Thursday, October 28, 2021 from 1:15pm to 4:30pm

Working Minds
One-Day Symposium

Join us to hear how municipal Human Resource professionals may contribute to the shared responsibility of creating workplaces that continually improve the mental health and well-being of all employees.

Click the register now button and email us your confirmation to register for the symposium.

Brought to you by our Gold Sponsors:

Symposium Registration

You may reserve your spot by emailing Benita Jenkins at If you purchase a package, please be sure to let know who will be registered for which Symposium event.


You may purchase your tickets for this symposium as a stand-alone event or take advantage of the special bundle of six seats to our One-Day Symposiums that will be offered in OMHRA over the course of the year.

Purchasing a package provides you with the opportunity to use those six seats as best suits your organization:

  • send six participants to the October Symposium; or
  • spread the six seats out over the remaining Symposiums in any combination that is most appropriate for you and your team.

It does not have to be the same individual attending each event.

OMHRA Members
& Retired Members

October 28, 2021

One-Day Symposium

$170/per participant

Package for the Series
of One-Day Symposiums

$900/six participants
(represents a savings of $120)


October 28, 2021
One-Day Symposium

$200/per participant

Package for the Series
of One-Day Symposiums

$1,080/six participants
(represents a savings of $120)

Symposium Agenda

1:15 p.m.

Collen Hickey, Chair of OMHRA Education Committee, Manager of Human Resources and Health and Safety Services for the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville.

1:20 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Managing in a Unionized Environment
In this presentation, we will discuss the key rights, duties and challenges associated with managing a unionized workforce; in particular, we will explore the benefits and hurdles of engaging in performance management and progressive discipline as a municipal employer with one or more bargaining units.

The learning objectives of the session include:

  • understanding collective agreements;
  • confirming management rights and responsibilities;
  • avoiding common pitfalls in performance management; and,
  • establishing just cause and imposing defensible discipline.

Alanna Twohey is a Research Lawyer with Emond Harnden who provides support to the other lawyers of the firm in all aspects of labour and employment law. Prior to joining the firm, she articled and practiced at a management-side labour and employment law boutique in Ottawa. During that time, Alanna’s practice included providing advice and representation to employers in both the public and private sectors.

Alanna has significant and diverse experience with employment, labour, human rights and occupational health and safety matters in both the federal and provincial jurisdictions. She is also experienced in collective bargaining, having been exposed to a variety of bargaining issues, both as chief negotiator and in an advisory role.

Presentation by Emond Harnden
Bronze Sponsor

As a boutique labour and employment law firm, Emond Harnden has represented the interests of management in both official languages since 1987. Emond Harnden helps clients resolve workplace challenges in a cost-effective and strategic manner. It represents a critical resource for navigating the ever-changing human resources landscape.

2:00 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Psychologically Safe and Healthy Workplaces

Keith Anderson, a lawyer who had depression, shares his lived experience and knowledge to discuss psychologically safe and healthy workplaces.

Keith Anderson is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School ( LL.B., 1983) and University College London ( LL.M., 1987).

He first went public with his journey with depression in an article in the National Post newspaper, called How I Returned to a Life Worth Living, published on February 20, 2008. Since then, Keith has spoken at national and international mental health conferences, legal conferences, universities, and fundraisers. He has also served on numerous Boards of Directors and Committees for mental health non-profit groups. His articles have appeared in publications of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the Canadian Bar Association, and the American Bar Association.

In the fall of 2015, Keith launched Worth Living Mental Health Consulting, which offers a blog, podcasts, consulting, and conferences. This past summer, he published the book, Life Worth Living: A Mental Health Anthology. Keith also works with the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia as the Provincial Peer Support Lead.

2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
PDAs: Turning a Disability Management Tool
into a Proactive Injury Prevention Tool

Physical Demands Assessments (PDA) have historically been used primarily as a Disability Management Tool to assist with the return to work of employees experiencing injury. They are effective in determining a match between the employee’s abilities and the job requirements to determine whether the job is suitable for return to work and where accommodation may be required but have you ever thought about how they can be a more proactive tool in your toolbox?

The goal of this session is to present ways that a PDA can be used for more proactive purposes, working towards employee wellness rather than reacting to injuries. We will explore how the PDA can be utilized as a hazard identification/risk assessment tool, as part of a training program and more!

The learning objectives of the session include:

  • understand what a PDA is and what is included;
  • summarize the base purpose of a PDA; and,
  • demonstrate how the PDA can be part of a more comprehensive, proactive, program.

Jennifer McGillis is a Registered Kinesiologist and Certified Professional Ergonomist and one of the co-owners of PROergonomics. Jennifer has been an Ergonomic Consultant for more than 16 years, providing ergonomic assessment and training services to improve set-up and reduce injury risk for all workers.

The team at PROergonomics has extensive experience working with municipal work, with over 60 Ontario municipalities on our client list. We specialize in Physical and Cognitive Demands Assessment Services as well as Office Assessments and Ergonomic Training Sessions for Supervisors, JHSCs, office staff and front-line staff.

Presentation by PROergonomics Inc.
General Sponsor

PROergonomics offers professional, proactive and productive ergonomic consulting solutions that will aid in improving your company’s ergonomics and health & safety programs.

3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Workplace Investigations: Strategies to Minimize Disruption and Damage to the Workplace

Municipalities are often required to complete workplace investigations into numerous different types of complaints from staff which often have distinct areas of risk. This presentation will assist management and human resource team members effectively investigate complaints while also minimizing potential disruption and damage to the broader workplace during and following the investigation.

The presenters will extract key obligations stipulated by applicable legislation and provide practical “to do’s” and “not to do’s” derived from leading jurisprudence. The presentation will involve a review by the presenters of key principles and discussion of case studies to assist participants in deriving practical “how to’s.”

The learning objectives of the session include:

  • understanding of legal obligations owed to staff imposed by applicable legislation and case law;
  • identifying additional considerations when completing an investigation in a unionized workplace;
  • recommendations to increase the likelihood that investigations will withstand the scrutiny which often arises during litigation; and,
  • recommendations to minimize internal damage during and following the investigation.

Evan Campbell assists employers with a variety of issues including discipline and terminations, employment standards, corporate mergers and acquisitions, human rights, employment contracts and workplace policies, workplace safety and insurance, health and safety, and industrial and construction labour relations.

He has extensive experience litigating matters involving wrongful dismissals, corporate and commercial disputes, grievance arbitrations, and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and the Labour Relations Act.

Evan regularly represents clients before the courts and numerous administrative tribunals including Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.

Carol VandenHoek is a partner in Miller Thomson’s Guelph office and has over 20 years of experience in employment law, litigation including estate matters, and agriculture law. Carol’s emphasis on creative solutions is paired with her strong advocacy skills before the court and tribunals. Carol earned her law degree at the University of Toronto, and in 2009 completed her Master of Law in Labour Relations and Employment Law. Carol also holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto.

Presentation by Miller Thomson LLP
Bronze Sponsor

Miller Thomson’s Labour Relations and Employment Group regularly advises employers in the municipal sector on a full range of labour and employment matters. Members of the Miller Thomson Labour and Employment Group have extensive experience assisting municipalities (large and small), police services boards, governments and government agencies, colleges and universities, hospitals, as well as commercial organizations.