Canadian Lawyer

May 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 6 of 43 5 although she prefers not to do that. The area Siedlak has found hardest to trans- late into a virtual setting is group training, which employers may use as part of the conflict resolution process. The mechanics of doing case studies and activities, Siedlak says, can be difficult on a video call. Anthony Cole, a partner at Dentons Canada in Calgary, helps companies conduct investi- gations involving criminal or other third-party investigations, such as anti-corruption, civil fraud and anti-money laundering. Cole, the national co-lead of the firm's white-collar and government investigations practice, says the pandemic has created several logistical hurdles. "An interview over Zoom on a financial crime is just not going to be [as] effective as face to face," says Cole. He now tends to narrow the scope significantly for online inter- views due to its limitations. His investigations tend to be very "docu- ment-heavy," Cole says, and a remote workforce can significantly hamper evidence seizures. "If you've got a consultant or an employee device, if they're in the workplace, it's rela- "[Remote work] has allowed [some employees] . . . to be more reflective of what their experiences were when in the workplace." Krista Siedlak, TurnpenneyMilne LLP tively easy to take them by surprise," says Cole. "That is much harder if you're dealing with five employees [working remotely and] you want to do it simultaneously." Cole says new technologies such as the remote capture of images from laptops can help investigators gather evidence when employees are working offsite. Although most of the investigations on which he works take place over many years, Cole anticipates the pandemic will mean more white-collar crime. Direct procurements for personal protective equipment and govern- ment relief programs all provide misbehav- iour opportunities. "Some of the schemes that have been rolled out [by the government] involve huge amounts of money going very, very quickly to keep busi- nesses afloat. If history tells us anything, it's that those are susceptible to fraud." For Janice Rubin, who does workplace inves- tigations, assessments and training with Rubin Thomlinson LLP in Toronto, the pandemic's effect will be long-lasting for employers. "I just don't think that employers should underestimate the toll this is taking," Rubin says. "Employers are going to have to wrap their heads around a certain percentage of their workplace who have mental health issues coming out of this." COVID-LINKED INVESTIGATIONS Janice Rubin says that, in addition to the usual types of issues, she has seen the following themes emerge during the pandemic: • Behaviour issues on Zoom, social media and other online platforms • Pandemic fatigue causing poor employee behaviour and overzealous management • Disagreements over COVID protocols • Anti-Black racism and how COVID has shone a light on societal inequities

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