Employment Law Alliance Newsletter, May 2018

May 2018

Roper Greyell is proud to be the exclusive representative of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) in British Columbia. The ELA is the largest network of labor and employment lawyers worldwide. This monthly publication is a vehicle by which ELA firms can provide timely legal information to global clients.

Click here to read the May issue.

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”):


– 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).


– 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 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).


– 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.


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

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.

Ten Roper Greyell Lawyers Listed in the 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

April 2018

We are pleased to announce that ten of the firm’s lawyers were recognized as leading employment and labour law practitioners in the 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.

Join us in congratulating the following Roper Greyell lawyers:

Thomas A. Roper Q.C
Delayne Sartison Q.C
Kim Thorne
Gregory J. Heywood
Gavin Marshall
Gabrielle Scorer
Sandra Guarascio
Michael Wagner
James D. Kondopulos
2017 Rising Star Finalist, Jennifer Devins

Click here for the complete directory

About the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

Published since 1997, the annual Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory profiles leading practitioners across Canada in over 60 practice areas and leading law firms in over 40 practice areas.

Employment Law Alliance Newsletter, April 2018

April 2018

Roper Greyell is proud to be the exclusive representative of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) in British Columbia. The ELA is the largest network of labor and employment lawyers worldwide. This monthly publication is a vehicle by which ELA firms can provide timely legal information to global clients.

Click here to read the April issue.

Employment Law Alliance Newsletter, March 2018

March 2018

Roper Greyell is proud to be the exclusive representative of the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) in British Columbia. The ELA is the largest network of labor and employment lawyers worldwide. This monthly publication is a vehicle by which ELA firms can provide timely legal information to global clients.

Click here to read the March issue.

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.”

Roper Greyell Named One of the Top 10 Labour & Employment Boutiques in Canada

January 2018

Roper Greyell has once again been named by the prestigious Canadian Lawyer magazine as one of the Top Ten Labour and Employment Boutique law firms in Canada. Considered one of the country’s leading evaluators of performance in the legal sector, Canadian Lawyer biannually compiles a list of Canada’s most notable firms specializing in specific disciplines and asks in-house counsel and senior lawyers from larger firms to rank a shortlist generated by the magazine’s editorial team.

“Our firm was built on a vision of excellence in all we do. This kind of peer recognition is a very gratifying affirmation that we’re achieving the quality of professional service and client satisfaction that every member of our team aspires to deliver every single day”, says Tom Roper, QC, Roper Greyell’s Chair.

Over the past decade, Roper Greyell has grown from a core group of nine employment and labour lawyers to a complement of more than 31 lawyers who are nationally and internationally recognized in the field of workplace law. Today, the firm is one of the most respected and recognized workplace law practices in Western Canada, known for a client-focused approach that has made it a trusted resource for top-tier employers in British Columbia and across the country.

“We’re proud to have some of the country’s best and most innovative practitioners in this particular area of the law. It’s a great boost to all of us to know that our efforts have earned us a national reputation for excellence”, says Tom Roper, QC.

Click here for more information

About Canadian Lawyer

Canadian Lawyer, a Thompson Reuters business that provides objective reporting and analysis of the legal landscape from coast to coast, defines “boutique firms” as collections of lawyers specializing in niche areas of the law as opposed to general practice firms that house of variety of practice areas under one roof.

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