Bio

Danielle is a partner with Cavalluzzo LLP practising in the areas of workers’ and Indigenous rights, equality, health and Aboriginal law. She is also the Chair of the firm’s Student Committee. She represents unions and associations, regulated professionals including nurses and midwives, and First Nations in diverse contexts including labour disputes, government relations, human rights and constitutional law, health equity, pay equity, professional regulation, judicial reviews and appeals.  She has particular expertise in the health care, policing and public sectors.

She has extensive experience litigating complex systemic discrimination claims including leading equality cases on behalf of women, racialized and disabled workers.  She has twice represented the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) as an intervener in appeals relating to workplace gender discrimination, first in Canada v. Johnstone, a leading case on family status discrimination, and second in Fraser v. Canada, a Supreme Court of Canada case on adverse effect discrimination and pension equality for women with caregiving responsibilities.

Danielle is regularly invited to present to academic and professional audiences in the areas of labour, administrative, equality and health law and advocacy, as well as diversity in the legal profession.  She holds a JD from Osgoode Hall Law School, where she received several academic awards including the Hallett Entrance Scholarship, which she maintained throughout law school. Prior to law, Danielle earned graduate degrees in Social and Political Thought and English Literature.

Danielle brings feminist, anti-racist and decolonial approaches to her legal practice and is committed to using law to empower clients and support the aims of labour and social movements.  Her commitment to law as a tool for achieving justice at work flows from her experiences as a union member and community organizer with Filipinx migrant workers and their families. 

In her non-lawyering life, Danielle is a mother and student of two chaotic beings who do not quit and a member of the Board of Directors of Parkdale Community Legal Services.  

Areas of expertise

  • Equality law, including human rights, Charter, and pay equity
  • Constitutional law, including freedom of association
  • Health law, policy, and government relations
  • Aboriginal law, with a focus on health equity
  • Election law
  • Union governance

Representative cases and mandates

  • Regularly represent health professionals in discipline and other proceedings before their regulators
  • Ontario Nurses’ Association v Participating Nursing Homes (leading case on proxy method of maintaining pay equity for workers in predominantly female workplaces)
  • Negotiated historic Framework Agreement on behalf of Grassy Narrows First Nation with federal government to address health equity and services for community impacted by mercury poisoning
  • Schuyler Farms Ltd. v. Dr. Nesathurai (intervention on behalf of Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights in farm’s appeal of order of Medical Officer of Health to limit number of migrant farmworkers residing in communal bunkhouses to mitigate risk of COVID-19 infection)
  • Fraser v Canada (intervention on behalf of LEAF in gender equality claim by female RCMP officers denied equal access to pension contributions during periods of job-sharing due to childcare obligations)
  • Ontario Nurses’ Association v Eatonville/Henley Place (in context of COVID-19 pandemic, injunction on behalf of nurses employed in long-term care facilities requiring employers to provide access to N95 respirators and improved infection control and occupational health and safety measures)
  • Civilian Association of Managers and Specialists v Ontario Provincial Police (represented association of civilian employees in settling claim of systemic gender discrimination in compensation)
  • ONA v Cambridge Memorial Hospital (judicial review of arbitration decision confirming that discipline of employees for misconduct linked with substance dependence must conform with human rights principles)
  • ONA v Toronto East General Hospital (appeal restoring labour arbitrator’s award interpreting collective agreement language on part-time employees and layoffs)
  • Fenton v Toronto Police Service (represented public complainants and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in police discipline proceeding against commanding officer responsible for largest mass arrest in Canadian history during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto)
  • Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone (intervention on behalf of LEAF in a leading case on legal test for employer’s human rights obligations to accommodate employees on the ground of family status)
  • College of Nurses of Ontario v. XX (represented nurse in constitutional and human rights challenge to statutory regime regulating nurses diagnosed with mental illness and substance dependence)
  • McKinnon v. Ontario (Correctional Services) (order from the HRTO for a stated case of contempt by a Deputy Minister in context of leading human rights tribunal case on race discrimination and systemic remedies)

Selected Publications and Presentations

  • Law Society of Ontario
    • Repeated presenter on labour and administrative law issues
  • The Advocates’ Society
    • Repeated presenter on administrative law and equality in the legal profession

  • Osgoode Professional Development, York University
    • Instructor, Certificate in Human Rights Theory and Practice
    • Instructor, Campus Sexual Harassment Certificate
    • Instructor, Legal Risk Management for Nurses
  • Lancaster House
    • Panelist and Advisory Board Member for numerous labour and human rights conferences and workshops
  • Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers
    • Repeated panelist and moderator on range of topics including sexual harassment, freedom of association and injunction
  • Bisnar, Danielle & Dosanjh, Balraj. “Reasonableness Redux: Vavilov and Continuing Ambiguities in Judicial Review of Labour Law”, Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice, 33:2, June 2020
  • Bisnar, Danielle & O'Brien, Shaun.  "Regulating Disability and the Public Interest: A Case Study on the Human Rights of Regulated Professionals", Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice, 31:1, March 2018
  • Bisnar, Danielle & McIntyre, Elizabeth. “Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent: A Union Perspective”, (2013) 17 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Journal 225

Education

  • Call to the Ontario Bar, 2011
  • Osgoode Hall, J.D.
  • York University, M.A.
  • Dalhousie University, M.A.

