Bio

Danielle practices in the areas of labour, administrative, human rights, Aboriginal, professional regulation and pay equity law. She has particular expertise in the health care, policing and public sectors. She has appeared before all levels of Court in Ontario and federally, and regularly litigates before provincial tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal, professional regulatory bodies, and labour arbitrators. 

Danielle serves unions and other institutional clients through strategic research and advice, negotiation, and oral and written advocacy in a wide range of litigation and other contexts, including judicial reviews and appeals. Her labour law practice focuses on workplace human rights, disability benefits and accommodation, occupational health and safety, and grievance arbitration. In the health care sector, Danielle advises unions and associations on law reform, government relations and the legal landscape pertaining to all aspects of health care policy, regulation and funding, and represents individuals in professional regulatory matters. 

Danielle has significant experience in human rights litigation in a variety of forums. Before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Danielle has represented clients in claims of systemic gender discrimination and sexual harassment. Danielle was co-counsel to LEAF before the Federal Court of Appeal in Canada v. Johnstone, a leading case on family status discrimination. She was also co-counsel in a legal challenge to the Regulated Health Professions Act which resulted in negotiation of systemic changes to the manner in which nurses with disabilities are treated by their regulator. As an articling student, she was highly involved in McKinnon v. Ontario, a leading case on race discrimination and systemic remedies.  

Danielle is regularly invited to present to academic and professional audiences in the areas of labour, human rights and health law.  

Danielle 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 based on her strong academic record. Prior to law school, Danielle earned graduate degrees in Social and Political Thought and in English Literature. She also worked with Canadian midwifery regulators to establish a bridging program to facilitate entry of internationally educated midwives into the profession.

Danielle's commitment to law as a tool for achieving justice at work and advancing the aims of social movements flows from her experiences as a union member and feminist community organizer with Filipino migrant workers and their families.

Notable cases include:

  • Fenton v. Toronto Police Service 2017 ONCPC 15, (represented public complainants and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in police discipline proceeding against commanding officer responsible for mass arrests during the G20 Summit in Toronto in 2010)
  • Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, 2014 FCA 110 (leading case on employer’s obligations to accommodate employees on the basis of family status)
  • College of Nurses of Ontario v. XX (constitutional and human rights challenge to statutory regime regulating nurses diagnosed with mental illness and addiction, 2014)
  • Timmins and District Hospital v. Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2013 ONSC 6002 (judicial review of labour arbitration award regarding long-term disability benefits)
  • McKinnon v. Ontario (Correctional Services) 2011 HRTO 263 With Kate Hughes, obtained an order from the HRTO for a stated case of contempt by in context of leading human rights tribunal case on race discrimination and systemic remedies ordered.

Publications

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

Presentations

  • “New Developments in Human Rights Law", Certificate in Human Rights Theory and Practice, Osgoode Professional Development, York University, 2018
  • “Justice in the Field? How the Law Marginalizes Migrant Agricultural Workers in Ontario”, University of Toronto Food Law and Policy Society/Labour Law Society, 2018
  • "Major Caselaw and Legislative Update: Undue Hardship, Family Status, Damage Awards and More", Lancaster House, Toronto Human Rights and Accommodation Conference, 2018
  • “Gender, Race and the Legal Regulation of Workplace Standards”, Guest Lecture for SOSC 2330 Political Economy of Law, Policy and Organization, York University, 2016 and 2017
  • "Case Law and Legislative Roundup: Major Milestones, Future Forecasts“, Lancaster House Arbitration and Policy Conference, 2016
  • “Legal Risk Management for Nurses”, Osgoode Professional Development, York University, 2016
  • “Prescriptions for Obtaining Medical Information: Practical Tips from Practising Lawyers”, Lancaster House, Toronto Human Rights and Accommodation Conference 2016
  • “Legislative Updates on Mental Stress and Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace”, Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers Conference, 2016
  • “From Cradle to Grave: Human Rights and Accommodating the Family Caregiving Obligations of Employees” and “Disclosure of Medical Information Engaging Mental Health Issues”, UFCW National Lawyers’ Conference 2014
  • “Professional Regulation and the Duty to Accommodate: ‘Undue Hardship’ in the Context of a Public Protection Mandate”, Ontario Bar Association, Annual Update on Human Rights 2014

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

Related Events

Event/Jun 3, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at 2021 CALL Conference

Danielle Bisnar participates in panel "Whatever Happened to Freedom of Association:  Wage Restraint in the Last Year" at the 2021 CALL Conference...
Event/Apr 29, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at Administrative Tribunal Advocacy Plenary Session

Danielle Bisnar speaks at Administrative Tribunal Advocacy Plenary session sponsored by the Advocate Society. Danielle is participating in a panel dis...
Event/Apr 21, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Participates in Virtual Roundtable on Pay Equity in Legal Profession

Danielle Bisnar joins Federal Pay Equity Commissioner Karen Jensen and others to discuss pay equity in the legal profession and beyond.
Event/Mar 30, 2021

Danielle Bisnar Joins LEAF Feminist Pathways in Law Panel

Danielle Bisnar joins LEAF Feminist Pathways in Law panel hosted in collaboration by LEAF Kingston and Queen’s Women & Law on March 30th at ...

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

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...