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Private Sector Labour Relations Special Webinar Series

The Private Sector Labour Relations Special Webinar Series will include five sessions* held over five weeks. These sessions will occur on Wednesdays from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET on the following dates: September 18, September 25, October 2, October 9, and October 16. The final session on October 16 will be from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET.

*Sessions sold as a unit.

Program Co-Chairs

Jessica Gregory

Arbitrator, Mediator

James LeMesurier

Employer Counsel
Stewart McKelvey

Georgina Watts

Union Counsel
Morrison Watts

Program Advisory Committee

Michael Abbott

VP Labour Relations
Air Canada

Brett Christen

Employer Counsel
Rae Christen Jeffries LLP

Lucia Flack Figueredo

National Council VP and President, Local 1400

Andrew Follwell

Vice President of Labour Relations

Shaheen Hirani

Union Counsel
United Steelworkers Union (USW)

Jennifer Murray

Regional Director, Atlantic


Wednesday, September 18, 2024

Carla Black

Employer Counsel
Rae Christen Jeffries LLP

Kirsty Niglas-Collins

Employer Counsel
Unified LLP

Brandon Quinn

Union Counsel
Hastings Labour Law Office

In this session, experts will examine recent labour board rulings with implications for organizing, certifying, and bargaining in the private sector.

Panelists will address questions including the following:

  • What trends are discernable in labour board rulings addressing the duty to bargain in good faith?
  • What kinds of conduct have labour boards recently found constitute unfair labour practices?
  • What does recent caselaw tell us about the circumstances that may lead to an order for remedial certification?
  • How has recent labour board jurisprudence treated the question of location of employment for remote workers for the purposes of picketing?
  • How have labour relations boards addressed the question of extraterritorial jurisdiction in the labour relations context?
  • How has the issue of the scope and/or appropriateness of the bargaining unit been decided in recent labour board rulings?
  • How have labour boards interpreted successorship provisions in the context of contract retendering?

Panelists will also discuss noteworthy legislation relating to strike replacement workers, supply chain transparency, and pay equity and employment equity.

Wednesday, September 25, 2024

Paul Lewis

Chief Economist
Financial Accountability Office of Ontario

Doug Porter

Chief Economist and Managing Director, Economics

Sheila Block

Economist and Research Associate
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

On paper, the economy appears to be recovering well form the shock of the pandemic, but Canadians maintain a gloomy economic outlook and the Bank of Canada has flagged weak productivity as an emergency. Even with inflation moderating and Canada’s GDP performing better than expected in 2023, headlines are dominated not only by the “productivity crisis” but also by the “affordability crisis” and the “housing crisis.”

In this panel experts will discuss the disconnect between economic indicators and general sentiment and explain how current crises – real or perceived – may affect bargaining and fiscal policy that affects bargaining.

  • What is the current state of Canada’s economy? How does it compare to those of other OECD countries?
  • What economic and fiscal trends are most likely to have the biggest impact on private sector bargaining this year?
  • Now that inflation is cooling down, will wage demands moderate or will wage demands continue to be high due to the cost of housing and negative economic sentiment fueled by workers’ experience of inflation over the last few years?
  • Was inflation’s deleterious effect on workers’ purchasing power the main driver behind the rejection of multiple tentative agreements or is something else, perhaps anxiety over growing income inequality or the long-term outlook on Canadian’s standard of living, at play?
  • Is there really a productivity crisis in Canada? Does declining GDP per capita spell disaster for Canadians’ standard of living?
  • How are concerns about productivity and the standard of living likely to be reflected at the bargaining table? Should unions and employers look together for strategies to improve productivity in individual workplaces and thereby “expand the pie” that gets divided in bargaining?

Wednesday, October 2, 2024

Dr. Peter Lewis

Canada Research Chair in Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence

Associate Professor
Computer Science
Ontario Tech University

Robert Richler

Employer Counsel
Bernardi Human Resources Law

Brenda Comeau

Union Counsel
Pink Larkin

Fears about automation killing jobs are not unique to the current technological revolution, but there is a pervasive sentiment that technological change may play-out differently this time. For example, white collar workers appear more exposed to displacement by artificial generative AI than by previous technological advancements. At the same time, technology firms are threatening blue collar work with self-driving vehicles and ever more agile humanoid robots. Will this time be different? Is collective bargaining the key to reaping the productivity gains of new technology without exacerbating income inequality and eliminating jobs?

Experts will tackle these questions in this session, along with the following:

  • What types of work are most vulnerable to technological change brought about by current advances in AI? Are significant changes to work more likely than mass displacement of workers?
  • Are tried and true “technological change” provisions adequate to deal with current concerns about automation and AI?
  • What role should worker training play in technological change? Who should bear the costs of ensuring that workers are able to adapt to technological advances throughout their careers?
  • Given Canada’s current “productivity crisis,” should employers and unions be concerned that Canadian workplaces are not taking full advantage of new technologies rather than being worried about job losses due to technological change? If so, should employers and unions lobby government for regulatory changes to increase investment in technology that improves outcomes for businesses and workers?
  • How should work intensification, which often accompanies technological change, be addressed in collective bargaining? Would standard “workload provisions” help? What about psychological health and safety provisions?
  • How should employers and unions address the potential use of algorithmic management, which is defined as delegating to algorithms certain managerial tasks such as filtering through applications for employment, assessing employee performance, or even making decisions regarding termination of employment under collective agreements?

Wednesday, October 9, 2024

Ana Mohammed

ARM Respectful Workplace Consulting Services

Lisa Cabel

Employer Counsel

Jane Mulkewich

Legal Director
UFCW Locals 175 and 663

In this session, experts will provide practical advice on how employers and unions can comply with legal requirements to address inequities in the workplace.

Specifically, the panel will address the following:

  • What is the difference between overt discrimination and systemic discrimination? What legal obligations do employers and unions bear in terms of addressing both forms of discrimination?
  • What systemic barriers to recruitment, retention, and advancement have adjudicators recognized in recent caselaw? What is the role of affirmative hiring practices, and how may they intersect with employees’ rights under the collective agreement?
  • What changes did the Federal Employment Equity Act Review Task Force recommend with respect to how employment equity groups are defined and what legislative changes are being made as a result?
  • How can workplace parties ensure that the collection of employee data for these initiatives is meaningful and appropriate?
  • What collective agreement provisions have recently been negotiated at the bargaining table to address equity, diversity, and inclusion?

Wednesday, October 16, 2024

David Doorey

Associate Professor
Director, Osgoode Hall Law School, LLM Labour & Employment Law (PDP)
Visiting Research Fellow, Harvard Law School, Labor and Worklife Program


CPD Alberta
This program has been approved for 7 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours under Section A of the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Log of the Human Resource Professionals Association (HRPA).
CPD Alberta
This program has been approved by CPHR Alberta for 7 Continuing Professional Development hours.


  • This program has been approved by the Law Society of British Columbia for 7 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of Ontario may consider counting this program for 7 Substantive hours; 0 Professionalism hours.
  • Members of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society may consider counting this program for 7 Continuing Professional Development hours.
  • Members of the Law Society of New Brunswick may consider this program for 7 Continuing Professional Development hours.
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