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.

Marijuana Legalization and the Workplace

March 2017

Julie Menten discusses employer safety concerns and legalized marijuana in the workplace.

Read more here.

Roper Greyell Appoints Linda Lucas as Chief Executive Officer

March 2017

Roper Greyell is one of the first law firms in Canada to create the position of Chief Executive Officer and we are pleased to announce that Linda Lucas has been appointed to that role.

The appointment puts Roper Greyell on the leading edge of a trend that is moving away from a traditional legal business model to one that sees clients as partners and proactively puts their businesses first. As Chief Executive Officer, Linda is responsible for driving the firm’s long-term strategy and vision with an emphasis on client collaboration.

“Historically, the legal industry has operated in a very traditional manner, but that’s changing. Now the shift is to become ‘big picture thinkers’ and to anticipate a client’s needs and provide practical solutions that make economic sense,” says Lucas.

Linda is a Chartered Professional Accountant with twenty years of experience in all aspects of finance and operations, and has worked in many different industries across Canada, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean. She looks forward to the challenge of pursuing Roper Greyell’s vision in a rapidly changing industry.

Tom Roper Discusses Bullying and Harassment in the Tourism Industry on CBC Radio

February 2017

WorkSafeBC receives the greatest number of workplace bullying and harassment enquires from the hospitality industry. Tom Roper discusses the extent of the issue on CBC Radio.

Listen here for On the Coast interview.
Listen here for All Points West interview.


Julie Menten Featured on CBC Radio

February 2017

Julie Menten discusses substance abuse at work on CBC Radio.

Listen here.

Roper Greyell Welcomes New Partner, Ryan Copeland

January 2017

We are pleased to welcome Ryan Copeland to the partnership.

Ryan’s unique background guides his approach to workplace law. He has been a construction worker, a tree feller and while in university, he managed and led a 20-person forest firefighting crew. “My past experience has taught me how to adapt and respond to a variety of dynamic and changing circumstances on the job,” says Copeland. “Those skills are valuable assets in guiding clients through the complex world of workplace law. I enjoy analyzing all possible solutions and working alongside my clients to determine the best direction.”

Ryan provides advice to both public and private sector clients on matters such as harassment, absenteeism, health and safety, workplace policies and employment contracts. He also helps clients navigate through the courts, labour arbitrations, labour boards, human rights and WorkSafeBC tribunals.

“We look forward to the continued insight and fresh perspective Ryan brings to Roper Greyell,” says Tom Roper, Roper Greyell’s Chair. “Our focus is helping our lawyers grow. When they grow, we grow and our firm is able to build on the kind of sound advice our clients have come to expect. By developing the skills and talents of our people we can meet the exacting needs of our clients in a rapidly changing employment landscape.”

Ryan joined the firm in 2008 as an associate and as he moves into his new role he will continue to build on the firm’s commitment to provide clients with the highest quality legal representation and strategic advice in all areas of workplace law.

Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide Names Thomas A. Roper Q.C. to Leading Lawyer List

December 2016

We are pleased to announce that Thomas A. Roper Q.C. has been selected for inclusion in The 2017 Lexpert®/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada (Lexpert®/ALM 500).

Click here to view the complete guide.

Employment Insurance Changes Coming

December 2016

Effective January 1, 2017, changes are coming to the Employment Insurance (“EI”) scheme that will reduce the waiting period for EI benefits from two weeks to one week.

This change will apply to regular and special benefits, including pregnancy, parental, compassionate care, and sickness benefits. The total number of weeks of available benefits is not impacted by the legislative changes.

The reduction in the waiting period may have an impact on employers who offer supplemental or top-up payments that coordinate with EI pregnancy, parental, sickness, or other special benefits. The change may also affect employers whose disability benefits are payable only after employees have exhausted all available EI sickness benefits.

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

Roper Greyell is Listed in the 2017 Edition of The Legal 500 Canada

November 2016

Roper Greyell is proud to be recognized as a leading firm in the 2017 edition of The Legal 500 Canada. In addition, Thomas A. Roper, Q.C. was also recognized individually as a leading employment and labour practitioner in Canada.

Click here for complete rankings.

The Legal 500

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

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