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First Reference Talks

News and Discussions on Payroll, HR & Employment Law

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About First Reference Talks

First Reference Talks invites subject matter experts, human resources and payroll professionals as well as lawyers to express their views on human resources, employment and Labour law (employment/labour standards, health and safety, human rights, pay equity, workers’ compensation etc.), accessibility standards and payroll in Canada. As a publisher of compliance print and electronic publications and policies and procedures, First Reference strives to provide Canadian businesses with the most straightforward, authoritative and cost-effective resources.

Our audience is primarily small to medium size businesses and not-for-profits, human resources, payroll and health and safety professionals and consultants, legal professionals, human rights and accessibility consultants, and others working in HR, payroll, finance and accounting. As ever, our aim is to share knowledge, offer suggestions and recommendations, and provoke discussions and comments. But please note: we do not offer legal advice.

We have a list of regular contributors (see below) and we hope you enjoy our posts and find them useful. We love to hear from our readers, so please submit your comments to our blog entries. However, we do not respond to legal questions specific to a case or situation in this space.

If you are a subject matter expert and would like to become a regular guest blogger or occasional blogger, please contact Yosie Saint-Cyr at

About the First Reference blog authors

Table of contents:
In-house bloggers
Regular guest bloggers
Past blog authors

In-house bloggers

Yosie Saint-Cyr
Adam Gorley
Fred Stewart

 Yosie Saint Cyr Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., was called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practised business, employment and labour law until 1999. For 16 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, The Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro published by First Reference Inc. She regularly contributes content to these publications, newsletters and the First Reference Talks and Inside Internal Controls blogs. She also contributes to Slaw, CanLII Connect and the Canadian Payroll Association online member newsletter eSource or the Dialogue Magazine. She managed the Human Resources Professional Association (HRPA) of Ontario’s monthly member e-newsletter ELAW from 2003 to 2015. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour law including health and safety and human rights, payroll and accessibility standards across the country. You can learn more about Yosie here.
 adam-gorley Adam Gorley is a copywriter, editor and researcher at First Reference. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks, Inside Internal Controls and other First Reference publications. He writes about general HR issues, accessibility, privacy, technology in the workplace, accommodation, violence and harassment, internal controls and more. Find out more about Adam on LinkedIn.
 Fred-Blog Fred Stewart, BBA, is a copywriter and researcher at First Reference. He is a contributor to Inside Internal Controls and First Reference Talks. One of the topics Fred covers is the Not-For-Profit sector, a sector he has previously worked in. Some of the other areas he writes on include internal controls, employment law and accessibility.

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Regular guest bloggers

Christina Catenacci
Rudner Law, Employment /HR Law and Mediation
Henry J. Chang, Dentons LLP
Stringer LLP
Doug MacLeod,, MacLeod Law Firm
McCarthy Tétrault
Kevin Sambrano, Sambrano Legal Services
Devry Smith Frank LLP Lawyers & Mediators
Vey Willetts LLP
Beyond Rewards Inc.
Lisa Stam, Spring Law
Rubin Thomlinson LLP
De Bousquet PC
Deveen Hunter, M.Sc., CAPM, CHRL M.Sc., CAPM, CHRL
Jeff Dutton, Dutton Employment Law
Piccolo Heath LLP
Devan Marr, Lawyer Strigberger Brown Armstrong LLP
Sean Bawden, LL.B., Director, Legal (Employment and Litigation)
Barry B. Fisher, LL.B.

