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Global Guide

Employment & Labour — Canada

Overview

In Canada the vast majority of employers are regulated by provincially enacted labour and employment laws. Nevertheless, approximately 5 to 10% of the workforce in Canada is federally regulated. Despite the relatively small size of the federal workforce, it is critical to Canada’s economy and national infrastructure. Specifically, the federal government regulates labour and employment matters in sectors recognised under the Constitution Act as federal works or undertakings. These sectors include postal services, banks, airlines, radio, television and telecommunications companies, railways, shipping companies, inter-provincial trucking companies, and federal Crown corporations.

Each Canadian jurisdiction has enacted legislation regarding labour and employment law, including employment standards, human rights, occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and labour relations legislation (which governs unionised workplaces). The common law (or the civil law system in the province of Québec) also applies to certain non-legislated aspects of the employment relationship.

Employment Standards Legislation

All jurisdictions in Canada have enacted employment standards legislation that set out the minimum standards for wages, hours of work, overtime, public holidays, various leaves of absence, and entitlements upon termination of employment. An employee cannot waive his or her right to these minimum standards, except as part of a collectively bargained agreement in a unionised workplace.

Employment Termination

Canada is not an “employment-at-will” jurisdiction, although employers can generally, but not always, terminate non-unionised employees on a without cause basis. Where a termination is without cause, employment standards legislation prescribe the minimum notice and, in certain jurisdictions, severance pay that must be provided to the terminated employee(s). Employers typically have the option to provide pay in lieu of notice of termination. Where severance pay is required, on the other hand, it must be paid and cannot be provided as notice. In the case of group or mass terminations, employment standards legislation stipulates additional requirements to provide notice to the applicable government agency.

Absent an employment agreement explicitly stating otherwise, employees are also entitled “reasonable notice” of termination at common law (or, in Québec, under the Civil Code). In many cases, the common law will require months or years of notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof. However, employees have a duty to mitigate their common law notice entitlements by seeking alternate employment during the reasonable notice period. Earnings made by the employee during the reasonable notice period will typically offset the employer’s obligation to provide pay in lieu of notice of termination.

Human Rights and Privacy Law

All jurisdictions have passed human rights legislation prohibiting discrimination and harassment of employees and prospective job candidates. The prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment vary depending on the jurisdiction and can include race, sex, age, religion, political conviction, colour, disability, marital or family status, ethnic or national origin, social condition, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, and record of offences. Human rights legislation requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees who cannot fulfil occupational requirements due to a prohibited ground of discrimination (e.g. disability or religion). However, an employer may be able to defend an otherwise discriminatory requirement where it is a bona fide occupational requirement and where reasonable accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer.

The federal government and certain provincial governments have also enacted privacy legislation that applies to employment policies and practices. This legislation, in addition to the common law or Québec Civil Code, governs the treatment and use of personal employee information. Generally, the legislation requires notification and consent from employees prior to transferring employee information to another party, and establishes strict record-keeping and retention standards. The common law also provides employees with a limited protection from an intrusion into their private affairs by their employer.

Accessibility Legislation

In response to the growing number of Canadians with disabilities, some Canadian jurisdictions have enacted or are considering legislation that contains requirements for employers to enhance the accessibility of their workplaces for individuals with disabilities. Accessibility legislation differs from human rights legislation in that it requires employers to be proactive, rather than responsive, in making changes to the workplace to better integrate individuals with disabilities. Among other things, accessibility legislation typically requires employers to provide employee training, accessible information and other resources to assist individuals with disabilities throughout the recruitment process and the employment relationship.

Collective Bargaining

Presently, slightly less than one third of all Canadian employees are members of unions. Legislation in each jurisdiction protects an employee’s right to join a trade union. A trade union with sufficient employee representation may apply to the labour relations board in its jurisdiction to be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a group of employees. A certified bargaining agent has the right (and corresponding obligation) to attempt to collectively bargain conditions of employment on behalf of employees.

Acquiring a Canadian Business

When the shares of a company are purchased, the legal personality of the corporation does not change. Even though a change of control has occurred because there is a new owner of the shares, the corporation still continues to be the employer and generally there is no resulting reduction or break in the service and seniority of employees. Furthermore, any liabilities, regulatory penalties or entitlements existing prior to a sale are unaffected by the acquisition and corresponding disposition of shares.

