Stikeman Elliott
Employment Labour & Pension
Employment & Labour

The National Employment & Labour Group at Stikeman Elliott advises employers on all facets of the individual and collective employment relationship, both at the provincial and federal level. The members of the group are located at our offices in Montréal (Quebec), Toronto (Ontario), Calgary (Alberta) and Vancouver (British Columbia). All members of the group have wide-ranging employment and labour law experience, and each has developed specific expertise in particular niche areas. This approach ensures that we can provide advice in a timely, cost-effective and efficient manner by calling upon appropriate, targeted resources.

The group is a full-service practice area within the firm. In particular, the group delivers its services on a continuing basis to employers on a wide range of employment and labour matters including occupational health and safety, collective bargaining, employee privacy, human rights issues, legislative advice, and drafting of all relevant contracts. We also have a National Pension and Benefits Practice Group which assists clients in the sophisticated and complex environment in which pension and employee benefit programs operate today.

As part of our commitment to assist corporate leaders to establish and refine positive management and employee practices, we regularly provide in-house seminars and develop publications that address topical and timely employment issues. For foreign clients looking to invest in Canada, we have produced a Canadian Employment, Labour and Pension Law FAQ, outlining significant issues that companies should consider when entering the Canadian market.

Employment Law Services

Members of the group regularly appear as counsel for employers in the courts and before various employment and labour-related administrative tribunals both under federal and provincial legislation. We are also regularly involved in the employment and labour-related aspects of commercial transactions, including those arising from new business ventures, and in strategic employment and human resource planning.

We regularly assist employers and their executives with:

  • Compliance with employment related statutes

  • Director and officer liability issues and fiduciary duties

  • Disciplinary measures, including managing chronically ill and absent employees

  • Drafting, interpretation and enforcement of employment agreements, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitation, non-competition and other restrictive covenants, and transition services agreements

  • Employee drug and alcohol testing

  • Employment-related dispute resolution including class proceedings, civil litigation and mediation and conciliation

  • Establishment and audit of human resource policies to ensure compliance and fit with the organization's approach to employee relations

  • Executive compensation, including supplemental pension and retirement compensation arrangements;

  • French language requirements in the workplace (Quebec)

  • Health and safety in the workplace including the strategic planning of worker's compensation assessments (Quebec)

  • Human rights, harassment and violence in the workplace

  • Immigration and relocation for employees

  • Incentive compensation such as bonus plans and stock option plans

  • Management education and training

  • Occupational health and safety

  • Outsourcings, restructurings, reorganizations, workforce reductions, and plant and facility closures

  • Pay equity

  • Pension issues in the context of mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy and insolvency

  • Privacy and access to information issues in the employment context

  • Termination, layoffs and severance practices and arrangements

  • Transition and retention programs, and retirement benefits

  • Workplace policies

  • Wrongful dismissal claims 

Labour Law Services

In the field of labour relations, we focus exclusively on representing management. We have expertise in negotiating collective agreements in the context of both federally and provincially-regulated businesses, including experience in Quebec, where we have a leading employment and labour practice. We have also advised numerous clients whose workforce is subject to an organizing campaign. We can advise clients on strategic, but compliant responses to such campaigns, including compliance training for managers.

Our services in this field include advice and representation in:

  • Collective agreement administration

  • Collective bargaining

  • Discipline and termination of employment

  • Instituting proactive and positive employee relations practices and programs

  • Labour arbitration and dispute resolution

  • Industrial conflicts (strikes, lock-outs and picketing)

  • Successor-employer proceedings

  • Unfair labour practices

  • Union organizing, certification and decertification campaigns

  • Strategic labour advice

Members of the group regularly appear as counsel for employers in the courts and before various employment and labour-related administrative tribunals both under federal and provincial legislation.

Immigration Law Services

Stikeman Elliott's Immigration Group helps companies and individuals by developing effective strategies that take into consideration the legal aspects as well as the personal nature of migration. Members of the group include practitioners with extensive knowledge of immigration-related matters.

Members of our group assist clients in acquiring temporary status (work permits) as well as securing and maintaining Canadian permanent resident status and Canadian citizenship. Together with other practitioners in the firm, our immigration lawyers advise on the employment, custom and tax issues that may arise in transfer situations. We also assist clients in applying for government approval to overcome inadmissibility problems based on health or criminal issues.

Stikeman Elliott's Immigration Group prepares submissions to immigration authorities in order to ensure the most efficient processing possible for foreign worker work permit applications.

Our Immigration Group's client base is very broad. Among other matters, we act on all the Canadian business immigration matters of a large international insurance company, a private Swiss financial entity and a significant Canadian transportation company. We have been active in multiple sectors for Canadian and foreign-controlled corporations including financial services, transportation (air, rail, ship), IT, heavy industry, energy, pharmaceutical and biotechnology.

Professional Activities

Several members of the group have lectured at the university level, authored books, legal service manuals and articles, including Le congédiement déguisé au Québec - Fondements théoriques et aspects pratiques, The Employment Contract, Le contrat d'emploi, Executive Employment Law, Les dirigeants: leurs droits et leurs obligations, as well as a section dealing with labour law in the publication titled Doing Business in Canada.

Value-Added Client Resources

As part of our effort to remain at the forefront of client service, we have developed an employment and pension law blog, featuring practical and timely information and commentary on important legal and policy developments in this area of law, including termination of employment, executive compensation, human rights, occupational health and safety, pension plan, governance, pension fund investment issues, overtime, social networking pension plan mergers, conversions and other restructurings, insolvency-related pension issues, employment standards, drug testing legislation updates and privacy. The blog is fully searchable with extensive archived materials, indexed by topic, and allows users to subscribe for regular updates via email or RSS feed.

The blog is available at

Related Practices
Key Contacts

Hélène Bussières

Lorna Cuthbert

Gary Clarke 

Gary Clarke
Related Publications