Heather Hettiarachchi

Associate Counsel

Heather is a contract lawyer with Cohen Buchan Edwards and works exclusively on files relating to employment and labour matters on which she is consulted.

In addition to being an employment and labour lawyer, Heather is also an investigator and mediator with a unique combination of legal expertise and extensive hands-on human resources management and labour relations experience.

Heather’s practice focuses on all aspects of employment and labour law arising in union and non-union workplaces, including advising on employment and labour issues in the context of the purchase and sale of businesses.

In addition to being a workplace mediator, Heather has over 16 years’ experience in conducting workplace investigations, developing human resources policies, resolving workplace conflicts, bullying and harassment prevention, dealing with disability, accommodation and human rights issues and workplace restructuring. She also provides coaching and training on a wide range of workplace related matters and general human resources support to employers.

Heather’s workplace law practice is strengthened by a MSc in Training and Human Resources Management and by her practical experience as a Human Resources Manager at the University of British Columbia, Labour Relations Advisor to Vancouver Community College and Manager of Human Resources for a large private insurance company.

Heather articled with a leading labour and employment boutique firm in Vancouver and practised law in the labour and employment group of an eminent national firm.

Heather is a firm believer in giving back to the community and mentors junior lawyers, human resources professionals and law students through the Women Lawyers Mentoring Program, the HRMA Mentoring Program and the CBA/UBC Law Faculty Mentoring Program.

Heather blogs regularly on workplace matters and is a frequent speaker and presenter at workshops, seminars and webinars.

Professional Associations / Accreditations

  • Member, Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch
    • Executive Member, CBA National Employment & Labour Section
    • Member, CBA National Constitutional Section
    • Member, CBA National Human Rights Section
    • Member, CBA national Small Solo & General Practice Forum
  • Member, British Columbia Human Resources Management Association
    • Co-Chair, HMRA Richmond/Delta Diversity & Inclusion round tables
  • Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers
  • Member, Law Society of British Columbia
  • Member, Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.
  • Member, Canadian Corporate Counsel Association

Education / Accreditations

  • LL.B (Hons), University of Colombo, 1991
  • Admitted to the Sri Lanka Bar, 1992
  • M. Sc. Training and Human Resource Management, University of Leicester, 2001
  • LL.B. (accreditation), University of British Columbia, 2006
  • Admitted to the British Columbia Bar, 2007
  • CPHR (designation), Chartered Professionals in Human Resources, 2017

Interests / Community Engagement

Heather enjoys travelling and can be found globetrotting with her family during her spare time.

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