 Christina-Blog Christina Catenacci, BA, LLB, LLM, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002 and has since been a member of the Ontario Bar Association. Christina worked as an editor with First Reference between February 2005 and August 2015, working on publications including The Human Resources Advisor (Ontario, Western and Atlantic editions), HRinfodesk and First Reference Talks blog discussing topics in Labour and Employment Law. Christina obtained her Professional LLM Specializing in Labour Relations and Employment Law from Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in 2013, and has decided to pursue a PhD at the University of Western Ontario beginning in the fall of 2015. She continues to contribute to First Reference Talks. You can learn more about Christina here.
Stuart Rudner-Blog Rudner Law is a firm specializing in Canadian Employment Law. They provide clients with strategic advice regarding all aspects of the employment relationship, negotiate and advocate on their behalf and represent them before courts, mediators and tribunals. Rudner Law strongly believes in education, knowing that people cannot make strategic decisions unless they understand their legal rights and obligations. They speak and write frequently on HR Law issues. Rudner Law disseminates valuable information via their social media channels, including Fire Away (a monthly online Q&A show), Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Rudner Law was selected as one of the top three Employment & Labour Law Boutique of the Year for 2019 in the HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards and was also chosen as the winner of the Canadian Employment Law Firm of the Year for 2019 in the Global Law Experts Annual Awards. Rudner Law was selected as one of the top three Employment & Labour Law Boutique of the Year for 2019 in the HR Reporter Readers’ Choice Awards and was also chosen as the winner of the Canadian Employment Law Firm of the Year for 2019 in the Global Law Experts Annual Awards. The team of bloggers at Rudner Law is comprised of:

Stuart Rudner, the principal and founder of Rudner Law. He is the author of You’re Fired! Just Cause for Dismissal in Canada, a textbook and database of summary dismissal cases, and has contributed to several other texts. Stuart also provides Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services including mediation, arbitration, and med-arb. For more information on this aspect of his practice, click here. Stuart can be reached at

Brittany Taylor, a Senior Associate at Rudner Law. Since being called to the Ontario Bar in 2013, her practice has been dedicated to assisting both employers and employees to manage their workplaces.She can be reached at

Nadia Zaman, an Associate at Rudner Law. She obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. She was called to the Ontario bar in 2016. She can be reached at

Anique Dublin, a Law Clerk at Rudner Law specializing in Employment Law services. She graduated from law school in London, United Kingdom in 2008. Since moving to Ontario, she commenced the National Committee on Accreditation process with the hopes of passing the Ontario licensing exams. She can be reached at

