Julie Menten Joins Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction’s Board of Directors

July 2018

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has announced the appointment of Julie Menten to its Board of Directors. Julie joins 12 other members who are either appointed by the Governor in Council or recruited from a variety of sectors to support CCSA’s mandate of reducing the harms of alcohol and other drugs on Canadians.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Julie was a psychotherapist and clinician for over a decade, serving as a child protection social worker on an Aboriginal Family Services team and as a clinician with the Centre for Children and Families. “Ms. Menten’s expertise working with youth and families is a significant addition to our Board,” said CCSA Board Chair Vaughan Dowie. “Substance use issues involving youth and families are a key focus for CCSA.”

A champion for mental health, Julie also serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Mental Health Association’s National Bottom Line Conference and is a Board member of the Canadian Mental Health Association, North and West Vancouver Branch.

About the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction was established in 1988 by an Act of Parliament with all-party support to provide national leadership in reducing the harms of alcohol and other drugs on Canadians.

Roper Greyell Welcomes New Associate, Raema Quam

June 2018

We are pleased to welcome Raema Quam to the firm.

Raema graduated from the Juris Doctor program at the University of British Columbia in 2017. Prior to pursuing her law degree, Raema employed her undergraduate degree in social work to assist clients in the not-for-profit sector. Her love of travel took her around the globe for several years as she developed a broad range of experience in understanding and working with diverse organizations in the public and private sectors, primarily in the areas of organizational management and leadership development.

Called to the B.C. Bar in May, 2018, Raema was attracted to Roper Greyell by “its sterling reputation as the standard-bearer for employment and labour law in British Columbia.”  She is enjoying the benefit of being part of a team that is not only of the highest calibre professionally but also personally.

Gregory J. Heywood Wins 2018 Harry Rankin, Q.C. Pro Bono Award

June 2018

On June 23, the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC), honoured Gregory J. Heywood with the 2018 Harry Rankin Q.C. Pro Bono Award. This annual award recognizes outstanding contributions by a member in the area of pro bono work.

A champion of pro bono culture, Greg serves as RG’s Pro Bono Chair and has been involved with Access Pro Bono since 2001. Over the past 17 years, Greg has represented a number of low-income individuals with employment issues; often securing significant judgements or settlements for clients who would otherwise have been unaware of their rights due to the fact that they could not afford legal representation. Greg is also a key fundraiser for Access Pro Bono’s annual event, Pro Bono Going Public. Year after year, Greg raises between $8,000 and $10,000, the most funds raised by an individual by significant margin.

In 2010, Greg joined North Shore Search and Rescue, as an advisor to the Board of Directors, and has been NSR’s pro-bono legal counsel since 2012. Over the past six years, Greg has provided leadership and guidance and has been praised by Michael Danks, NSR Team Leader as ‘a valued friend, advisor and mentor who is available 24 hours a day.’

Greg is a tireless advocate for pro bono legal services and continues to mentor and encourage young lawyers to give back to the community. Congratulations, Greg!

Roper Greyell Recognized in Chambers Global 2018

February 2018

We are pleased to announce that Roper Greyell has once again been ranked as a leading employment and labour law firm by Chambers Global. Thomas A. Roper, Q.C., Delayne Sartison, Q.C. and Gregory Heywood, were also ranked individually in the latest edition of the annual publication.

Meet our lawyers who have been recognized as leaders in employment and labour law:

Thomas A. Roper, Q.C. is described as a “well respected figure whose practice sees him represent clients in a variety of employment-related litigation.” Tom’s significant contributions to the development of labour legislation in BC over the course of his career is highlighted in the publication.

Chambers highlights Delayne Sartison, Q.C.’s experience in the healthcare sector, workplace human rights claims, collective bargaining and workplace harassment issues. Sources call Delayne: “One of the leading labour lawyers in British Columbia.”

Market commentators describe Gregory Heywood as “a very able and active labour law practitioner.” Greg is described as an employment litigator who “has represented clients in wrongful dismissal cases as well as matters relating to workplace human rights.”

All quotes are from Chambers Global 2018.

About Chambers Global

Chambers Global is a well-respected legal publication that ranks the world’s best lawyers and law firms. Rankings are based on in-depth research and interviews conducted by over 150 highly qualified researchers.

Roper Greyell Welcomes Keri L. Bennett as Partner and Privacy Lead

January 2018

We are pleased to welcome Keri L. Bennett to the firm as partner and privacy lead.

