Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace

Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace

2017-2018 Course Offering

In consultation with its Advisory Committee, the Centre will regularly review course offerings at Queen's Law and will pursue new curricular initiatives, which include workshops, specialized or intensive courses, and the development of teaching modules on the workplace implications of other areas of law. The Centre will aim to ensure that the Queen's Law curriculum:

  • Has the breadth and depth to address the issues of greatest significance to today's and tomorrow's workplaces;
  • Is multidisciplinary and pluralistic, responding to the diverse needs of students who expect to represent employees, unions and employers;
  • Concerns itself with problem-solving skills, such as relationship building and social dialogue; and with practice norms such as collegiality, civility and professionalism;
  • Exposes students to work by the best scholars from Canada and abroad, through a visiting speakers series and a faculty visitors program.

The Faculty of Law is pleased to offer a comprehensive range of courses in workplace law, including:

Law 681 Occupational Safety, Health and Workers' Compensation Law

Workplace health is a principal concern of industrial relations practice and generates considerable risk and liability for organizations. This course examines occupational safety and health (OSH) and workers' compensation law, policy, administration and compliance. With a focus on industrial relations practice, the course addresses the purpose, economic rationale, business value and human resource implications of how the state regulates health in the workplace. The course examines occupational safety and health and workers' compensation systems, addressing such issues as OSH standards, due diligence, prosecutions, workplace injury and disease (for example, cancers and SARS).

Law 566 Adv. Labour Law

The seminar will explore key issues in labour and employment law.  The seminar format will provide a flexible blend of directed class discussion, guest speakers and student engagement.

Law 564 Pensions and Law

Pension law is a growing field and one that intersects with many different areas of law including labour and employment, human rights, trusts, tax, contract, tort, agency, bankruptcy, family, administrative and regulatory law. It is also an exciting time as pension legislation across Canada is being reformed in an attempt by governments to balance the need for individuals to have retirement income security with the need to make offering a pension plan viable for employers. Pension policy continues to make headlines as governments address the public and private pension systems, the pensions of public sector employees, and as workplace pension and benefit issues continue to be a focus in collective bargaining and corporate insolvencies. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the various legal issues relating to the design and operation of Canadian pension and benefit plans.

Law 560 Labour

This course is a survey of the law of labour-management relations, with emphasis on collective bargaining in the private sector.  It will first consider the purposes, regulatory strategies and functions of labour law as a form of regulated market ordering.  It will then provide an overview of the legal background and context of collective bargaining, including constitutional divisions of powers, the common law contract of employment, and regulation of the individual employment relationship.  It will review  the key elements of the law of collective bargaining (acquiring and terminating bargaining rights, protection against unfair labour practices, duty to bargain, regulation of strikes, lockouts and other industrial disputes, arbitration of differences under collective agreements, protection of individual rights and interests), focusing on Ontario legislation and the freedom of association provisions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Finally it will briefly survey how the new economy - including globalization and major changes in the Canadian economy and society - are reshaping labour law at the domestic and international levels today.4 credits, fall term.

Law 562 Collective Agreement and Arbitration

The collective agreement establishes the legal framework that governs the ongoing relationship between the employer, the union, and the unionized workforce. Grievance arbitration is the special mechanism that provides for the enforcement of this framework. This course examines some of the most important areas of arbitral jurisprudence and the main areas of interface between the arbitral process and the general legal process. Examples of topics to be covered are discipline and discharge, seniority, management rights, the remedial powers of arbitrators, the impact of external legislation, and evidentiary and procedural issues.

Law 559 International Labour Law

New methods of international and transnational labour regulation are emerging as economic globalization renders domestic systems impotent. This course will introduce students to the main legal and policy issues surrounding labour law in the international context.  Topics will include: free trade and economic integration; international labour standards and the International Labor Organization (ILO); labour rights, human rights and social justice;  regional systems of worker protection (the European Union, the NAFTA); the relationship between labour standards and international trade law; problems posed by labour migration; and corporate social responsibility and codes of conduct. Students will emerge from this course with an understanding of the challenges of regulating work in the global marketplace and an appreciation of the promise of emerging methods of international and transnational labour regulation.

Law 567 Employment Law

The Supreme Court of Canada has acknowledged that the contract of employment is "unique", and governs a "special relationship" between the employer and the individual non-unionized employee. This course will explore central issues and themes in employment law, and will focus on the following topics: 1) the formation of the employment contract; 2) employee or independent contractor?; 3) who is the employer?; 4) the impact of legislation upon the employment relationship (The course will focus on employment standards, pay equity, and human rights legislation); 5) termination of the employment relationship including wrongful dismissal, just cause termination; 6) the rights and remedies available to employees (including a comparison of the federal statutory regime with the provincial regime). If time permits, there will be a discussion of issues pertaining to employees with disabilities including a discussion of the workers' compensation and occupational health and safety legislative regimes.  3 credits, fall term.

Law 681 Occupational Safety, Health & Workers' Compensation

The world of work is changing. Is the law keeping up?

