B.C. Set to Review The Workers’ Compensation System

April 2019
Legal update by: Alissa Demerse

On April 3, 2019, the B.C. Government announced that it will undertake a formal review of its workers’ compensation system with the appointment of retired labour lawyer Janet Patterson.  This review is part of the Government’s stated goal to “shift the workers’ compensation system to become more worker centred”.  The press release states that the review will assess:

– the system’s policies and practices that support injured workers’ return to work;

– WorkSafeBC’s current policies and practices through a gender- and diversity-based analysis (commonly referred to as GBA+);

– modernization of WorkSafeBC’s culture to reflect a worker-centric service delivery model;

– the case management of injured workers; and

– any potential amendments to the Workers Compensation Act arising from this focused review.

The recent announcement informed employers that there will be public engagement process to ensure that Patterson’s review is informed by feedback from employers, labour organizations and injured workers.  The report, including possible recommendations, is due to be delivered to the Government by September 30, 2019.

For any questions about this review or other worker’s compensation matters, please contact Alissa Demerse or Gavin Marshall.

Roper Greyell Welcomes New Associate, Andrew Nicholl

February 2019

We are pleased to welcome Andrew Nicholl to the firm.

Andrew graduated from the Juris Doctor program at Western University in 2015. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 2016 and the B.C. Bar in 2018.

Andrew has experience representing clients before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Ontario Superior Court, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the British Columbia Labour Relations Board, and before rights and interest labour arbitration boards.

Prior to joining Roper Greyell, Andrew practiced employment and labour law at a large international firm in Vancouver.

Learn more about Andrew here.

Roper Greyell LLP Welcomes Joel J. Ello as Director of Finance + Technology

February 2019

Roper Greyell LLP is pleased to welcome Joel J. Ello, CPA, CMA  to the firm as Director of Finance + Technology.

With over 20 years of experience, Joel’s diverse background spans the areas of project management, change management, operational planning, financial reporting and analysis, and technology implementation.

Prior to joining Roper Greyell, Joel was the Manager of Business Analysis and Process Design at Southern Railway of British Columbia Limited and Controller at its subsidiary Southern Railway of Vancouver Island Limited.

Learn more about Joel here.

Big Win for Roper Greyell Client in B.C. Court of Appeal: Test for Family Status Discrimination Unequivocally Affirmed

February 2019
Legal update by: James D. Kondopulos

In Envirocon Environmental Services, ULC v. Suen, 2019 BCCA 46, Roper Greyell lawyers James D. KondopulosMichael A. Wagner & Brandon I. Hillis were successful in representing and advocating on behalf of the Appellant before the Court of Appeal to affirm that a finding of family status discrimination imposes a duty on the complainant to demonstrate “a serious interference with a substantial parental or family duty or obligation”.

Read more about the case here.

Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2018 Highlights Five Roper Greyell Lawyers

November 2018

We are pleased to announce that five Roper Greyell lawyers have been ranked in the 2018 edition of Who’s Who Legal: Canada.

Meet our lawyers who have been recognized for their expertise:

Thomas A Roper Q.C.
Delayne Sartison Q.C.
Gregory J Heywood
J. Najeeb Hassan
Sandra Guarascio
James D Kondopulos

Who’s Who Legal notes that “Roper Greyell is a go-to firm for labour and employment disputes” and includes the following commentary:

Thomas Roper QC is “a very significant name” and “a leader in the field” of labour law. His practice is “one of the best” and he “has a great reputation” for his work on contractual rights and wrongful dismissal.

Gregory Heywood commands great respect from colleagues in the field of labour and employment. He possesses more than three decades’ experience as a litigator and is known for his work on wrongful dismissals and workplace discrimination.

James Kondopulos enjoys an excellent reputation in the Canadian market. Sources speak highly of his practice, where he offers great insight into constructive dismissal actions and compensation disputes.

Najeeb Hassan is praised by colleagues as “one of the top lawyers at the firm”. He has an enviable practice covering such issues as the certification of unions and strike management.

Click here to view the complete list of Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2018.

About Who’s Who Legal

Since 1996, Who’s Who Legal has identified the foremost legal practitioners in business law based upon comprehensive, independent research. It is impossible to buy entry into this publication.

Chambers Canada 2019 Ranks Roper Greyell in Band 1

September 2018

Once again, Roper Greyell LLP has been ranked by Chambers Canada as a Band 1 firm for Employment and Labour. Noted as a “top-shelf employment and labour practice with a stellar reputation in British Columbia”, the publication highlighted four of our partners:

  • Thomas A. Roper, Q.C. as “a distinguished authority in the employment and labour market” provincially and nationally.
  • Delayne Sartison, Q.C. “commended as a ‘top-notch’ lawyer”, well-known as an expert on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
  • Najeeb Hassan, “lauded as a ‘top-rate lawyer’, earned ‘plaudits for his ‘very deep knowledge of labour law’.
  • Greg Heywood ‘singled out for his strength in litigation, where he has built a reputation as a strong opponent’.

About Chambers Canada

Chambers Canada covers lawyers and law firms practicing in all provinces and territories in Canada. The guide recommends lawyers and law firms in over 40 specialist practice areas across Canada, and is published annually each September.

Nine Roper Greyell Lawyers Named to 2019 Best Lawyers™ List

August 2018

In the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada, nine of our lawyers were recognized. This is a 50 percent increase in the number of lawyers highlighted since last year and reaffirms Roper Greyell’s reputation for excellence as one of the most well-respected and recognized workplace law practices in Western Canada.

Education Law

Labour and Employment Law

About Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers has been providing comprehensive coverage of top legal talents in Canada and around the world for over 30 years.  Lawyers on the list are divided by geographic region and practice areas. They are reviewed by their peers on the basis of professional expertise, and undergo an authentication process to make sure they are in current practice and in good standing.

