Michael D. A. Ford K.C.Partner
Michael Ford, K.C. is a partner in the firm's Calgary office. His practice is focused on employment and labour law, and has extensive experience in all aspects of collective bargaining, advising both unionized and non-unionized employers.
Michael has acted for employers in collective bargaining, arbitrations, strikes and contract administration matters. He has advised employers on dealing with union organizational activity and provided counselling on various workplace matters, including employee discipline and termination, privacy issues, employment agreements, harassment/discrimination, drug testing policies, and sick leaves.
He has also provided guidance to boards of directors and compensation committees on executive employment matters. Michael is a certified human resources professional.
Michael develops sensible and workable solutions to complex workplace issues in a range of industries, including: energy, manufacturing, warehouse, communications, retail, financial, transportation and high-tech industries, as well as major public sector institutions in the health and education fields.
He has defended many employers in significant labour and employment cases involving provincially and federally-regulated workplaces, and routinely advises on Canada/US business transactions involving employment matters.
Michael is a leader in the human resources community. He is the former President of the Human Resources Institute of Alberta; former Chair of the Human Resources Policy Committee of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce; and, has been an Instructor at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta. He is also a frequent speaker at various labour and employment conferences across the country.
Michael has been recognized since 1998 in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, a guide to the leading law firms and practitioners in Canada, in the area of labour law. He has been listed since 2008 in Chamber’s Global: Guide to the World’s Leading Lawyers, as a leading lawyer in the area of employment law; he has been described by the publication as: “…outgoing, bright and really knows his stuff (2009)…”; “…noted for his expertise in trade union matters and occupational health issues…” (2010); “…is lauded for his practical approach to labour and employment in the Province of Alberta…” (2012); “…broad knowledge of legal issues and his ability to work to solutions…” (2013).; “…is singled out for his experience relating to the transportation sector…” (2014); “…is very well known… is one of the best employment lawyers…” (2015). The Canadian HR Reporter has also acknowledged him as one of Canada’s top employment lawyers.
- Acted for Predator Midstream Ltd. in its $107 million acquisition by SECURE Energy Services Inc.
- The University of Calgary v. Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (whether solicitor client documents are subject to disclosure to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Alberta)
- Greyhound Canada v. ATU Local 1415, (2011) 207 L.A.C. (4th) 192 (accommodation arising from repetitive workplace injury)
- Suncor Energy v. CEP (2008), 178 L.A.C. (4th) 223 (Post-incident drug testing)
- Ryrie v. The University of Calgary (2012) ABQB 342 (post traumatic stress disorder arising from dismissal)
- Canadian Human Rights Commission and Khiamal v. Greyhound Transportation  75 C.C.E.L. (3d) 333 (Personality conflict is not discrimination)
- Filipchuk v. Cargill Ltd.,  A.J. No. 865; 23 C.C.E.L. (2d) 20; 44 Alta L.R. (3d) 132 (Constructive Dismissal)
- Greyhound Canada v. ATU Local 1415, (2011) 213 L.A.C. 433 (use of medical records to administer short-term medical leave)
- The Calgary Board of Education v. ATA, (2010) 103 C.L.A.S. 98 (psychological testing as a screening tool for promotion)
- The University of Calgary v. Faculty Association, (2010) 192 L.A.C. (4th) 214 (elimination of government health care premiums);
- ATA v. Calgary School District #19 (2006) 15b L.A.C. (4th) 97 (court jurisdiction to deal with historical employee benefit plan surpluses over a 25 year period)
- Flint Canada Inc. v. Bonokoski (1997) 50 Alta L R. (3d) 26; 203 A.R. 225; 145 D.L.R. (4th) 453 (applicability of employment standards to worksites located outside of Alberta)
- CHRP, 1992
- LL.B., University of Alberta, 1984
- B.Comm. (Labour Relations), University of Alberta, 1981
- Best Lawyers in Canada (Labour and Employment), 2020-2022
- Litigation Star, Benchmark Canada (Labour and Employment), 2014-2019
- Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, (Employment) 1998–2012, 2017–2020, 2022; (Labour Relations), 2019-2021
- Chambers Canada (Employment & Labour - Nationwide), 2016-2021; (Employment & Labour - Alberta), Band 1, 2016-2023
- Chambers Global (Employment & Labour), 2014-2018
- Human Resources Institute of Alberta: Distinguished Career Award
- Leading Lawyer, The Legal 500 Canada (Labour and Employment), 2019, 2021-2023
- The Legal 500 Canada (Labour and Employment), 2016-2019, 2021-2023
- Lexpert Zenith Award: Celebrating Today's Leaders in Practice Excellence, 2014
- Queen's Counsel, 2012
- Speaker, 2016 DLA Piper (Canada) LLP Canadian Employment and Labour Law Conference
Memberships And Affiliations
- Member, Former President, Human Resources Institute of Alberta
- Member, Former Chair, Labour Law Subsection, Canadian Bar Association (Southern Alberta)
- Former Chair, Hospital Privileges Appeal Board of Alberta
- Member, Law Society of Alberta
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- Member, Calgary Bar Association
- Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers
- Member, American Bar Association, Labour and Employment Sector
- Member, Society for Human Resource Management