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2013 HR Law Conference

HR Law Conference

HR Domain (Career GPS): Employee Relations; HR Leadership 

The HR Professional’s one-stop resource for all recent employment law developments. Co-chaired by Malcolm MacKillop and Christine Thomlinson. Featuring insights from some of Canada’s top employment and human rights lawyers. Shared expertise and practical strategies to deal with some of the trickiest legal workplace issues. Add instant value to your workplace. Fresh legal insights that you can apply and make an impact rightaway.

  • Featuring insights from some of Canada's top employment and human rights lawyers
  • Shared expertise and practical strategies to deal with some of the trickiest legal workplace issues
  • Fresh legal insights that you can apply and make an impact right away

View Conference Agenda (PDF)

WHY you should be here

  • Current and relevant legal updates including:
    • Latest issues oin the duty to accommodate (including mental health, family status and religious accommodation)
    • Employment law (including employment standards, mitigation of legal damages and post-employment restrictions)
    • Litigation (including things employers and employees need to know about legal process)
    • Developments at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal
  • Participants will receive information about the newest legal developments and recent case-law.
  • Participants will also receive practical strategies for dealing with current issues to allow them to add significant value in their workplace with fresh legal insight.

WHAT you will gain:

Fresh Updates on Hot Topics including:

  • Human rights accommodation, employment standards, post-employment restrictions, working notice, mitigation and working with litigation processes 

Also returning this year - the Senior Practitioner’s Panel.

  • Participants will be able to pose questions to and receive commentary from some of the profession’s most experienced employment lawyers

WHO should Participate:

  • HR Professionals
  • HR Managers

Speaker Bios:

Malcolm MacKillop (Chair)
Shields O’Donnell MacKillop LLP

Malcolm has practiced exclusively employment law for over 25 years.  He now practices at Shields O’Donnell MacKillop LLP, an employment and labour law boutique.  Malcolm represents employers and senior executives in all aspects of employment law including issues involving just cause, fiduciary obligations and human rights.  Malcolm was awarded the Queen Elizabeth medal in 2013 for philanthropy abroad by the Governor General of Canada.

Over the last 25 years, Malcolm has been a successful trial lawyer, professional speaker, professor of law, an author of several highly acclaimed legal texts including Creative Solutions, Damage Control and Employment Law Solutions, and also a columnist for the Globe & Mail and the Toronto Star.  He has taught at Memorial University, University of Toronto, as well as a third year class at Western Law School and presented at over 300 lawyer and client seminars.  He has appeared on both local and national television and radio including:  The  Fifth Estate; W5; CBC – The National; CBC – The Journal; Pamela Wallin Live; CBC Radio; 680 News among others.  Malcolm is a past board member of the National Ballet of Canada and the Toronto Human Resources Professional Association and the National Club.

Malcolm is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Civil Litigation and he has been recognized by both Lexpert – The Guide to the Top 500 Lawyers in Canada for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and The Guide to Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading employment law practitioner in 2012.  Malcolm was also given the BV rating in 2008 by Martindale – Hubbell which is the maximum Peer Rating a lawyer can achieve indicating high to very high legal ability and the highest ethics.

Christine Thomlinson (Chair)
Rubin Thomlinson LLP

Toronto Employment Lawyer Christine Thomlinson is a trusted advisor to senior human resource professionals who recognize employees as an integral part of their business. Her clients understand the need to manage their workplaces effectively, and they look to Christine for counsel on maintaining the employee relationships that support their organization’s business objectives.
She is known for her high capability to think strategically, and her ability to find practical, often innovative, legal solutions to her clients’ challenging workplace issues.

Christine is renowned for the seminal work she co-authored on employment law: For Better or For Worse: A Practical Guide to Canadian Employment Law. Written in collaboration with Mr. Justice Randall Scott Echlin, currently of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the text is a prime resource for human resource professionals and students across Canada.

Together with partner Janice Rubin, Christine co-founded Rubin Thomlinson LLP to provide employer and employee clients with trusted, expert counsel on issues such as wrongful dismissal and terminations, employment standards and contracts, sexual harassment and disability.

