Day One: Tuesday, March 30, 2021

10:00 EDT

10 min

Welcome and Opening Remarks from the Chair

10:10 EDT

50 min
Jeff Willbond

The Leadership Imperative for Human Rights in the Workplace

Jeff Willbond, Director General, Proactive Compliance, Canadian Human Rights Commission

  • Creating an equitable, diverse and accessible organizational culture
  • Workplace accommodation is a shared responsibility between managers and employees
  • True accessibility and culture change – minimizing the need for DTA requests
  • Empower your employees to be their own human rights leaders
  • Evaluate your organization’s operations through Proactive Compliance

11:00 EDT

15 min


11:15 EDT

60 min
Caroline Richard

Keeping Pace with Recent Trends and Accommodation Cases

Caroline Richard, Partner, Bird Richard LLP

  • Cannabis – does an employer have a duty to accommodate an employee who consumes marijuana
  • Gender identity and gender expression – is it only about the dress code
  • Age discrimination – is retirement an unlawful word
  • Competing obligations – when occupational health and safety obligations collide with requests for accommodation on the basis of religion

12:15 EDT

60 min


13:15 EDT

45 min
Ed Mantler

Mental Health Impacts of Covid-19 on Workers: Considerations for Employers

Ed Mantler, VP Programs and Priorities, Mental Health Commission of Canada

  • Flexibility, empathy and clear leadership – ingredients for success during challenging times
  • How tailoring your approach to the current environment to support employee mental health helps organizations
  • The power and possibility of focusing on resilience and recovery
  • Supporting the psychological needs of employees in remote workplaces
  • Resources and support for accommodating employees with mental health challenges

15:00 EDT

15 min


15:15 EDT

60 min
Dr. Monique Gignac

Accommodating and Communicating about Episodic Disabilities (ACED): Workplace Challenges and Solutions

Dr. Monique Gignac, Scientific Co-Director & Senior Scientist, Professor, Institute for Work and Health, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Employers increasingly are asked to accommodate workers living with physical and mental health conditions that cause episodic disability, where periods of wellness are punctuated by intermittent and often unpredictable activity limitations. Episodic disabilities are challenging for workplaces which must comply with legislation protecting the privacy of health information while believing they would benefit from personal health details to meet a worker’s accommodation needs.

Objectives of this presentation are to understand organizational perspectives on the successes and challenges of disability communication-support processes, including:

  • Differences in cultures of support
  • Misgivings of others and their role in communication-support processes
  • Challenges when worker’s do not disclose a disability and when disability is cast as a performance problem
  • New tools and resources to improve communication and accommodation processes

16:15 EDT

End of Day One

Day Two: Wednesday, March 31, 2021

10:00 EDT

10 min

Welcome and Opening Remarks from the Chair

10:10 EDT

60 min
Nancy Gowan

Active Problem Solving Strategies for Meeting Duty Obligations

Nancy Gowan, Gowan Health

  • What does taking an active role look like
  • Investigate and research various forms of accommodation and alternate solutions
  • Consult with accommodation experts for creative solutions
  • Consult with the employee and integrate their potential ideas
  • Set expectations about productivity and essential duties
  • Have a clear process for implementation

11:10 EDT

20 min


11:30 EDT

60 min
Céline Delorme

The Covid-19 Pandemic: What Duty Obligations Loom Large

Céline Delorme, Lawyer, Emond Harnden LLP

  • What to do if an employee refuses to wear a mask
  • Can I make employees sign a covid-19 waiver
  • Do I need to accommodate employees that choose not to send their kids back to school
  • How will absences be treated under duty to accommodate approach
  • Preparing for work refusals
  • Prepare for human rights issues
  • Privacy issues
  • Frustration of contract
  • Accommodations for screening

12:30 EDT

60 min


13:30 EDT

60 min
Jill Lewis

Essential Tips for Accommodating Remote Workers

Jill Lewis, Lawyer, Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP

  • Prepare for onboarding and maintaining compliance
  • Clearly lay out the ground rules
  • Review remote worker safety monitoring
  • Be mindful of potential discriminatory compensation impacts
  • Create a comforting environment

14:30 EDT

60 min
Julia Dales

Return to Work Covid Toolkit

Julia Dales, Counsel, Dentons LLP Ottawa

  • Managing workplace health and safety at the office (employer responsibilities re health and safety control e.g. decision to recall, safety measures, symptomatic employees, privacy, etc.)
  • Layoffs and recalls
  • Flexible Work Arrangements (e.g. staggered return to work, working on claim, etc.)
  • Work refusals
  • Looking ahead: adjustments to policies and contracts as a result of Covid-19, litigation risks

15:30 EDT

15 min


15:45 EDT

45 min
Tiffany O’Hearn Davies

Managing Employee Work Refusals in a Covid-19 World

Tiffany O’Hearn Davies, Associate, Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

  • Work refusals explained
  • For what reason can an employee refuse work
  • What are the procedural steps for a work refusal
  • A reminder of reprisals – don’t
  • Work refusals across jurisdictions
  • Can work refused by one worker be reassigned to another
  • Do employers have to pay workers after they refuse work
  • How do these legal concepts apply during a pandemic
  • What about teleworking employees
  • Staying well positioned

16:30 EDT

End of Day Two