Nicole Byres has decades of experience as a labour and employment lawyer, advising employers both as external and in-house counsel. Thanks to her business and industrial experience, commitment to client service, and creative problem-solving style, Nicole is a trusted advisor to her clients in a broad range of sectors including forest products, transportation and logistics, manufacturing, and retail.
Nicole represents employers in labour arbitrations and other administrative tribunals including the Labour Relations Board and Human Rights Tribunal, and at all levels of courts in BC. She works collaboratively with her clients to provide strategic, practical advice for both provincially and federally regulated employers in the following areas:
- Labour relations: collective bargaining – strategic advice, negotiation, and drafting; labour arbitrations, labour relations and discipline; union certifications, successorship, and bargaining unit changes; essential services applications; and advice and applications regarding common site picketing, illegal picketing and strikes/lock-outs.
- Employment law: employment agreements and executive compensation; termination of employees and defence of wrongful dismissal claims; drafting and enforcement of restrictive covenants; employee issues arising from the purchase and sale of a business or business unit; employment policies including those related to code of conduct, protection of intellectual property and confidential information; management of employees with performance problems or medical restrictions; and workplace investigations, including those related to bullying and harassment complaints.
- Occupational health and safety/workers compensation: prime contractor roles and responsibilities; advice and appeals of WorkSafe BC penalties, assessments, and accident assessments; and dealing with workplace incidents and fatalities.
- Human rights, employment standards, and privacy: complaints, demands, investigations, applications, and judicial review.
Nicole also has many years of experience sitting on corporate and not-for-profit boards, and regularly advises boards on matters relating to corporate governance, board and senior leadership assessment and renewal, and fiduciary obligations of officers and directors.
Professional achievements & leadership
- The Best Lawyers in Canada, Corporate Governance Practice, 2016 – 2017
- Queen’s Counsel, 2013
- President’s Award–Teck Resources Ltd., 1997
- Chair, Miller Thomson LLP’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, and BC representative for Law Society’s Justicia Project, and Law Firm Diversity & Inclusion Network
- UBC Board of Governors, 2002-2008
- British Columbia Transmission Corporation, Board of Directors, 2003-2007
- UBC Investment Management Trust Inc., Board of Directors, 2005-2009
- CBA, BC Branch, Women Lawyers Forum Executive, Chair, 2012-2014; member, 2009–2016
- Vancouver Board of Trade: Women Leadership Circle Advisory Council, 2012-current; Co-Vice-Chair, 2013-2014
- CBA, National Women Lawyers Forum—2015 Leadership Conference Organizing Committee, 2014-2015
- Author, “Corporate Governance” (Chapter 33A), Due Diligence Deskbook, Continuing Legal Education, 2006-2015 editions
- Co-author, chapter on BC Law and Practice, How to Hire and Fire in 99 Jurisdictions, Multilaw, 2013 edition
- Past contributor on labour, employment and diversity issues in: CBA, BC’s Bar Talk, Metro Vancouver Board of Trade’s Sounding Board, The Lawyers Weekly, Continuing Legal Education, BC, Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment Communique and Blog.
- UBC President’s Strategic Advisory Council, 2007-2013
- UBC Alumni Chancellor Search Committee, 2014-2015
- Ethno BC, Business Council of British Columbia, 2014-2015
- BC Human Resources Management Association
- Canadian Association of Counsel for Employers (“CACE”)
Bar admissions & education
- British Columbia Bar, 1983
- LL.B., University of British Columbia, 1982
- Executive Program, Richard Ivey School of Business, 1995
Miller Thomson lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017
126 Miller Thomson lawyers from across the country and in numerous areas of law have been recognized for their expertise in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada. This result is up from 122 lawyers ranked last year....
CBC interviews Nicole Byres, QC on Kinder Morgan injunction
Nicole Byres, Partner and Co-Chair of Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment group, appeared on CBC News British Columbia to discuss Kinder Morgan’s injunction application against protesters who have blocked survey work on Burnaby Mountain. The interview focused on what was and was not...
Miller Thomson lawyers in HRM online
Lawyers in Miller Thomson’s Labour and Employment Group are quoted in articles on HRM Online, a website focused on human resources news and analysis. Gita Anand, National Practice Chair of the Labour and Employment Group, is featured in an article...
Strong Women. Strong Canada.
Miller Thomson is proud to acknowledge the key role women play in our firm’s continued success. It has been an exciting year of exemplary achievements by our lawyers and staff. Browse the list below of lawyers who have received industry-leading...
Nicole Byres appointed Queen’s Counsel
Congratulations to Nicole Byres, Partner in our Vancouver office, who was appointed “one of Her Majesty’s counsel learned in the law” (Queen’s Counsel). The QC designation is an honour conferred annually on members of the legal profession to recognize exceptional...
Nicole Byres appointed Vice-Chair of Vancouver Board of Trade Women’s Leadership Circle Advisory Council
Nicole Byres has been appointed Vice-Chair of the Women’s Leadership Circle Advisory Council of the Vancouver Board of Trade. The Women’s Leadership Circle® (WLC) connects business professionals with remarkable business, community and political leaders through their high-calibre speaker events, exclusive roundtables, hosted...
Nicole Byres quoted in Globe & Mail article on importance of reviewing company’s code of ethics.
Nicole Byres, Partner in the Labour & Employment group, comments that employers should have mechanisms in place to regularly review their codes. “In the three most critical areas – conflict of interest, respect in the workplace and confidentiality – Ms....
