Woman Up!

Woman Up!

By Sara Ametrano

Every year on March 8th, countries all over the world celebrate International Women’s Day. It’s a day to recognize women’s personal and professional achievements as well as the daily challenges they face. The event’s theme this year is #EachforEqual.

Marilyn vanGansewinkel, vice-president, specialty insurance solutions, Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company“I look at the team we have [at Trisura] and am proud of the diversity of the team and the skillset that they bring to the table,” Marilyn vanGansewinkel, Trisura’s senior vice president of specialty insurance solutions, says. Over her 23-year career in the specialty insurance industry, Marilyn has seen a great deal of change. She began as an underwriting assistant, and at that time, nearly all administrative/assistant positions belonged to women.

Today, the industry has considerably changed, with women holding many senior positions at insurance companies and brokerages alike. Hiring a candidate has transitioned from the gender associated with a specific job to focusing more on the qualifications of the individual applying. The opportunities in the workforce continue to grow, and Marilyn is excited to see how women will seize them. “While hiring people, I am continually impressed with how driven women are now. They know what they want and where they want to go.”

Women have a critical role in their own success and the success of their peers. In fact, there are certain advantages that come with being a woman. “Women are excellent at being empathetic,” she explains. “This makes them good at listening to any challenges the person that they are talking to might be dealing with.”

Marilyn firmly believes it is important to surround oneself with influential and dynamic people – and there’s no shortage of this in the insurance industry. In fact, the people she crosses paths with while working is one of the things she likes most about the industry. Along with hard work, she credits several female and male colleagues and managers she’s worked with over the course of her career with helping her get to where she is now. She believes that she was given opportunities throughout her career to move into more challenging roles as they presented themselves.

Speaking from her own personal experience, Marilyn acknowledges that although being a mother while working can appear daunting, it’s all about finding the right balance. “Be present wherever you are, whether it’s at work or at home,” she advises.

Trisura’s President & CEO, Chris Sekine, has known Marilyn for over two decades. He applauds her support of those around her and is excited to see the impact women will continue to have in the workforce:

I have known Marilyn for well over 20 years, and as one the original Trisura employees from 2006, her leadership qualities and character are an integral part of Trisura’s DNA today. She is and has always been a tremendous mentor to many of our employees, both women and men. In addition to Marilyn, Trisura has been fortunate to attract many empowered and strong women into senior leadership positions since our beginning. Janet Mascitelli, who is now retired, ran our surety business in Toronto and Donna Anderson started our surety business in the Prairies. Rebekah Alberga, is our General Counsel and started our claims team in Toronto. The list goes on, and it also includes Cindy Grant, our Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Pina Mazzoli our Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution and Marketing.


As a father of two daughters nearing the start of their own careers, empowering women is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. Our next generation of leaders have to be comprised of more women—our daughters. The more women we can inspire to be leaders, the greater the talent pool that organizations can draw from will be, which will bring diversity in thinking and formulation of strategy. Organizations that can effectively empower women will have a great strategic advantage.

From the start of her career to now, Marilyn has seen women’s confidence flourish, and it’s one of the things she’s most proud of, saying, “Women know what they want, and now they go for it.” She encourages women to continue to seize the opportunities that come their way. “Be confident. Don’t be scared to ask for what you want–there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious. Rise up and deliver.”

Trisura selected by Aon as a Best Employer for 2019

Trisura selected by Aon as a Best Employer for 2019

Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company is proud to have been selected once again by Aon as one of the Best Small & Medium Employers in Canada for 2019. The complete list of winners was announced on November 8th.

The Best Employers in Canada competition runs annually, is based on expertise gained from years of experience, and data that’s been collected from thousands of organizations worldwide. Only a small group of companies are chosen as winners. Trisura has made the Best Small & Medium Employers List for a third consecutive year.

There are many elements that Aon considers when awarding a company, but most important are the results of an employee engagement survey that covers 20 different factors. Trisura retained a 100% participation rate.

The full results of the competition will be published in the December issue of Canadian Business Magazine—currently available on newsstands and through digital subscription. The winners’ lists are also available at Aon’s website, which can be accessed by clicking here: 2019 Best Employers.


