Home|Conferences & Workshops|Human Rights and Accommodation Conference - Toronto


Human Rights and Accommodation Conference

April 5 - 6, 2017
The Westin Harbour Castle


Register Now

Sponsored by: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/cirhr/
 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 1


Intersecting Obligations: Meeting accommodation and harassment requirements under the OHSA, the Human Rights Code, and the AODA

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Colin Johnston
Arbitrator/Mediator

Abdul-Basit Khan
Employer Counsel
WeirFoulds
Laurie Kent
Union Counsel
Koskie Minsky
Lorin MacDonald
Applicant Counsel


Panel Summary

For decades the Ontario Human Rights Code has required employers to accommodate employees with disabilities and to prevent workplace sexual harassment or to put an end to it when it occurs. Recently, new legislation has been passed that also imposes obligations regarding workplace sexual harassment and accommodation. The Bill 132 amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) make workplace sexual harassment an occupational health and safety issue as well as a human rights issue, and the Integrated Accessibility Standards under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) create additional duties regarding accommodation plans and policies. The new intersecting obligations raise important questions. For example, will a harassment investigation that fulfills an employer's obligations under the Human Rights Code also fulfill its obligations under the OHSA? In this session, legal experts will clarify the relationship between the Human Rights Code and the AODA as well as the relationship between Bill 132 amendments to the OHSA and the Human Rights Code. Questions to be addressed include:

  • What are the key features of a harassment policy that complies not only with the Bill 132 amendments to the OHSA but also with the requirements of the previous Bill 168 amendments to the OHSA and the Human Rights Code? Are the employer's obligations regarding sexual harassment under the OHSA the same as its obligations regarding other forms of prohibited harassment? Do OHSA obligations apply to harassment on the basis of other grounds of discrimination prohibited under the Human Rights Code? For example, do OHSA obligations apply to harassment on the basis of disability or religion?
  • What constitutes conducting an investigation "appropriate in the circumstances" as required by the OHSA? Will conducting such an investigation also fulfill the employer's obligation to conduct an investigation into sexual harassment under the Human Rights Code? How do the Bill 132 amendments to the OHSA change the union's role in harassment investigations?
  • How do the obligations under the AODA and the Code work together in practice? What obligations does the AODA impose that did not exist under the Human Rights Code? When drafting accessibility policies required by the AODA is it sufficient to meet the minimum requirements established in the AODA or is it necessary to draft policies that would also comply with the more stringent duty to accommodate imposed by the Human Rights Code? How should this be done?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 2


Psychologically Safe Employment: Innovative approaches, promising new practices

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Donna Marshall
Chief Executive Officer
BizLife Solutions
Dr. Martin Shain
Principal
Neighbour at Work Centre
Terri Aversa
Health and Safety Officer
Ontario Public Service Employees' Union
Christine Devine
Wellness Specialist
Michael Garron Hospital

Panel Summary

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, launched in January 2013, provides a framework for promoting the mental health of employees and preventing psychological harm in the workplace. In order to identify promising practices for implementing the standard, as well as challenges and barriers to implementation, the Mental Health Commission of Canada conducted a three-year study of the first 41 organizations to implement the standard. In this panel, experts drawing on this study's findings as well as their own professional experience will discuss the results of implementing the standard and identify both promising practices and common barriers to implementation. Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • What is the history of the standard? What was the impetus for its development? What are the key elements of the standard? How has it been received by employers and unions?
  • Why might organizations decide to implement the standard? How does implementing the standard benefit employers, unions and employees? How should the benefits be measured? Does implementation result in demonstrable improvements to "the bottom line" or attendance? Can workplace parties accurately measure improvement in employee well-being?
  • Why have certain sectors, such as manufacturing, agriculture, construction, retail and natural resources, shown a reluctance to implement the standard? What if anything can be done to overcome this reluctance? Should the standard be made mandatory? Do jurisdictions outside Canada provide templates for the successful implementation of mandatory psychological health and safety standards?
  • How does the standard integrate with work that organizations are already undertaking to protect and promote the psychological health and safety and human rights of workers? For example, what role could the standard play in meeting the requirements of the Bill 168 and Bill 132 amendments (regarding harassment and sexual harassment) to the Occupational Health and Safety Act?
  • What have been identified as the key barriers to implementing the standard?
  • What are some promising practices in implementing the standard and overcoming common barriers? What role do currently existing structures (such as occupational health and safety committees) play in successful implementation? What readily-available external resources have proven helpful to organizations implementing the standard?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  


