Smart. Savvy. Strategic.

We help solve employment, labour and business problems.  We assess legal risks and opportunities, we provide innovative advice, and we litigate disputes.  Our extensive experience allows us to tailor our advice and advocacy to achieve each client’s strategic goals.

Services

Employment Law

Employees are the heart of every business and work is central to the lives of most Canadians. We advise employers and employees across Canada about employment law problems and we act as counsel before courts, human rights tribunals and administrative adjudicators.

  • Wrongful dismissal litigation
  • Severance negotiations
  • Non-compete/non-solicit litigation
  • Employment contract drafting and review
  • Human rights issues
  • Restrictive covenant drafting and review
  • Executive compensation
  • Personnel policies and manuals
  • Bullying and harassment issues
  • Employment standards issues

Labour Law

Effective labour relations require thoughtful management of the employer/union relationship over the long-term as well as agile response to crises. We provide strategic advice to employers about a wide variety of issues in unionized workplaces and we represent them at the BC Labour Relations Board, the Canada Industrial Relations Board and before collective agreement arbitrators.

  • Collective agreement arbitrations
  • Collective bargaining, strikes and picketing issues
  • Certification and decertification applications
  • Bullying and harassment issues
  • Unfair labour practice complaints
  • Human rights issues
  • Successorships
  • Inclusion/exclusion issues
  • Collective agreement interpretation
  • Common employer and true employer issues

Litigation

When disputes can’t be resolved by agreement, litigation requires sound knowledge of the law, tactical savvy and the sophisticated advocacy skills that come with long experience.  We represent employers, employees and businesses in a wide variety of litigation matters before courts, tribunals and regulators across Canada.

  • Contract claims
  • Injunctions
  • Judicial review proceedings
  • Partnership disputes
  • Shareholder disputes
  • Professional discipline cases
  • Regulatory proceedings
  • Recovery of confidential information
  • Agency disputes
  • Shareholder oppression claims
  • Commercial arbitration
  • Garnishment proceedings

Lawyers

Matthew Cooperwilliams

(604) 336-9094
matthew@cooperwilliamslaw.com

 

Qualifications

  • Bar of British Columbia, 1988
  • Roll of Solicitors of England and Wales, 2001
  • LLB, University of Manitoba, 1987
  • Adjunct Professor in Employment Law, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, 2010 – 2015
  • Chair and Co-Chair, Employment Law Conference, The Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, 2009 – Present
  • Founder and first Chair, Employment Law Section, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch
  • Member, Legal Track Committee, BC Human Resources Conference, Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, 2020

Representative Cases

Negotiated
  • Severance packages for CEO, CFO, COO, and General Counsel
  • Employment contracts for President, CEO, CFO, and Chief Human Resources Officer
Defended
  • Wrongful dismissal claim for commercial insurer
  • Human rights judicial review proceedings in Nova Scotia for telecommunications retailer
  • Physician in professional disciplinary proceedings
  • Human rights claims in Ontario and Quebec for retailer 
  • Disability benefits claim for accounting firm
  • Labour Relations Board judicial review proceedings for grocery retailer
  • Restrictive covenant injunction proceedings for insurance broker
  • Founders of tech startup in wrongful dismissal and breach of confidentiality actions
Pursued
  • Ex-employee in restrictive covenant action for manufacturer
  • Future commissions for sales executive
  • Return of confidential information from ex-employee for auto parts retailer
  • Garnishment of funds before judgment in wrongful dismissal action for CFO
Advised
  • Insurance brokerage about non-competition strategy and restrictive covenants
  • Manufacturer about drug and alcohol policy
  • Post-secondary institution about bullying and harassment issues
  • Accountant about competition issues after leaving firm
  • Retailer about mass terminations across Canada
  • Auto dealership about constructive dismissal claim in Alberta

Rankings

  • Consistently Recommended, Canadian Legal Expert Directory – Employment Law, Employer  – 2013 to present
  • Ranked, Best Lawyers Global Business Edition – Labour and Employment Law – 2020 
  • Ranked, Best Lawyers in Canada – Labour and Employment Law – 2016 to present
  • Ranked, Who’s Who Legal – Labour, Employment & Benefits – 2019
  • Ranked, Who’s Who Legal Canada – Management Labour & Employment – 2016 to present

Recent Presentations

  • Co-Chair, Employment Law Continuing Legal Education Conference, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, September 2020
  • “Employment Law Issues During COVID-19”, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, April, 2020
  • “COVID-19: Employment Law Issues”, Narrative Financial Services Inc., March 2020
  • “How Not to Terminate an Employee: Perspectives on Acumen Law v. Ojanen”, Canadian Bar Association – BC Branch, Employment Law Subsection, February 2020
  • “Employment Law in Review: 2019”, BC Community Social Services Employers Association Annual Conference, October 2019 
  • “Is This Really Happening? A Cross-Canada Review of the Top Issues and Trends in Employment Law”, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers Annual Conference, September 2019
  • “Employment Law for Corporate Counsel”, Guest Lecturer, Corporate Counsel Externship Program, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia, 2018 to 2020
  • Co-Chair, Employment Law Continuing Legal Education Conference, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 2019
  • “Current Employment Law Issues for Business Lawyers”, Synergy Business Lawyers LLP, March 2019

