The BCIRA includes professionals and academics in industrial relations in British Columbia.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Challenges and Opportunities Facing the Comptemporary Labour Movement
  1. The focus of the evening is to explore the challenges and opportunities facing the contemporary labour movement in British Columbia:
  2. The value of Unions to workers in BC. What was it in the past, and what is it now?
  3. Are there opportunities for Unions to find new meaning and a new voice?
  4. What are the challenges facing Unions? Have they served their purpose? What more can they do or become?
  5. Are there meaningful shifts that traditional Union can take to be contemporary and relevant?
  6. Seniority, job security, and service based vacation entitlement provisions in Collective Agreements.
  7. Are these attractive or meaningful to younger workers who may change jobs more frequently than workers in previous generations?
  8. Does Globalization demand of Unions to adopt new strategies, tactics, and organizational changes?

Our Panelists addressing this topic will be:

JITESH MISTRY, Vice-Chair BCLRB Jitesh Mistry was appointed as a Vice-Chair of Labour Relations Board on January 1, 2013. As Vice-Chair, Mr. Mistry adjudicates such matters as the acquisition and termination of bargaining rights, unfair labour practices, issues with respect to strikes and picketing, and appeals of collective agreement arbitration awards. Prior to his appointment to the Board, Jitesh practiced labour and employment law at two established firms, Victory Square Law Office LLP and Black Gropper. At both firms, Mr. Mistry represented and advised clients in collective agreement arbitrations, Labour Relations Board applications, human rights tribunal hearings, as well all levels of Court. Mr. Mistry also practiced employment law in the non-unionized workforce representing both employees and employers in non-union wrongful dismissal and human rights proceedings. Jitesh holds Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from Simon Fraser University and a Law degree from the University of British Columbia. Active in his community, Mr. Mistry most recently served as the Co-Chair, and an Executive Member of the Canadian Bar Association (BC) Labour Law Section, and previously as a Labour Law Practice Advisor to the South Asian Bar Association of BC and member of the University of British Columbia Senate.

LAYNE CLARK, Young Worker Program Coordinator, BC Federation of Labour Layne joined the BC Federation of Labour in August 2013 and coordinates a province-wide program (Alive after Five) on Occupational Health and Safety for young and new workers. The program has reached over 20,000 students in the past year. She also facilitates OH&S workshops and training and manages over thirty facilitators across BC. Layne has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies from SFU and New York University.

BRIAN LEFEBVRE, Director of Organizing, IUOE, Local 115 Brian joined the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 as a staff member in 1999 at their Thompson Okanagan office, then moved on to the East/West Kootenays office in 2005 and is currently based out of their Burnaby office. During Brian’s 16-year career with Local 115, he has been involved with Collective Bargaining, Grievance Handling, Mediations, Arbitrations and Top-Down and Bottom-Up Organizing. He currently holds the titles of Recording Corresponding Secretary and Director of Organizing, as well as being a Trustee of the IUOE Local 115 Pension and Benefits Plans. Prior to Local 115, Brian worked as a Mechanic at Trimac Transportation. He earned his certification as a Red Seal Commercial Transport Mechanic during that time.

MELANIE VIPOND (Moderator) Lawyer and Associate at Gall, Legge, Grant and Munroe LLP Melanie Vipond focuses her practice on labour and employment law, human rights, occupational health & safety, privacy and administrative law. She has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as the BC Labour Relations Board, arbitration boards, human rights tribunals, and other administrative tribunals. Melanie is an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of British Columbia (UBC) and teaches in the areas of labour, employment, human rights and privacy law to Law and MBA students. Melanie completed her Master in the Science of Law at Stanford University in 2010. Her thesis, entitled “First Contract Arbitration: Evidence from British Columbia, Canada of the Significance of Mediator’s Non-Binding Recommendations”, was published in the Fall 2011 edition of the American Labor Law Journal.

VENUE: This meeting will be at Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1763 Comox St. A no host bar opens at 5:30pm with dinner at 6:30pm. Advance reservation deadline: NOVEMBER 12, 2014 as we ONLY arrange seating/dinner for advance reservations. Admission without a reservation will not be guaranteed and is more expensive.

March 11, 2014

DSM 5 – Understanding it and its Impact on the Workplace

The focus of the evening is to explore the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Our Panelists will highlight some of the significant changes and discuss the impact these changes will have on the workplace such as the following:

1. The DSM is relied upon to distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior. Will workplace misconducts such as fighting, aggressive behaviour, defiance/insubordination, and angry outbursts be treated differently because of the addition of Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder? And will this lead to an increase in workplace accommodations?

2. With new Disorders added such as Cannabis Withdrawal, Gambling Disorder, Tobacco-Use Disorder, and Caffeine-Use Disorder, will employees be held less accountable for their habits, dependencies, problems and bad choices?

3. The DSM is relied upon by health insurers, workers compensation authorities and health professionals to substantiate entitlement to benefits and substantiate absences. Will physicians and psychiatrists prescribe earlier or more often, thereby increasing Drug Claims? Will sick days use increase, disability insurance claims rise, and workers compensation claim increase because of the changes?

4. How will the elimination of the multi-axis system of diagnosis (Axis I,II, III, IV, V – the global assessment of function scale) and the replacement with a 2 categories system of “specified” or “unspecified” affect how individuals are diagnosed? What effect will this change have on workplace accommodations?

5. The DSM is relied upon by arbitrators to determine accountability for poor performance or inappropriate conduct. Will arbitrators increasingly end up having to sort through competing theories and competing diagnoses about illnesses, because of a loss of clarity created by the “specified” and “unspecified” diagnostic categories?

6. Mild neurocognitive disorder, is now included in Section II to describe individuals who have cognitive impairments but who did not meet the previous DSM-4 criteria for dementia. Will an earlier diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia affect the employment relationship, and will employees be deemed unfit to perform their position at an earlier age?

Our Panelists addressing this topic will be:

DR. ELISABETH ZOFFMANN, M.D., F.R.C.P (C), Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, at the University of British Columbia and a Medical Doctor specializing in Forensic Psychiatry, her preferred area of practice.

DR. GURDEEP PARHAR, Medical Director of CORE Medical Centre (Complete Occupational, Rehabilitation, and Environmental Medicine), a private and independent occupational health centre.

DR. RAY BAKER Medical Director of and provides medical consultation to Alliance Medical Monitoring, specializing in occupational addiction medicine.

SHARON KEARNEY (Moderator) Sharon is a graduate of the University of British Columbia where she received a B.A. (English Honours) in 1981 and an LL.B. in 1986. She was called to the B.C. Bar in 1987. Sharon has practiced exclusively in the areas of labour, human rights, employment and administrative law for over 25 years. She has worked in both the private sector and public sector as well as the Vice Chair of the Labour Relations Board of B.C. for 7 years. Sharon is currently with the Ministry of Justice as counsel in its Labour Employment and Human Rights group.

VENUE: This meeting will be at Coast Plaza Hotel & Suites, 1763 Comox St. A no host bar opens at 5:30pm with dinner at 6:30pm. Please reserve by MARCH 10, 2014 as we ONLY arrange seating/dinner for advance reservations. Admission without a reservation will not be guaranteed and is more expensive.