Memberships

  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers

Accolades

  • Feminist Legal Theory
  • Hallett Entrance Scholarship
Best Lawyers Award Badge

Related News

News/29 November 2022

Bill 124 Declared Unconstitutional

Significant Win For The Labour Movement

News/25 August 2022

Twelve Cavalluzzo Lawyers Recognized in Best Lawyers 2023 Edition

Recognized in Six Different Practice Areas

News/29 March 2022

Danielle Bisnar speaks at Occupational Health and Safety Law Conference

Cavalluzzo lawyer speaks at conference hosted by the Ontario Bar Association for Labour and Employment Lawyers

News/16 March 2022

Cavalluzzo Supports Mandatory Minimum Compensation for Articling Students

Cavalluzzo lawyers urge the LSO to implement mandatory minimum compensation for articling students in Ontario

Related Events

Event/Jun 24, 2022

Danielle Bisnar and Jackie Esmonde participate in CALL Conference Injunction Workshop

Workshop provides lessons from Labour, Indigenous Land Defense, and COVID Protests/Community Defense perspectives

Danielle Bisnar and Jackie Esmonde participate in a workshop on injunctions at the 2022 CALL Conference. This session looks at injunctions for and aga...
Event/Oct 29, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at Women in Litigation Symposium

Danielle Bisnar speaks at the Women in Litigation Symposium as part of the panel discussion " The Legal Profession's Trauma of the Past and Present".&...
Event/Oct 18, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at LEAF Panel "From Personhood to Equality"

Panel discussing the history of struggle for gender equality within the legal profession

Danielle Bisnar speaks at LEAF discussing the history of struggle for gender equality in the legal profession, and her experiences with this type of ...
Event/Sep 24, 2021

Danielle Bisnar discusses Fraser v. Canada at 2021 CALL Conference

A significant case on substantive equality for women with caregiving responsibilities under section 15 of the Charter

Danielle Bisnar will speak at the 2021 CALL Conference about Fraser v Canada, a significant case on substantive equality for women with caregiving res...

Related Publications

Publication/1 March 2018

Bisnar, Danielle & O'Brien, Shaun. "Regulating Disability and the Public Interest: A Case Study on the Human Rights of Regulated Professionals", Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice, Volume 31, Part 1 (March 2018)

Bisnar, Danielle & O'Brien, Shaun.  "Regulating Disability and the Public Interest: A Case Study on the Human Rights of Regulated Professiona...
Publication/1 June 2013

Bisnar, D. and McIntyre, E. "Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent : A Union Perspective"

Bisnar, D. and McIntyre, E.  "Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent : A Union Perspective" (2013) 17 Canadian Labour & Employment L...
Publication/1 January 2013

Bisnar, Danielle & McIntyre, Elizabeth. “Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent: A Union Perspective”, (2013) 17 Canadian Labour & Employment Law Journal 225

Bisnar, Danielle & McIntyre, Elizabeth. “Lessons for Litigators from ONA v. Chatham-Kent: A Union Perspective”, (2013) 17 Canadian Lab...

Related Blogs

Features/18 October 2021

A Trade Union Guide to the New Federal Pay Equity Act

Edition #1, October 12, 2021

Cavalluzzo LLP lawyers provide a comprehensive guide to the new federal Pay Equity Act, which came into effect August 31, 2021. This guide, intended f...
Blog/7 October 2021

Canada (Attorney General) v First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada

The Federal Court upholds award of human rights damages to First Nations children and their families

The Federal Court upholds the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal’s historic award in Canada (AG) v First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada...
Blog/28 October 2020

Pension Implications of the Supreme Court's Judgment in Fraser v Attorney General

The Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Fraser addresses equity in the context of pensions and may impact many pension plan designs

The Supreme Court of Canada judgment in Fraser addresses equity in the context of pensions and may impact many pension plan designs. This decision wil...
Blog/20 October 2020

Supreme Court of Canada Issues Judgement in Fraser v Attorney-General of Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada issues a significant judgement on substantive equality in  Fraser v Attorney-General of Canada, October 16, 2020. &nb...

Cases

Case/24 April 2020

Superior Court Judgment - ONA v Eatonville and Henley

A team of Cavalluzzo lawyers obtained an interlocutory injunction on behalf of ONA requiring four long-term care facilities to comply with government...
Case/9 November 2017

Fenton v. Toronto Police Service

Fenton v Toronto Police Service 2017 ONCPC 15, (represented public complainants and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in police discipline...
Case/21 January 2016

Ontario Nurses' Association v. Participating Nursing Homes

Jan Borowy and Danielle Bisnar acted for the Ontario Nurses Association, and Paul Cavalluzzo, Adrienne Telford and Lara Koerner-Yeo acted for the Serv...
Case/2 May 2014

Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone

Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, 2014 FCA 110 (leading case on employer’s obligations to accommodate employees on the basis of family sta...