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Caregiving Needs, Workplace Challenges: How does COVID-19 affect family status accommodation?

Thursday, September 24, 2020, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

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Colin Johnston



Tina-Marie Bradford

Staff Representative,
Advocacy Department

B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union
Amandi Esonwanne

City of Toronto


As public health experts warn that the pandemic will continue for some time and with the potential for more stringent restrictions in the event of a second wave, the juggling that many did in the first days is proving to be unsustainable, with many workers requiring family status accommodations. What measures can be put in place to help support employees who have childcare and eldercare responsibilities? Are employers required to accommodate workers who choose to keep their children out of school or seniors out of respite programs due to the risk of contracting the virus? In this audio conference, seasoned experts will consider whether the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the landscape for family status accommodation, addressing issues such as the following:

  • How does the test to establish family status discrimination differ between jurisdictions? How do recent amendments to employment standards legislation impact the rights of workplace parties with regard to family status issues? Must a worker's family responsibilities be extraordinary or unusual in order to establish a prima facie case? Are adjudicators likely to find that reduced or lack of availability of childcare or eldercare supports during the COVID-19 pandemic is sufficient to establish a need for family status accommodation?
  • Are there standard questions that employers should request or information that workers should be prepared to share about their needs in order to establish whether an accommodation is required and is suitable? Can workers simply indicate that their usual caregiving options are not available, or will be they be required to provide more detailed information?
  • What are some examples of measures that could be taken to accommodate caregivers who are working from home? What about options for supporting workers who cannot work remotely due to the nature of their jobs?
  • How should workplace parties approach a situation in which employees who are working remotely aren't as productive as they should be? Could a worker be required to take an unpaid job-protected leave in such cases? Are employees able to take such a leave if their child's school or daycare is open or if respite care is available?
  • Are employers required to accommodate workers who choose not to send their children back to school when they reopen or not to make use of in-home care or respite programs for elderly family members if they are available? Can employers argue that the worker has failed to self-accommodate? Could the answer vary depending on whether the worker lives with or cares for family members who are at high risk of suffering adverse effects from contracting COVID-19?
  • Can employers argue that having to accommodate a number of employees at once constitutes undue hardship? It is easier to make a "floodgates" argument during a pandemic? What if the employer's economic situation has deteriorated due to COVID-19?


CPHR Alberta

CPD hours for this event can be logged online, through your CPHR Alberta member profile.

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

This program has been approved for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A3 of the Recertification Log of the Human Resources Professionals Association.

HRMA Continuing Professional Development

This audio conference has been pre-approved by the Chartered Professionals in Human Resources of British Columbia and Yukon (CPHR BC & YK) for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours. Be sure to note the Event Identification Number in your CPHR Recertification Log.

Lancaster House CPD
  • This audio conference has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Ontario: 1.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers' Society may count this program for 1.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Live Session – $265, plus HST
Live Session for 2 or more (Boardroom fee) – $530, plus HST
Bundle Rate – Purchase a Live Session and receive the companion MP3 Recording for $165, plus HST
MP3 Recording – $265, plus HST
(Registrations must be paid in advance of the audio conference)
Contact us for discount pricing on the entire series.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $265. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $165.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

When you register, you'll be given a toll-free number to dial at the time of the session and an access code to join the call. For additional program and registration information, call Lancaster House at (416) 977-6618.

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