Photo of William Watson

Bill Watson was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1981 and has practiced with Baker McKenzie for much of his career, becoming a Partner Principal in 1987. Bill has twice served as the Practice Group Leader for the Labour, Employment, Employment Benefits and Immigration Practice Group and is a former Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie in Canada. Bill’s practice focuses on large issue litigation and the conduct of complex negotiations, domestically and internationally, in the following fields:  arbitration and dispute resolution; collective bargaining; education law and university governance; employment law; health law; human rights; inquests; international labour standards; labour relations; occupational health and safety; and privacy law. Bill served as the Canada-wide negotiator in the negotiation of the first compensation package for victims of HIV tainted blood in the 1990’s. Bill served for 5 years as a member of the Canadian Employer Delegation to the International Labour Organization including a term as the head of that Delegation and Vice-President of the Annual ILO Conference. Bill has served as a member of the Board of Governors of the University of Waterloo since 2011 and previously served as President of the University of Waterloo Alumni Association. Bill was an initial recipient of the University of Waterloo 50th Anniversary Alumni Award in recognition of professional achievement and public service. Bill and his wife, Jeanne, are active supporters of the theatre community and are members of the Governor’s Council at the Shaw Festival Theatre - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. Bill and Jeanne have been recognized for their commitment to philanthropy by the Golden Horseshoe Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Join us on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 for an interactive seminar in our Whitespace Legal Collab in Toronto. Our talented team will share their perspectives and facilitate an exchange of ideas and best practices on hot button issues including:

  • Ensuring the workplace doesn’t go to pot
  • Bill 148: where are we now?
  • Responding to #MeToo

You’ll also hear from Peter MacKay, Partner, who will share his thoughts on the broader implications and challenges to come with the legalization of recreational cannabis. Peter joined our Firm in 2016 after serving in many senior Federal cabinet positions.

For the event details and to register, please click here.

With the newly elected PC majority government, change is the one certainty that Ontario employers can expect. The specifics of what the change will look like have not been spelled out since the PC five-point platform did not touch on areas that directly impact employers. We can nonetheless anticipate that this government will consider initiatives to improve the competitiveness of Ontario businesses, such as the following: Continue Reading The Big Blue Machine Returns: What’s Next for Employers

Recent polling suggests that the June 7th Ontario election is a hotly contested race with the NDP currently holding a lead in the polls and the PCs in second place. We are closely monitoring the election developments to keep you informed as to what a new government will mean for Ontario employers.

Below we outline the NDP’s proposed reforms to employment and labour laws. If pursued, the NDP’s proposed initiatives set out in their platform will significantly impact employers and go well beyond the changes recently introduced by the Ontario government under Bill 148. Continue Reading Another Orange Crush? What to Expect from an NDP Government

Bill 148: Review & Compliance Check

We invite you to join Baker McKenzie’s Employment & Compensation Group in Toronto on February 28, 2018 as we review key changes under Ontario’s Bill 148 and provide practical guidance to assist you in meeting the new legislative requirements. For the event details and to register, please click here.

Ontario employers face a number of new challenges in 2018 as a result of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (“Bill 148”). To help employers navigate the many changes under Bill 148, we have outlined the key changes that employers need to be aware of. We have also indicated planning actions to consider in view of these changes. Continue Reading Bill 148: Key Changes & What to Do About Them

Social media has never been more popular and employers are facing a growing number of risks as a result. In our recent article, we provide guidance on dealing with social media as it impacts the workplace. In addition to outlining the prevailing risks, we suggest proactive steps to avoid issues before they occur. This article was published in the August 7th edition of the Canadian HR Reporter – access the article here.

For highlights from our recent #SocialMediaAtWork seminar – see here.

On June 16, 2015, Bill C-525, commonly known as the Employees’ Voting Rights Act (“EVRA“), will come into force. EVRA will make some minor, but impactful, changes to the processes in which unions gain and lose bargaining rights in the federal public sector. Continue Reading No More Stacking the Deck: Employees’ Voting Rights Act Brings Changes to Federal Union Certification and Decertification Processes

On July 1, 2014, key components of Canada’s “anti-spam legislation” came into force, but the full impact is still uncertain, particularly with respect to labour relations communications.  Our colleague, William Watson, has posted an interesting article on this in his blog, The Legal Playing Field Click here to read.

In R. v Metron, 2013 ONCA 541, Metron Construction Corporation (“Metron”) was found to have committed criminal negligence in failing to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to its workers.  Metron is the first case decided under the criminal negligence provisions of the Criminal Code where the parties did not agree on the sentence.  At the trial level, Metron pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a fine of $200,000.

Continue Reading Court of Appeal Imposes Criminal Liability and Significant Fine for Workplace Accident

In Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34 [“Irving”], the Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) issued a landmark decision concerning workplace drug and alcohol testing. Irving strikes a new balance between the competing interests of employee privacy and workplace safety.

Continue Reading Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing: Current Best Practices