Keynote Address


Bringing Truth and Reconciliation to the Workplace

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Karen Drake
Assistant Professor, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University; and Commissioner, Ontario Human Rights Commission


Topics

For more than 100 years, the Canadian government forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families and sent them to government-funded, church-run institutions called residential schools for the purpose of eradicating Aboriginal culture. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was established to tell the truth about the injustices and deep pain experienced by Aboriginal peoples as a result of the Indian residential school system, and to educate non-Indigenous Canadians about its devastating legacy of unresolved trauma on generations of Indigenous Canadians. According to the Commission, its "focus on truth determination was intended to lay the foundation for the important question of reconciliation. Now that we know about residential schools and their legacy, what do we do about it?"

On June 2, 2015, the Commission released its final report, which includes 94 Calls to Action for promoting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. During this keynote presentation, professor Karen Drake will focus on the Calls to Action that relate to workplaces in Canada. What responsibility do employers, unions, and employees have for working towards reconciliation? What can workplace parties do to help create a new relationship with Indigenous Canadians based on mutual understanding and respect? Professor Drake will offer answers to these questions and provide practical suggestions for implementing those Calls to Action that impact the workplace.


Karen Drake is an Assistant Professor at the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University and a Commissioner with the Ontario Human Rights Commission. As a citizen of the Métis Nation of Ontario, her teaching and research focus on legal issues affecting Indigenous peoples.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 3


Combating Racialization at Work

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Nicole Bernhardt
Human Rights & Equity Specialist

Amandi Esonwanne
Solicitor
City of Toronto
Mihad Fahmy
Union Counsel

Lori Mishibinijima
Legal Counsel and Coordinator of Indigenous Services
Human Rights Legal Support Centre

Panel Summary

The fact that racialized Canadians continue to experience disproportionately high levels of unemployment and earn less income than non-racialized Canadians are just two of the many indicators that racial discrimination is a reality in Canada today. In this session, a panel of experts will discuss the subtle ways in which racial discrimination occurs in workplaces, and explore proactive steps that organizations can take to combat individual and systemic discrimination. Questions to be addressed include:

  • Given that "race" is a social construct, what does it mean to say that human rights legislation prohibits discrimination/harassment on the basis of "race"? What does the term "racialization" signify?
  • What part does/should Canada's legacy of institutional racism (e.g. residential schools and racist immigration policies) play in current discussions about racial discrimination in employment?
  • How does racial discrimination/harassment manifest itself in workplaces? What are some of the subtle forms of exclusion and differential treatment racialized workers/job applicants experience?
  • How does racial profiling manifest itself in the employment context?
  • How does discrimination on the basis of "race" intersect with or relate to discrimination on the basis of ethnic origin, ancestry, place of origin, creed, and/or religion? How does/can racial discrimination intersect with other prohibited grounds that have a less direct relationship with "race," such as gender, disability, age, and sexual orientation?
  • What are employers' obligations and the union's role when racial discrimination/harassment results from comments/actions by customers or clients?
  • What proactive steps should workplace parties take to ensure they are not engaging in, condoning, or allowing racial discrimination or harassment to occur? Should numerical data be collected? What policies/practices/decision-making processes should be reviewed for adverse impact on racialized individuals/groups? What measures should workplace parties take to ensure they are not engaging in racial profiling?
  • What types of training and educational programs (e.g. cultural competency, anti-bias, conflict resolution) should organizations implement to promote diversity, combat discrimination, and remove barriers to the full participation of members of racialized groups? Should organizations take a distinct approach to anti-racism measures for indigenous peoples?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Registration and Breakfast 7:45 AM - 8:45 AM  
Introductory remarks by Co-Chairs 8:45 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 4


Major Caselaw and Legislative Update: Undue hardship, genetic discrimination, damage awards, and more

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Sheri Price
Arbitrator/Mediator

Rishi Bandhu
Employer Counsel
Bandhu Law
Wade Poziomka
Union/Complainant Counsel
Ross & McBride

Panel Summary

Seasoned counsel will review the year's most important cases and legislative developments, and flag significant litigation and legislative reform on the horizon. Final selection of topics will take place a few weeks before the conference, ensuring coverage of late-breaking decisions.