Follow us on Twitter @trisuraCAN


 Media contact

Sandra Henkel, Trisura Guarantee Insurance Company, Sandra.henkel@trisura.com 416.607.2092

Legalization of Cannabis: A Guide for Employers

Legalization of Cannabis: A Guide for Employers

Presented in partnership with Davies



This article was originally published October 19th, 2018

Read the original article: https://www.dwpv.com/en/Insights#/article/Publications/2018/Legalization-of-Cannabis-A-Guide-for-Employers

Authors: Louise PatryBrian KujavskyJessica BullockJoseph-Anaël Lemieux, Rachael Lee and Brent Winston


With the legalization of recreational cannabis as of October 17, 2018, Canadian employers must be prepared to understand their rights and responsibilities vis-à-vis their employees.


Substance and Drug Use Policy


Employers are encouraged to adopt or amend their substance and drug use policies to conform to cannabis legalization.

First, employers’ drug policies should clearly stipulate that they apply to cannabis use, notwithstanding its legalization.

Second, regardless of the particular rules employers wish to adopt, it is advisable to institute policies that are clear with regard to the behaviours that are forbidden and the consequences of violating the policies. These policies should also be applied in a consistent and uniform manner to every employee (subject, of course, to any duty to accommodate, as discussed below).

The implementation of cannabis use policies should be accompanied by training on the various issues surrounding cannabis and the workplace, particularly for managers who will have to apply these policies.


When Is Testing for Cannabis Use Permitted?


Subjecting an employee to a drug test is considered to be a violation of the employee’s right to privacy. Testing employees for drug use is allowed only in specific circumstances. Therefore, unilateral random testing is justified only in safety-sensitive industries and workplaces or where there is evidence of a generalized problem with substance abuse, and only for employees who occupy safety-sensitive positions.

Beyond that, an employer may impose drug testing only in a safety-sensitive workplace and for an individual employee who occupies a safety-sensitive position in the following situations:

  • There is reasonable cause to believe that the employee is impaired while on duty.
  • The employee has been directly involved in a workplace accident or significant incident.
  • The employee is returning to work after treatment for substance abuse.

Current drug testing is unable to accurately determine the extent of cannabis impairment. Although testing for cannabis use can detect the presence of THC in the blood, such tests do not necessarily show that an employee is or was impaired by using cannabis. Moreover, because THC can be detected in the blood several days after consumption, these tests cannot accurately determine the temporal aspect of impairment. We strongly recommend that employers seek legal advice before testing their employees for cannabis use.


Employers’ Duty to Accommodate


Employers are required by law to accommodate an employee’s disabilities up to the point of undue hardship. While employers are permitted to prohibit employees’ recreational use of cannabis in the workplace, employers are required to accommodate employees who use prescribed medical cannabis and employees who suffer from an addiction to cannabis where such disabilities do not affect their ability to perform their duties and do not affect workplace safety.

An employer’s policy could provide that employees who need to use cannabis for medical purposes are required to inform their employer. The policy could also stipulate that employees with an addiction to cannabis are encouraged to inform their employer in a confidential manner, so both parties can work together to find a solution to accommodate the employee.

Employers are advised to seek legal advice regarding the appropriate measures to be adopted in respect of employees who use cannabis for medical purposes or who suffer from an addiction to cannabis.


Québec: Bill 157 to Restrict Cannabis Use in the Workplace


Québec’s Bill 157, which enacted, among others, the Cannabis Regulation Act (Act), provides regulations regarding the use and possession of cannabis in the workplace. Under the Act, employers have the option of regulating or entirely forbidding any form of cannabis use in the workplace by their personnel, regardless of the nature of the business they operate. The Act also prohibits the smoking of cannabis in any enclosed workplace. The Act more specifically prohibits anyone who takes care of or otherwise provides care to a minor, a senior or any person in a vulnerable situation from using cannabis during working hours. The exact scope of this prohibition is nebulous, but it may well apply to employees of schools, hospitals and pharmacies so as to prohibit them from using cannabis during their work shift, which would likely include coffee and/or lunch breaks.

The Act also modifies the Act Respecting Occupational Health and Safety (AOHS) to restrict employees to whom the AOHS applies from performing work when their condition, by reason of impairment by cannabis, represents a risk to their health, safety or physical well-being or to the health, safety or well-being of other people in or near the workplace. In addition, the AOHS creates a corresponding obligation for employers to ensure that their employees do not perform their work when their condition represents such a risk to health, safety and physical well-being. It is noteworthy that on a construction site, being impaired by cannabis is deemed to represent a risk to health, safety and physical well-being.