As one of the largest and most respected employment and labour law firms in Western Canada, we continue to pursue our strategy of growth from within our own ranks and beyond. “Keri brings the combination of credentials, experience, and commitment to client service for which our firm is known,” says Thomas A. Roper, QC, Roper Greyell’s Chair. “2017 has been a very good year for us with respect to our team members being recognized for excellence among their peers and the addition of Keri to the firm. Her experience and expertise is perfectly aligned with our vision of being the go-to firm for employers seeking engaged partners in dealing with the complexities of the modern workplace.”

A Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) graduate from the University of Toronto, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Regina, Keri is a labour, employment and privacy lawyer who assists both public bodies and private organizations. Providing counsel to unionized and non-union employers, she also litigates labour, employment, human rights and privacy matters.  She prides herself on negotiating cost- effective settlements and vigorously defending client’s interests before courts, tribunals, labour arbitrators, and the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

“I see myself as a problem solver,” she says.  “If, in our increasingly complex world, I can help clients navigate tricky privacy matters, and the issues that arise at any stage of the employment relationship, then I’m doing my job.  I could not be happier than to do it with the team of honoured and respected professionals at Roper Greyell, and I am greatly looking forward to learning from them and contributing my own expertise.”

Click here to learn more about workplace privacy services at Roper Greyell.

Danny Bernstein Becomes Roper Greyell’s Newest Partner

January 2018

We are pleased to welcome Danny Bernstein to the partnership.

Having practised law first in Western Australia and then Ontario, Danny moved to British Columbia and joined Roper Greyell in 2015. He acts in all areas of labour, employment, and human rights law in both provincial and federal jurisdictions, regularly helping clients respond to wrongful and constructive dismissal claims, human rights complaints, and statutory entitlement claims.

Roper Greyell founding partner Tom Roper, QC, says, “Danny’s practical, thoughtful, and detail-oriented approach to client issues has made him an invaluable asset to our firm and we’re delighted to recognize his contributions by welcoming him as a partner.”

In addition to his client work, Danny speaks and writes on a broad range of workplace law topics, and conducts seminars and client training on workplace issues. Clients often seek his advice around terminations and layoffs, hiring new employees, and in dealing with complex human rights and performance management challenges.  “It’s important to me to get to know and understand my clients and their businesses so that I can play a meaningful role in helping them to achieve their short and long term objectives,” Danny says.

Danny’s move into a partnership role comes on the heels of Roper Greyell having been named by Canadian Lawyer magazine,  as one of the country’s Top Ten Labour and Employment Boutique firms. The firm has also been cited by the 2018 edition of Chambers Canada as a leading firm in its field and several of its lawyers have been ranked individually by Chambers as top legal practitioners.  “It has been an amazing opportunity for me to learn from some of this country’s best labour and employment lawyers, “ says Danny, “and it’s a huge honour to be asked to take a place among them.”

Federal Government Tables Legislation to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

April 2017

The federal government tabled legislation today, April 13, 2017, that would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational purposes by July 1, 2018.

Under the new legislative regime, the federal government will license marijuana producers, while the provinces and territories will have jurisdiction over the distribution and sale of marijuana within the framework set out in the federal legislation.

Highlights of the proposed legislation are as follows:

  • Purchasers will be required to be at least 18 years old, although provinces and territories may set a higher minimum age.
  • Adults 18 and older will be able to possess up to 30 grams of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form, and will be able to grow up to four plants per residence.
  • Possession, production, and distribution outside of the legalized system would remain illegal, as would imports or exports without a federal permit.

As part of this major legislative initiative, the federal government is also proposing a number of changes to the Criminal Code, including creating a new criminal offence with a maximum of 14 years in jail for selling marijuana to a minor.

The proposed legislation also includes significant changes to Canada’s impaired driving laws. Proposed amendments to the Criminal Code would reportedly make it illegal for a person to drive within two hours of having a prescribed level of marijuana in his or her blood stream. The government is promising a system of mandatory roadside testing to test for cannabis impairment. The government is also proposing a new drug-impaired driving offence for drivers who combine alcohol with cannabis.

Potential Implications for Employers

In advance of the proposed legalization of marijuana, employers should consider updating their drug and alcohol policies. In particular, the proposed amendments to the Criminal Code may provide employers with an evidence-based model for managing suspected impairment in the workplace.

We will be carefully following the proposed legislation as it passes its way through the House of Commons and Senate.