Nicole Byres joins the Vancouver office as a Partner. Her practice focuses on employment law, corporate governance and labour law.
Nicole Byres and Valerie Dixon speak at HRMA conference
Nicole Byres, QC and Valerie Dixon are presenters at the Human Resources Management Association annual conference. Nicole speaks on “Cause and Effect: Proof and Perils of a Just Cause Allegation“. Valerie speaks on “Harassment: What Does It Mean and What...
Nicole Byres and Jill Wilkie speak at CACE conference
The Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE) is an association of management-side labour and employment lawyers across Canada. Nicole Byres is part of a panel discussing “Employment Ethics – Working together: In House and External Counsel.” Jill Wilkie presents on...
Nicole Byres and Lisa Goodfellow workplace investigations webinar
Nicole Byres and Lisa Goodfellow present a webinar for XpertHR on “Workplace Investigations: Tips and Best Practices”.
Nicole Byres speaks family status discrimination
Nicole Byres speaks on “Discrimination Based on Family Status” at Insight’s Western Labour and Employee Relations Forum.
Nicole Byres speaks on new BC Limitation Act
Nicole Byres speaks on the new BC <i>Limitation Act</i> at the CBABC’s Annual Branch Conference. The new Limitation Act is now in force. This program will discuss the implications of that new Act and the transition provisions that apply. This...
Nicole Byres speaks on recent developments in HR law
Nicole Byres presents on recent developments in the law of constructive dismissal and employees’ obligation to mitigate their damages at the BCHRMA’s Legal Symposium.
Nicole Byres speaks on HR policies and procedures
Nicole Byres presents “Designing & Implementing Compliant Policies & Procedures” at Federated Press’ 5th HR Legal Risks course.
Employee Benefits Administration
Health and welfare benefits are an integral part of attracting and retaining talent. Do you know what your benefit plan administration duties and obligations are before, during, and after employment? Miller Thomson’s Labour & Employment group presents a complimentary breakfast seminar where we provide...
Labour & Employment Update: What’s New in 2015?
Miller Thomson’s Western Canada Labour & Employment group is pleased to invite you to a complimentary seminar on what employers need to know in 2015. Join as as we discuss key developments and best practice tips on: Business immigration, including...
Workplace Investigations in Canada: Tips & Best Practices
Areas of discussion include: Tips and best practices for preparing, conducting, concluding the investigation (what to do with the results) The tools and best practices that will minimize negative impacts on HR and the business The legal liability typically associated...
Workplace Investigations: Tips and Best Practises
Most employers have to conduct workplace investigations from time to time, whether as part of managing employee conflict or misconduct, or occupational health & safety incidents. Effective workplace investigations do not happen by accident – they require planning and sound...
Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace: New WorkSafeBC Rules
In 2012, the BC Workers Compensation Act was amended to broaden compensation available to employees for mental disorders caused by work related stress, including bullying and harassment. Effective November 1, 2013, WorkSafe BC requires all employers to have policies and...
Revisiting the 2016 Changes to the BC Human Rights Code
As 2016 has ended and we reflect on potential emerging issues for employers in 2017, the recent amendments to the BC Human Rights Code to include “gender identity or expression” among the protected grounds covered by the Code, deserves commentary.
Revisiting the 2016 Changes to the BC Human Rights Code
As 2016 draws to a close and we reflect on potential emerging issues for employers in 2017, we thought that the recent amendments to the BC Human Rights Code to include “gender identity or expression” among the protected grounds covered...
B.C. Court of Appeal Restores Highest Ever Human Rights Damages Award: Kelly v. University of British Columbia (No. 4), 2013 BCHRT 302 (CanLII)
In early 2014, we reported on a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision in which Carl Kelly was awarded $75,000 in damages for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect. This award was and remains the highest amount ever awarded in Canada...
Investigations in the Workplace
Workplace investigations are inevitable for most organizations and employers face significant pressure to conduct them properly. A flawed investigation, besides compromising the information a decision-maker will need, invites a range of risks. From a legal perspective, the courts scrutinize the...
BC Human Rights decision sets new high for damages for injury to dignity
The British Columbia Human Rights Code, like human rights legislation in other provinces, prescribes a number of remedies once the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal (“Tribunal”) determines that a human rights violation has occurred. Besides authorizing the Tribunal to make...
BC Introduces New Bullying & Harassment Regulations
On November 1, 2013, WorkSafe BC’s new Bullying and Harassment regulations came into effect for all provincially regulated employers in British Columbia. Besides including a partial definition of bullying and harassment, the regulations require employers, supervisors and workers to take...
How to Hire and Fire in 99 Jurisdictions
Nicole Byres and Valerie Dixon co-authored the chapter on BC law and practice for the 2013 edition of this global guide produced by Multilaw’s Labour and Employment group. Click here for more information.
The ROI of Women on Boards
Sounding Board, The Official Newspaper of the Vancouver Board of Trade, July 2013, 15
Click here to view the article.
When Temporary Means Permanent – Pitfalls in Temporary Layoff Provisions in Canada’s Employment Standards Laws
Even though each Province enacts its own employment standards laws, they are similar if not the same across the country. It is noteworthy therefore when courts interpret similar provisions differently. A recent Ontario decision, Trites v. Renin Corp.  ONSC...
Beyond Diversity: Creating an Inclusive Profession
BarTalk, June 2013
Click here to view the article.
Western Pacific Enterprises acquired by MYR Group
Counsel to Western Pacific Enterprises
OEC Group Canada acquires Ryder CRSA Logistics
Counsel to OEC Group Canada