Workplace conditions can produce hazards for workers and substantial liability for their employers.  In Canada, these issues are addressed in two primary ways: (1) occupational health and safety regulations, and (2) workers' compensation. The overwhelming personal risk is felt by workers; the overwhelming financial and regulatory burden is felt by employers.

Law 581/582 Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal

The Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal (CLELJ) is Canada’s only scholarly refereed law review in its field, and is a collaborative publication of Lancaster House and the Queen’s Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace. The Editor-in-Chief is Professor Kevin Banks.  The student editorial group consists of a maximum of six Student Editors (Law-581AB) and a maximum of two Senior Student Editors (Law-582AB) who have previously served as Student Editors on the CLELJ or the Queen’s Law Journal. Law-582AB and Law-581AB each carry four credits, normally divided equally between the fall and winter terms.  Duties of the Senior Student Editors and Student Editors will include the following: doing initial reviews of articles submitted to the journal, deciding which submissions to accept and on what conditions; assessing revisions made by the authors; doing substantive editing of the accepted papers; supervising citation checking by volunteer student editorial assistants; and helping to plan future issues. The student editorial group is selected in the spring for the following academic year, on the basis of written applications, a short editing test and an interview.

Law 494 Labour:  Individual Study

For MIR/J.D. combined degree students only - Individual Supervised Project to be undertaken and completed in the winter term of the graduating year involving a topic related to their cooperative work placement; minimum credit weight of 4 credits.

Law 341, 342, 343, and 344 Alternative Dispute Resolution

The resolution of legal disputes by means of negotiation, mediation, or arbitration, rather than by trial before a judge. Both court-annexed and private ADR methods will be considered. The class will participate in simulation exercises, some of which will involve preparation of settlement documents, and will examine the relevant statutes and current studies on alternative dispute resolution. The primary focus will be on the use of ADR in private civil disputes, particularly in the areas of commercial law, torts, and family law. The goal of the course is the development of both settlement skills and a critical understanding of ADR methods.

NOTE Students cannot enrol in more than one of either LAW-341/342/343/344 Alternative Dispute Resolution or Law-335 Negotiation as there are subject areas common to both.

Law 338 Negotiation

The purpose of this seminar is to gain theoretical as well as practical knowledge of and perspectives related to negotiation.  The seminar will focus on building and improving participants' negotiating skills through analysing conflict, understanding the process of negotiation, and engaging in a series of simulated negotiations with coaching and de-briefing.  Topics to be covered will include general and specific negotiation themes including understanding the nature of conflict, analyzing problems, understanding negotiation styles and approaches, defining and uncovering interests, developing options, brainstorming, joint problem-solving, dealing with process challenges ("hard bargainers" and other obstructive behaviours, overcoming impasse, etc.), ethics in negotiation, and negotiation in a variety of contexts (including collaborative negotiations, facilitated negotiations).   Role-plays will include direct and multi-party negotiations in a variety of practice areas.

Law 262 Constitutional Issues in Labour Law

In the past decade or so, the Supreme Court of Canada has revised some of its jurisprudence on s. 2(b), s. 2 (d) and s. 15 of the Charter in a way that affects labour law in Canada. This course addresses this changes and thus will provide students interested in labour law an important set of tools for litigation and analysis. In addition, the course will be of interest to students interested in advanced constitutional law generally, as it addresses a right not typically discussed in first year constitutional law, namely freedom of association, and it allows for in-depth analysis of s. 15 and s. 2(b), beyond what may be addressed in a general constitutional law course.

Law 203/703 Workplace Law (undergraduate course)

This course will introduce students to the various legal regimes that regulate work relations:  the common law regime; the regulatory regime which includes employments standards, health and safety rules, and human rights; and the collective bargaining regime that applies to unionized workplaces.  Students will understand that the law of work is a dynamic area, constantly affected by economic, historical, political and global forces.

    Law 473 Competitive Moot Court - Oralist

    Upper-year J.D. or combined J.D. degree program students selected as an oralist for an approved moot team will be enrolled in LAW-473 Competitive Moot Court – Oralist for three upper-year credits to be graded on a letter grade basis by the faculty supervisor upon completion of the moot. LAW-473 must be added during the period of open enrolment at the beginning of the fall term for a fall term moot or at the beginning of the winter term for a winter term moot. If the selection is made after expiry of the open enrolment period for the relevant term, permission for late enrollment must be sought from the Assistant Dean of Students on behalf of the Academic Standing and Policies Committee.

    Law 495 Competitive Moot II - Oralist

    Upper-year J.D. or combined J.D. student selected as an oralist for an approved moot held in the fall or winter term and who has a previous registration in LAW-473, will be registered in LAW-495 for three upper-year credit units to be graded on a letter grade basis by the faculty supervisor upon completion of the moot. Law-495 must be added during the period for open enrolment at the beginning of the fall term or at the beginning of the winter term for a winter term moot. If the selection is made after expiry of the open enrolment period for the relevant term, permission for late enrollment must be sought from the Assistant Dean of Students on behalf of the Academic Standing and Policies Committee.