In an asset sale, in contrast, an employee’s employment will be deemed terminated upon the conclusion of the sale for common law purposes, except in Québec. It is generally advisable that employees receive a new contract or offer of employment with the purchaser. The offer is usually, but not necessarily, based on the same or substantially similar terms, and employees who accept the offer will usually but not always carry over their accumulated service and seniority.

Labour relations legislation usually requires a purchaser of all or part of a business to assume any applicable union relationship and collective agreements.

PENSIONS

Canada has a mandatory public pension scheme for all employees and employers. In addition, many employers provide private pension schemes for their employees.

Public Pensions

All employees and employers are required to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or, for employees in Québec, to the comparable Québec Pension Plan (QPP). These plans provide individuals and their families with a basic level of income protection in the event of retirement, disability or death. Currently, employees and employers pay 4.95% of salaries into CPP, up to a maximum income level of CAD54,000 per year. However, the federal government has announced its intentions to expand the CPP in order to address the growing shortfall in middle-income retirement planning that has resulted as the number of workplaces offering private pensions decreases.

Private Pensions

Many employers provide retirement or savings plans for their employees. Traditionally, employers provided defined benefit pension plans. However, the trend for at least the past decade has been to provide defined contribution plans and to either convert, close or freeze defined benefit plans in order to reduce risk and stabilise costs. Retirement and savings plans generally must be registered and are regulated under the Income Tax Act, particularly with respect to maximum contribution and benefit limits. Pension plans are further regulated by employment standards legislation, and must also be registered in the province in which the majority of employees are employed.

Pension legislation addresses minimum funding and contribution requirements, permitted forms of benefit payments at retirement, termination or death, permitted investments for pension funds, and the responsibilities of employers and plan administrators. Employers tend to also act as the administrators of their plans and, as such, are held to “prudent person” fiduciary standards of care. They are permitted to delegate their administrative and investment responsibilities, but must supervise the delegates in a prudent manner. Canada’s pension regulators have published numerous governance guidelines to assist plan administrators in meeting their fiduciary obligations.

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

Market observers agree that Kathryn Bush is a leading lawyer in the field, describing her as "seasoned and of high quality." She is based in the firm's Toronto office and acts as co-head of the pensions practice.

Jeremy Forgie is at the forefront of the Canadian market for pensions-related legal advice. Clients are effusive in their praise of his skills, characterising him as "a very good communicator who is very flexible and creative in his thinking."

Toronto-based Andrea York is a key contact for the firm's employment and labour practice.

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Global guide

Head of pensions and benefits Paul Litner is acclaimed for his experience in this area, with a strong focus on pension fund investment and the pensions aspects of large international corporate transactions. In highlights, he acted for Panasonic Healthcare on pension plan asset-liability transfers as well as on the design of new Canadian benefit and retirement plans in connection with its USD1.1 billion acquisition of Bayer's Diabetes Care business. Litner also frequently advises on conversion matters as well as on plan mergers.

Jana Steele is admired for her work on plan design and "exceptional expertise" in the area of shared risk and target benefit plans. Credited for her work on behalf of government clients, she is regarded by sources as "someone who can help clients create change, or as they contemplate change."

Anthony Devir operates a dedicated pensions practice which includes notable de-risking and insolvency-related mandates and significant experience of corporate transactions. Sources affirm he is "very capable."

Douglas Rienzo "is very strong, and takes the time to understand our needs, giving us advice that is very much business-oriented," clients say. His practice includes a focus on pension surplus issues; Rienzo led the team in its work for BCE in connection with its pension longevity insurance transaction with Sun Life.

Toronto-based Jason Hanson is a trusted adviser to many significant regional, national and international companies as well as head of the firm's national employment and labour group. Clients praise his foresight and calming presence in pressured situations. One source said: "His reputation preceded him - I found him to be super-responsive, always getting to the heart of the issues and always crafting sensitive solutions."

Brian Thiessen is a partner in the firm's Calgary office. Commentators confirm he is "very strong in the area of employment law" and point to his assistance with transactional mandates.

Sven Poysa is recognised as an up-and-coming individual who provides valued advice and capably manages complex nationwide mandates. He is primarily based in the firm's Toronto office, but offers experience in matters involving Québec.