Ontario: Bill 36 and the Occupational Health and Safety Act


In Ontario, Bill 36 was passed on October 17, 2018, which amended the Ontario Cannabis Act, 2017, to become the Cannabis Control Act, 2017. Bill 36 provides that smoking or consuming cannabis is prohibited in enclosed workplaces.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario) requires employers to ensure the safety and protection of their employees in the workplace. This means that the legalization of cannabis does not affect an employer’s right to require employees to be free from impairment in the workplace.

It should be noted that the other provinces and territories of Canada can adopt their own rules regarding the use of cannabis in the workplace, and they may differ from the rules adopted in Québec and Ontario.

Canada’s Breach Notification Rules in Effect

Canada’s Breach Notification Rules in Effect


Presented in partnership with Cox & Palmer




This article is also posted on Cox and Palmer’s website.

Article Written by:
Matt Saunders


Local and global data breaches remain headline news. From Facebook’s disclosure of its sharing of millions of users’ profiles (without their consent) to the recent data breach involving the Nova Scotia government’s Internal Services website, awareness is growing about privacy rights, how people share data, and how personal information is protected.

Canadians’ interest in these issues will only increase as Canada’s new mandatory data breach notification provisions under the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) come into force on November 1, 2018. Further details of the notification process are set out in the Breach of Security Safeguard Regulations (the “Regulations”), which were published in final form on April 18, 2018.

The new data breach notification framework lists the steps an organization must take when it experiences a “breach of security safeguards” (or a breach due to a failure to establish safeguards):

  1. Determine if the breach poses a “real risk of significant harm” to any individual whose information was involved in the breach;
  2. If the answer is “yes” to (1), notify affected individuals and report to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada (the “Commissioner”) as soon as feasible after determining the breach has occurred;
  3. Notify any other organization that may be able to mitigate harm to affected individuals; and
  4. Maintain a record of any data breach the organization becomes aware of (and provide these records to the Commissioner upon request).




Under the new framework, “significant harm” is broadly defined to include bodily harm, humiliation, damage to reputation or relationships, loss of employment, business or professional opportunities, financial loss, identity theft, negative effects on one’s credit record, and damage to or loss of property.

When assessing whether a breach poses a real risk of significant harm to affected individuals, the organization should consider the sensitivity of the personal information involved in the breach, the probability that the personal information has been, is being or will be misused, and other factors that may be set by regulation.




After determining that a data breach has occurred and poses a real risk of significant harm, an organization must report the data breach to the Commissioner as soon as feasible. The Regulations require that any report to the Commissioner must be in writing, sent by any secure means of communication, and include:

  • a description of the circumstances of the breach and, if known, the cause;
  • the day on which, or period during which, the breach occurred or, if neither is known, the approximate period;
  • a description of the personal information that is the subject of the breach to the extent that the information is known;
  • the number of individuals affected by the breach or, if unknown, the approximate number;
  • a description of the steps taken to reduce the risk of harm to affected individuals that could result from the breach or to mitigate that harm;
  • a description of the steps the organization has taken or intends to take to notify affected individuals of the breach; and
  • the name and contact information of a person who can answer, on behalf of the organization, the Commissioner’s questions about the breach.

Additionally, an organization can submit to the Commissioner any new information referred to above that the organization becomes aware of after the report is made.




Organizations must also provide notification to each individual affected by a breach, unless otherwise prohibited by law. Such notifications must include:

  • a description of the circumstances of the breach;
  • the day on which, or period during which, the breach occurred or, if neither is known, the approximate period;
  • a description of the personal information that is the subject of the breach to the extent that the information is known;
  • a description of the steps the organization has taken to reduce the risk of harm that could result from the breach;
  • a description of the steps that affected individuals could take to reduce the risk of harm that could result from the breach or to mitigate that harm; and
  • contact information that the affected individual can use to obtain further information about the breach.

Organizations must directly notify affected individuals of a breach in person, by telephone, mail, email or any other form of communication that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.

However, it is acceptable for an organization to indirectly notify affected individuals in the following circumstances: (i) direct notification would be likely to cause further harm to the affected individual; (ii) direct notification would be likely to cause undue hardship for the organization; or (iii) the organization does not have contact information for the affected individual. Indirect notification can be given by public communication or similar measure that could reasonably be expected to reach the affected individuals.




If an organization notifies affected individuals, they must also notify any other organization, government institution, or part of a government institution of the breach if the notifying organization believes that the other organization or government institution may be able to reduce the risk of harm that could result from the breach or mitigate that harm.




