COVID-19, Workplace Law, and Workplace Policy: Getting the Balance between Safety and Privacy Right during the Pandemic 

Justice MalletOn January 29, 2021, the second session to our Speaker Series was held, titled, 'Getting the Balance between Safety and Privacy Right during the Pandemic.  We heard from Dan Michaluk and Emma Phillips with Moderators Professor Kevin Banks and Arbitrator Kim Bernhardt. Panelists discussed employee infection/exposure: monitoring and testing of employees; employees rights to know; conduct in off-duty hours; and privacy at work from home. Watch our webinar here.

Uber v. Heller – Can Unconscionability Principles Answer When Not to Enforce Arbitration Agreements?  

UberIn a landmark decision made last June, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Uber could not enforce the arbitration clause that Uber drivers had to accept in a phone app in order to work for them.  “Uber v. Heller is probably the first in a long line of cases that gig economy workers are going to bring to the courts,” says Professor Kevin Banks, Director of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace (CLCW) at Queen’s. “This case raises some complicated issues both for labour law and for international commercial arbitration…and there’s a lot of controversy.”

To explore those issues, the CLCW and the Canadian Journal of Commercial Arbitration (CJCA) brought together a panel of experts to discuss the issues on Friday, January  22, 2021. Watch our webinar here

The National Labour Law Casebook 50 Years in, and 50 Years from Now: A Celebration, Discussion and Debate  

Harry ArthursOn December 4th, 2020, the Labour Law Casebook Group, which creates Labour and Employment Law: Cases, Materials and Commentary, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Casebook, which has served as the introduction to labour law for generations of Canadian lawyers, from coast to coast to coast. We marked the occasion by having Professor Harry Arthurs, one of its founding members and a distinguished scholar who needs no introduction to labour lawyers across the country, to address the following question: "What will one see when one opens the 2070 edition of the casebook?"
Watch our webinar which includes a panel of labour law teachers that respond to Professor Arthurs as well as questions, comments and debate from all members of the labour law community.

What Difference will Vavilov Make? Views from Workplace Law and Beyond  

Supreme Court of CanadaThe Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov is the most important ruling on judicial review of administrative tribunal decisions in a generation. It stands to affect all aspects of the practice of labour and employment law, and of many other fields as well. This workshop brought together leading administrative lawyers, both academics and practitioners, and from within and outside of the field of labour and employment law, to put this landmark decision into perspective. Speakers considered both legal context and concrete implications, focusing on the standard of review, the role of expertise in determining the amount of deference that courts will afford administrative tribunals, and the extent to which tribunals must now provide reasons for decisions. Link to our webinar below which was held on October 16th, 2020, as well as two papers from David Mullan and Paul Daly.
David Mullan Paper
Paul Daly Paper

Speaker Series: COVID-19 Risk, Public Health, and Workplace Law 

Panelists with Kevin and RickOn September 25, 2020, the first session to our Speaker Series was held, titled, 'Reopening Safely: Preventing Novel Coronavirus Transmission at Work'.  We heard from Professor Andrea Ferro, Professor Robert Hickey, Professor Katherine Lippel and Professor Xavier St-Denis who explored what are the risks of aerosol transmission of the Corona virus in indoor workplaces, how they can be mitigated, which workers are most at risk of infection, how management practices and workplace relations affect risks of transmission, and where and how regulators and policy makers should focus initiatives to ensure prevention of transmission of the Novel Corona Virus at work. Watch our webinar here.

Migrants at Work in Canada Symposium 

Migrants at Work SymposiumOn April 20-21, 2018, the symposium brought together academics and migrant worker advocates with three objectives in mind. The first objective was to facilitate interaction between researchers studying migrant worker issues and advocates who work with migrant communities. We wanted the symposium to generate original theoretical, empirical, and practical research that is informed by the work of advocates on the ground. The second objective was to make this knowledge available to the broader public through the publication of academic papers and other accessible avenues. The third objective was to provide migrant worker advocates with access to cutting-edge research to inform their practice. Materials from this workshop are to be published soon. 

Law, Work and Family Care:  A Symposium 

Law, Work and Family Care symposiumOn February 17-18, 2018, the Centre, along with Osgoode Hall Law School, Women's Legal Education & Action Fund and Canadian Human Rights Commission hosted a symposium which brought together academics, lawyers, social scientist and policy makers to examine how the law currently addresses the intersection between work and family care, and how it might be reshaped to better accommodate the realities and aspirations of 21st century families and workplaces. Materials from this workshop can be found here.

Frontiers of Human Rights in Canadian Workplaces 

Human Rights ConfereceOn Friday, September 16th, the CLCW hosted a conference at the St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre (Toronto) titled “Frontiers of Human Rights in Canadian Workplaces”. The conference brought together some of Canada’s leading practitioners and academics to consider some of the most relevant human rights issues to Canadian workplaces. Topics covered included: family status and mental health discrimination, and balancing freedom of religion with other rights.

"One Law for All”: Has Weber v Ontario Hydro transformed Collective Agreement Administration and Arbitration in Canada? 

One Law for AllOctober 30-31, 2015: The Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace at Queen’s University hosted a Symposium on October 30-31 at the Donald Gordon Conference Centre in Kingston, Ontario entitled “One Law for All”: Has Weber v Ontario Hydro transformed Collective Agreement Administration and Arbitration in Canada? Marking the 20th anniversary of the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Weber v Ontario Hydro, the Symposium honoured the late Professor Bernard Adell, former Queen’s Law professor and a major figure in academic labour law in Canada. It brought together lawyers, scholars, adjudicators, government policy makers, trade unionists and other professionals from both labour and management to reflect on the Weber legacy, and on the contribution of that legacy to the strengths and weaknesses now apparent in Canada’s labour arbitration system. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


What Are the Implications of Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v Saskatchewan?