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第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

Randy Bauslaugh garners respect for his leadership of the pensions practice and contributions to the field. He is described by interviewees as "very approachable and well versed in the pensions area" and is widely acknowledged as "one of the top pensions lawyers in the country." Bauslaugh continues to represent Morneau Shepell as administrator of Nortel's Canadian-registered pension plans and creditor with respect to the company's worldwide insolvency proceedings.

Peers and clients alike highlight Lorraine Allard's expertise in trusts and tax-related pensions matters. Sources say: "She is very easy to work with and is a good communicator." She regularly represents clients in connection with pensions regulation, M&A and reorganisation transactions.

Gregory Winfield is known for his experience of pension fund investment and taxation matters. Clients agree he is "consistently very strong - and very, very service-oriented."

Paul Boniferro enjoys considerable standing for his practice, which includes notable work on transactional employment as well as labour relations. Sources say: "He is an excellent lawyer who is very client service-oriented and provides very practical advice." He is admitted to both the Ontario and Alberta Bars, and is based in Toronto.

Sunil Kapur is frequently cited for his activity in the Ontario labour and employment market and routinely called upon to advise on collective bargaining as well as transactional employment. He is a partner in the firm's Toronto office, where he heads the labour and employment group.

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第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

Mitch Frazer is described as an extremely talented lawyer who clients endorse as "very transparent and easy to talk to." He heads the firm's employment and pensions practices and is a key feature on many of its leading transactions in this space. He acted for Alamos Gold in relation to its USD1.5 billion merger with Aurico Gold.

Susan Nickerson has a solid profile in the pensions space and is recognised for her involvement in M&A transactions. She advised Nordbord on pension plan integration issues following its CAD2 billion merger with Ainsworth Lumber.

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第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

Sources say Mary Picard is "exceptional" and "provides high-level guidance" on pensions and benefits matters. Recent experience includes advising on pensions issues in restructuring and insolvencies. She is based in the firm's Toronto office.

Vancouver-based Scott Sweatman is called upon to advise on benefit plan establishment, pension plan mergers and other pensions issues. Clients appreciate that "he is great at executing, meeting deadlines and keeping you abreast of progress and challenges."

Barbara Johnston heads the firm's Calgary labour and employment group. She is known as a "very accomplished" labour and employment lawyer with an outstanding practice, notably in the areas of workplace alcohol and drugs testing, as well as providing both transactional and litigation-related employment law advice.

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第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

Murray Campbell is sought out for his valuable insight on critical pensions matters. Sources say: "If he tells me something, I have full confidence it's going to be correct - in my opinion, he is the most knowledgeable pensions lawyer in Western Canada." He heads the firm's pensions and benefits group. 

Kenneth Burns is known as one of the firm's foremost practitioners advising on pensions. Clients note that he is "quick to respond, efficient and extremely knowledgeable - a reliable and useful asset."

Michael Wolpert is strongly endorsed by clients, who are quick to highlight his knowledge of plan compliance, employee benefits and tax law. Sources say: "He understands the client's needs, as well as how the law is interpreted and applied in practice." He is based in the firm's Calgary office and admitted to both the British Columbia and Alberta Bars.

Patricia Gallivan QC enjoys nationwide recognition for her practice in labour and employment law, which includes a focus on labour relations and strategic employment advice. Observers underline her impressive profile in British Columbia, where she is based.

Robert Sider draws praise for his broad experience in labour and employment. Sources say he is "very, very practical, responsive and very fast," and they also highlight his deft management of commercial transactions, litigation and arbitration in both BC and Alberta.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

Danny Kaufer is widely acknowledged as one of the most experienced labour and employment lawyers in Québec, with market sources highlighting his standout abilities on labour relations and negotiations. Commentators say he is "at the top of the game" and "very dedicated to his clients." He is based in Montréal.

Robert Bonhomme is recognised across the country for his formidable profile in the Québec labour and employment arena. Observers are quick to confirm his excellent track record as well as his impressive academic credentials, describing him as "the dean of the employment Bar in Québec - he is really a leader."

Matthew Certosimo enjoys a very good reputation among both peers and clients, who appreciate that he "really takes the time to know our business." He is the leader of the firm's national labour and employment group, and regularly advises clients in relation to both unionised and non-unionised environments, including proceedings brought under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Andrew Harrison is well respected for his pension fund investment expertise, as well as advising on pension regulation and governance issues. Sources say he is "technically strong, very knowledgeable and especially practical when it comes to providing counsel that is easy to relate to our actual business needs."