About Roper Greyell

Roper Greyell is one of the largest employment and labour law firms in Western Canada, with 35+ workplace lawyers serving clients in virtually every sector of the economy, including some of the largest and most sophisticated private and public sector employers in British Columbia and across Canada. No matter what the challenge — immediate or long term, simple or complex — we develop proactive strategies to help businesses succeed and prepare for the future.

BC Statutory Leaves: The Times They Are A-Changin’

May 2018

Bill 6, the Employment Standards Amendment Act 2018, passed third reading in the BC Legislature and will come into force on royal assent. The bill amends the following statutory leaves under the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”):

PREGNANCY LEAVE (Section 50)

– An expecting mother may now commence pregnancy leave up to 13 weeks prior to the expected birth date (up from 11 weeks).

– An employee who requests leave after giving birth to a child is now entitled to 17 weeks of leave (up from 6 weeks).

PARENTAL LEAVE (Section 51)

– A new mother is now entitled to up to 61 additional consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave immediately after her 17-week pregnancy leave.  Overall, a new mother is now entitled to up to 78 weeks in total (18 months).

– A non-birth parent and adopting parent is now be entitled to up to 62 consecutive weeks of unpaid parental leave (up from 37 weeks).  This leave must begin within 78 weeks after the birth of the child or after the child is placed with the parent.

– These proposed amendments align BC’s parental leave benefits with the recent changes to the federal Employment Insurance Act which provide parents with up to 18 months of federal employment insurance benefits.

COMPASSIONATE CARE LEAVE (Section 52.1)

– Compassionate care leave is available to an employee who must care for a family member who is terminally ill and has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.

– Compassionate care leave will increase from 8 weeks to 27 weeks.  It will remain an unpaid leave.  The leave now ends on the last day of the week that is the earlier of the passing of the family member and 52 weeks from when the leave commenced (up from 26 weeks).

LEAVE RESPECTING DISAPPEARANCE OF CHILD (Section 52.3) – new addition

– This is a new addition to the legislation which provides a parent whose child (under 19 years old) disappears as a result of crime with up to 52 weeks of unpaid leave.  This leave is not available for an employee who is charged with a crime resulting in the disappearance of his or her child.  The leave must be taken as one unbroken, continuous period of time subject to employer consent otherwise.

– The unpaid leave may end on the earlier of the date on which the child is found dead; the date on which the circumstances indicate it is no longer probable that the child’s disappearance is a result of crime; the date the employee is charged with a crime resulting in the disappearance of his or her child; or 14 days after the child is found alive.

LEAVE RESPECTING DEATH OF CHILD (Section 52.4) – new addition

– The ESA’s general bereavement leave already entitled an employee to take up to 3 days of unpaid leave on the death of an immediate family member, which included the death of a child.  This new leave specifically deals with the death of a child and allows an employee to take up to 104 weeks (2 years) of unpaid leave following the death of a child (under 19 years old), unless the employee is charged with a crime resulting in the death of his or her child.  This leave must be taken as one unbroken, continuous period of time subject to employer consent otherwise.

CONCLUSION

Overall, these amendments, which broadly reflect legislative changes recently made in Ontario, provide BC employees with some of the most generous leave entitlements in the country.

If you have any question at all regarding the above, please do not hesitate to contact Roper Greyell LLP. Individual lawyer contact information can be found at ropergreyell.com.

While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy in this summary, you are urged to seek specific advice on matters of concern and not to rely solely on what is contained herein. The summary is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice

Employers, This is How to Build a Case for Dismissal with Cause

April 2018

Financial Post contributor and senior partner of Levitt LLP, Howard Levitt explores a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia decision, Manak v. Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia, featuring Roper Greyell lawyer, Maggie Campbell who represented the employer.

Below are Howard Levitt’s six lessons to employers on building a case for cause:

1. Define the core values: Confidentiality was of central importance to the functioning of the Board and, in particular to her role. Manak signed a covenant and undertaking underscoring its significance.

2. Be patient in an investigation: The employer took the time to interview witnesses. It also interviewed Manak twice. This process ensured that she was afforded a full opportunity to respond to the allegations and evidence and to commit her to a position.

3.  Take detailed notes of the investigation: Considering that the trial of a case may take place years after an investigation and terminations and the inevitable fading of memories over time, the notes assume critical significance for assessing credibility.

4. Obtain signed statements: In this case, Kuss had a dim memory of some of the relevant conversations, but the statements with her confirmation proved persuasive to the court.

5. Put specific allegations to employee: In this case, the employer was also able to rely on the grounds of lack of candour because it had confronted Manak with the allegations and she persisted in her denials.

6. Give the employee reasonable time to consider the offer: While the court ultimately upheld the settlement, it was critical of Worksafe for giving only a 24-hour ultimatum, which it described as “a short fuse.”

Read Howard Levitt’s complete article here.

Click here to learn more about Maggie Campbell.

Roper Greyell ranked in the 2018 Edition of Legal 500 Canada

December 2017

Roper Greyell is proud to once again be recognized as a leading firm in the area of Labour and Employment Law by Legal 500 Canada. In addition, Thomas A. Roper, Q.C. continues to be ranked individually in the “Leading Lawyers” category. The 2018 edition of the publication noted that Tom ‘has rightly earned the highest respect in the profession.’ Special recognition goes to Jennifer Devins who was featured in the “Next Generation Lawyers” category for the first time.

Click here for complete rankings.

Legal 500

One of the world’s largest legal referral guides, The Legal 500 series has been analyzing and ranking the capabilities of law firms across the world for 27 years. Its comprehensive research program is based on feedback from 250,000 clients worldwide, submissions from law firms and interviews with leading private practice lawyers.