Conference agenda  

This year's agenda is dedicated to helping organizations in Ontario manage and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating social, organizational and economic impacts.

Join us online Thursday, June 11, 2020
to Learn the Latest® HR compliance for the new normal

Stringer LLP's employment law experts will cover the following topics. Click for details.

9:00 a.m.

Opening Remarks – Landon Young

9:05 a.m.

Allison Taylor

Layoffs and Cuts in Pay in Response to the Pandemic: The Constructive Dismissal Risks
– Allison Taylor

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many employers have had to lay off employees or reduce their pay and hours. Such changes would normally trigger constructive dismissals. Can employers expect a flood of litigation?

Among the topics covered will be:

  • How the courts may decide constructive dismissals cases arising out of the pandemic and what damages could be awarded
  • Measures employers can take to reduce the risk of constructive dismissals
  • Strategies for responding to the expected wave of constructive dismissal claims

9:50 a.m.

Ryan Conlin

COVID-19 and Employee Health and Safety
– Ryan Conlin

COVID-19 has created unprecedented health and safety issues for employers. As businesses return to regular operations, these issues are not likely to go away.

This session will cover:

  • The extent of employers' duties to take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of their employees in light of COVID-19
  • How to deal with employee work refusals related to COVID-19
  • The Ministry of Labour's approach to health and safety enforcement during the pandemic

10:35 a.m.

Morning break

10:50 a.m.

Amanda Boyce

Workplace Privacy Challenges Created by COVID-19
– Amanda Boyce

The pandemic has created a number of workplace privacy challenges for employers. A delicate balancing of employee privacy rights with employer rights and obligations is required.

Amanda will cover:

  • How far employers can go in monitoring the health of employees;
  • Potential privacy issues raised by employers disclosing COVID-19 cases in the workplace
  • The scope of employee privacy rights over medical information related to COVID-19

11:30 a.m.

Jeremy Schwartz

The COVID-19 Government Assistance Plans: Navigating the Maze
– Jeremy Schwartz

The government introduced a plethora of programs to assist employers and employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rules under these plans have been confusing for employers to navigate. However, they have also been invaluable to employers in surviving the pandemic when used with a clear strategy in place.

Jeremy will discuss:

  • The applicable rules and procedures for the programs including the wage subsidies, supplemental employment benefit (SUB) plans, work-sharing program and Canada Emergency Response Benefit
  • How to achieve the maximum business and operational benefit from these plans
  • The employer experience so far with these plans


Lunch break

1:15 p.m.

Jeffrey Murray

COVID-19: Absenteeism, Human Rights and the Duty to Accommodate
– Jeffrey Murray

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised some difficult and novel human rights issues with employees seeking human rights related accommodation issues to care for family members.

This session will cover:

  • Whether COVID-19 is a “disability” within the meaning of the Human Rights Code
  • The potential human rights obligations on employers to accommodate employees seeking accommodation for reasons related to COVID-19
  • Strategies for managing absenteeism and accommodation requests during this difficult time

2:00 p.m.

Landon Young

COVID-19 and the Employment Standards Act, 2000
– Landon Young

The pandemic has raised a wide range of issues under the ESA. The impact of the employment standards fallout from the pandemic will continue to be felt for a long time. Employers need to ready.

The topics Landon will cover include:

  • The various leave entitlements that potentially apply under the ESA, including emergency leave, and how to manage them
  • How the ESA's termination and severance provisions will apply to employers including for temporary layoffs and group terminations
  • What to expect from the Ministry of Labour in its enforcement of the ESA

2:45 p.m.

Afternoon break

3:00 p.m.

Emergency Preparedness: Lessons Learned From The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 has reminded us of how vulnerable our organizations can be to a pandemic or other emergency. Advance planning can help reduce the impact on your organization. Learn about the essential elements of a sound and workable emergency response plan.

3:20 p.m.

Litigating Employment Related Claims Arising from the Pandemic: What to Expect

Given the unprecedented workforce reductions employers had to carry out in response to COVID-19, we can expect a wave of litigation. Find out how the courts and tribunals can be expected to operate in the coming months and what this means for claims from former employees arising out of the pandemic.

3:40 p.m.

The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic will be giving rise to new types of claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. The WSIB has also continued to operate and adjudicate employee claims during the pandemic. Find out how the WSIB is handling claims for benefits for COVID-19 contracted in workplaces as well as COVID-19 related chronic stress.

4:00 p.m.

Conference closes

Learn the Latest at the 21st annual
Ontario Employment Law Conference

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This conference also qualifies for up to 5.75 hours of human resources law content, which may apply toward Substantive CPD Hours for Ontario lawyers and paralegals. In addition, this program complies with the Quebec requirements for activities automatically recognized as "out-of-province" activities.

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