Considerations for Non-Profit Board Members in the times of COVID-19

Introduction

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to impact the lives of millions of Canadians and millions more around the world. Many nonprofits and their boards are facing difficult questions and decisions. As matters rapidly evolve, boards needs to provide steady and flexible leadership in partnership with and in support of the CEO and organization in the areas of strategy, communication, finances, and human resources.

Strategy

Amongst its many responsibilities, boards must actively participate in an overall planning process for an organization and support the implementation and monitoring  of the plan’s goals. While the CEO is responsible executing these plans, the board should be reviewing and responding to the organization’s strategy, and providing feedback. It is crucial that the board and CEO consider the impact of COVID-19 on the organization. As the board reviews plans, it should consider:

  • How does COVID-19 impact the organization’s operations?
  • What mitigation planning is in place?
  • Is additional expertise required to manage any potential impact?

A variety of perspectives should be considered in developing a response including from a human resources specialist, a financial officer, and a lawyer. A response should be guided by the board but implemented by the CEO.  As stewards of the organization, the board must be sensitive to the existence of risk, set the tone for dealing with it, and ensure that proper processes and tools are in place to keep the organization safe and ready to act if a situation demands it.

Communication

As organizations try to plan for the future, the board, in partnership with the CEO, should be continuously monitoring the situation and assessing any potential risks that might arise as the COVID-19 issue evolves. These are challenging times, and it is important for the board and staff to come together and develop a plan that will help the organization survive. A crisis response plan might include a strategy to communicate with stakeholders, staff and the public and logistics for convening meetings.

Finances

Boards must be cognizant to impacts to the organization’s finances or investments. COVID-19’s impact on the economy remains uncertain, and the board and CEO must think about the organization’s ability to secure future grants or donations, what resources are required to adapt to recommendations for  social distancing, and how cancelled programs or fundraisers will influence the budget. This conversation should consider the short-term and long -term viability of the organization’s assets and whether the organization should run a deficit.

Human Resources

Every organization should have a plan in place if someone in the organization or a stakeholder accessing the organization’s services is diagnosed with COVID-19. The board should be updated on any decisions or policies made such as cancelling events or services or directing staff to work at home. As leaders, it is the role of the CEO and board to make sure that staff, stakeholders, and volunteers know how to protect themselves and the community.

The CEO and board may face a difficult decision in relation to maintaining levels of staffing during the crisis. AN understanding of the organization’s legal obligations to staff is critical in assessing whether changes are required.

Conclusion

Crisis response and communication planning is never done. Once a communication plan has been established, it is the board’s role to continue to support the CEO and organization. This means maintaining communication that is consistent with the organization’s response and supporting the CEO to manage the organization’s finances, relationship with stakeholders and staff.

For more information, please contact:

 

Jennifer D. Pereira, QC

306.933.1320

Email: j.pereira@rslaw.com

Robertson Stromberg Well-Represented as Best Lawyers

Best Lawyers™ recognizes extraordinary lawyers in private practice through an exhaustive peer-review process. Today, Best Lawyers™, published the 14th Edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada and we are pleased to announce that twelve lawyers from the firm have been honoured by their peers with the designation of Best Lawyer.

Lawyers named to The Best Lawyers in Canada publication were recognized for their professional excellence in their practice areas. In addition, elite individuals are recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” recipients. “Lawyer of the Year” honorees receive this award based on their extremely high overall feedback within specific practice areas and regions. We are particularly pleased to announce that Melvin Gerspacher Q.C. has been recognized as Lawyer of the Year in Tax Law.

Congratulations to the following RS Best Lawyers:

Misty Alexandre in Construction Law

M. Kim Anderson Q.C. in Banking and Finance Law as well as Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law

Chris Donald Q.C. in Corporate Law

Melvin Gerspacher Q.C. in Tax Law.

Al Haubrich Q.C. in Trusts and Estates

Tiffany Paulsen Q.C. in Family Law

Jennifer Pereira Q.C. in Insurance Law

Les Prosser Q.C. in Corporate Law, Mining Law as well as Natural Resources Law

Reynold Robertson, Q.C. in Education Law

Scott Waters in Banking and Finance Law as well as Corporate Governance Law

Gary Young Q.C. in Corporation and Commercial Litigation as well as Insurance Law

Ken Ziegler Q.C. in Immigration Law

 

 

Jenn Pereira Appointed Chair of TCU Place Board of Directors

Jenn Pereira continues to share her time and talents with the community.  On April 25th, 2019 she was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors for TCU Place.

TCU Place is Saskatoon’s premier convention centre specializing in conferences, gala banquets and tradeshows.  Within the convention centre, the Sid Buckwold Theatre is home to the Saskatoon Symphony and has hosted many Broadway productions and major arts performances.

 

Benchmark Litigation Canada Lists RS as Recommended Firm in Saskatchewan

Benchmark Litigation Canada has published its guide to the leading litigation teams in the country.

The guide’s results are the culmination of a four-month research period during which time extensive interviews are conducted with litigators and their clients.  The researchers examine casework handled by the firms and seek opinions on litigators practicing within their province or practice area. Using this client and peer-review methodology, Benchmark strives to provide the most accurate and comprehensive coverage of the Canadian litigation market.

Robertson Stromberg is pleased to see that the firm is ranked as a Recommended Firm for the province of Saskatchewan. Lawyers singled out as “local litigation stars” include M. Kim Anderson in the area of Insolvency Law and Gary Young in the areas of Class Action, Commercial, Insurance, and Intellectual Property.   This designation reflects individuals who were recommended consistently as reputable and effective litigators by clients and peers.

Benchmark also lists Jennifer Pereira and Sean Sinclair as “future stars”.  This designation is given to “ones to watch”, lawyers who are rapidly building their reputations in the market.

 

 

Q&A: Hurt in a Car-Accident and someone needs to pay!

Question:

I have been in a car accident and suffered an injury. Can I sue the other driver?

Answer:

Saskatchewan is often referred to as a no-fault insurance jurisdiction. The reality is more nuanced.

In Saskatchewan, you can elect to either have no-fault insurance or ‘tort-election’ insurance. Each comes with different abilities to sue at fault drivers for your pain and suffering

The default coverage is no-fault insurance in Saskatchewan. With this option, you cannot sue the party who hurt you. Instead, SGI compensates you for your injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. Under no-fault coverage, SGI provides you with a broad range of benefits. However, this does not prevent you from suing the other party for some forms of specific economic loss above and beyond what was covered by your no-fault insurance. For example,

Saskatchewan driver’s are entitled to choose tort-election insurance instead of the no-fault coverage default. With this option, you still get basic insurance regardless of whoever caused the accident. However, the standard benefits included are fewer than no-fault coverage. Under this form of insurance, if the other driver is at fault, you are able to sue them for any injuries over and above your benefits, as well as any pain and suffering that may have resulted from the collision.

Tort-election coverage also allows you to also sue for economic loss: think loss of wages because you missed work due to your injuries. If you suffer what the government calls a ‘catastrophic injury,’ along the lines of paralysis or amputation, you will be entitled to additional benefits to compensate for this.

Tort-election insurance is subject to the regular rules of negligence and contributory negligence. This means if you choose to sue the other side under tort-election, there is a chance you may also be found at fault. If this happens, your damages will be reduced accordingly.

For more information about vehicle insurance in Saskatchewan, contact Jennifer D. Pereira, Q.C.

The above is for general information only. Parties should consider seeking legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.
Copyright 2019 by Robertson Stromberg LLP. All rights reserved.

Lawyers Jennifer D Pereira