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第一等

From the Chambers Global guide

Senior partner Brian Burkett is held in high esteem for his leadership of the Fasken team from the firm's Toronto office. He is noted for his work for national and federally regulated companies and his sophisticated strategic advice, particularly in labour relations. Sources say they "have the utmost respect for his knowledge and judgement."

Douglas Gilbert is trusted for his advice on complex nationwide labour matters. Sources are quick to point out his vast experience and ability to draw on knowledge of long-term strategic implications for companies in a given sector.

Brian Smeenk enjoys a superb reputation for healthcare sector employment and labour representation in Ontario. He also advises both public and private sector clients in a range of other industries, and is valued for his tactful approach to union negotiations.

Peggy McCallum heads the firm's pensions and benefits practice from Toronto.

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第一等

From the Chambers Global guide

Richard Charney is singled out for his adaptability, pragmatism, and straightforward communication style. He is noted for his federal labour credentials as well as his construction-specific labour expertise. He heads the firm's employment and labour practice from Toronto.

Calgary-based William Armstrong is held in high regard for his experience representing a sophisticated client base which includes a number of national companies and public sector players. Sources describe him as "exceptional."

Martin Rochette is a revered figure in the Canadian pensions arena. He is based in the firm's Montréal office and receives accolades for his knowledge of Québec pensions and benefits law. Sources say: "He just knows everything about pensions in Québec."

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

James Knight is frequently cited as a leading practitioner in the Ontario labour and employment field. Sources draw attention to his "extensive employment practice" and say: "His work is excellent."

Roy Filion QC is deemed "outstanding" by market observers. He is a senior partner who continues to be called upon for his remarkable experience in court on high-stakes cases.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

Eric Harris QC enjoys a formidable reputation for his seasoned practice and valued advice on complex issues. Sources describe him simply as "an institution."

Associate counsel Gavin Hume QC's reputation in Vancouver is of the highest standing, with commentators underlining his impressive experience. Interviewees "absolutely endorse" him.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

Stephen Shamie is the firm's managing partner, and is commended for his ability to deal with sophisticated labour relations issues. He has a strong track record advising both public and private sector management clients.

Elizabeth Brown is recognised for her leadership of the firm's stalwart pensions practice and is involved in some of its most high-profile work. Her experience encompasses plan administration and governance, pensions-related litigation and transactional pensions advice.

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Band 2

第二等

From the Chambers Global guide

Market observers confirm that founding partner Thomas Roper QC'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. Sources say: "He is very efficient and very sound in his approach - a leading lawyer."

Delayne Sartison QC 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.

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Band 3

第三等

From the Chambers Global guide

Gary Clarke is based in the firm's Calgary office, and regularly advises clients on both Alberta and BC employment and labour law matters, being admitted in both provinces. Market sources appreciate that "he is very professional, very knowledgeable and has good perspective." They add: "He has done a lot of different types of work, and doesn't get riled up."

Market commentators value Andrea Boctor's "very strong technical knowledge" and say she "provides sound, practical advice." She is the firm's national head of pensions and benefits and is based in Toronto.

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

George Avraam heads the firm's labour, employment and employee benefits practice in Toronto. Sources describe him as "a very solid operator" and point to his knowledge of the university sector, as well as his representation of clients at the highest levels of the provincial court system.

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

John Gilmore is known for his active labour practice and is frequently trusted to handle the employment elements of large M&A transactions. Commentators also praise his work on labour and employment litigation. He is based in the firm's Calgary office, and is the co-leader of its employment practice group.

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Band 4

第四等

From the Chambers Global guide

Toronto-based Hugh Dyer is the firm's national head of employment and labour law. His experience includes advising on employment and labour for transactions, as well as labour relations, human rights and health and safety issues.

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Overview

In Canada the vast majority of employers are regulated by provincially enacted labour and employment laws. Nevertheless, approximately 5 to 10% of the workforce in Canada is federally regulated. Despite the relatively small size of the federal workforce, it is critical to Canada’s economy and national infrastructure. Specifically, the federal government regulates labour and employment matters in sectors recognised under the Constitution Act as federal works or undertakings. These sectors include postal services, banks, airlines, radio, television and telecommunications companies, railways, shipping companies, inter-provincial trucking companies, and federal Crown corporations.