If you require assistance regarding the impact of these proposed legislative changes on your workplace or any workplace policies or benefit plans, please contact us.

Roper Greyell Welcomes Maggie Campbell and Mike Hamata

April 2017

We are pleased to welcome Maggie Campbell and Mike Hamata to the firm.

For the past ten years, Maggie has advised clients on all aspects of employment relations. She has represented clients before the British Columbia courts, the Human Rights Tribunal and the Employment Standards Tribunal. Before joining Roper Greyell, Maggie practiced employment and labour law at the Vancouver office of an international firm.

Mike received his Juris Doctor from the University of Toronto and was called to the British Columbia bar in 2012. Prior to starting his legal career, Mike was a judicial law clerk to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Mike articled and practiced as an employment and labour associate at an international law firm in Vancouver before joining Roper Greyell.

“We are very excited to welcome Maggie and Mike to Roper Greyell. They bring top-tier experience that will benefit our clients and contribute to the strength of our firm,” said Tom Roper, Roper Greyell’s Chair.

Federal Government to Make EI Parental Benefits More Flexible for Parents

April 2017

How Will This Affect Employers?

The Federal government is expected to introduce extended parental leave as early as 2018. Budget 2017 proposes changes to the Employment Insurance (“EI”) scheme that will allow parents to “stretch” EI parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate of 33% of average weekly earnings. EI parental benefits will continue to be available at the existing benefit rate of 55% over a period of up to 12 months.

While the total benefit amount available through EI will not change, the lower extended parental benefit rate may have an impact on employers who offer supplemental or top-up payments during parental leave. We recommend that employers start to review their policies and collective agreements to determine whether changes will be required and how they may allocate top-up payments over 18 months if required to do so. Changes to these plans will require enough lead time to give notice to employees and/or negotiate the terms of any collective agreement with unions.

Budget 2017 also proposes to allow mothers to claim EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date, an increase from the current standard of eight weeks.

It is important to note that none of the proposed measures will take effect immediately, but must await the introduction and passage of legislation. To implement these measures, Budget 2017 proposes to amend the Employment Insurance Act.

Further, while the proposed changes to the Employment Insurance Act will extend benefit entitlement and allow mothers to begin their EI maternity benefit earlier, the changes will not necessarily alter the legislated length of pregnancy/parental leave for all employees.

The budget indicates that the federal government will make the necessary amendments to the Canada Labour Code to ensure that employees in the federally-regulated sector have job protection while they are receiving caregiving, parental or maternity leave benefits. For provincially regulated employees, the job protection and leave entitlements will remain the same (i.e. usually based on a standard 12 month leave) unless the provincial legislatures also change the applicable provincial employment standards legislation. There is precedent for the provinces to follow the Federal Government’s lead when EI changes are made, but it remains to be seen what each province will do in these circumstances.

We will continue to watch for these legislative changes as each jurisdiction takes or does not take steps towards these amendments. If you require assistance regarding the impact of these proposed legislative changes on your workplace or any workplace policies or benefit plans, please contact us.

Click here for more details

Roper Greyell is Ranked in the 2017 Edition of Chambers Global

March 2017

We are pleased to announce that Roper Greyell has once again been ranked as a leading employment and labour law firm in the 2017 edition of Chambers Global. Thomas A. Roper, Q.C., Delayne Sartison, Q.C. and Gregory Heywood were also ranked individually.

Meet our lawyers who have been recognized as leaders in employment and labour law:

Thomas A. Roper, Q.C.’s “reputation in Vancouver and beyond is of the highest standing. He is highly thought of for his far-reaching experience in employment and labour law.” One source commented: “He is very efficient and very sound in his approach – a leading lawyer.”

Delayne Sartison, Q.C. “inspires confidence in peers and clients alike, who pinpoint her as “a clear leader” in British Columbia. Commentators appreciate her expertise in matters relating to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, her strong management of arbitration files, as well as her generally thoughtful and practical attitude.”

Gregory Heywood “earns praise for his skills in litigation and arbitration, and for his flexible approach. Sources describe him as “top-notch,” and say: “He understands the industrial relations climate in BC.” He has significant experience representing natural resources and forestry industry clients.”

All quotes are from Chambers Global 2017.

About Chambers Global

Chambers Global is a well-respected legal publication that ranks the world’s best lawyers and law firms. Rankings are based on in-depth research and interviews conducted by over 150 highly qualified researchers.