An organization must maintain a record of every breach of security safeguards involving personal information, even those that the organization has determined do not pose a real risk of significant harm to an individual, for a period of 24 months after the day on which the organization determines that the breach has occurred. The record must also contain any information that enables the Commissioner to verify compliance with the provisions requiring reports to the Commissioner and notification to affected individuals.




Organizations should also be aware that knowingly failing to report to the Commissioner or notify affected individuals of a breach that poses a real risk of significant harm, or knowingly failing to maintain a record of all breaches, can lead to fines of up to $100,000.

The teams at Trisura and Cox & Palmer are happy to assist businesses and organizations looking for more information on how to prepare for the roll-out of Canada’s data breach notification requirements. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Kalakauskas or Matt Saunders.




At Cox & Palmer, they believe that strong client relationships are the foundation for great results. With excellence in client service a number one priority, they deliver timely legal solutions built on a deep understanding of their clients’ needs and top quality work. 200 lawyers strong, with over a century of experience serving Atlantic Canadians, the full-service regional law firm provides advice to individuals and businesses in a broad range of sectors across all major industries.

Cox & Palmer privacy lawyers have extensive knowledge and experience in all aspects of privacy and access law and have appeared before various levels of court in Nova Scotia and Ontario. They work closely with their clients and other practice groups within the firm to provide sector-specific advice that is tailored to meet our clients’ needs. Members of their team have backgrounds in emergency management and security consulting, and are also Certified Information and Privacy Professionals with the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP).


Keeping it Real

Keeping it Real

fake newsDefining Trisura’s Culture

Turn on a TV or pick up a newspaper today and you’ll see countless accusations, denials, lies and growing cynicism. It’s increasingly difficult to tell the difference between real and fake because the world is becoming more complicated and hostile. It seems to me that many good old fashioned societal values have eroded considerably.

It makes me think about Trisura and what we stand for, and of the core values which define our culture. We use terms like caring about your needs, listening to your point of view, being supportive and sharing our expertise. Trisura is a relationship company, focused on building partnerships with our brokers. We realize you trust us with your business. Our team works hard at earning that trust. It strikes me that we are on the right track because I believe that relationships and partnerships are more important than ever before. Our industry remains a people business.


I was reminded of this last week when we hosted our seventh, and largest, softball tourney in Toronto. We were thrilled to share the day with 185 brokers from 17 different brokerages. From what I saw, everyone had a great day of camaraderie, friendship and a little healthy competition. But we were also there to live another of our core values: giving back to our community. With thanksgiving just around the corner, we asked all participants to donate food items or cash to a local food bank, with great success. Our selected charity for the day was once again Children’s Wish; Canada’s foremost wish granting agency which delivers the most heartfelt wishes of kids with life threatening or life altering conditions.

Real People

This year was all the more special because we were intent on raising sufficient funds to deliver on 2 wishes, including one for Katie Grant, the 11 year old daughter of Richard Grant of our Toronto office, and his wife Allison. In January of 2017, Katie suffered from a significant brain bleed caused by an arteriovenous malformation (or AVM). Katie went into a coma and required emergency lifesaving surgery at McMaster Children’s hospital. While this surgery, and subsequent ones, were successful, Katie then spent the next seven months in hospital and has continued with her rehabilitation through to today. Katie has had to learn to do everything we take for granted over again, including how to walk, talk and eat. Due to her remarkable courage and spirit, she is now back at school. This journey was an incredibly difficult one for Katie and her entire family and we are grateful to be part of her wish. Katie and her parents were recently informed she has qualified for a wish from Children’s Wish, and she is now deciding on what she wants to do most. Thank you for helping make Katie’s wish come true.


The day made me feel wonderful. Together we raised over $20,000 and we were able to deliver on Katie’s still to be determined wish as well as a wish for another child. Seeing over 200 people from the brokerage community and Trisura sharing a day and giving back to the community gave me goosebumps. It reminded me that relationships and partnerships are vitally important, and that even the fiercest of competitors can come together for a good cause. That is what’s truly important, and I wish the world would take note. Our core values define us as an organization and as a team. They help guide us and ground us in an increasingly complex, difficult and hostile world. And they help us keep it real. Have a very happy and healthy thanksgiving and all the very best to you and your family.



7th Annual Charity Softball Tournament Gallery

7th Annual Charity Softball Tournament Gallery

The 7th Annual Trisura Charity Softball Tournament –

Trisura’s annual tournament took place on September 20th, 2018. With a record 17 different brokerages participating, this year’s tournament was the biggest ever, ultimately producing over $20,000 of donations to the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, Ontario Chapter.