END OF DAY ONE

4:15 PM

NETWORKING RECEPTION

4:15 PM - 5:15 PM

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 5


Anxiety and Depression at Work: Making inquiries, crafting workable solutions, overcoming stigma

9:00 AM - 10:15 AM

Dr. Stephanie Bot
Supervising Psychologist
Dr. Stephanie Bot & Associates
David Chondon
Employer Counsel
Crawford Chondon & Partners
Christopher Perri
Union Counsel
Cavalluzzo Shilton McIntyre Cornish

Panel Summary

A recent report from the Conference Board of Canada calculated that lost productivity caused by workers' depression and anxiety costs the Canadian economy almost $50 billion a year. Another large study conducted by researchers at the London School of Economics found similar economic losses due to depression and anxiety in eight countries (including Canada) with diverse cultures. These numbers should be taken as an urgent call for employers to prioritize assistance and support for employees living with these conditions. In this panel, a mental health expert will provide an overview of depression and anxiety, explaining current thinking on why people develop these conditions, how they are diagnosed and what treatments are effective. Experienced labour lawyers, from both union and management, will join our mental health expert to provide guidance on effectively assisting employees in compliance with human rights and other legislation.

Making inquiries:

  • Do employers and/or unions have a legal duty to inquire into an employee's need for accommodation when an employee exhibits common signs of depression or anxiety? Are such inquiries themselves likely to expose employers to a claim of discrimination (for implying that the employee has a disability)? If so, is there a way employers or unions can broach the subject of a potential disability that is less likely to lead to a claim of discrimination?
  • Given that the regulations made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) require employers to make employees aware of possible accommodations at the hiring stage of employment, is there an obligation on employees to disclose depression or anxiety at that time?

Crafting workable solutions:

  • What unique privacy concerns are raised by the provision of medical information related to depression or anxiety? How should workplace parties address those concerns?
  • Are employers justified in being skeptical of medical information and limitations related to depression and anxiety on the basis that such information is based largely on self-reporting? Or is such skepticism rooted in the stigma and stereotypical assumptions associated with mental illness?
  • What is the extent of an employee's obligation to cooperate in accommodation? Do depression and anxiety affect an employee's ability to participate in the accommodation process?
  • What are the common bases on which employers and/or unions claim undue hardship in accommodating employees with depression or anxiety? In what circumstances have such claims been successful recently?

Overcoming stigma:

  • Do employers and/or unions have a legal responsibility to counteract stereotypical views held by employees/members? How should employers and unions react when co-workers complain about accommodations an employee is receiving because of anxiety or depression?

BREAK (with refreshments)

10:15 AM - 10:45 AM

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 6


Fitness for Work: Ensuring a safe work environment in an era of marijuana, opioids, and other drugs

10:45 AM - 12:00 PM

Rana Arbabian
Counsel, Legal Services and Inquiries
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Dr. Andrea Furlan
Scientist, Institute for Work & Health; and Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Dean Ardron
Union Counsel
Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson
Dave McKechnie
Employer Counsel
McMillan

Panel Summary

Last April, the federal government pledged to introduce legislation in spring 2017 which would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. This development, in conjunction with the increasing prevalence of medical marijuana and other prescription drugs across Canada, makes it crucial for employers and unions to understand the implications of marijuana, opioids and other drugs in the workplace. Employers, unions and employees all share a common interest in maintaining a safe work environment while still respecting privacy and human rights. In this session, medical and legal experts will offer their thoughts on a range of issues relating to this topic, including disclosure requirements, impairment testing, accommodative measures and workplace policies.

  • Common misperceptions: What are some of the common misperceptions surrounding the use of medical marijuana and other prescription drugs at work? Does the medicinal use of marijuana and other drugs necessarily result in impairment? What else can contribute to employee impairment in the workplace? Fatigue? Chronic pain?
  • Disclosure: In what circumstances, if any, are employees required to disclose their use of medical marijuana and other prescription drugs? Can employees be required to disclose recreational use of marijuana or other drugs?
  • Impairment testing: What tests are available for employers to measure actual current impairment in the workplace? What advantages does competency-based testing have over traditional drug testing? What possible privacy and/or human rights concerns are raised by impairment testing in the workplace?
  • Balancing accommodation and safety obligations: Does a prescription for medical marijuana or other drugs entitle an employee to be impaired at work? Does the answer to this question depend on whether the workplace or particular position is safety-sensitive? What type of medical information should be requested to determine whether an employee can safely and effectively perform his or her job?
  • Confronting stigma: What negative stereotypes are often associated with the use of medical marijuana and other prescription drugs in the workplace? What best practices can employers and unions adopt to address such stigma?
  • Crafting workplace policies: What elements should be included in a workplace policy dealing with the use of prescription drugs? What about the use of recreational drugs? Should workplace policies require employees to report their use of prescription or recreational drugs during work hours? During off-duty hours? In what circumstances, if any, are zero-tolerance policies permissible?