Christine is a certified workplace investigator, often retained as a neutral third party to conduct investigations into allegations of harassment and other employee misconduct. She and partner Janice Rubin co-authored a book on the subject, entitled Human Resources Guide to Workplace Investigations, published by Canada Law Book.

Christine develops and delivers training programs that educate human resource professionals and managers on a variety of employment law and human rights issues. More and more, employer clients are finding that these training programs enable their employees to manage many workplace problems so effectively that there is less need for legal intervention.

She is a frequent and popular seminar leader at many human resources and legal programs, and is currently co-chair of both the Human Resource Professionals Association’s "HR Law Conference" and the Law Society of Upper Canada’s program entitled, "The 6-Minute Employment Lawyer". She is a frequent contributor to such publications as Canadian Employment Law Today, Canadian Employer and Workplace News, and is often quoted in the media on legal issues related to the workplace.

Christine graduated from the University of Ottawa Law School in 1993, and was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1995. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Bar Association, and Toastmasters International. She has a degree in Administrative and Commercial Studies from the University of Western Ontario.

George Avraam
Baker & McKenzie LLP

George Avraam was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1999 and has since practiced in the area of litigation. He has been designated by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in civil litigation. Mr. Avraam was named as a leading lawyer in Chambers Global 2013 for Employment, Labour & Pensions: Canada. Mr. Avraam was listed in the "Litigators to Watch" category of the 2009 Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada, and was named one of Lexpert's Rising Stars - Leading Lawyers under 40 in 2008.

Mr. Avraam has been ranked as a leading management side labour and employment lawyer in Canada for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 in Who’s Who Legal: Canada, and has been identified as one of the world’s leading management labour & employment lawyers for 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 in The International Who’s Who of Management Labour & Employment Lawyers. He has also been awarded a BV® Distinguished rating by LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, which is awarded to lawyers with very high legal ability, as recognized by a wide selection of their peers.

Jonathan Dye
Heenan Blaikie LLP

Jonathan Dye is a partner of Heenan Blaikie and focuses his practice on employment law. Selected as one of LawDay's top 100 leading Employment Lawyers in Canada, he primarily litigates and advises clients on a range of issues such as wrongful dismissals, workplace human rights, employment standards, recruitment and dismissals, employment contracts and employment issues in corporate transactions.

He has appeared as lead counsel in cases before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

R. Mark Fletcher
Grosman, Grosman & Gale LLP

Mark regularly advises and provides litigation representation to both employers and executive employees in complex contractual disputes, wrongful dismissal and unjust dismissal advocacy, responding to human rights applications in defence of employers, together with strategic advice and advocacy in constitutional and administrative law matters arising in the employment law field. Mark has appeared in matters before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, and in Canada Labour Code unjust dismissal adjudications.
Mark also writes articles about employment law and regularly accepts invitations to speak at human resource conferences; most recently he was a guest speaker for the Toronto Human Resource Professionals Association. Mark has also been a guest lecturer at The Law Society of Upper Canada’s “Employment Law for the General Practitioner-Strategies and Best Practices” series in 2008 and 2009 and as a guest speaker at the Ontario Bar Association’s 2010 “Fundamentals of Employment Law” conference. Mark’s articles on employment law have appeared in publications such as the H.R. Professional and online for websites such as and    
Mark graduated with distinction (Summa Cum Laude) from McMaster University in 1998, where he received his B.A. (Hons) with a major in Political Science and a minor in International Justice and Human Rights. Mark attended law school at the University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Law, where he received his LL.B. in 2001. While at law school, Mark worked as a student supervisor at Community Legal Services and he represented Western at the 2000 Niagara International Moot Court competition where his team won first place. In 2011, Mark obtained his Master of Laws degree (LL.M.) in constitutional law from Osgoode Hall Law School.
Mark has been a lawyer with Grosman, Grosman & Gale LLP since his call to the bar in 2002. 

Pamela Krauss
Morrison Reist

Pamela grew up in Southern Saskatchewan in the rural farming community of Assiniboia.  She received both her Bachelor of Sciences degree and Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Western Ontario.
Since being called to the Ontario Bar in 2006, Pamela has gained valuable practice experience in a number of areas of law.  Through practicing at a large Toronto firm and in house at a major technology company prior to putting her roots down at Morrison Reist, she gained experience in tax law, intellectual property law, information technology law and commercial law.

