Please note: Each Roundtable will run twice (35 minutes each). Space for each session is limited and participation is available on a first come, first serve basis.

Virtual Networking Reception5:30 PM - 6:00 PM  
Navigating Financial Distress in Franchise Systems12:15 PM - 1:15 PMTodd Greenbloom Wojtek Jaskiewicz John Leavitt

The session will cover how to deal with solvency issues in the franchise relationship. We will discuss how to identify and deal with financial issues outside of a formal restructuring and will also examine the various tools that can be used to deal with an insolvency. Key topics will include how to develop a “franchisee SWAT team” to assess, address, and act in cases of franchise difficulties or closures, and how insolvency laws can assist franchisors and their franchisees.

Learning takeaways:

-Gain insight into alternative methods for dealing with financial issues, beyond a formal restructuring
-Receive advice for how to work with franchisees to assess, address, and act on issues
-Learn more about insolvency laws and how they can help both franchisors and franchisees

Employment and Workplace Related Issues and Precautions and their impact on Franchise Systems12:15 PM - 1:15 PMMatthew Badrov Craig Lawrence

COVID-19 has brought numerous employment and workplace-related issues to the forefront that franchise systems need to take into account, especially when it comes to the franchisor-franchisee relationship and providing the correct guidance to franchisees in the system. These issues are wide ranging and include health and safety matters, joint-employer risk, human rights issues, issues with leaves of absence and accommodation requests, layoffs and recalls, and work refusals. This session will examine these issues and the precautions that should be taken so franchisors and franchisees can work together to navigate their impact on the franchise system.

Learning takeaways:
-Learn more about the employment and workplace-related issues brought on by COVID-19
-Gain insight into the precautions that can be taken to minimize the impact of these issues
-Receive advice for how to work with franchisees to navigate these issues togethe

Best Practices for Disclosing During Unprecedented Times12:15 PM - 1:15 PMNed Levitt David Shaw

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the economy, our way of life, and how businesses need to be operated. In the franchising context, it is important to consider how these changes might impact franchise disclosure. While many of the franchisor’s disclosure requirements relate to factual or historical matters, certain disclosure obligations relate to matters that may be impacted by COVID-19, such as the cost to establish the franchise, the training program, and supply chain considerations. 


In times of economic uncertainty, ensuring that such disclosure is made appropriately becomes even more important. Franchisors must consider what constitutes a material fact during a time when so many things are in flux and uncertain (including government regulations). This session will examine the best practices for franchisor disclosure during challenging and unprecedented times.


Learning takeaways:

-Learn more about what constitutes a material fact in today’s economic climate
-Receive advice for how to update the disclosure document to meet current needs
-Gain insight into overall best practices regarding disclosure to help guide you through the process

Managing Lease Obligations and Liabilities3:30 PM - 4:30 PMMervyn Allen Sheldon Disenhouse

In this session, we will discuss the major issues that landlords and tenants have been facing since the middle of March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken root. We will touch on both legal and practical solutions, as well as best practices that landlords, tenants, franchisors, and franchisees have implemented throughout this period, along with those that have been considered by all parties. We will also touch on some of the emerging case law relating to leasing matters in these times.


Learning takeaways:

-Gain insight into the challenges that landlords and tenants are facing as a result of COVID-19

-Learn how landlords, tenants, franchisors, and franchisees are responding to these challenges

-Receive practical advice for how to implement the right solutions for your system

Supporting Franchisees Through Extraordinary Times: Good Faith Financial, Operational, and System Change Support3:30 PM - 4:30 PMJennifer Dolman Ben Hanuka Adam Ship

This session will explore the legal and practical considerations associated with franchisor-led programs designed to support the system and franchisees during extraordinary times. The session will focus on the recent experiences of franchisors attempting to navigate their systems and franchisees through the market disruptions caused by COVID-19, all while trying to maintain the integrity of the franchise brand. This session will include a review of the different types of support programs and related system changes that franchisors have considered or adopted, along with a detailed review of the legal and practical considerations that should guide franchisors in this process.

Learning guarantees:

  • Learn from case study examples of franchisors who have implemented system changes, including the shift to online distribution, remodelling of financial compensation, and more
  • Receive practical advice for how to navigate the process of implementing system changes
  • Understand best practices for communication and messaging with franchisees, employees, suppliers, and other stakeholders
Pandemic Drafting Lessons: Re-examining Key Provisions of the Franchise Agreement3:30 PM - 4:30 PMJoseph Adler Debi Sutin

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to make a wide range of operational changes to comply with new health and safety requirements or governmental orders, and to address issues arising from the disruption to the supply chain. Addressing and adapting to these changes within a franchise system, with a number of independently operated franchise units, adds another layer of complexity, and franchisors must ensure that their franchise agreements provide the means within which these changes can be addressed and communicated to both franchisees and other stakeholders.  In this session, we will examine a number of franchise agreement provisions that require amendments to ensure that franchisors have the tools needed to face similar emergency situations in the future.

Learning takeaways:

-Gain insight into how COVID-19 is impacting franchise agreements

-Learn what provisions in the franchise agreement need to be updated in response to COVID-19

-Receive advice for how to ensure your franchise agreement is up to date and ready for future emergency situations

Moving from Crisis to Recovery - Stories from the Trenches11:00 AM - 12:00 PMCaroline Kolompar Kim Kobayashi Nivera Wallani Ken Otto

This past year has presented all of us with unprecedented circumstances, challenges, and opportunities. Franchisors and franchisees alike have had to act with agility and flexibility as they have navigated these changes and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the opening plenary session, our excellent group of panellists will share their real-world experiences of reacting to, and recovering from, the COVID-19 situation. The panel, which will bring both business and legal perspectives, will discuss how they adjusted their franchise systems and operations in the wake of the pandemic. These first-hand anecdotes will set the stage for the various issues that will be addressed in greater detail throughout the event’s concurrent sessions and roundtables. 

