Michael A. Watt*

Partner

Michael Watt is the leader of the firm’s Labour + Employment Practice. His practice involves providing time sensitive legal advice to both businesses and employees in the areas of labour, employment, workers compensation and human rights laws. He and the members of the practice group assist clients defending and prosecuting claims through the court and administrative tribunal processes, as necessary. Clients include local and international businesses, not for profits, healthcare employers, government entities and individuals seeking advice on workplace issues.

Michael regularly writes articles and speaks to client and industry groups on topics related to workplace issues. A list of Michael’s recent articles and presentations is set out below.

Michael is also a member of the firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice where he uses his experience to assist clients involved in various disputes.

Legal Industry Recognition

  • Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished Rating – Very High Peer Review Rating in Legal Ability and Ethical Standards

Representative Experience

  • Preparing and implementing employment contracts, restrictive covenants and employee policy handbooks
  • Advising businesses and individuals on employee terminations
  • Acting for clients enforcing restrictive covenants and protecting against misuse of confidential information
  • Advising businesses on rights and obligations related to employee performance issues and employee disability
  • Assisting businesses with occupational health and safety compliance
  • Advising businesses on human rights obligations related to employees and defending complaints made to the Human Rights Tribunal
  • Assisting businesses with trade union representation including certification applications
  • Assisting unionized businesses with collective agreement, negotiation, administration and grievance arbitrations
  • Planning, negotiating and documenting labour and employment issues arising from corporate transactions

RECENT DECISIONS

  • Smyth v. Loblaw Companies Limited, 2017 BCHRT 73
  • Sleath obo others v. Shoppers Drug Mart, 2016 BCHRT 72
  • Simpkin v. Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Board (No.3), 2016 BCHRT 56
  • Simpkin v. Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Board (No.2), 2015 BCHRT 129
  • PSAC – and – Skookum Jim Friendship Centre, 2015 CIRB 784
  • Simpkin v. Stl’atl’imx Tribal Police Board, 2014 BCHRT 255
  • Certain Employees of Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd., et al and United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518, BCLRB No. B56/2014
  • Anderson v. Intercity Equity Corp., 2013 BCHRTD No. 161
  • Mathison v. Arpeg Holdings and others, 2012 BCHRT 179
  • Certain Employees of Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd., et al and United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1518, BCLRB No. B26/2013 (Leave for Reconsideration of BCLRB No. B28/2012)
  • Danielisz v. Hercules Forwarding Inc., 2012 BCSC 1155 (CanLII)
  • Certispec Services Inc. and International Longshore and Warehouse Union, Local 500, 2011 CIRB LD 2699
  • Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd. -and- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1518 – and – Western Agriculture Labour Initiative (WALI) and British Columbia Agriculture Council (BCAC) BCLRB No. B26/2010
  • Sidhu & Sons Nursery Ltd. -and- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1518, BCLRB No. B159/2010

Professional + Community Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch (Labour, Employment, Human Rights and Civil Litigation subsections)
  • Canadian Bar Association, National Labour and Employment subsection, Executive Member
  • Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE), Member
  • British Columbia Business Council (BCBC), Employee Relations Committee
  • The Vancouver Club
  • Royal Vancouver Yacht Club

Education

  • 1991 Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
  • 1990 LL.B. University of British Columbia
  • 1986 B.A. Queen’s University

Publications + Presentations

  • May 17, 2017, “Duty to accommodate in the workplace”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • May 5, 2017, “Weed at work: Risk for employers”, Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) – Construction Leadership Forum, Speaker
  • November 4, 2016, “Legal update 2016: Employment Law for your medical practice”, BC Podiatric Medical Association, Speaker
  • October 2016, “Fight against gender-based wage discrimination is far from won”, Business in Vancouver, Author
  • April 2016, “Privacy at work and dealing with employee personal information”, AHBL Lunch ‘n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • May 27, 2015, “Employment termination planning”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • November 4, 2014, “Recent Human Rights Cases of Interest”, CBA Human Rights Section, Speaker
  • November 5, 2014, “Sale and Acquisition: Update on Best Practices for Dealing with Employees”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • May 28, 2014, “Pregnancy/Parental Leaves and Return to Work – Satisfying Statutory Obligations”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • May 8, 2014, “Recent Human Rights Cases of Interest for Employment Lawyers”, Employment Law CLE Conference, Speaker
  • April 23, 2014, “Discipline – Conducting Effective Employment Investigations”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker
  • November 21, 2013, “Complying with Key Components of the BC Employment Standards Act and Regulations” Federated Press 7thHR Legal Risks Course (Vancouver), Speaker
  • October 2, 2012, “Managing in a Unionized Environment: A Legal Perspective”, BC HRMA Seminar(Burnaby), Speaker
  • June 19, 2012, “How the new Rules of Court have affected Employment Litigation”, Employee Terminations Insight Conference, Speaker
  • May 24, 2012, “Managing in a Unionized Environment”, BC HRMA Seminar (Kamloops), Speaker
  • May 13, 2012, “Employment Litigation and the New Civil Rules”, Employment Law CLE Conference, Speaker
  • March/April 2012, “Working Notice: Is it so Complicated?”, Employment Law CLE conference and CBA Employment Law Subsection Luncheon, Speaker
  • January 2012, “Employment Law update”, BC Legal Administrators Association Luncheon, Speaker
  • December 2, 2011, “Management Rights in a Unionized Environment”, BC HRMA Webinar, Speaker
  • August 29, 2011, “Managing your Duty to Accommodate – Educating and working with Front-Line Supervisors”, Infonex Conference(Calgary), Speaker
  • April 2011, “Employment Law for Managers – The importance of documentation in all aspects of the employment relationship”, AHBL Lunch n’ Learn Seminar, Speaker

On A Personal Note

Michael was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated in 1983 from St. George’s School in Vancouver. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1986 from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of British Columbia in 1990. He was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1991. Prior to joining Alexander Holburn in 2000, he was a partner at Douglas Symes & Brissenden in Vancouver.

Direct Line: 604.484.1733
Facsimile: 604.484.9733
mwatt@nullahbl.ca
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Assistant: Carol Hutton
Direct Line: 604.643.2136
Email: chutton@nullahbl.ca

* Professional Law Corporation