Publications

  • “Study: Canada Ranks Third-Worst for Paid Vacations”, (quoted), BC Business, May 2013
  • “The Backlash Against Unpaid Internships”, (quoted), Maclean’s Magazine, February 2011

Richard Truman

(236) 317-4151
rich@cooperwilliamslaw.com

 

Qualifications

  • Bar of British Columbia, 2012
  • JD, University of British Columbia, 2011
  • Executive, Civil Litigation Section – Vancouver, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, 2020 – Present
  • Executive, Employment Law Section, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, 2016 – 2019
  • Member, Human Rights Law and Workplace Investigations Sections, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch
  • Volunteer, Access Pro Bono

Representative Cases

Negotiated
  • Severance packages for President, CEO, CFO and COO
  • Employment contracts for President, CEO, CFO and COO
Defended
  • Wrongful dismissal claim for property developer
  • Human rights complaint for software firm
  • Employment Standards complaint for logistics company
  • Discriminatory action complaint (WorksafeBC) for food and beverage company
  • Defamation claim for President and CEO
Pursued
  • Wrongful dismissal claim for Vice President of Sales
  • Defamation claim for ex-President
  • Return of confidential information from ex-employees
  • Mareva injunction for ex-CEO
Advised
  • Heavy machinery manufacturer about terminations of employment
  • Transportation company about drug and alcohol policies
  • Post-secondary institution about bullying and harassment
  • COO about competition issues after leaving firm
  • Food and beverage company about employment law obligations in Ontario
  • Federally regulated employer about attendance management, illness and disability

Recent Presentations

  • “31 Flavours of Damages”, Employment Law Continuing Legal Education Conference, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 2017
  • “Law and the Architect”, Architectural Institute of BC, September 2016

Publications

  • “Extra Sprinkles: Four Less Common Flavours of Tort Damages Arising in the Employment Law Context”, (co-author), Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 2017
  • “Practical Alternatives to Restrictive Covenants” and “The Impact of Restrictive Covenants on Reasonable Notice”, (co-author), Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, May 2014

Eric Ito

(236) 317-4152
eric@cooperwilliamslaw.com

Qualifications

  • Bar of British Columbia, 2015
  • JD, University of Toronto, 2014
  • Transnational Legal Studies Certificate, Georgetown University, 2013
  • Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, 2017 to Present
  • Member, Employment Law Section, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, 2016 – Present
  • Member, The Advocates’ Club, 2018 to Present
  • Executive, Animal Law Section, Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch, 2018 – Present
  • Volunteer, Access Pro Bono

Representative Cases

Negotiated
  • Collective bargaining agreement with large Canadian union on behalf of BC employer
  • Severance package for surgeons following clinic acquisition
  • Resolution of labour grievance concerning accommodation of employees
  • Settlement of civil action on behalf of defendant company for breach of contract
Defended
  • Wrongful dismissal action on behalf of manufacturing firm following termination for sexual harassment
  • Policy grievance arbitration regarding monetary entitlements arising under expired collective agreements
  • Former senior level employee against injunction to restrain employment with competitor
  • Human rights complaint on behalf of multinational video game company
  • Unfair labour practices complaint and certification application at Labour Relations Board
  • Grievance arbitration regarding testing of fitness for duty in safety sensitive position
Pursued
  • Interlocutory injunctions on behalf of brokerage firm to enforce contractual and fiduciary prohibitions on competition and confidential information
  • Action against former President and CEO for civil fraud and breach of fiduciary duties
  • Wrongful dismissal action on behalf of ex-CFO
  • Civil action and affirmation at BC Court of Appeal on behalf of travel agency for breach of contract
  • Union decertification application on behalf of construction company
  • Appeal to WorkSafeBC to overturn denial of workers’ compensation claim on behalf of injured worker
  • Appeal to Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal on behalf of Canadian employer in respect of workplace fatality
Advised
  • Financial services company in respect of employee accommodation, workplace safety, and temporary layoffs in response to outbreak of COVID-19
  • Multinational software company in large-scale reduction of workforce following windup of business
  • Large technology company in accommodating employees in multiple jurisdictions
  • High tech startup in structuring employment contracts, policies, and benefits
  • BC manufacturer in investigation of employee theft and addiction accommodation
  • Large corporation in development of drug and alcohol testing policy

Recent Presentations

  • “A Changing Regulatory Environment and Planning Forward”, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, September 2020
  • “Navigating COVID-19 in Compliance with Labour, Occupational Health and Safety, and Human Rights Legislation”, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium, April 2020
  • Program Instructor, “Procedural Fairness in Administrative Law”, Employment and Social Development Canada (Labour Program), Government of Canada, April 2018

Publications

  • “Update to Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) Eligibility”, Lexology, April 2020
  • “Independent Contractors Take Another Step Closer to Employees”, Lexology, July 2018
  • “Cannabis in the Workplace: What to Expect and What not to Expect from WorkSafeBC”, Lexology, March 2018
  • “Oral Contracts, Fixed Term Contracts, and a Winter in Mexico: Key Lessons for Employers”, Lexology, June 2016
  • “The Right to be Wrong: Supreme Court of Canada Lowers Causation Bar on Occupational Disease and Injury”, Lexology, July 2016

Contact

© 2020

Matthew Cooperwilliams Law Corporation