Each Canadian jurisdiction has enacted legislation regarding labour and employment law, including employment standards, human rights, occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and labour relations legislation (which governs unionised workplaces). The common law (or the civil law system in the province of Québec) also applies to certain non-legislated aspects of the employment relationship.

Employment Standards Legislation

All jurisdictions in Canada have enacted employment standards legislation that set out the minimum standards for wages, hours of work, overtime, public holidays, various leaves of absence, and entitlements upon termination of employment. An employee cannot waive his or her right to these minimum standards, except as part of a collectively bargained agreement in a unionised workplace.

Employment Termination

Canada is not an “employment-at-will” jurisdiction, although employers can generally, but not always, terminate non-unionised employees on a without cause basis. Where a termination is without cause, employment standards legislation prescribe the minimum notice and, in certain jurisdictions, severance pay that must be provided to the terminated employee(s). Employers typically have the option to provide pay in lieu of notice of termination. Where severance pay is required, on the other hand, it must be paid and cannot be provided as notice. In the case of group or mass terminations, employment standards legislation stipulates additional requirements to provide notice to the applicable government agency.

Absent an employment agreement explicitly stating otherwise, employees are also entitled “reasonable notice” of termination at common law (or, in Québec, under the Civil Code). In many cases, the common law will require months or years of notice of termination or pay in lieu thereof. However, employees have a duty to mitigate their common law notice entitlements by seeking alternate employment during the reasonable notice period. Earnings made by the employee during the reasonable notice period will typically offset the employer’s obligation to provide pay in lieu of notice of termination.

Human Rights and Privacy Law

All jurisdictions have passed human rights legislation prohibiting discrimination and harassment of employees and prospective job candidates. The prohibited grounds of discrimination and harassment vary depending on the jurisdiction and can include race, sex, age, religion, political conviction, colour, disability, marital or family status, ethnic or national origin, social condition, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, and record of offences. Human rights legislation requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation to employees who cannot fulfil occupational requirements due to a prohibited ground of discrimination (e.g. disability or religion). However, an employer may be able to defend an otherwise discriminatory requirement where it is a bona fide occupational requirement and where reasonable accommodation would result in undue hardship for the employer.

The federal government and certain provincial governments have also enacted privacy legislation that applies to employment policies and practices. This legislation, in addition to the common law or Québec Civil Code, governs the treatment and use of personal employee information. Generally, the legislation requires notification and consent from employees prior to transferring employee information to another party, and establishes strict record-keeping and retention standards. The common law also provides employees with a limited protection from an intrusion into their private affairs by their employer.

Accessibility Legislation

In response to the growing number of Canadians with disabilities, some Canadian jurisdictions have enacted or are considering legislation that contains requirements for employers to enhance the accessibility of their workplaces for individuals with disabilities. Accessibility legislation differs from human rights legislation in that it requires employers to be proactive, rather than responsive, in making changes to the workplace to better integrate individuals with disabilities. Among other things, accessibility legislation typically requires employers to provide employee training, accessible information and other resources to assist individuals with disabilities throughout the recruitment process and the employment relationship.

Collective Bargaining

Presently, slightly less than one third of all Canadian employees are members of unions. Legislation in each jurisdiction protects an employee’s right to join a trade union. A trade union with sufficient employee representation may apply to the labour relations board in its jurisdiction to be certified as the exclusive bargaining agent for a group of employees. A certified bargaining agent has the right (and corresponding obligation) to attempt to collectively bargain conditions of employment on behalf of employees.

Acquiring a Canadian Business

When the shares of a company are purchased, the legal personality of the corporation does not change. Even though a change of control has occurred because there is a new owner of the shares, the corporation still continues to be the employer and generally there is no resulting reduction or break in the service and seniority of employees. Furthermore, any liabilities, regulatory penalties or entitlements existing prior to a sale are unaffected by the acquisition and corresponding disposition of shares.

In an asset sale, in contrast, an employee’s employment will be deemed terminated upon the conclusion of the sale for common law purposes, except in Québec. It is generally advisable that employees receive a new contract or offer of employment with the purchaser. The offer is usually, but not necessarily, based on the same or substantially similar terms, and employees who accept the offer will usually but not always carry over their accumulated service and seniority.

Labour relations legislation usually requires a purchaser of all or part of a business to assume any applicable union relationship and collective agreements.