Pamela has now focused her practice in the area of employment law where a broad spectrum of her skills and personal attributes can be used in client service and offering creative, sensitive legal solutions for difficult workplace issues.  Pamela’s personal philosophy is that success happens when preparation and opportunity meet and preparation requires knowledge.  She approaches her practice with the belief that she is not only an advisor but an educator for her clients.  She is dedicated to making the workplace better for employers and employees and can give her clients the tools they need to create a positive work environment.

Representing both employees and employers, she effectively negotiates employment and non-competition agreements, and advises and advocates in respect of issues related to: severance packages, wrongful dismissals, constructive dismissals, workplace policies, employment standards, human rights compliance and claims, personal and psychological harassment and disabled employees.   Pamela recently spoke at the Grand Valley Chaper of the Human Resources Professional's Association conference on mental health in the workplace.

Pamela is dedicated to community leadership, volunteerism, and education.  Currently, she is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Kitchener Waterloo Alzheimer’s Society and is a member of the Waterloo Law Association, WINC (Women Incorporated) and the Songwriting Association of Canada.

Ken Krupat

Ken Krupat is a lawyer with an employment law practice in downtown Toronto. Ken advises and represents individuals and corporate clients in a wide range of employment law matters including wrongful dismissal cases, employment contracts, human rights complaints, injunctions and other related proceedings. Ken has represented hundreds of dismissed employees, and many employers. He has appeared as counsel in numerous cases at different court levels, including the Ontario Superior Court, the Ontario and Federal Courts of Appeal. He has also appeared before various administrative tribunals, including the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Ken writes regularly on employment law issues for various publications. He has been a co-editor of the Dismissal and Employment Law Digest (“DELDs”), which provides monthly summaries and discussion of the latest employment law decisions. His articles have been published in the Toronto Star, The National Post, The Lawyers Weekly and Canadian Employment Law Today. He has appeared on television and radio to discuss employment issues. Ken frequently speaks at employment law seminars for human resource professionals, employee groups and other lawyers.
Ken is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A. Hons.), the University of British Columbia (LLB.) and Osgoode Hall Law School – York University (LL.M.). He has taught public law for the Law Society of Upper Canada to Bar Admission students.

Ken has practiced employment law exclusively since being called to the Bar in Ontario in 1994. He has a unique understanding of wrongful dismissal cases and other employment issues. Ken is dedicated to providing the highest quality representation to each of his clients. He is professional, personable and dedicated. Most importantly, he gets results.

Erin Kuzz
Sherrard Kuzz LLP

Erin Kuzz is a founding member of Sherrard Kuzz LLP. Recognized as a leading employment and labour lawyer by Lexpert® and Chambers Global®, Erin is also Past Chair of the Labour and Employment Section of the Ontario Bar Association.

Erin is regularly asked to chair and speak at national and local conferences on a variety of labour and employment law topics, has taught at Osgoode Hall Law School and University of Toronto Law School and was asked by the Law Society of Upper Canada to write the Bar Admission Licensing Examination Study Materials for Labour Law. Erin is widely published and leads workshops and seminars on a variety of topics including progressive discipline, attendance management, positive employee relations, remaining union-free and workplace harassment.

Erin graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and York University (Bachelor of Arts).

Zaheer Lakhani
Bernardi Human Resource Law LLP

Zaheer Lakhani is an accomplished litigator having appeared in a significant number of matters before the Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court and he has had several matters cited in Quicklaw since his call to the Bar in 1998.

Zaheer has also been qualified as provincially certified trainer where he has trained social workers in governing legislation as well as conducting investigations in an anti-oppressive manner. Having always been interested in the challenging and diverse field of human resource law, Zaheer started a new career path and joined the firm in 2011 to devote his practice exclusively to human resource law with an emphasis on litigation and workplace investigations.
Zaheer has a background in prosecutorial litigation but he always remained mindful of issues of marginalized groups.
Zaheer is trained in recognizing oppressive behavior and mindful of issues of diversity. He has spoken on these issues for community organizations such as the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and on behalf of The Law Society of Upper Canada.
Zaheer is also a member and frequent guest speaker for the Peel Law Association. Zaheer has always been interested in human resource issues including diversity, workplace harassment and bullying. As a litigator, Zaheer is able to handle matters demanding sensitivity and compassion.

