Home|Conferences & Workshops|Workplace Safety and Insurance Conference - Toronto

Workplace Safety and Insurance Conference

Toronto • October 1, 2019 (afternoon)
Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel

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HRPA Continuing Professional Development

HRPA Continuing Professional Development

The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) has approved Lancaster House as a Continuing Professional Development Partner, guaranteeing that participation in our conferences, workshops and audio conferences will be accepted by the HRPA for CPD credit.

Register today to earn your CPD credits with Lancaster!

In association with: https://www.cirhr.utoronto.ca/

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Registration and Lunch 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM  

Keynote Address

The Business Case for Accommodating People with Mental Illness at Work

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Keynote Speakers

Rebecca Gewurtz
Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science
McMaster University
Emile Tompa
Senior Scientist
Institute for Work & Health


In this keynote address, Drs. Rebecca Gewurtz and Emile Tompa present a research study commissioned by the Mental Health Commission of Canada that investigates practices of employers that are actively engaged in recruiting and supporting workers living with mental illness. They draw on a series of case studies incorporating data from interviews with accommodated workers, co-workers, and supervisors/managers in diverse Canadian organizations. These data sources identify good practices and the economic impacts of accommodating workers with mental illness in diverse settings and work roles. The case studies provide compelling evidence that providing workplace accommodations for workers with mental illnesses can be a win-win proposition for both workers and organizations. Through this study, the authors have identified various low- and no-cost strategies that can be readily adopted by organizations seeking to become more accessible and inclusive of workers with diverse needs.

Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs

1:35 PM - 1:45 PM

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Registration and Lunch 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM  

Panel 1

What's New in Workers' Compensation: An update on major cases, legislation, and policies

1:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Bonnea Channe
Employer Counsel
Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti
Garth Dee
Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
Antony Singleton
Worker Counsel
The Law Office of Antony Singleton

Panel Summary

Seasoned counsel will review the most significant compensation cases from WSIAT and the courts over the past year, as well as the most recent legislative and policy developments and their impact on workplace parties and their advocates. Caselaw, legislative, and policy developments to be addressed will include: the Ford government's upcoming "review" of the WSIB; the right to sue/civil liability including for harassment/sexual violence; presumptive coverage; and return to work and duty to accommodate injured workers. Additional topics will be added closer to the conference date to ensure coverage of the latest and most important developments in workers' compensation.

BREAK (with refreshments)

3:00 PM - 3:15 PM

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Registration and Lunch 12:30 PM - 1:00 PM  

Panel 2

Workplace Harassment and Mental Stress: Unravelling changes in law and policy, selecting the right forum

3:15 PM - 4:30 PM

Heather Alden
Legal Counsel
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation
Stephen Roberts
Employer Counsel
McTague Law Firm

Panel Summary

Recent legislative changes allowing workers to claim benefits for chronic mental stress under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act were supposed to make it easier for workers who suffer a mental injury as a result of workplace harassment to obtain benefits. However, according to a recent audit, the WSIB denies the overwhelming majority of claims for chronic mental stress. And, as a result of these amendments, the jurisdiction of arbitrators and human rights tribunals to award monetary damages to employees harmed by harassment has been increasingly questioned. In this session, experts discuss the changing WSIB practices and procedures regarding harassment as well as the evolving caselaw on pursuing remedies for harassment in other forums. Issues to be addressed include:

