride in providing practical, cost-efficient advice, while zealously advocating for her client’s rights and interests throughout all stages of litigation.

In addition to her law practice, since 2013, Camille also teaches the Lawyer as Negotiator course at Osgoode Hall Law School.




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