IMLA in Canada 2019



IMLA in Canada Spring Meeting

April 25-26, 2019

This year's IMLA in Canada Meeting will once again provide for an outstanding and cutting edge program that will explore a full range of topics. IMLA in Canada will give local government lawyers the opportunity to connect with and learn from colleagues across the country. Sessions will focus on comparing lawyers’ experiences dealing with pressing legal issues from province to province, as well as key issues local government lawyers should expect to face in the coming months and years. Our speakers come from Halifax to Vancouver and many parts in between. Attendees will also have the opportunity to participate in a legally-themed tour of Metro Vancouver. The success of all IMLA events is dependent upon the dedication and participation of all members and we look forward to seeing you in New Westminster!


Please note that the agenda is tentative and subject to change.

 Thursday, April 25, 2019 
 Opening Welcome/Keynote - TBA 
 Opening Welcome/Keynote - Lisa Spitale, CAO, City of New Westminster 
The Role of In-House Counsel (Expanding Beyond Legal Advisor to be a Strategic Business Partner)                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The role of legal counsel is expanding and so are the skills necessary to provide the support our clients want from us. This panel will explore our role in executive leadership whether part of the senior team or not, in strategic project advancement among other things, and the skills outside of law that are required to provide optimal support. The role of the municipal lawyer in providing advice that demonstrates an understanding of the business needs of the corporation and respects the role of law, will be explored. When do you report concerns to Council.

Legal Challenges for Prohibiting User Groups from Renting Municipal Spaces and Facilities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This presentation will discuss the following:
  • setting appropriate policies and contractual provisions on user groups renting municipal facilities;
  • how to cancel events that are contrary to your policies in a way that avoids legal challenges; and
  • recent and relevant case law involving challenges to public bodies’ cancellation of events.
Transit Tour TBD
Reception at Lift Bar and Grill (Sponsored by Lidstone & Company, Barristers and Solicitors)
Optional Dinner
Friday, April 26, 2019
Public Infrastructure Projects

What is the role of legal counsel in large infrastructure projects? Where should lawyers step in, or where should lawyers stay out? Given the knowledge base required to properly support these projects, what is the role of in-house counsel and what is the role of external counsel; how do they work together to best support the project? The panel will discuss how external construction counsel and internal procurement counsel can best support each other; how they work with the project manager and the consultant team; how to avoid legal counsel getting dragged into de facto project management.

Codes of Conduct/Ethics for Councillors

This multi-jurisdictional panel will discuss the different approaches to regulating councillor ethics and conduct. This session will review the key features of a code of ethics bylaw, the process for investigating and adjudicating complaints, and trends from recent case law.


A multi-jurisdictional panel discussion on the experience to date on local government involvement in the legalization of cannabis, including land use implications, regulation of public consumption, and licensing.

Workplace Investigations and Indemnification of Municipal Employees

A panel discussion on:

  • best practices in workplace investigations involving union and exempt employee workplace complaint; and
  • the importance of the investigator’s terms of reference and solicitor-client privilege.
Local Government Elections A panel discussion with local government lawyers from across Canada who will discuss experiences and lessons learned relating to local election financing legislation, local election legislation and election bylaws relating to recounts and the use of electronic voting machines. Panelists will also discuss, compare and share experiences and case law relating to the state of the law on judicial recounts, challenges to the validity of election, challenges to officials taking office and taking the oath of office.


CLICK HERE to download the registration form and e-mail the completed form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CLICK HERE to register online. 



IMLA is once again proud to announce that a scholarship will once again be awarded to a speaker from outside of Ontario. Please contact Paul DeMelo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information on sponsorship eligibility and submission. 


Please contact IMLA if interested in Sponsoring this event at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Inn at the Quay

900 Quayside Drive, New Westminster, BC V3M 6G1