You can read more on the Rudner Law team at
Henry J. Chang Henry J. Chang is a partner in Dentons Employment and Labor Group. He obtained his Juris Doctor from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1990 and was admitted to the practice of law in the state of California and the province of Ontario in 1992. Henry is also registered as a Foreign Legal Consultant by the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is a requirement for all lawyers who provide advice on the law of a foreign jurisdiction. A recognized authority in the field of United States and Canadian immigration law, Mr. Chang lectures extensively on the subject in both the United States and Canada. His written work has appeared in numerous nationally and internationally recognized legal publications, including Immigration Law and Procedure, which has been cited in over 300 federal court decisions. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks, in the area of corporate immigration. You can learn more about Henry and his work on his website or Linkedin profile.
 Stringer LLP Stringer LLP is a leader in Canadian HR law. For over 50 years, they have taken a client-centered approach to responsive service, representing employers with labour relations and employment problems. They regularly advise and represent clients on a wide variety of matters, from day-to-day issues to corporate transactions and major pieces of litigation. Their firm’s practice covers a broad spectrum of HR law, including employment law, occupational health & safety, labour relations and arbitration, human rights, workers’ compensation, pay equity and corporate immigration, as well as issues under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act. They also provide training, seminars and conferences on the above topics. Several exceptional lawyers will be blogging regularly on First Reference Talks on behalf of Stringer LLP. You can learn more about Stringer on their website.
  Doug MacLeod has been practicing employment and labour law for over 25 years and is the principle at MacLeod Law Firm. He represents employers and employees on all aspects of the employment relationship. Among other things, Doug advises on the implications of new labour and employment laws. He also mediates workplace disputes; primarily wrongful dismissal actions. He speaks and writes frequently on employment law issues. You can learn more about Doug and his firm here or follow him on twitter @dougmacleodCAN or contact him at
  McCarthy Tétrault through their Employer Advisor blogs offers their perspectives on the latest legal developments applicable to the workplace. It provides their insights on legislative and regulatory developments, as well as new case law, while providing practical tips for employers and their human resources professionals when managing the workforce. McCarthy Tétrault is a Canadian law firm that delivers integrated business law, litigation services, tax law, real property law, labour and employment law nationally and globally through offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal and Québec City, as well as London, UK. We will feature once a month one of their blog posts on First Reference Talks. You can learn more about the Employer Advisor blogs and on McCarthy Tétrault here.
 Sambrano-Legal-2015 Kevin Sambrano, B.A.A. is a paralegal who is passionate about human rights. Kevin worked for a number of years as a tenant advocate organizing over 100 tenant associations and taking part in over 80 positive outcome negotiations. He completed his internship at a law firm, focusing on human rights and employment law. Kevin has the distinction of being the first paralegal candidate to participate in CLASP (Community Legal Aid Services Programme) at Osgoode Hall Law School. Sambrano Legal Services offers legal representation in human rights, landlord and tenant, employment, and Small Claims Court matters within the GTA. You can learn more about Kevin on his resource blog, Facebook or on LinkedIn. Please follow Kevin on Twitter for the latest updates in human rights and employment law.
devrylaw-logo Devry Smith Frank LLP (DSF) Lawyers & Mediators, since 1964, is a dedicated full service law firm in Toronto with over 50 lawyers, offering a broad range of legal services to individual, business and corporate clients. They have expertise in most areas of corporate and personal law. They are driven by delivering value to their clients in all that they do. Their employment law and human rights litigation group is composed of a skilled team of lawyers that can help you navigate human rights disputes, wrongful dismissal claims, employment contracts and much more, to achieve the best possible legal result. Lawyers at DSF lead by Marty Rabinovitch B.A.H., LL.B. will be covering issues surrounding employment and labour law and human right on First Reference Talks. Marty Rabinovitch is a graduate of Queen’s University (B.A.H. in Political Studies) and the University of Windsor (LL.B.). He received multiple academic awards from Queen’s University and Upper Canada College. He was the recipient of the 2008 Gavel Award from the University of Windsor for the best written judgment of a student judge presiding over the Law 1 moots. Marty was called to the bar in 2010 and currently practises in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law and human rights law. For more information on DSF and Marty Rabinovitch visit their website at