Andrew Lewis
Paliare Roland Barristers

Andrew has one spouse, two poodles, three children, and a broad ranging advocacy practice.

While the justice system is rarely (if ever) poetic, Andrew's legal prose, written and oral, tends to be a cut above that of most litigators. Andrew's skill with the word, combined with a painstaking attention to detail and creative approach to the law, gets results for his clients.

Andrew does not take a one-speed fits all approach to litigation. Some cases require an aggressive and unwavering trajectory to and through litigation from the outset. Others need a conciliatory touch. Most require an approach somewhere in between, or employing one or the other at the appropriate time. That is how Andrew practices.
Within the firm, Andrew is partly responsible for the firm’s annual holiday card and is an active participant in the firm's "doin' good" (charitable donation) program.

Andrew practices as a litigator in a wide variety of employment, civil, commercial and administrative matters. He has appeared in all levels of court, including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as in mediations, arbitrations and before a number of tribunals.
In employment matters, Andrew acts for both employees and employers in relation to contract negotiations and drafting, employment obligations and termination from employment, particularly but by no means exclusively at the executive level. He is often consulted on constructive dismissal matters and in relation to departing employees, as well as on employment issues arising on the sale of a business.

In commercial matters, Andrew acts in all varieties of contract and shareholder disputes, including oppression cases. He also has significant experience in matters where urgent injunctive relief is sought.

Natalie C. MacDonald
Rudner MacDonald LLP

Natalie C. MacDonald is a founding partner of Rudner MacDonald LLP, a boutique law firm specializing in Canadian Employment Law. Natalie provides senior counsel on all issues in employment law, including policy and contract drafting, hiring process issues, terminations, discipline, restrictive covenants, employment contracts, employment standard issues, workplace bullying and harassment, human rights and sexual harassment. She represents both employees and employers, and assists in providing each with clear, practical advice, in an effort to help them understand their rights and obligations.

Natalie has been repeatedly named among Canada’s Top Employment Law Practitioners. One of Natalie’s cases, Antidormi v. Blue Pumpkin Software Inc. [2004] which she pursued on behalf of the employee in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, is touted as a leading decision in the area of inducement of employees to organizations.

In addition, Natalie is a leading authority in extraordinary damages in employment law. She is the author of Extraordinary Damages in Canadian Employment Law, a first-of-its-kind legal textbook published in 2010, which has received critical acclaim as an authority on the subject by courts and members of the bar in general.

She is the founding Co-Chair of the Employment Law Practice Essentials Conference; an annual event hosted every second year by the Law Society of Upper Canada. She is also a Program Director of the Osgoode Professional Development HR Law for HR Professionals course, and has been an instructor since its inception. Natalie is also a regular speaker at employment law conferences.

Natalie graduated from the Faculty of Law of the Univesity of Windsor, after obtaining a B.A. (Hons) in Political Science from Queen’s University. She is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada as well as the Ontario and Canadian Bar Associations.

Kate McNeill-Keller
McCarthy Tetrault LLP

Kate McNeill-Keller is an associate in the firm’s Labour & Employment Group in Toronto.
Ms. McNeill-Keller represents management in a variety of labour and employment issues including employment standards, wrongful dismissal, labour arbitrations, occupational health and safety, human rights and labour and employment issues arising in corporate transactions. She is also co-author of “A Legal Guide to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005”, published by Canada Law Book.

Ms. McNeill-Keller is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the New York State Bar Association, the Ontario Bar Association, and the Canadian Bar Association.
Ms. McNeill-Keller received her BA (Hon.) in Sociology from Queen's University in 2002. As a participant in the Joint JD/LL.B. Program, she received her JD from Michigan State University College of Law in 2005 and her LL.B. from the University of Ottawa Law School in 2006.
She was called to the New York State Bar in 2006 and the Ontario Bar in 2007.

Catherine Milne
Turnpenney Milne LLP

Catherine Milne is a founding partner of Turnpenney Milne LLP.  She has been a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 1993. She obtained her law degree from Osgoode Hall and received a General Diploma in Law from the London School of Economics.  In 2001, she was granted an Honours Certificate in Human Resource Management from Humber College.