PENSIONS

Canada has a mandatory public pension scheme for all employees and employers. In addition, many employers provide private pension schemes for their employees.

Public Pensions

All employees and employers are required to contribute to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) or, for employees in Québec, to the comparable Québec Pension Plan (QPP). These plans provide individuals and their families with a basic level of income protection in the event of retirement, disability or death. Currently, employees and employers pay 4.95% of salaries into CPP, up to a maximum income level of CAD54,000 per year. However, the federal government has announced its intentions to expand the CPP in order to address the growing shortfall in middle-income retirement planning that has resulted as the number of workplaces offering private pensions decreases.

Private Pensions

Many employers provide retirement or savings plans for their employees. Traditionally, employers provided defined benefit pension plans. However, the trend for at least the past decade has been to provide defined contribution plans and to either convert, close or freeze defined benefit plans in order to reduce risk and stabilise costs. Retirement and savings plans generally must be registered and are regulated under the Income Tax Act, particularly with respect to maximum contribution and benefit limits. Pension plans are further regulated by employment standards legislation, and must also be registered in the province in which the majority of employees are employed.

Pension legislation addresses minimum funding and contribution requirements, permitted forms of benefit payments at retirement, termination or death, permitted investments for pension funds, and the responsibilities of employers and plan administrators. Employers tend to also act as the administrators of their plans and, as such, are held to “prudent person” fiduciary standards of care. They are permitted to delegate their administrative and investment responsibilities, but must supervise the delegates in a prudent manner. Canada’s pension regulators have published numerous governance guidelines to assist plan administrators in meeting their fiduciary obligations.

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Senior Statesmen

Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Roy Filion QC is deemed "outstanding" by market observers. He is a senior partner who continues to be called upon for his remarkable experience in court on high-stakes cases.

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Senior Statesmen

Harris & Company

From the Chambers Global guide

Associate counsel Gavin Hume QC's reputation in Vancouver is of the highest standing, with commentators underlining his impressive experience. Interviewees "absolutely endorse" him.

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Band 1

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Senior partner Brian Burkett is held in high esteem for his leadership of the Fasken team from the firm's Toronto office. He is noted for his work for national and federally regulated companies and his sophisticated strategic advice, particularly in labour relations. Sources say they "have the utmost respect for his knowledge and judgement."

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Band 1

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Global guide

Richard Charney is singled out for his adaptability, pragmatism, and straightforward communication style. He is noted for his federal labour credentials as well as his construction-specific labour expertise. He heads the firm's employment and labour practice from Toronto.

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Band 1

Harris & Company

From the Chambers Global guide

Eric Harris QC enjoys a formidable reputation for his seasoned practice and valued advice on complex issues. Sources describe him simply as "an institution."

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Band 1

Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

James Knight is frequently cited as a leading practitioner in the Ontario labour and employment field. Sources draw attention to his "extensive employment practice" and say: "His work is excellent."

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Band 1

Roper Greyell LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Market observers confirm that founding partner Thomas Roper QC'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. Sources say: "He is very efficient and very sound in his approach - a leading lawyer."

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Band 1

Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Stephen Shamie is the firm's managing partner, and is commended for his ability to deal with sophisticated labour relations issues. He has a strong track record advising both public and private sector management clients.

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Band 2

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Robert Bonhomme is recognised across the country for his formidable profile in the Québec labour and employment arena. Observers are quick to confirm his excellent track record as well as his impressive academic credentials, describing him as "the dean of the employment Bar in Québec - he is really a leader."

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Band 2

Stikeman Elliott LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Gary Clarke is based in the firm's Calgary office, and regularly advises clients on both Alberta and BC employment and labour law matters, being admitted in both provinces. Market sources appreciate that "he is very professional, very knowledgeable and has good perspective." They add: "He has done a lot of different types of work, and doesn't get riled up."

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Band 2

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Michael Ford of DLA Piper (Canada) LLP acts as a trusted adviser to many national companies as well as Alberta institutions. Sources are enthusiastic in their praise, describing him as "diligent, thorough and thoughtful in all respects." He is a senior partner based in the firm's Calgary office.

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Band 2

Lawson Lundell LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Patricia Gallivan QC enjoys nationwide recognition for her practice in labour and employment law, which includes a focus on labour relations and strategic employment advice. Observers underline her impressive profile in British Columbia, where she is based.

