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Design contracts are increasingly complex and the risk profile for design professionals is escalating. Design projects require a practical legal risk management mindset. Do you know your risks and how to manage them?

Redesigned for 2020. Choose to attend both program modules to gain a full suite of practical legal knowledge and risk management skills OR take one module to enhance your desired skillset.

Design professionals are exposed to multiple, often substantial, risks in any given project including scope creep, vague terms, escalating responsibilities, delays, damages, negligence claims, insurance challenges, and other liabilities which can result in steep costs, onerous efforts, and significant reputational damage. It is imperative you have the skills you need to protect your projects, business, and your professional reputation.

Practical. Relevant. Developed exclusively for professionals working with design projects – and their advisors – this intensive and solutions-focused program will equip you with a repertoire of skills to better assess and mitigate legal risks. Delivered by some of Canada’s leading legal and industry experts, you will get practical risk management strategies and tools that you can put to immediate use on your next design project.

Module One: Foundations in Contracts & Practical Risk Management for Design Professionals

This module will give you a comprehensive and practical overview of contract fundamentals and practical risk management techniques, including real-world strategies and tactics to help you effectively assess and mitigate risk on design projects. You will learn:

  • How to develop a legal risk management mindset to identify and allocate key risks
  • Contract law fundamentals for working professionals – includes how to “really read” a contract, what to watch out for, understanding contract flow/organization
  • Essential contractual clauses and why they matter – standard of care, indemnities, warranties and liquidated damages, and scope
  • Design contract fundamentals – includes standard and non-standard design services contracts, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to effectively use standard form contracts including RAIC Document Six, OAA 600, OAA 601, ACEC Document 31 and BIM Contract Appendix, IBC 100-2014
  • Strategies for navigating various project delivery methods used in design projects
  • Methods for managing common areas of liability exposure – sub-consultant risk, BIM risks and the altered risk profile in Design-Build, P3s and AFPs
  • What your insurance covers…and what it doesn’t – includes how to navigate gaps, conflicts or overlaps, overlap with professional liability policies and how to ensure that your insurance pays/responds
  • Tactics for dealing with the owner’s custom contract changes – common scenarios and examples
  • How to deal with being “out-gunned”, scope creep, fast-track design, shifting standard of care, assignment, “value engineering”, opportunistic deficiency and delay claims

Module Two: Advanced Strategies for Managing the Design Services Contract & Key Risks

Building on what you have learned in Module One or in your own professional practice, this module will focus on a practical toolbox of crucial skills and tactics needed to manage more advanced and perplexing issues, including new and emerging risks. You will engage in interactive, learn-by-doing exercises to get hands-on experience in risk assessment and mitigation, and in crucial drafting and negotiation techniques for design services contracts. You will emerge from this module equipped with increased knowledge, skills, experience and confidence to make more informed decisions in the face of challenge and uncertainty. You will learn:

  • Real-world negotiating techniques for a design services contract – includes an interactive expert negotiation demonstration of a design services contract with perspectives for both the designer and contractor, including:
    • Strategies for identifying key risks, troublesome areas and planning your response
    • Getting prepared for the negotiation
    • How to negotiate acceptable terms and “stepped” positions
    • How to protect yourself and when to walk away
    • Tips for navigating the RFQ/RFP process
  • How to identify, mitigate and respond to troublesome terms in a design services contract – you will have the opportunity to gain hands-on, practical experience in drafting terms for a design services contract during an interactive exercise and debrief:
    • You will apply key concepts by marking-up and revising a design services contract, and preparing your response
    • You will also benefit from personalized guidance, class discussion and a debrief
  • Tactics for navigating uncertainty, change and legal reforms, including:
    • Navigating the complexities of liens and holdbacks
    • Interplay of prompt payment and adjudication, with CCDC documents
    • How to evaluate various remedies
    • The unique role and challenges of the consultant
  • Tools for building resiliency during times of uncertainty, including:
    • Lessons learned and innovations arising from the pandemic
    • Evaluating and prioritizing competing impacts
    • What keeps expert up at night and what they’re doing about it
    • Expert insights, tools and tips on what they “wish they knew 20 years ago”

Can’t attend live? Registration includes unlimited 120-day access to program archive.

