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About Birch

Birch is the Practice Group Leader of the Blakes Calgary Employment & Labour group. She practises in the areas of employment and privacy and cybersecurity law.

In her employment practice, Birch provides advice to clients in respect of all laws relating to workplace issues, including recruiting, hiring, discipline, terminations, employment and labour standards, human rights, disability and benefits, and alcohol and drug testing. In addition, Birch assists clients with drafting and reviewing employment and privacy-related documentation, ranging from employment and independent contractor agreements, severance packages and confidentiality agreements to non-competition and non-solicitation agreements, as well as workplace policies and handbooks. She is also well versed in litigation, tribunal and arbitrations matters, including wrongful dismissal, provincial and federal privacy commission, employment and labour standards and human rights commission matters.

In her privacy and cybersecurity practices, Birch advises private and public sector organizations with respect to: compliance, policies, training, complaints and investigations relating to the collection, use and disclosure of personal, health, sensitive, technological and other types of information, including the application of provincial and federal privacy and anti-spam legislation; developing and implementing strategies to minimize cyber threats and data breaches, including legal risk assessments, compliance, due diligence and data breach preparedness; and responding to data breaches and other cybersecurity incidents.

Birch has extensive transactional experience, regularly advising on the privacy, cybersecurity, labour and employment aspects of mergers and acquisitions.

Birch is a member of the Canadian Human Rights Reporter Advisory Legal Panel.

Prior to joining Blakes, she was a partner at another international law firm.

Select Experience

Recent representative matters with respect to which Birch has provided key employment and privacy advice include:

  • Pembina Pipeline Corporation in its C$11.4-billion joint venture with KKR & Co. Inc. to merge their western Canadian natural gas processing assets

  • Heartland Generation Ltd., an affiliate of Energy Capital Partners, on its C$835-million acquisition of Canadian Utilities Ltd.'s natural gas and coal electricity generation interests in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, the largest private equity investment in the energy sector in 2019 in Canada

  • Kinder Morgan Canada Limited on its C$2.3-billion acquisition by Pembina Pipeline Corporation

  • WestJet Airlines Ltd. on its acquisition by Onex Corporation for approximately C$5-billion

  • Kinder Morgan Canada on its C$4.5-billion sale of the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and expansion project to the Government of Canada

  • Suncor Energy Inc. on its agreement to sell its Petro-Canada lubricants division to HollyFrontier Corporation for C$1.13-billion

  • Agrium Inc. on its merger of equals transaction with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc., creating Nutrien Ltd.

  • Painted Pony on its acquisition of UGR Blair Creek Ltd and its natural gas assets in the Montney in northeast British Columbia

  • Trinidad Drilling Ltd. with respect to the hostile take-over bid made by Ensign Energy Services Inc.
Awards & Recognition

Birch is recognized as a leading lawyer in the following publications:

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2024 (Data Protection & Privacy, Employment Law – Employer, Workplace Human Rights – Employer)

  • The Legal 500 Canada 2024 (Labour and Employment)

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2024 (Labour and Employment Law)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business – 2023–2024 (Employment & Labour)

Professional Activities

Birch is a member of The Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association. She is the former Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Alberta Privacy and Access section and the former Canadian Bar Association Alberta South Section Coordinator.

Birch is an active volunteer in the area of domestic violence, and provides pro bono legal services to organizations dedicated to domestic violence causes. She is a former director of Discovery House Family Violence Prevention Society.

Birch is a current member of the Advisory Legal Panel of the Canadian HR Reporter. She is a former director of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers and former Canadian Advisory Board Member to the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Publications
Professional Appearances
  • Speaker : Canadian Cybersecurity Trends
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, December 15, 2023.
  • Speaker : How to Successfully Navigate Complex Workplace Investigations
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, December 7, 2023.
  • Speaker : Key Considerations for Workplace Investigations
    In House Counsel Network, April 26, 2023.
  • Speaker : Post-Data Breach – Evolving Best Practice
    Property and Casualty Insurance Compensation Corporation Webinar, March 22, 2023.
  • Speaker : Cyber Risks and Energy
    Calgary Risk & Insurance Forum, February 13, 2023.
  • Speaker : Ask Us Anything: Employment & Labour
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, June 23, 2022.
  • Speaker : Canadian Cybersecurity Trends Study 2022
    Blakes Business Class Webinar, June 8, 2022.
  • Speaker : Managing the return to work and vaccinations
    Employment Law West Masterclass, Canadian Lawyer, November 4, 2021.
  • Speaker : Deal or No Deal: Destination Knowledge
    Association of Corporate Counsel Webinar, October 28, 2021.
  • Speaker : Dismissal Law Round-up: Contracts Under Siege and Other Recent Developments
    Beyond COVID-19: A Series on Employment Law Issues in the Post-Pandemic Workplace, Blakes Business Class Webinar, Calgary, Alberta, June 8, 2021.
Education

Admitted to the Alberta Bar – 2004
LLB, University of Saskatchewan – 2003
BA, University of Victoria – 1999

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