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Band 2

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Douglas Gilbert is trusted for his advice on complex nationwide labour matters. Sources are quick to point out his vast experience and ability to draw on knowledge of long-term strategic implications for companies in a given sector.

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Band 2

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Toronto-based Jason Hanson is a trusted adviser to many significant regional, national and international companies as well as head of the firm's national employment and labour group. Clients praise his foresight and calming presence in pressured situations. One source said: "His reputation preceded him - I found him to be super-responsive, always getting to the heart of the issues and always crafting sensitive solutions."

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Band 2

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Danny Kaufer is widely acknowledged as one of the most experienced labour and employment lawyers in Québec, with market sources highlighting his standout abilities on labour relations and negotiations. Commentators say he is "at the top of the game" and "very dedicated to his clients." He is based in Montréal.

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Band 2

McLennan Ross LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Edmonton-based Hugh McPhail QC of McLennan Ross LLP enjoys a stellar reputation for his work on high-profile cases in Alberta. Sources say: "He is very strong on construction labour relations and government work." He is admitted to practice in both Alberta and Saskatchewan. 

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Band 3

Norton Rose Fulbright

From the Chambers Global guide

Calgary-based William Armstrong is held in high regard for his experience representing a sophisticated client base which includes a number of national companies and public sector players. Sources describe him as "exceptional."

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Band 3

Baker McKenzie

From the Chambers Global guide

George Avraam heads the firm's labour, employment and employee benefits practice in Toronto. Sources describe him as "a very solid operator" and point to his knowledge of the university sector, as well as his representation of clients at the highest levels of the provincial court system.

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Band 3

McCarthy Tétrault LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Paul Boniferro enjoys considerable standing for his practice, which includes notable work on transactional employment as well as labour relations. Sources say: "He is an excellent lawyer who is very client service-oriented and provides very practical advice." He is admitted to both the Ontario and Alberta Bars, and is based in Toronto.

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Band 3

Bennett Jones LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

John Gilmore is known for his active labour practice and is frequently trusted to handle the employment elements of large M&A transactions. Commentators also praise his work on labour and employment litigation. He is based in the firm's Calgary office, and is the co-leader of its employment practice group.

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Band 3

Dentons Canada LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Barbara Johnston heads the firm's Calgary labour and employment group. She is known as a "very accomplished" labour and employment lawyer with an outstanding practice, notably in the areas of workplace alcohol and drugs testing, as well as providing both transactional and litigation-related employment law advice.

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Band 3

McCarthy Tétrault LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Sunil Kapur is frequently cited for his activity in the Ontario labour and employment market and routinely called upon to advise on collective bargaining as well as transactional employment. He is a partner in the firm's Toronto office, where he heads the labour and employment group.

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Band 3

Roper Greyell LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Delayne Sartison QC 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.

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Band 3

Lawson Lundell LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Robert Sider draws praise for his broad experience in labour and employment. Sources say he is "very, very practical, responsive and very fast," and they also highlight his deft management of commercial transactions, litigation and arbitration in both BC and Alberta.

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Band 3

Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Richard Smith of Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP draws praise for his broad practice in employment and labour law, which spans employment agreements, benefits, workplace human rights and workplace drug and alcohol testing. He is based in Calgary.

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Band 3

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Brian Thiessen is a partner in the firm's Calgary office. Commentators confirm he is "very strong in the area of employment law" and point to his assistance with transactional mandates.

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Band 4

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Matthew Certosimo enjoys a very good reputation among both peers and clients, who appreciate that he "really takes the time to know our business." He is the leader of the firm's national labour and employment group, and regularly advises clients in relation to both unionised and non-unionised environments, including proceedings brought under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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Band 4

Miller Thomson LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Toronto-based Hugh Dyer is the firm's national head of employment and labour law. His experience includes advising on employment and labour for transactions, as well as labour relations, human rights and health and safety issues.

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Band 4

Roper Greyell LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

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.

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Band 4

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Brian Smeenk enjoys a superb reputation for healthcare sector employment and labour representation in Ontario. He also advises both public and private sector clients in a range of other industries, and is valued for his tactful approach to union negotiations.

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Up and Coming

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP

From the Chambers Global guide

Sven Poysa is recognised as an up-and-coming individual who provides valued advice and capably manages complex nationwide mandates. He is primarily based in the firm's Toronto office, but offers experience in matters involving Québec.

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