NETWORKING LUNCH

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  


Keynote Address


Sexual Harassment in the RCMP: Is change possible?

1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Janet Merlo
Constable (retired)
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

Topics

After decades of experiencing near-daily sexual harassment and bullying by her managers, Constable Janet Merlo finally left the RCMP in 2010. Her attempts to report the problem had only backfired, and she had become both mentally and physically sick. In her bitterly angry exit letter, Cst. Merlo expressed her hope that the RCMP's disgraceful treatment of women would one day become public knowledge. Two years later, she became one of the first women to publicly speak out about the problem. Cst. Merlo is now one of two representative plaintiffs in a historic $100 million class action settlement against the RCMP and the Government of Canada involving 500 female complainants. During this special presentation, Cst. Merlo will explain how a lack of leadership and independent oversight allowed the RCMP to ignore and even punish complainants, and will describe what changes she feels are necessary to overcome the problem.

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 7


Combating Sexual Harassment: Engaging bystanders, training investigators, supporting survivors, and more

1:30 PM - 2:45 PM

Rear-Admiral Jennifer Bennett
Director General
Canadian Armed Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct
Janice Rubin
Employment Lawyer and Workplace Investigator
Rubin Thomlinson
Sandy Welsh
Professor of Sociology & Vice-Provost, Students
University of Toronto

Panel Summary

Recent high profile events, such as the RCMP’s historic apology and compensation to female officers, have raised societal consciousness about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment in employment. Has there been a change in the culture? What institutional barriers hinder the proper functioning of workplace harassment policies and the timely investigation of harassment complaints? This panel will address critical issues in investigating, responding to, and combating workplace sexual harassment, including:

  • For the purposes of this discussion, what do we mean by sexual harassment? Is sexual harassment more prevalent in certain sectors? Are certain workers more likely to be targeted? What role do myths and stereotypes play in sexual harassment?
  • What are the challenges involved in implementing changes in small and large institutions, and how can they best be addressed?
  • Why do people who experience sexual harassment in the workplace often not report? How do we facilitate and encourage reporting sexual harassment in the workplace? Is there a difference between reporting and disclosure? Why is it common for people to witness sexual harassment in the workplace but not say anything or report it? What training should be provided to employees on intervening when they witness incidents of sexual harassment?
  • What are the challenges involved in investigating institutional behaviour? What measures should organizations implement to combat workplace sexual harassment? What specific measures need to be taken to comply with changes to Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act under Bill 132?

BREAK (with refreshments)

2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Breakfast 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM  


Panel 8


Changing Families, Changing Rules: The latest cases and best practices on adjusting work schedules and other accommodations

3:00 PM - 4:15 PM

Reema Khawja
Counsel, Legal Services and Inquiries
Ontario Human Rights Commission
Nora Spinks
Chief Executive Officer
Vanier Institute for the Family

Panel Summary

For many Canadian workers, protection against family status discrimination is crucial in balancing work and family care obligations. Despite the importance of this issue for employers, unions and employees, there remains significant uncertainty and conflicting jurisprudence regarding the nature and extent of employers' duty to accommodate family care obligations. Shifting demographic trends and the increasing prevalence of "non-traditional" family models in Canada raise additional questions about the scope of family status accommodation requirements. Join a panel of Lancaster's experts for practical guidance on this rapidly evolving area of law and best practices for promoting work-life balance and family status protection in the workplace.