Catherine represents both employers and employees and has appeared before the Ontario courts, Canadian and Ontario Human Rights Tribunals and federal and provincial labour and employment boards.  In addition Catherine is often retained to  provide in-house training to clients on a variety of workplace issues.
Catherine is the author of the LexisNexis publication Canadian Forms and Precedents – Employment. Catherine’s work is a collection of state-of-the-art precedents and forms along with practical commentary on all issues facing employment practitioners.  She is a contributing author to Canadian Employment Law Today and the Canadian HR Reporter.

Catherine is a regular speaker at continuing legal education presentations for lawyers as well as human resource specialists.  Catherine has taught law and employment law courses at Seneca College and George Brown College.
Catherine is a member of the Executive of the Labour and Employment Section of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and a member of the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA).

When not busy at work, Catherine can be found chasing her boys around soccer pitches, baseball diamonds and ski hills.  On the rare occasion that she has time for herself, she enjoys snowboarding, gardening, sailing, dragon-boating and most recently, acting in community theatre.

Jeff Mitchell
Dentons Canada LLP

Jeffrey is a partner in the Toronto Employment and Labour Group of Dentons Canada LLP. He represents public and private sector employers in the areas of employment and labour relations law, human rights and occupational health and safety. He regularly acts as counsel before employment tribunals and all levels of the Ontario courts. He also advises employers on contractual and labour issues, as well as advising employers proactively on strategies to effectively manage human resources issues.

Jeffrey acts primarily for employers, and regularly advises on a wide variety of matters, including advising on employee termination issues, employee discipline, human rights and accommodation issues. Jeffrey has considerable experience representing clients in employment and labour-related litigation matters before the Courts and administrative tribunals. Jeffrey regularly represents employers facing wrongful dismissal claims and human rights complaints. He also represents clients at arbitrations, at the Ontario Labour Relations Board and at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

Jeffrey was selected by peers for inclusion in the 2011 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada (Labour and Employment Law)

Gavin Tighe
Gardiner Roberts LLP

Gavin Tighe is a senior partner with Gardiner Roberts LLP and a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. Mr. Tighe is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation and has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of Canadian Courts including the Supreme Court of Canada. Mr. Tighe is routinely sought out by clients as trial and appellate counsel in contested and complex Civil Litigation. He also has significant experience successfully representing clients before securities industry tribunals in both Canada and the United States.
Mr. Tighe also acts as counsel to clients in mediations and other forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution. A sampling of some of Mr. Tighe’s reported decisions is listed below.
In addition to general litigation, Mr. Tighe’s diverse practice focuses on professional liability and particularly on litigation relating to securities matters and lawyer’s negligence. Mr. Tighe has also successfully represented clients on some of the leading cases in such diverse areas as corporate restructuring, municipal conflict of interest, adverse possession of real property, solicitor’s negligence, financial advisor liability, title insurance, defamation, and election law in addition to numerous other areas of law.

Mr. Tighe has published numerous legal articles and has been an instructor in the area of Professional Liability at the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has been cited as an authority on Civil Practice in Ontario in publications on the Rules of Civil Procedure. He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2013. Mr. Tighe is also commonly an invited speaker at securities industry, creditor conferences and legal professional conferences including conferences sponsored by the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Canadian and American Bar Associations.

Robert Weir
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Robert Weir is partner in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He practises in the area of labour relations, employment law, and education law. Robert appears before the courts and a variety of administrative tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Ontario Labour Relations Board, on matters related to unionized and non-unionized employees. Robert also appears in the Ontario Superior Court on wrongful dismissal actions, injunction and judicial review proceedings.

Robert advises private and public sector employers in labour relations and employment law matters generally, including employee terminations, structuring severance packages, interest arbitrations under the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act, employment contracts, human rights matter, and the treatment of employees in corporate transactions.


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October 24, 2013
8:45 AM - 4:00 PM​
Domain (Primary)
Employee Relations
Event Type
Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development 

5.5 Hrs
St. Andrews Club and Conference Cente
150 King St West. Toronto 27th floor Room S1
HRPA Members: $545 + Taxes
Non-Members: $795 + Taxes
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