  • How are claims of workplace harassment being handled at the Operational and Appeals Resolution Officer levels? What aspects of Board procedure and practice are cause for concern for workers? For employers?
  • What types of evidence does the Board consider in claims based on harassment? Does the Board review harassment investigation reports? Should it be doing so?
  • What "evidentiary requirements or adjudicative principles" does the Board apply to harassment-based claims? Is the Board's practice consistent with legislation and/or its past practice?
  • In the course of adjudicating claims based on harassment, does the Board make findings of fact regarding whether harassment occurred? If so, how are these findings of fact being treated by other adjudicators?
  • How does the Board determine whether workplace harassment is the "predominant cause" of a mental condition? What difficulties do advocates face in obtaining evidence from clinicians to link psychological injury to workplace events?
  • Does the availability of benefits for chronic mental stress affect harassed employees' ability to sue for damages at common law or seek monetary compensation at grievance arbitration? Are workers barred from pursuing punitive and aggravated damages related to workplace harassment?
  • If a workers' mental health condition has resulted from harassment prohibited by human rights legislation (i.e. Code-based harassment), do arbitrators and the human rights tribunal still have jurisdiction to award compensation for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect? Can the human rights tribunal or arbitrators award compensation for loss of income related to Code-based harassment?
  • Are workers covered by a collective agreement still able to pursue other remedies for harassment, such as supplemental benefits, declarations, or directory remedies?
  • When should an employer faced with a civil action or grievance based on a harassment claim raise a preliminary objection that the action or grievance is barred by the WSIA?
  • What strategies should workers' advocates pursue in order to best preserve the rights a harassed worker may have in other forums? Are there situations in which a harassed employee should not file a claim for WSIB benefits?


4:30 PM


4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Keynote Speakers

Monday, September 30, 2019

Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Recognizing and Responding to Drug-Related Impairment: An in-depth training session for employers and unions

Workshop Leaders

Steven Maxwell
Drug Recognition Expert and Chief Consultant
Steven Maxwell Drug Recognition Expert Consulting
Niki Lundquist
Legal Counsel
Erin Porter
Employer Counsel

Workshop Summary

The legalization of recreational cannabis has highlighted the need for employers and unions to address workplace impairment while respecting employee rights. In this essential session, an experienced Drug Recognition Expert will be joined by management and union lawyers to provide expert guidance on the impairing effects of cannabis and other drugs, how to recognize the signs of impairment, and tips for ensuring legally compliant policies and testing.

Learning outcomes include the following:

  • Understand the seven recognized drug categories and how they impair one's abilities
  • Recognize common signs and symptoms of impairment
  • Identify aspects of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests that may be applicable to the workplace
  • Be aware of the legal framework for regulating recreational cannabis
  • Develop legally compliant policies and procedures that respect employee rights
  • Apply knowledge and skills to a realistic scenario, and receive expert feedback

Please see our Skills Training Sessions for more information.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  

Handling Personal Health Information: An in-depth training session for employers and unions

Workshop Leaders

Colin Johnston

Dr. Pravesh Jugnundan
Family and Occupational Health Physician
Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Toronto
Sara Malkin
Employer Counsel
Mathews Dinsdale & Clark
Elichai Shaffir
Union Counsel

Workshop Summary

Medical reports and health care records contain highly personal, sensitive information. As a result, a request for medical information from an employee raises a host of privacy and human rights concerns. Nevertheless, employers and unions are often required to handle employees' personal health information in order to facilitate accommodation, sick leave, and/or disability benefits. In these instances, it is crucial for workplace parties to strike an appropriate balance between obtaining the required information and respecting employee privacy.

Working through interactive exercises and realistic scenarios with the guidance of experienced counsel and medical experts, participants will gain the skills and knowledge to:

  • Craft effective requests for medical information that comply with human rights and privacy law
  • Understand health records and respond appropriately to vague or deficient medical reports
  • Identify when medical information from a specialist, psychologist, or psychiatrist is required for the purposes of sick leave, accommodation, or disability benefits
  • Comply with federal and provincial privacy legislation and protect confidential medical information in the workplace
  • Avoid wasted time litigating over the collection, storage, and disclosure of medical information
  • Use medical evidence effectively in the grievance and arbitration process

Please see our Skills Training Sessions for more information.


Click here to find out more information regarding CPD and the hour requirements in your province.

Conference Sessions

  • This program has been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 3.0 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of New Brunswick may count this program for 3.0 Continuing Professional Development hours.