  • Family status protection and non-traditional families: How have Canadian families changed since the 1950s? How has our contemporary understanding of "family" shifted as a result of such demographic trends? What is "family" for the purposes of family status discrimination? Does family status discrimination apply to "non-traditional" families, such as blended families, gay and lesbian families, grandparent-headed families or groups such as migrant workers?
  • Current state of the law on family status discrimination: What is the dominant legal framework for considering family status discrimination in Canada? How has this framework evolved in contemporary jurisprudence? What test has the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently adopted in addressing family status discrimination? How does the Tribunal's approach compare to earlier approaches laid down by the B.C. Court of Appeal in Campbell River and the Federal Court of Appeal in Johnstone and Seeley? What legal framework is applied to non-childcare cases, such as care of elderly parents or spouses?
  • Best practices for promoting family status protection: What proactive steps can employers and unions take to promote work-life balance and family status protection in the workplace? Should employers and unions try to craft policies specifically addressing family status accommodations, or should they be dealt with on a case-by-case basis under general accommodation policies?
  • Exploring accommodation: What sorts of accommodations may be suitable in cases of family-related needs and obligations? How far does the obligation to "self-accommodate" extend? Where does the issue of choice come into this analysis? Can employers ask about the employees' family obligations or is this an infringement of privacy? How should employers and unions respond when an employee requests accommodation based on family status? What type of evidence will an employer need to call to show that it has accommodated an employee's family status needs to the point of undue hardship?

CONFERENCE ENDS

4:15 PM

Keynote Speakers


Tuesday, April 4, 2017


The Essentials of Accommodation: A roadmap for employers, unions, and employees

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Sarah E. Atkinson
Lawyer, Mediator, Adjudicator, Workplace Investigator

Lisa Cabel
Employer Counsel
Norton Rose Fulbright
Tim Hannigan
Union Counsel
Ryder Wright Blair & Holmes

Workshop Summary

Employers, unions and employees all have unique roles to play in the assessment and implementation of workplace accommodations. While accommodation cases commonly deal with disability in the workplace, recent jurisprudence has involved other protected grounds of discrimination such as religion, gender identity, race and family status. With new and complex issues in accommodation continually emerging, all parties benefit from mindful reflection on the nature and scope of their responsibilities within the accommodation process. This workshop will take participants through the basic steps involved at each stage of the process, including identifying the need for accommodation, gathering the necessary information, investigating possible options for accommodation and fulfilling the duty to accommodate. Lancaster's seasoned counsel will provide practical advice on the following issues:

  • Understanding the duty to inquire: What information does the employer need to have before the duty to accommodate is triggered? What is the employer's duty to inquire into an employee's need for accommodation? Does a union bear any duty to make inquiries? What is the legal effect of an employee not disclosing a need for accommodation until discipline has been threatened or imposed?
  • The allowable scope of medical inquiries: What is the scope of the medical information to which an employer is legally entitled for the purposes of accommodating an employee? How should employers and unions balance the need for medical information against privacy rights of employees during the accommodation process?
  • Meeting accommodation needs: What are the steps that should be taken by employers to investigate the availability of accommodation options? What is the union's role in the accommodation process and how should it participate? What right/obligation does an employee have to participate in the accommodation process? What are some examples of helpful accommodations for employees who are suffering adverse treatment on the basis of disability, religion, sex, race, ethnicity, family status or age?
  • BFORs and undue hardship: What is a "bona fide occupational requirement" (BFOR)? How can workplace parties determine what elements of a job are bona fide occupational requirements? At what point will an employer be able to establish that it has accommodated an employee to the point of undue hardship? What role does the statutory requirement to provide a safe work environment play in the undue hardship analysis? What sort of rehabilitation efforts are sufficient in order for an employee to return to the workplace?
  • Last chance agreements: What role should a last chance agreement play in establishing undue hardship? How can last chance agreements or automatic termination provisions be structured in order to comply with human rights obligations?
  • Complex accommodation issues: Does a worker who practices a minority or "non-mainstream" religion have the same entitlements to religious accommodation in the workplace? What are an employer's duties with respect to accommodation of an employee with a degenerative disease? Are the rights of people with weight or obesity issues protected under human rights codes? If an employee is adversely treated on the basis of a perceived disability or illness, which the individual does not, in fact, possess, is this discrimination?


Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Indigenous Cultural Competency Training for Workplaces

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Michael White
Trainer
Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

* Limited number of spots available.

Workshop Summary

On June 2, 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its final report, which includes 94 calls to action to redress the legacy of Indian residential schools and promote healing between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Among the calls to action that apply to the workplace are requests for all levels of government and the corporate sector to provide public servants, management and staff with skills based training in Indigenous intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.

In alignment with the calls to action regarding education and training, Lancaster House is offering Indigenous Cultural Competency Training, a program created by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres. The OFIFC's approach recognizes that healing and reconciliation with Indigenous communities requires an understanding of the historic experience and current situation of Indigenous communities.