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. SaskatchewanApril 24, 2015: The recent decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v Saskatchewan and Mounted Police Association of Ontario v Canada demonstrate a significant shift in Charter jurisprudence as it relates to the freedom of association guaranteed in s. 2(d). Revising 30 years of labour law, the majority of the Court determined that the Right to Strike is constitutionally protected under s. 2(d). The Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace reviewed the historical and judicial underpinnings of the majority and minority decisions and discussed the broader implications for labour law in Canada. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


Workplace Pensions: Next Generation or Final Frontier 

Workplace Pensions ConferenceThe Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace hosted a conference on Workplace Pensions: Next Generation or Final Frontier? Workplace pension plans are changing, under pressure from changing demographics, changing workplaces and the new global economy. These pressures have important implications for workplace pension law, which has attracted considerable recent interest from the Supreme Court of Canada. At this conference, experts from both Canada and the US explored the legal implications of the changing pension climate for plan members, their employers and their unions. The conference was held at the Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel on Friday, May 23, 2014.  Conference Materials


Privacy, Law and the Contemporary Workplace: "New Challenges and Directions" 

Privacy ConferenceThe Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace hosted it's second major conference which included eminent academics, adjudicators and practitioners. They reflected on the gaps and guidance found in Canadian law for employers, workers and governments facing emerging privacy issues.  Major topics included privacy in a wired and wireless world, searches and surveillance, and access and management of employee medical, psychological and genetic information.  The Conference was held in Toronto at One King West hotel on Friday, November 22, 2013. Special thanks to our sponsors: Cavalluzzo Shilton McIntyre Cornish LLP and Sherrard Kuzz LLP.  Conference Materials


Adjudicating Human Rights in the Workplace: After Ontario's Pinto Report, Where Do We Go Next?

Human Rights in the WorkplaceNovember 9-10, 2012: This workshop was designed to generate new thinking on the adjudication of workplace human rights issues, in light of recent legislative reforms and the on-going problems posed by multiple and competing adjudicative forums. Speakers were drawn from all corners of the human rights spectrum, and includes senior members of human rights commissions, tribunals and organization. Andrew Pinto, Chair of the Review, discussed the highlights of his report and discussed the review process. Draft papers were circulated in advance of the workshop. This event was funded, in part, by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


In the Wake of the Drummond Report and Ontario Budget: Prospects for Reform of Industrial Relations in the Ontario Broader Public Sector

Drummond WorkshopJune 22nd, 2012: This workshop brought together many of the leading labour relations and labour law experts and industrial relations leaders to consider the prospects for policy reform in industrial relations in the Ontario broader public sector, in light of the recent Drummond Commission Report on the reform of Ontario's public services and the recent Ontario budget. This workshop took place at One King West Hotel in Toronto with keynote speakers: Warren "Smokey" Thomas, O.P.S.E.U. President and Donald Drummond, Chair, Ontario Commission on the Reform of Ontario's Public Service. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


Shades of Grey: Law & Aging in the Contemporary Workplace 

Law and Aging WorkshopApril 27th & 28th, 2012: The Centre's first major conference, Shades of Grey: Law and Aging in the Contemporary Workplace, focused on implications of Canada's aging population for pensions, benefits and workplace human rights. It took place at the Hyatt Regency in Toronto with keynote speakers: The Honourable Justice Thomas Cromwell and Michael Wolfson from the University of Ottawa.  Conference Materials


Freedom of Association in Private Transnational Law: How Enforceable are the Commitments of European Companies in North America?

Finkin WorkshopOn Friday, October 28th and Saturday, October 29th, 2011, the CLCW hosted a Workshop titled "Freedom of Association in Private Transnational Law: How Enforceable are the Commitments of European companies in North America?"

This workshop, organized by the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace in partnership with the Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work (CRIMT) and the Program in Comparative Labor and Employment Law and Policy at the University of Illinois, was designed to explore the enforceability of non-contractual instruments, such as corporate codes of conduct and international framework agreements between firms and international labour federations, as tools for protecting worker freedom of association. Participants who were included were scholars and practitioners from Canada, the United States and Europe as well as Canadian doctoral students, who consider the enforceabilty and efficacy of these tools from an interdisciplinary perspective. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


The Implications of the Fraser Case

On Monday, June 13, 2011, the CLCW hosted a Workshop on the Implications of the Fraser Case. Leading academics and practitioners discussed the immediate and longer-term implications of the important recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada In Ontario (Attorney General) v Fraser, 2011 SCC 20. Union and Management Lawyers squared off on what the Justices were saying and what the decision means for the understanding of the Freedom of Association under the Charter in the future. The Workshop hosted all speakers at Queen's Law in Macdonald Hall and also presented live via videoconference at four offices of Gowlings LLP across Canada. The offices included Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. Materials from this workshop can be found here.


Labour Arbitration as Access to Justice

April 29, 2011: the CLCW hosted a Workshop on the need for grievance arbitration to deal with human rights issues, employment standards issues, common law doctrines and issues, constitutional issues, and much more complex fact situations. Should we take pride in the fact that a dispute resolution system designed and operated by unions, employers and their counsel is being trusted to resolve such a range of fundamental and increasingly complex questions? Or is it being pushed beyond its limits? What changes to arbitration processes, if any, are needed today. Materials from this workshop can be found here.