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Christopher Burkett is an experienced trial advocate, having appeared before a variety of administrative tribunals, at all levels of trial court, and the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Mr. Burkett's broad litigation and advocacy practice specifically focuses in the areas of labour and employment law, administrative and public law, professional discipline, corporate anti-bribery compliance, and criminal matters.

Prior to joining Baker McKenzie in 2011, Mr. Burkett was an Assistant Crown Attorney, where he was the lead prosecutor on numerous criminal trials; including serious commercial fraud prosecutions.

Mr. Burkett's experience extends to matters involving internal investigations, administrative tribunals, judicial review applications, injunctions, trials, and appeals.

The date set for the legalization of marijuana in Canada is now just over 7 months away. With legalization looming and the holiday season upon us, it is now more important than ever for employers to take proactive steps to respond to the changing legal and social landscape. Continue Reading Dazed & Confused: Navigating Marijuana in the Workplace

We have written over the past two years about a growing wave of significant lawsuits in Canada against corporations for alleged international labour and human rights violations in their overseas operations or supply chains. As we have reported, Canada’s judiciary is demonstrating a willingness to expand their jurisdictional reach to permit such claims to proceed. Canadian judges are keeping an open mind as to whether a novel duty of care exists between multinational companies and the upstream foreign supply chain workers or the local residents affected by their operations. Continue Reading Door Still Open? Canada As Safe Harbour For Multinational Human Rights Litigation

A lawsuit brought by several Guatemalans for alleged damages suffered during a 2013 protest at the Escobal silver mine in San Rafael Las Flores has cleared a final hurdle and will now proceed to trial in British Columbia. Continue Reading BC Trial on Alleged Human Rights Violations by Canadian Mining Company in Guatemala Can Proceed

Random drug and alcohol testing for most Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) employees can proceed following a decision of Justice Marrocco denying the ATU Local 113’s application for an injunction earlier this week. The ruling permits the TTC to test 10,000 of its 14,000 employees, including those deemed to be in “safety-sensitive” jobs, as well as those in designated management positions and all executives (including CEO Andy Byford) under the TTC’s Fitness for Duty Policy (the Policy). Continue Reading ‘Breathe Here’ – Toronto Transit Commission Can Randomly Test Employees

Baker McKenzie is proud to have sponsored the Washington DC premiere of the film “I am Jane Doe” on February 7, 2017. The film is a highly anticipated documentary chronicling an ongoing battle against the trafficking of minors. The Washington premiere was part the McCain Institute’s 2nd Annual Human Trafficking Symposium. Baker McKenzie’s Peter MacKay welcomed the audience followed by Cindy McCain, who provided opening remarks. There was a post-film panel discussion with US Senators Heidi Heitkamp, John McCain, Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman, and the film’s director, Mary Mazzio, with broadcast journalist Perri Peltz acting as moderator. The Canadian premiere of the film is planned for Toronto in March.

For more information about the film, please follow this link.

On October 6, 2016, the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that a lawsuit by Eritrean miners, who allege they were forced to work in a mine owned by Nevsun Resources Ltd, a Canadian mining company, can proceed to trial. Vancouver-based Nevsun had argued that the case should be dismissed and that any suit should be properly heard in Eritrea. Justice Abrioux disagreed, stating that “there is sufficient cogent evidence from which I can conclude that there is a real risk that the plaintiffs could not be provided with justice in Eritrea,” thereby paving the way for an unprecedented trial in a Canadian court. Justice Abrioux stated that “claims of crimes against humanity, slavery, forced labour and torture can go forward against Nevsun.” Continue Reading BC Case Against Canadian Mining Company for Overseas Human Rights Violations to Proceed to Trial

canadian-imports-web-0_jpg_size_custom_crop_850x572Hot off the press. A Report released late last week by World Vision Canada concludes that Canadian consumers are unwittingly buying goods made by child and forced labourers deep in the supply chains of Canadian companies. According to the Report, Canadian businesses regularly import goods from countries with high-rates of child and forced labour, particularly in the following sectors: clothing, retail, food, and electronics.

Continue Reading Supply Chain Transparency & Reporting Legislation: Coming Soon to Canada?

We recently discussed the rising number of claims against Canadian companies for alleged human rights violations in their overseas operations or supply chains. In that article we described the ongoing class action lawsuit against Loblaws and Joe Fresh launched by Bangladeshi garment workers in response to the 2013 Rana Plaza collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Click here for a link to the article.

We also commented on a general increase in litigation against Canadian multinational corporations, including the current case against Toronto-based, Hudbay Minerals Inc., which was brought by a group of indigenous Guatemalan Mayans for human rights violations related to a mining venture.

The reputational risks associated with these cases are serious, particularly in the age of online media and investor activism. On April 3, 2016, The New York Times published a front-page article on the Hudbay Minerals Inc. case entitled, ‘Outcry Echoes Up to Canada’. Continue Reading Global Human Rights Compliance & Litigation Update: Hudbay Minerals Inc. Lawsuit Receives International Media Coverage

The U.S. Justice Department announced last week that they were dropping their court action in which they sought to compel Apple to create a backdoor to override their existing iPhone passcode protection software.

If you followed this story, you know that a public and controversial battle ensued between the Justice Department and Apple over access to the iPhone used by Syed Farook, one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Continue Reading DOJ v. Apple: Key Lessons for Employers

The Thomson Reuters Foundation has announced the upcoming launch of the Stop Slavery Award. The purpose of this award is to honour and recognize businesses that have excelled in their efforts to eradicate forced labour from their supply chains.

Continue Reading Thomson Reuters Foundation to Launch the Stop Slavery Award