About the Training:

Indigenous Cultural Competency is an ongoing cycle of learning, a continuum. The intent of the OFIFC's Indigenous Cultural Competency is for organizations to obtain the necessary skills, knowledge, attitudes and values in order to foster meaningful relationships with the Indigenous community.

This session, developed and delivered by the OFIFC, frames understandings of Indigenous peoples by working through a series of four questions. "Who are Indigenous peoples?" "Where have they been?" "Where are they going?" Learning can then focus on answering, "What are my responsibilities?" These questions offer a critical pathway to action that re-centres "culture," informs relationship building, and enhances organizational programs and policy, resulting in increased overall Cultural Competency.

Outcomes:

  • Develop a critical analysis of contemporary issues in order to increase cultural competency
  • Learn how contemporary issues are connected to historic context
  • Explore how organizations and agencies can strengthen engagement with Indigenous peoples and organizations to provide relevant services
  • Gain a basic understanding of how to interact with Indigenous communities
  • Share a culture-based framework for improving organizational culture competence

Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action (for Workplaces)

  1. We call upon the federal government to develop with Aboriginal groups a joint strategy to eliminate educational and employment gaps between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.


  1. We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.


  1. We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:



    1. Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.

    2. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.




Friday, April 7, 2017


Conducting Effective Harassment Investigations under the Human Rights Code and Ontario's New Bill 132

9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Meghan Ferguson
Workplace Investigator and Employment Lawyer

Chris Donovan
Union Counsel
Dewart Gleason
Alix Herber
Employer Counsel
Fasken Martineau

Workshop Summary

Recent high-profile reports on sexual harassment in the Canadian Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the CBC raise important concerns about organizational responses to sexual harassment. At the same time, the Bill 132 amendments to Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) create new obligations on employers responding to sexual harassment. These developments highlight the importance of fair and effective investigations of allegations of sexual harassment. Drawing from recent high-profile reports as well as from their own professional experience, experts will guide workshop participants through the key steps and essential considerations in conducting effective investigations that comply with the requirements of the Human Rights Code and OHSA. Issues to be addressed include:

The legal framework:

  • How do the Bill 132 amendments to Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act alter employers' legal obligations regarding harassment and sexual harassment? How do the new obligations under OHSA interact with long-standing obligations under the Human Rights Code? What policies and collective agreement provisions are workplace parties drafting to respond to these legal obligations?
  • How should workplace policies be crafted to meet the Bill 132 requirement to provide procedures for workers to report harassment to a person other than the employer if the employer is the alleged harasser? Will smaller employers be required to hire a third party to review, and possibly investigate, complaints?

Investigation essentials:

  • Must employers investigate all complaints of harassment? Can they ignore "stale" complaints or those that seem unfounded? What obligation is there to investigate possible "systemic" issues without a formal, specific complaint?
  • How much information about an incident or complaint of harassment can be kept confidential? How much disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking corrective action?
  • What are the essential qualities or qualifications of an investigator? What circumstances are likely to trigger the Ontario Ministry of Labour's exercise of its new power to order an employer to have an "impartial person" conduct a harassment investigation? Does caselaw regarding the duty under the Canada Labour Code to appoint a "competent" and therefore impartial person to investigate allegations of workplace violence provide any guidance to provincially-regulated employers seeking to avoid such an order?
  • What measures and procedures should be put in place to protect complainants (and witnesses) against reprisal or further harassment during an investigation?
  • What role should a union take in an investigation? Do the Bill 132 amendments to OHSA alter the union's role?
  • How can a union meet its duty of fair representation when both the complainant and alleged harasser are union members?
  • Do employees being interviewed during an investigation have the right to union representation? If so, what is the proper scope of that representation?
  • What types of electronic searches, such as cell phone record searches and e-mail searches, can be conducted as part of the investigation?

Investigation reports:

  • How, if at all, will the law regarding disclosure of investigation reports be altered by the Bill 132 obligation to inform the complainant and alleged harasser of the results of an investigation and any corrective action taken?
  • What role, if any, do investigator recommendations play in determining an appropriate remedy? Can the employer ignore these recommendations? Modify them?


CPD


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

Conference Sessions

  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD Approval.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada: 11 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 11 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society may count this program for 11 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 11 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

Workshops

  • Members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan should contact their Law Society regarding CPD Approval.
  • CPD for Members of the Law Society of Upper Canada: 5.5 Substantive Hours; 0 Professionalism Hours.
  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of New Brunswick for 5.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers Society may count this program for 5.5 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • These programs have been approved by the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) for 5.5 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.