Christopher M. Andree

Christopher Andree is a partner at Gowling WLG and past co-leader of the firm's Employment, Labour & Equalities Group.

Chris helps his clients manage their people and achieve their business goals. He brings his clients over 20 years of knowledge and experience, combined with creativity and a focus on practical solutions. His reputation for providing exceptional service is reinforced by his clients' praise for his timely, strategic and proactive advice.

Chris works alongside his clients as a trusted adviser, focused on minimizing risks and maximizing opportunities. His dedication to building strong and lasting relationships with clients allows him to deliver real value for money. They know he genuinely cares about their success, and repeatedly trust his decisive counsel.

His clients include owner-managed businesses and multinational organizations. They are active in many sectors of the economy, including:

  • Technology
  • Manufacturing
  • Food, beverage and recreation
  • Health care
  • Professional services
  • Retail
  • Transportation
  • Not-for-profit
  • Advertising
  • Construction
  • Temporary employment

Chris focuses his practice in the area of employment law and equalities (human rights), and represents employers in all aspects of their relationships with their employees.

  • Written employment agreements
  • Managing absenteeism
  • Development and implementation of workplace policies
  • Workplace dispute resolution (litigation and mediation)
  • Human rights issues (e.g. disability accommodation)
  • Executive compensation
  • Independent contractor agreements and employment status issues
  • Performance management
  • Pre-termination advice and strategy
  • Restrictive covenants (fiduciary duty, confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation obligations)
  • M&A/ reorganization strategies
  • Wrongful dismissal

Chris represents clients before many courts and administrative tribunals, such as:

  • Court of Appeal for Ontario
  • Ontario Divisional Court
  • Ontario Superior Court of Justice
  • Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario
  • Ontario Labour Relations Board
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
  • Mediators

Ranked by the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory for his expertise in the area of Employment Law (Employer), Chris is highly respected by human resources professionals and other employment and labour lawyers. He is consistently invited to speak on a variety of topics, and is sought out by the media to comment on various legal developments.

Outside of his work at the firm, Chris is active in his community in many ways, including as a director on numerous not-for-profit boards, volunteer and coach. He is also an elected trustee of the Waterloo Region Law Association.

Associations professionnelles

  • Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers
  • Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario
  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Waterloo Law Association

Speaking/teaching engagements

  • Staying HR Savvy Canadian Style: Canadian Employment & Labour Law Update, Association of Legal Administrators Annual Conference, May 21, 2014
  • Employment and Labour Law in Canada - An Introduction. Multiple U.S.-based clients' in-house counsel and human resources professionals, April-May 2013
  • The Right of Non-Unionized Employers to Obtain Medical Information to Justify Short-Term Absences: Lessons Learned,  Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers 9th Annual Conference, St. John's, Newfoundland, September 20-22, 2012
  • Employment Law for Dealer-Owners Home Hardware Stores Limited, April 2012, April 2013 and September 2013
  • Employment, Labour and Immigration Law in Canada, Gowlings webinar, June 2012.
  • Do Employees Have a Right to Privacy in Viewing and Storing Porn on Company Computers?, Internet and E-Commerce Law in Canada, Toronto, August 2011
  • Employment Contracts: Are They Worth the Paper They’re Written On?, Association of Corporate Counsel, Washington, DC, webinar June 23, 2011
  • Managing Performance and Misconduct, HRPA – Grand Valley Chapter, Kitchener, December 9, 2010
  • Impact of Bill 139 on Businesses Using Temporary Workers, HR Professional Magazine, Toronto, July/August 2010
  • Changing Landscape of the Canadian Workplace, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Toronto, June 15, 2009
  • Legal Update, Private Motor Truck Council of Canada Annual Conference, Niagara-on-the-Lake, June 19, 2009
  • Employment Law Update - Ontario, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers 4th Annual Conference, St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick, September 27-30, 2007
  • Termination and the Employment Relationship: Getting It Right, Fundamentals of Employment Law: Ensuring Your HR Department Knows the Latest Developments and Trends, The Canadian Institute, Toronto, June 20-21, 2007
  • Written Employment Contracts: Preferred Terms and Potential Pitfalls, Current Issues in Employment Law: 2006, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, May 12, 2006
  • Temporary Agencies and the Tri-Partite Employment Relationship – Who is the Employer?, 7th Annual 6-Minute Employment Lawyer, The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, June 1, 2004
  • Numerous articles, lectures and seminars for other lawyers, owners and managers on legal issues in the workplace. Chris has been quoted in the media and appeared on both radio and television discussing important developments in employment law.