Architects & Engineers: This program may be eligible for continuing education learning hours in your jurisdiction. See list below and please contact cpd@osgoode.yorku.ca to inquire about eligibility. 

Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) 

This program is eligible for 11 Structured Learning hours under the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) Continuing Education Program.

The Alberta Association of Architects (AAA)

This program is eligible for 11 Structured Learning hours under the Alberta Association of Architects (AAA) Professional Development Program.

Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC)

This program is eligible for 11 Core Learning Units under the Architectural Institute of British Columbia (AIBC) Continuing Education Program.


Program Chairs & Advisors

  • Geza Banfai, McMillan LLP
  • Annik Forristal, McMillan LLP
  • Jennifer Roberts, Gibbs & Associates LLP

Faculty Includes:

  • Sandra Astolfo, Partner, WeirFoulds LLP
  • Geza Banfai, Counsel, McMillan LLP
  • Eric Charleston, Associate, Miller Thomson LLP
  • Annik Forristal, Partner, McMillan LLP
  • Mark Frederick, Partner, Miller Thomson LLP
  • John Gamble, CET, PEng, President and CEO, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Canada (ACEC)
  • Allen Humphries, Practice Advisory Services, Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
  • Kathleen Kurtin, President, Ontario Association of Architects (OAA)
  • Kathryn Lack, Senior Corporate Counsel, CRH Canada Group Inc.
  • Andrea Lee, Partner, Glaholt Bowles LLP
  • Janna LevittBA, BArch, OAA, FRAIC, Partner & Co-Founder, LGA Architectural Partners
  • Jason Lewis, Senior Legal Counsel, Legal Affairs & Risk Management Team, WSP Canada Inc.
  • Catherine MacInnis, Associate General Counsel, IBI Group
  • Marcia Oliver, CS, QArb, Partner, Scott Petrie LLP
  • Bruce Palmer, President and CEO, PRODEMNITY Insurance Company
  • Jason Robbins, MAA, MRAIC, Intl Assoc AIA, RIBA, Member CITT, President-Elect, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), and Principal Architect, JC Robbins Architecture
  • Jennifer Roberts, Counsel, Gibbs & Associates
  • Allen Tanagho, PEng, PMP, Technical Director, Mosaic Transit Constructors
  • Lena Wang, Partner, Glaholt Bowles LLP
  • David Zurawel, Director, Government & Stakeholder Relations, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies Ontario (ACEC-ON)



Fees include attendance, program materials and 120-day access to program archive. Group discounts are available. Learn more about group discounts and financial assistance here.

Group Discounts for CLE Programs

Group discounts and financial assistance are available. Please note that the group discount is only available when paying for members of the same organization, at the same time, and payment is made with one invoice. Please inquire about financial assistance.

Program Changes

We will make every effort to present the program as advertised, but it may be necessary to change the date, location, speakers or content with little or no notice. In the event of program cancellation, York University and Osgoode Hall Law School’s liability is limited to reimbursement of paid fees.

Cancellations and Substitutions

Substitution of registrants is permitted at any time. If you are unable to find a substitute a full refund (less $75 administration fee) is available if a cancellation request is received in writing 14 days prior to the program date. No other refund is available.


Have questions? Read our FAQs.

Program Details

Questions on program registration?
Please contact the Registration Team at osgoodepd@osgoode.yorku.ca

Program Lawyer

If you have any questions or would like more information please contact:
Alexandra Karacsony 

Program Details

Date & Time

Module 1
January 22, 2020
9:00am – 4:00pm EST
Register for Module 1 Online Replay

Module 2 
January 29, 2020
9:00am – 4:00pm EST
Register for Module 2 Online Replay

Can’t attend live? Registration includes unlimited 120-day access to program archive


Online Replay

Fee per Delegate

Both Modules (2 days): $895 + HST

One Module (1 day): $595 + HST

Newly Licensed (2017-2020) Rate: 50% off regular rate

Register Now

Eligible CPD Credit Hours


Who Should Attend

  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Technologists
  • Project managers
  • Contract administrators and professionals
  • Risk professionals
  • Construction lawyers and in-house counsel
  • Insurance professionals
  • Business/financial executives in design/construction

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