Featured Speakers

Stephen Poloz

Stephen Poloz - Opening Keynote Speaker

Stephen Poloz is a widely recognized economist with nearly 40 years of experience in financial markets, forecasting, and economic policy, including 35 years in the public sector.

Prior to joining Osler, Stephen was the 9th Governor of the Bank of Canada, Canada’s central bank. Stephen was Governor of the Bank for seven years after having previously spent 14 years there during 1981-95 occupying a range of increasingly senior positions.

Prior to joining the Bank of Canada, Stephen spent 14 years at Export Development Canada, as Chief Economist (1999-2008), Head of Lending (2008-2011) and finally as President and CEO (2011-2013). He also spent four years at BCA Research, where he was Managing Editor of the International Bank Credit Analyst, one of their flagship publications.

Stephen is a Certified International Trade Professional and a graduate of Columbia University’s Senior Executive Program. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C., and at the Economic Planning Agency in Tokyo, Japan. He is a frequent speaker and writer and has taught economics at the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University and Queen’s School of Business.

At Osler, Stephen provides clients with his significant expertise and strategic guidance regarding the financial system, trade, and economic policy both domestically and on a global scale. 

Radha Curpen - Plenary Panelist

Radha Curpen - Plenary Panelist

Radha Curpen is the managing partner of Bennett Jones’ Vancouver office and co-head of the firm's Environmental Law practice and Aboriginal Law practice. She specializes in Environmental, Aboriginal and ESG matters and the transportation of dangerous goods. Radha provides strategic counsel to clients relating to regulatory compliance, the management of environmental risks, the defence of environmental litigation, the avoidance and defence of environmental related prosecutions, crisis prevention and management, corporate social responsibility, mitigating business disruption and reputation management.

She has significant experience in and regularly advises corporations, Boards of Directors and Special Committees in connection with internal and regulatory investigations, governance, ESG and risk assessments.

Radha has led or been involved in recent high profile cases. She led the defence of the regulatory investigation arising out of the Lac Mégantic train derailment on behalf of an oil company. She is the lead counsel for a multinational company relating to mercury contamination in a high-profile case in Ontario involving various First Nations. She was also involved in the defence of the diesel emissions case.

Radha will be part of the Closing Plenary Panel: Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.

Photo of Tim Harty

Tim Harty - Plenary Panelist

Tim Harty is the CEO of Mondaq, an intelligent syndication platform providing world class content and insights from professional services firms. Prior to joining Mondaq, he spent 19 years at Thomson Reuters, holding various product and general management positions, where most recently, as global head of actionable intelligence, he led the launch of an AI-enabled data privacy solution built in partnership with IBM Watson.

Tim will be moderating the Closing Plenary Panel: Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.

Justine B. Laurier - Plenary Panelist

Justine B. Laurier - Plenary Panelist

Justine B. Laurier is Partner at BLG in Montreal. Her practice spans all areas of labour and employment law, focusing on defending the interests of both unionized and non-unionized employers.

She advises employers in connection with all areas of human resources management: reorganization of their activities, pre-hiring and hiring of employees, employee management, labour relations, individual and collective terminations, and human rights.

Justine also has extensive experience with investigations into workplace harassment. She can accompany the firm’s clients throughout the process and conduct investigations on their behalf as well.

Justine also has a business immigration/labour mobility practice. She advises businesses and their executives on the recruitment of foreign workers, as well as on the assignment of personnel within Canada.

Justine will be part of the Closing Plenary Panel: Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.

Kevin MacNeill - Plenary Panelist

Kevin MacNeill - Plenary Panelist

Kevin MacNeill is Senior Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, where he has been helping employers solve human resources problems for over 25 years. He is a member of the Ontario, Quebec and New York bars and regularly practises in both English and French.

Kevin has extensive experience in all areas of employment and labour litigation, including grievance arbitration, union certifications, restrictive covenant litigation, employment-related tax litigation, pension litigation, wrongful dismissal lawsuits, wage and hour claims, discrimination claims, occupational health and safety defence, and workers' compensation matters. In addition to having appeared before a multitude of administrative tribunals, he has also represented employers in the civil courts where he has acted in several trials, judicial review proceedings and appeals.

Being a seasoned litigator, Kevin brings employers added value in the context of proactive strategic advice and collective bargaining. He has negotiated collective agreements, and advised in sale of business, workforce restructuring and reduction of force situations. He also has extensive experience in the areas of human rights, accommodation, workers compensation and disability management.

Kevin is also the author of The Duty to Accommodate in Employment, the leading text on the subject, published by Thomson Reuters, which has been cited in several arbitration and court decisions across Canada.

Kevin will be part of the Closing Plenary Panel: Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.

Kristin Taylor - Plenary Panelist

Kristin Taylor - Plenary Panelist

Kristin Taylor is a partner in the Employment & Labour Group at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP and serves as the firm’s Deputy Managing Partner. She provides practical and strategic advice to employers on a wide range of employment matters including employee hiring, discipline and termination; severance packages; corporate restructuring; employment agreements and personnel policies; certification applications; privacy and AODA compliance; mergers & acquisitions and employment standards and human rights issues.

Kristin regularly represents employers in court in wrongful dismissal actions, severance pay class actions, restrictive covenant disputes and injunctions; in grievance arbitrations, in collective bargaining and before various administrative tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and labour relations boards. She also conducts supervisory development and harassment prevention training to proactively prevent workplace disputes.

Kristin will be part of the Closing Plenary Panel: Back to Work Does Not Mean Back to Normal.

Margot Spence headshot

Margot Spence - Conference Co-Chair

Margot Spence is Manager, Corporate Law, at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). She is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the department and managing the legal team comprised of 6 litigators and 8 solicitors. She is also the risk champion for her division, advising on legal compliance reporting. 

Margot has been a member of the CCCA since 1985 and is the 2020-2021 CCCA Chair. Her other volunteer experience currently includes Board Member and Acting Treasurer with the British Columbia Courthouse Library Society.


Denis Lavoie headshot

Denis Lavoie - Conference Co-Chair

Denis Lavoie is the Director, Enterprise Risk Management, Insurance and Claims at VIA Rail Canada, where he provides business legal advice for commercial, corporate and contractual matters. He joined VIA Rail as Legal Counsel in 2005, was appointed Assistant Corporate Secretary in 2012, and then Director, Enterprise Risk Management, Insurance and Claims in 2013.

Denis obtained his LLB from the Université de Montréal and also holds an advanced Graduate Law Diploma in Business Law from the Université de Montréal's Faculty of Law. After being called to the Québec Bar and prior to joining VIA Rail Canada, he was an associate at McCarthy Tétrault in Montréal, focusing on mergers and acquisitions and securities law.