Bettina Burgess Partner

Speaks:  English

Year of Call: 2001 - Ontario

Primary phone: +1 519-569-4557

Secondary phone: + 1 416-814-5665

Fax: +1 519-576-6030


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Primary office:  Waterloo Region

Secondary office:  Toronto

Bettina Burgess

Bettina Burgess is a partner in Gowling WLG's Waterloo Region office. Her practice focuses on employment and privacy law.

Bettina advises Canadian businesses - from startups to established companies - on a wide range of employment and privacy related issues. She assists businesses with their draft employment or independent consultant contracts, confidentiality and work product agreements, policies, and handbooks. She also advises on methods of reducing employer liability and risk, employment standards, statutory compliance, human rights compliance (including accommodation and investigating allegations of discrimination), employee-related matters associated with mergers and acquisitions, and how to handle and structure a termination. She has defended wrongful dismissal actions and human rights applications from commencement to resolution through negotiated settlements or hearings.

With respect to privacy work, Bettina assists companies with the development of privacy policies and procedures, drafting consents and acknowledgments for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, and drafting third-party transfer and security agreements. She also advises on cross-border data transfers, employee background checks, and monitoring employees in and out of the workplace.

Bettina presently sits on the board of KW Counselling Services. She previously held the position of president of the Grand Valley Chapter of the Human Resources Professionals Association. Since June of 2010, Bettina has held the positions of peer networking co-chair, government relations, and president-elect. Bettina was the former chair of the board of directors for the Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery. In addition, Bettina has been an active member and volunteer with the United Way since 2002 and was the chair of the Waterloo Region Office United Way Committee for six years.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2020

  • 2019

  • 2018

  • 2001

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, Ontario
  • 1999

    • Education
      University of Windsor, LLB
    • Education
      University of Waterloo, BA, History & English


  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Human Resources Professionals Association
  • Ontario Bar Association

Speaking engagements

Bettina speaks regularly at industry conferences on issues relating to privacy in the workplace, data transfers and pre-employment screening. Her speaking engagements include:

  • Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), Grand Valley Chapter, April 2012
  • HRPA National Conference, 2012
  • HRPA, Peer Networking Group, 2012
  • Human Resources Network (HRNet), 2012
  • HRPA National Conference, 2011
  • HRNet, 2011


Her articles include:

  • Three reasons why your startup needs written agreements, The Globe & Mail, January 2015
  • Big Brother is Watching…But is He Allowed to? (addresses privacy law in the workplace generally and the legality of all forms of employee monitoring in the workplace)
  • Pre-Employment Screening (addresses privacy law as it relates to employee background checks and other forms of pre-employment screening)
  • Employee Privacy Rights on Company Computers - the New Legal Standard in Canada
  • Do Employees Have a Right to Privacy in Viewing and Storing Porn on Company Computers?

Previous speaking engagements

Representative Work

  • Provided opinions on the collection, use, and disclosure of employee personal information within the workplace for the following types of employers: employment and human resource firms, major manufacturer of stringed musical instruments, a major aerospace and defence instrumentation company, employment screening firm, international advertising and media conglomerate, counseling services firm.
  • Provided opinions on the transfer of personal information outside of Canada to foreign jurisdictions for the following types of employers: major insurance company, major manufacturer of stringed musical instruments, employment and human resource firms.
  • Provided opinions on all forms of employee background checks for the following types of employers: major international energy company, international coffee house, employment screening firm, international advertising and media conglomerate.
  • Conducted due diligence and advised employers on employment-related matters in numerous mergers and acquisitions for manufacturers, mining companies, media and advertising firms, and technology companies.
  • Drafting privacy policies and consents dealing with employee personal information for the following types of employers: international payment services company used by most major banks and financial institutions, international advertising and media conglomerate, international coffee house, international chemical company, major restaurant franchise, international food delivery franchise, insurance company, electricity provider, college student government federation.
  • Providing opinions on access requests pursuant to federal privacy legislation.
  • Advised on and drafted data breach notifications in both the commercial and employment context.