 vwlawyers  Vey Willetts LLP is an Ottawa-based workplace law firm, serving individuals and employers across Eastern Ontario. They recognize that operating a business is complex and maintaining an efficient and legally-compliant workplace is a continuous challenge. The firm helps simplify legal workplace obligations so that employers can focus on what matters: their business. Learn more about Vey Willetts LLP by contacting Andrew Vey, or Paul Willetts or by visiting the firm’s website. You can also read their updates and news on their twitter account @VW_Lawyers.
 BR Logo 2015 NEW Beyond Rewards Inc. is a Boutique Firm offering a full suite of Human Resource, Safety, Workplace investigations and Risk Management Solutions, Online Training Programs and Customized Face to Face Training for our Clients. Since 1989, Beyond Rewards has been an industry leader in the Human Resources and Risk Management fields, celebrating 25 years. Specializing in Human Resources, Recruitment and Risk Management Consulting – EMS Planning, Pandemic, Health, Wellness & Health & Safety and Business Continuity; Beyond Rewards has the experience and expertise to ensure the success of our clients’ projects. Adding a new line of services in 2015 – Workplace Investigations, Beyond Rewards Private Investigator can assist you with all your workplace investigations from WSIB Fraud to Violence & Harassment Investigations. With staff on board that brought clients to win first and second place in the 2009 Guelph and District Human Resources Award of Excellence for Best in HR Practices, we pride ourselves in providing proactive, quantifiable, professional solutions. At Beyond Rewards we recognize the need for Human Resources, Risk Management and Training and Development services that enhance our client’s organizations. Several exceptional expert consultants led by Lynne Bard, HBa, CHRP, CES, President/Senior Consultant, will be blogging regularly on First Reference Talks on behalf of Beyond Rewards Inc. You can learn more about Beyond Rewards and their staff on their website.
  Lisa Stam is founder of Spring Law, a virtual law firm advising exclusively on workplace legal issues for employers and executives. She practices all aspects of employment, labour, privacy, and human rights law, with a particular interest in legal issues arising from technology in the workplace. Lisa’s practice includes a wide range of entrepreneurs in the tech space, as well as global companies with smaller operations in Canada. In addition to the day to day workplace issues from hiring to firing, Lisa frequently blogs and speaks on both the impact, risks and opportunities of social media and technology issues in (and out of) the workplace, as well as the novel ways in which changing expectations of privacy continues to evolve employment law. Lisa spent 3 years in union-side boutiques, 7 years at the global law firm Baker & McKenzie advising global employers, was a co-founding partner of an employment law boutique in 2014, and launched Spring Law in 2017. She continues to represent both employers and executives. Lisa graduated from Dalhousie Law School, after completing an undergraduate degree in medieval history at the University of Toronto. You can learn more about Lisa on her firm’s website. Lisa also blogs at
 rubin-thomlinson-logo Rubin Thomlinson LLP is a Toronto-based employment law firm dedicated to finding optimal legal solutions to challenging workplace issues. Rubin Thomlinson provides expert counsel to employees and employers on all legal issues pertaining to the workplace such as hiring, retaining and terminating employees; executive compensation and contracts; accommodation issues; and workplace human rights. Rubin Thomlinson is also considered a leading authority in the area of workplace harassment, and workplace investigations and reviews. For more information visit their website at
  De Bousquet PC offers experienced counsel and representation in multiple aspects of employment law, labour relations, commercial law and civil litigation. Jean-Alexandre De Bousquet, founder of De Bousquet law, interned for the Canadian Centre for International Justice, worked for an Ottawa law firm and pursued a career with the Attorney General of Ontario. In 2014, Jean-Alexandre was named one of Ontario’s “leading experts” in human rights law by Legal Action Magazine. Jean-Alexandre handles cases related to wrongful dismissal, workplace discrimination, breach of contract, fraud and commercial disputes. Jean-Alexandre is fully fluent in French and English and represents clients before courts and tribunals using both official languages. Before the practice of law, Jean-Alexandre was a journalist at the CBC for three years. Other notable achievements include employment with the Canada Research Chair on Native Peoples and Legal Diversity, the Canadian Research Chair on Metis Identity and the Urban League, a U.S. civil rights organization. Jean-Alexandre has also published articles in prominent academic journals and presented papers at international conferences in Canada and the U.S. You can learn more about Jean-Alexandre and De Bousquet PC and their team by visiting their website.
