Mining & Natural Resources

The recent collapse in commodity prices has created an unprecedented economic challenge for the mining and natural resources sector. While revenues have declined significantly, companies face high fixed costs related to extraction, processing and ongoing operations.

Many employers in the sector have mature and heavily unionized workforces with traditional collective agreements. Employers are taking actions in the areas they can—creating voluntary early retirement programs when feasible, building more cooperative relationships with unions and workforces to promote engagement and exploring creative cost control solutions.

At the same time, employers also must continue to deal with issues that are unique to their sector, from environmental concerns and aboriginal claims to specific occupational health and safety requirements.


Hicks Morley advises and represents a number of major Canadian mining and resource companies on a full range of human resources issues. Our clients include:

  • exploration companies
  • mining and quarrying companies
  • oil and gas extraction and distributors
  • metallurgical manufacturers, producers and suppliers
  • smelting and refining operations


We provide a broad range of human resources services including:

  • assisting with aspects of labour relations issues including strategic advice and planning, collective bargaining and arbitrations
  • providing advice on all issues relating to employment law, human rights and pay equity
  • when downsizing is required, assisting clients in managing workplace change and implementing innovative solutions from restructuring hours of work and consolidating operations to amending pension, benefits and executive compensation plan arrangements
  • representing employers before administrative tribunals and all levels of court including labour injunctions, wrongful dismissals claims and complex pension litigation
  • developing attendance management programs to manage and reduce absenteeism
  • developing employee and union engagement programs to increase efficiencies
  • assisting with health and safety issues including the development and monitoring of health and safety policies and systems and providing full representation and advocacy if investigations or prosecutions arise
  • assisting with workers’ compensation issues including minimizing WSIB costs, representing employers with respect to claims, assisting with WSIB employer registration classification and penalty assessment, and managing the return of injured employees to the workforce
  • advising on all aspects of pension, benefits and executive compensation issues including the redesign of pension plans to deal with existing solvency deficiency problems and to reduce future liability exposures, developing and introducing changes to benefit programs to reduce the ever-escalating costs associated with retirees, and managing the costs of benefits for active employees through the use of preferred provider networks, drug formulary control and other processes
  • assisting with conflict resolution processes
  • working with clients throughout the acquisition and integration process