Mandats représentatifs

Significant cases/matters

  • Recently assisted a global micro technology hardware manufacturer to assess its regulatory compliance and develop strategy to achieve and maintain compliance within global constraints, mandates and budget.
  • Recently represented a Canadian-based global not-for-profit organization before the Ontario Superior Court in an action brought by a long-service employee terminated during a restructuring. The action established new law regarding the entitlement of employers to scrutinize the mitigation efforts of an employee when judgment is granted prior to the expiry of the reasonable notice period.
  • Currently acting for several employer clients in the preparation and implementation of written employment agreements designed to protect them from liability and ensure their confidential information and trade relationships are maintained.
  • Recently acted for the CEO of a Canadian-based subsidiary of a publicly traded aerospace company in the negotiation and drafting of his employment agreement in anticipation of an IPO, including incentive compensation plan, restrictive covenants and related issues.
  • Currently acting for a large not-for-profit health care agency in a matter involving allegations by a former nurse of negligent investigation of unprofessional conduct, bad faith termination, unlawful reporting of the termination to the College of Nurses, breaches of contract and tortious conduct. The action claims more than $2 million. The action has involved multiple interlocutory motions and appeals to both the Ontario Divisional Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal.
  • Currently acting for international provider of security services in an action involving allegations of conspiracy, fraud, intentional interference with contractual relations and breach of fiduciary duty as a result of the employment of the former president of the plaintiff.
  • Recently represented a construction company in an action based upon relatively recent amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code. Claims included wrongful dismissal, discrimination, breach of human rights and reinstatement. The case would have been the first in Ontario to proceed to a full trial on the issue of the jurisdiction of a Court to reinstate an employee under the Code and the proper assessment of damages for breach of human rights and discrimination. Potential exposure was C$600K+. Through extensive written and oral advocacy, application of alternate dispute resolution skills in the context of multi-day negotiations (including mediation), and creative structuring of the settlement to limit the tax implications to the plaintiff, we negotiated a resolution which resulted in the client avoiding reinstatement and making structured payments. The amount payable is comparable to a simple wrongful dismissal action and less than the legal expenses the client would have incurred to proceed to trial, with the avoidance of the uncertainty of an adverse finding on both liability and damages.
  • Recently acted for an international manufacturer of medical devices in the closing of its facility in Ontario. Responsible for all issues related to non-unionized staff.
  • Recently acted for a $multi-billion retailer in the negotiation and drafting of its new CEO’s employment agreement including incentive compensation plan, restrictive covenants, retiring allowance agreement and related issues.
  • Regularly advising a global manufacturer and retailer of sporting goods regarding the differences between Canadian and U.S. employment and labour law and the variations in employment standards from province to province.
  • Recently acted for a purchaser of the assets of a competitor and which is hiring the majority of the employees of the vendor. Advising ownership, negotiating employment-related purchase agreement provisions and drafting agreements related to employment terms, non-disclosure, assignment of intellectual property rights and non-solicitation of customers and employees.
  • Recently represented a multi-national manufacturer in an action involving allegations of unpaid bonuses and discrimination on the basis of age brought by a long-term member of senior management.
  • Recently acted for a regional not-for-profit funding agency in achieving a mediated resolution of a human rights Application alleging vicarious liability for the termination of the Executive Director of a funded agency. The resolution was the product of creative and non-traditional remedies which will result in the agency paying no damages and engaging in modest public interest remedies which will cause the agency to expend almost no new money.
  • Recently acted for a global retailer in a wrongful dismissal action brought by its Deputy Country Manager alleging unpaid incentive compensation and multiple prerequisites.
  • Recently acted for a prominent manufacturer of snack foods in defending a wrongful dismissal lawsuit on the basis of fraud and misappropriation of funds and product which involved a 7-day trial before the Ontario Superior Court and an award of aggravated damages.
  • Recently obtained an order dismissing a human rights Application alleging discrimination on the basis of disability on a preliminary basis by successfully arguing the Application had no reasonable prospect of success.
  • Recently successfully represented a large not-for-profit health care agency in a matter before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario dismissing at a preliminary stage an Application alleging discrimination on the basis of race, colour and age.
  • Recently acted for a private logistics company in its purchase of a competitor with operations in four provinces from a multinational public company.
  • Recently made multiple presentations to US-based in-house counsel and human resources professionals regarding differences between US and Canadian employment and labour laws.
  • Recently represented a public technology company which terminated its founder and Chief Technology Officer for cause.
  • Recently represented the vendor company, its principals and senior management in all aspects of negotiations related to their continued employment following the sale of the business.
  • Recently represented the employer in a debt and equity financing transaction involving the negotiation and drafting of the employment agreements of the CEO, principal shareholders, existing management and non-management, and corporate and individual consultants. Drafted assignment of intellectual property, confidentiality, non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, and advised regarding stock option plan and other equity and non-equity incentive plans.
  • Recently provided legal and strategic advice to an employer regarding allegations of criminal misconduct by an employee against a vulnerable client which was extensively reported in the media.
  • Recently represented a temporary employment agency before the Ontario Divisional Court in its effort to resist a union’s application to certify employees assigned to the agency’s customer.
  • Previously acted for the successful new employer in resisting an injunction motion brought by the former employer alleging breach of fiduciary duty and duty of confidentiality against a salesperson.
  • Previously successfully negotiated the resolution of a threatened injunction proceeding that would have prevented a client from employing the former president of its direct competitor. Designed a creative mechanism to allow for continued relationships with shared customers while protecting against unbridled competition.
  • Recently negotiated and drafted the employment agreement of the CEO of a public company in the technology industry.
  • Recently acted for a public company which terminated its existing CEO and hired an interim CEO, including preparation of agreements related to terms of employment, equity compensation, non-disclosure, assignment of intellectual property rights and non-solicitation/non-competition.