  Deveen Hunter, M.Sc., CAPM, CHRL is a human resource practitioner and entrepreneur with over 8 years of global human resource success. She is the founder and lead consultant at Select Business Solutions, a boutique consulting firm that is focused on assisting clients evolve the ways in which they create value for stakeholders by leveraging technology, analytics, processes and human capital. With a background in sociology and psychology she is an ardent researcher, continuously searching for insight into human behaviour at the organisational level. When she is not focused on innovating the Human Resource discipline and growing her firm, she is focused on the most fascinating person in her world, her nine-year-old daughter. Deveen is currently working on research to develop a human resource model focused on addressing the unique challenges of recruitment in the Canadian context. For more visit her website.
  Jeff Dutton, BA and LLB Jeff is a leading employment lawyer in Toronto. He represents both individual employees and management in all matters. Prior to founding Dutton Employment Law, Jeff was a prosecutor for the Ministry of Labour. He has been successful at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Ontario Court of Justice and the Ontario Superior Court. Jeff is a frequent lecturer on employment law matters and has been widely published in newspapers and trade journals. Dutton Employment Law is a leading employment law firm practicing in downtown Toronto and across Ontario. They are regularly sought out by employees and management alike to provide employment consultation, advice, negotiation and litigation services in all employment law matters in all industries. For more information, visit Dutton Employment Law’s website.
Employment Law Firm Piccolo Heath LLP Prominent Canadian lawyers Patrizia Piccolo and Jennifer Heath have come together as Piccolo Heath LLP, Canada’s newest employment law firm. With more than 30 years combined expertise, the firm was founded with the purpose of delivering outstanding legal counsel and dynamic, client-focused service. Piccolo Heath LLP is focused on guiding clients through the legal landscape to determine the best solutions to their unique issues. The firm is well-versed in current employment-related case law and statutes, but is also highly sensitive to the practical impact of the law on both employers and employees. “The essence of practicing employment law is helping people to avoid conflict wherever possible and, when conflict is unavoidable, to resolve those issues quickly,” says partner Jennifer Heath. “Our focus is on providing detailed strategy and execution so that our clients can focus on their business imperatives.” You can reach Piccolo Heath LLP by visiting Piccolo Heath LLP website, or by writing to them directly at
Devan Marr, Lawyer Strigberger Brown Armstrong LLP Devan Marr is a lawyer at Strigberger Brown Armstrong LLP. With two offices located in Toronto and Kitchener/Waterloo, the firm offers a full range of legal services to our industry partners in insurance and risk management. The firm aims to provide its clients with focused, practical, and cost efficient legal advice. Devan primarily defends insurance claims with a particular interest in the intersection of the contractual, statutory and common law obligations of parties in long-term disability and employment practice liability claims. His practice also includes providing employment related legal advice to both employers and employees in the context of contract negotiations, evaluation of termination clauses, workplace investigations, and assessment of exposure to wrongful dismissal claims. You can reach Devan Marr at Strigberger Brown Armstrong LLP at
Sean Bawden, is now a director of legal for a private company and blogging about work by an in-house lawyer which he calls “Labour Pain.” Sean was called to the bar in 2008 and practices in the areas of employment law and civil litigation. He has also taught Trial Advocacy for Paralegals and Small Claims Court Practice at Algonquin College. He is a trustee of the County of Carleton Law Association. He is also a four-time OSSC curling champion. His twitter handle is @SeanBawden. You can read more about Sean Bawden on LinkedIn.
Barry B. Fisher LL.B. is a mediator and arbitrator of both employment and labour relations matters . He offers three forms of ADR based on the clients’ needs: Mediation, Arbitration and Med/Arb. Barry is from the evaluative school of mediation and brings his over 30 years experience as an employment lawyer and legal author to the dispute. In addition to his knowledge of the legal issues involved in these disputes , he also has a deep understanding of the psychological factors that motivate both employees and employers. By combining these two skills, Barry is able to achieve a settlement rate of over 80% of the disputes that he mediates. For more about Barry and his services go to