Growing a Brand in Trying Times: How to Successfully Leverage Technology and Data1:15 PM - 2:00 PMSteve Buors

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed what we buy and how we do it. It has changed how we communicate, how we work and how we spend our leisure time. In short, it has changed almost every aspect of our daily lives. This, not surprisingly, has dramatically impacted businesses across the country in every sector.

During this session we will examine how consumer purchasing and digital media consumption has changed in recent months and what this means for businesses. The “new normal” will be different from what we knew pre-COVID, so companies need to adapt in order to capitalize on the eventual economic recovery. Throughout the session we will discuss specific steps franchisors should be considering in order to successfully leverage technology and data.

Legal & Legislative Update4:30 PM - 5:30 PMAdrienne Boudreau David Black Colin Pendrith

Whether you’re a new or established franchisor, a solid understanding of the Canadian legal issues that affect your business is imperative to protect your rights and limit your liabilities. This information session will get you up to speed through a fast-paced review of the highlights from the past year in franchise case law and legislation.

Beyond understanding the relevant laws, you also need to stay on top of any changes and emerging issues that can impact your franchise business. The Canadian Franchise Association (CFA) works with all levels of government to protect franchising and ensure the best possible outcome for all stakeholders. This session will address the CFA’s advocacy goals and provide an update on the key issues affecting the Canadian franchising industry.

Best Franchise Arbitration Practices in Uncertain Times Considering Uber Technology Inc. v. Heller.2:00 PM - 3:15 PMFrank Zaid In these uncertain times of COVID-19, with court closings, social distancing, and lengthy rescheduling times, innovative practices for arbitration of franchise disputes can allow disputes to be resolved quickly with reduced costs and minimal disruption. Added to these challenges are the possible effects of the recent Supreme Court of Canada case, Uber Technologies Inc. v. Heller, on the drafting of arbitration agreements. This roundtable session will discuss best practices for using arbitration as a viable alternative to court proceedings
Franchisor Risks and Responsibilities in Enforcing System Standards in Unusual Times2:00 PM - 3:15 PMMarissa Carnevale

While franchisors are generally tasked with overseeing their network in a manner that supports a positive brand image and consistent standards, steering franchisees through the uncharted territory of the COVID-19 pandemic may seem daunting. This roundtable session will explore how franchisors may consider navigating the enforcement of system standards and the associated risks and responsibilities, especially when it comes to: compliance with COVID-19-centred standards, compliance with system standards vs. compliance with laws, disparities in treatment, approved suppliers, and how flexible franchisors can be in encouraging viability for their franchisees without compromising the brand image. This interactive discussion will include examples from the field as well as practical tips for franchisors navigating the current landscape.

Areas of Vicarious Liability Risk in a Pandemic2:00 PM - 3:15 PMAllan Dick This roundtable will discuss a franchise system’s occupiers liability risks particularly during the current pandemic and practical ways to allocate, minimize and insure against the risks.
Going Digital: Legal Lessons and Watch-Outs2:00 PM - 3:15 PMDavid Fraser Privacy compliance, email communications with customers and cybersecurity are getting more and more complex. This roundtable will discuss the legal environment, latest issues and considerations on the topics of information sharing, IT systems and security and customer communications, with a particular focus on who is responsible for what in the franchisor-franchisee relationship.
Earnings Projections Disclosure Post Crisis2:00 PM - 3:15 PMNoah Leszcz This roundtable discussion will focus on the issues arising from balancing the statutory disclosure obligations under the applicable franchise statutes and the desire to provide financial performance representations (FPR) amidst the global pandemic. Topics of discussion will include COVID specific financial disclaimers, the contents and timing of the FPR, and strategies to reduce the risk associated with the provision of FPRs during COVID.
International Expansion in a Post-Covid World2:00 PM - 3:15 PMKatya Logunov This roundtable session will focus on how the pandemic and related border closures, travel disruption, and changing consumer habits are transforming the process for how franchisors can expand across borders. Topics of discussion will include the most relevant, pressing issues facing franchisors who are growing internationally, and how legal professionals can support and guide franchise systems going international in these uncertain times.
Managing Supply Chain in a Pandemic2:00 PM - 3:15 PMClark Harrop

The COVID-19 global pandemic has put incredible strains on supply chains and suppliers. In this roundtable, you will learn some best practices for managing your supply chain, as well as some pitfalls to avoid. More importantly, you will be encouraged to discuss your own stories of supply chain adaptation.

The Woes of Third Party Delivery Services2:00 PM - 3:15 PMDominic Mochrie

This interactive roundtable will lead a discussion among attendees about the challenges faced by restaurant franchise systems that use third-party delivery services. Attendees will be invited to share real-world examples of challenges that they’ve faced with third-party delivery services and how they overcame them.

Approaches to adapting system-wide protocols: food safety and contactless delivery2:00 PM - 3:15 PMDixie Ho Despite the global effect of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has affected regional pockets of Canada in different ways at different stages. Franchises continue to react to national, provincial, and municipal guidance as well as evolving consumer behaviours. This roundtable will invite franchises in the restaurant and food and beverage industry to share their experiences with adopting, adapting and enforcing protocols to enhance health and safety, how they’ve implemented these protocols, and their strategies as they look to serve customers in this new era.