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Past blog authors

John Proctor
Alan R. McEwen
Andrew Taillon
Lauren Bride
Ian J. Cook
Andrew Lawson
Suzanne Cohen Share
Amery Boyer
Earl Altman
David Hyde
Meghan Ferguson
Colin Braithwaite
Alison Bird
Jean-Pierre A. Laporte
Christopher Lytle
Cristina Lavecchia
Marcia Scheffler
Michele Glassford
People Insight, John Pensom
Sara Forte
Ava Moradi
Clear Path Employer Services
Simon Heath, BA, MIR, LLB, Heath Law
Matt Lalande, Lalande & Company Lawyers

john-proctor John Proctor is one of the leading experts in human risk and travel risk management in Canada and is recognized internationally in this capacity. He has been responsible for the development of all of the federal captivity survival programs currently in use in Canada today and has helped several other countries with their own systems. He regularly provides advice internationally in this field to both government and corporate organizations. He initiated and designed the only captivity survival instructor’s course in Canada and has also actively supported and advised a number of Government departments on recent Canadian captivity incidents. John has 22 years experience in the British and Canadian forces.
alanMcEwen-sm Alan R. McEwen‘s involvement in payroll spans over 20 years. As a practitioner, he has implemented and managed outsourced payroll operations for both large and small employers. This includes founding Outsourcing Canadian Payroll Inc. in Canada, the US and the UK in 2001. As a consultant, he has worked with many organizations, public and private, on HR/payroll process re-engineering, strategic systems decisions and forensic payroll audits. As a noted public speaker, Alan has provided payroll training in a variety of formats, from short sessions at conferences and trade shows, to one-day training sessions and college-based professional certification courses. As a writer, Alan’s writings have appeared in all of the major publications read by Canadian payroll professionals. He has also held volunteer and staff positions with the Canadian Payroll Association, on its Federal and Provincial Government Relations Committees, its Board of Governors and at its National Office in Toronto. Since 2004, Alan has sat on the Board of Referees in the Niagara region, an administrative panel that hears appeals from decisions of the EI Commission.
Andrew Taillon Andrew Taillon is a lawyer in Cox & Palmer‘s Halifax office. He practises mainly in labour, employment and litigation. He completed a B.A. at Mount Allison University and an M.A. at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom before working as a rural economic development consultant in Newfoundland. He then attended Dalhousie Law School where he was the recipient of the J. Gerald Godsoe Scholarship. He was also a member of the Dalhousie team for the Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark Labour Arbitration Moot and the winner of the Robert A. Samek Memorial Prize in jurisprudence and legal philosophy. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks on the topics of employment and labour law in the Atlantic provinces.
Lauren Bride, B.A. (English Literature / Philosophy) is a writer, copywriter, and editor, working in both fiction and nonfiction. She has done extensive writing and editing for commercial, private, and government clients, as well as storyediting and fiction publication. Lauren also volunteers with the not for profit group NABORS (Toronto). Lauren blogs on disability awareness and peer support around inclusion for people with disabilities, among other business related topics with a focus on not for profits.
ian-cook Ian J. Cook, MA, MBA, CHRP continues to pursue a fascination for people and business. His quest to understand what it takes for organizations, and the people in them, to thrive has led to many fantastic career stages. Ian has been an entrepreneur, an operational manager and spent 10 years, consulting to some of the World’s leading companies. He currently heads up BC HRMA’s research and learning services. The corner stone of this work is the HR Metrics Service which has fast become Canada’s leading source of HR data and analysis. Our mission is to make HR measurement common practice and unequivocally prove the value of great people practices. He has an MA from Edinburgh University, an MBA from Lancaster University and is a Certified Human Resources Professional. In his spare time he can be found exploring BC’s amazing outdoors, with his wife and young family.
Andrew Lawson Andrew Lawson is a human rights and health and safety trainer and advisor, currently consulting to both the federal and Ontario governments. Since 1996, he has conducted extensive legal research in the areas of human rights and occupational health and safety law. He has worked in the people management business for over 25 years. Drawing on his extensive research and experience, he teaches employers how to develop policies and practices that build on the experience of other professionals. His career has provided him with the opportunity to work in the health care sector, with disabled persons, in customer care and in legal services. He has conducted workshops for hundreds of groups in every province of Canada, throughout the United States and in Australia. His teaching takes the form of interesting, interactive and informative workshops.
suzanne-share-small Suzanne Cohen Share holds a master’s degree in Health Policy and Critical Disabilities, including disability law. Suzanne is a well-known cross-disability accessibility expert and consultant, a popular lecturer, trainer, researcher and author. She has taught at York University and Brock University, and was on the Accessible Built Environment Standard Development Committee for the Province of Ontario. Suzanne is the proprietor of Access (SCS) Consulting Services. She has diverse skills, with over 25 years experience as a business consultant.
Amery Boyer, CHRP, MBA is a Human Resources professional with extensive experience in human resources, staffing and employee relations for both the private and public sectors and various levels of governments. She graduated from the University of Ottawa and obtained a Masters in Business Administration from Saint Mary’s University in 1993. From 1996 to 1998, she was a member of the faculty of the Department of Management at Saint Mary’s University where she taught staffing, staff development, organizational behaviour and wage and salary administration to third and fourth year Commerce students under the Human Resources Certificate Program. Amery was also the founder and owner of The Human Element, a bilingual organizational design and human asset management business from April 1996 to 2010. She is also a contributing editor of The Human Resources Advisor, Atlantic edition published by First Reference.
Earl Altman Earl Altman is a partner at Garfinkle, Biderman . He obtained his undergraduate degree at Carleton University before earning his LL.B. at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University. Since he was called to the Ontario Bar in 1983, Earl has practised commercial and employment litigation. Earl’s litigation practice focuses on employment disputes, including acting for employees and employers in wrongful dismissal claims, and in breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims. He also handles a variety of commercial disputes, including claims arising out of disputes within partnerships, and among shareholders, as well as disputes between commercial landlords and tenants. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks on the topics of employment and labour law in Ontario. You can learn more about Earl here
DavidHyde David Hyde, M.Sc, CPC is a security and business risk consultant, author and educator with 26 years of broad-based leadership experience. He is Principal Consultant with David Hyde and Associates and in this role is a trusted advisor to a number of Canada’s top corporations on operational and reputational due diligence matters. David was formerly Director of National Security for Cadillac Fairview, a $17 billion global commercial real estate corporation. Since 2005 he has taught crime risk management courses within the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary. David holds a M.Sc in Security and Risk Management from the University of Leicester and is a graduate of the Security Executives Development Program at The Wharton School. He is certified to perform Threat Risk Assessments by the International Security Management and Crime Prevention Institute (ISMCPI) and holds advance level certification in Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). You can learn more about David’s work and writings on his firm’s website or business Facebook page or Linkedin profile.
Meghan Ferguson is Legal Counsel with Kellogg Canada – multinational producer of cereal and snacks from Frosted Flakes to Pringles. Meghan is the legal counsel for Human Resources, Sales, Finance and Communications. She provides advice for people and transactions. Prior to joining the Kellogg Team, Meghan worked at a full service firm and in the employment standards, labour and health & safety divisions at the Ontario Ministry of Labour. She practiced at one of Canada’s largest employment law firms and managed the largest termination in Canadian history after Zellers sold 220 of its leases to Target. She also managed one of the longest class actions (K-Mart) and advised on proactive strategies to reduce risks and litigation. You can learn more about Meghan here.
Colin Braithwaite has more than 20 years experience in writing and publishing. From 2004–2010, Colin was the Managing Editor responsible for the products in the Internal Control Library at First Reference Inc.
Alison Bird is a lawyer practising in Halifax with the Atlantic regional law firm, Cox & Palmer. Alison is growing her pratice in the areas of labour & employment and litigation. She earned her law degree at the University of New Brunswick in 2010 and was subsequently called to the Nova Scotia bar the following year. She was the recipient of the Lord Beaverbrook Scholarship in Law (2007 – 2010) as well as many other academic awards. Alison is a frequent presenter on employment law topics and recently presented on the challenges being faced by employers dealing with changing demographics in the workplace. You can learn more about Alison here.
  Jean-Pierre A. Laporte, BA, MA, JD, Chief Executive Officer. Jean-Pierre is by training a pension lawyer specializing in employee benefits and retirement plans. Until July 2012 he practiced out of the Toronto office of Bennett Jones LLP, a leading Canadian business law firm. He was then appointed Chief Executive Officer of INTEGRIS Pension Management Corp., a provider of pension plans to incorporated professionals and small business owners. Jean-Pierre has written a number of journal articles on pension reform and pension administration, including the seminal concept paper on the Supplemental Canada Pension Plan published in 2004 by Benefits and Pensions Monitor, his idea having been advocated by provincial governments, thought-leaders and industry groups. Jean-Pierre also drafted a private member’s bill in the Parliament of Canada that focused the federal government on adopting legislation to protect long-term disabled workers operating in federal employment. His most recent publication in the Canadian Tax Journal is entitled “A Review of Individual Pension Plans”. For his efforts at improving pension security for Canadians, Jean-Pierre was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by His Excellency the Governor-General of Canada. For more visit their website.
 Christopher Lytle Consulting Christopher Lytle, MA CDS has been involved with disability and human rights issues for ten years. During this time he has participated in the drafting of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and has been involved in its subsequent promotion and implementation in Canada as well as several countries in Africa, Central America, Asia and Europe. He has held a seat on the board of directors for the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC) as a representative of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities’ (CCD) International Human Rights Committee and he has spearheaded numerous capacity building projects with the purpose of promoting human rights, equality and accessibility. Working with diverse business communities and international human rights projects as Principal Consultant within his own firm, Christopher utilizes a person-first rights lens when interpreting national, provincial and local legislation which allows him to take a distinctive perspective on systemic and social issues. Christopher obtained a Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies from York University (2006). Christopher and his team consult on human rights issues and help organizations incorporate requirements for the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA).. Please go to for more information on services that he provides.
 Cristina Cristina Lavecchia is an editor and researcher at First Reference. She is a licensed paralegal and obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, Political Science major at York University. During Cristina’s paralegal and undergraduate studies she studied employment standards, occupational health and safety, and workplace safety and insurance. She is also cultured in various issues in relation to human resources management, including, human resources planning, recruitment, selection, performance appraisal, as well as training and development.
Marcia Scheffler, M.A., CHRP is a Human Resources Generalist with M.A. working full-time as a Senior HR Officer. Interested in the intersection of human resources theory and current best practices in HR. Strong organizational development focus with an eye for business strategy and change management. Enthusiastic promoter of people and teams. Passionate about driving human resources to support sustainable corporate social responsibility in business practices and about using the CSR model to promote principled human resources management. Enjoyment of hiking, volleyball and family balance out her work and research pursuits. You can learn more about Marcia here.
  Michele Glassford is a lawyer, researcher and policy analyst with a background in labour law. Michele graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School and York University and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1994. In addition to a part-time law practice in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Michele has worked in the field of labour adjustment for the Health Sector Training and Adjustment Program and has been a Researcher for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Michele also holds the position of VP and Managing Editor at with D.R. Hancocks & Associates Inc., author of the Human Resources PolicyPros’. Michele is the Editor of Human Resources PolicyPro, Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba & Saskatchewan, and Atlantic editions, published by First Reference Inc. She will be blogging on First Reference Talks about best practices in relation to workplace policies and procedures. You can learn more about Michele on her firm’s website.
  John Pensom is CEO of PeopleInsight, a Canadian company delivering cloud-based workforce and business analytics. He has spent 20 plus years in the “people” business and gained deep knowledge in how technology, information and analytics drives business and culture change. PeopleInsight connects and unlocks traditionally disparate HR, talent, engagement, business results and external market data to deliver rich insight through analytics in clear, visually appealing and actionable ways. John and his expert team are always happy and available to discuss the “current state of workforce analytics” in the Canadian business environment. John can be reached at You can learn more about PeopleInsight here.
  Sara Forte Employment lawyer and principal of Forte Law Corporation. Sara advises employer and employee clients in all aspects of employment law and workplace human rights, and has focused her practice in this area since her call to the bar in 2004.  Prior to attending law school, Sara worked as a human resources professional and currently holds a Certified Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation from BC HRMA. Workplace conflict is stressful, costly and distracting for everyone in the workplace.  Sara works with her clients to identify employment law solutions to reduce or eliminate workplace conflict.  Sara presents and writes frequently on employment law and workplace human rights issues. For more information, visit Forte Law Corporation’s website.
ava-moradi Ava Moradi, JD, was called to the Ontario bar in 2016 after obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies and Human Resources Management at the University of Waterloo. You can learn more about Ava on LinkedIn.
Anna Aceto-Guerin Clear Path Employer Services President Clear Path Employer Services is a team of certified HR consultants and medical professionals dedicated to resolving the human resources and claims management challenges facing businesses across Ontario. The company was founded in 2003 by Anna Aceto-Guerin, a Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) specializing in WSIB claims management and NEER cost containment, with a focus on return-to-work programs and acquiring SIEF cost relief for employers. Anna also serves as President Elect of the Grand Valley Human Resources Professionals Association (GVHRPA) and sits on the Employer Advisory Council’s WSIB Policy Committee. In addition to offering on-demand HR advice and disability management consulting services, Clear Path Employer Services also regularly hosts workshops on a variety of topics relevant to HR professionals and business owners. You can learn more about Clear Path Employer Services here.
 Simon Heath Simon Heath, BA, MIR, LLB, is the Principal of Heath Law, Employment Lawyers, in Mississauga, Ontario. Simon was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2002 after obtaining his law degree at Queen’s University. Subsequently, he was called to the Bar in British Columbia in 2003. Prior to law school, Simon obtained a BA at the University of Toronto in 1998, and his MIR at Queen’s University in 1999. Simon represents both public and private-sector employers and employees (unionized and non-unionized) at all stages of the employment relationship with a focus in the areas of employment law, labour law and human rights law; these representations are made at all levels of courts and all administrative tribunals. Specifically, Simon’s employment law practice involves all aspects of wrongful dismissal, assisting in the management of workplace disputes, preparing employment contracts and independent contractor agreements and ensuring his clients are in compliance with the every growing statutory regime governing employment in Ontario and in the federal jurisdiction. When Simon is not practicing law he can be found on the ski slopes in the Winter and training for his next marathon on a year round basis (to date he has completed 12 marathons and over 40 half marathons). He’s also an avid music fan. He contributes regularly to First Reference Talks in the area of employment and labour law. You can learn more about Simon here. You can also reach Simon by visiting his website at or by email at
Matt Lalande  is a Hamilton lawyer and founder of Lalande & Company Lawyers. They are a Hamilton law firm that specializes in representing victims who have suffered life changing injuries, claimants denied long term disability, families of wrongful death victims and employment law litigation. If you’ve been harmed, Lalande & Company Lawyers can help. You can reach Matt by visiting Lalande & Company Lawyers website, or by writing him directly at

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