Bio

Jackie practices in the areas of Labour, Constitutional, Public Law and Indigenous Rights. She has litigated at all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also appeared before many administrative tribunals.

With an extensive background in writing policy, Jackie has written many policy submissions aimed at government, inquiries and public advocacy. She was also a researcher and writer for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report. One of her academic articles was cited by the Supreme Court in Fleming v. Ontario, 2019 SCC 45.

Jackie has over 18 years of experience in public interest litigation, including test cases aimed at challenging systemic discrimination in access to government benefits, police misconduct and colonialism. She has acted for Indigenous families and nations at inquests and inquiries, including the Ipperwash Inquiry and the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario.

Most recently, Jackie was the lead lawyer for CUPE’s school board sector in Ontario, where she developed specialized knowledge of labour relations in education, litigated central agreement arbitrations and provided day-to-day advice on critical issues connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jackie taught a Masters level course on constitutional law in Osgoode Hall’s Canadian Common Law LLM program for five years. She is also a graduate of Osgoode Hall, finishing in the top 1% of her class. She frequently delivers trainings, speeches and workshops to lawyers, students and community groups on topics such as law and poverty, public interest litigation and social movement lawyering.

Jackie has a lengthy track record of social justice advocacy and workers’ rights organizing, including with Fight for $15 & Fairness and the Migrant Rights Network. She sits on the Board for the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change and is a trustee for the Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund.

Notable Cases

Education

  • Call to the Ontario Bar, 2003
  • Osgoode Hall Law School, LLB, 2002
  • York University, M.A., 1998

  • McMaster University, Hon. B.A., 1996

Memberships

  • Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Law Union of Ontario
  • Ontario Bar Association

Accolades

  • United Food and Commercial Workers & Agricultural Workers Alliance Award – Community Category (2014): Received award for work on litigation that ensured access to Employment Insurance parental benefits for 102 Seasonal Agricultural Workers. 

Related News

News/3 October 2019

"Reversal of provincial welfare cuts hailed as victory for municipalities and advocates"

Jackie Esmonde Quoted in Toronto Star Article about Provincial Welfare Cuts

News/13 September 2019

"Ford government cut targeting Ontario’s most vulnerable kids faces court challenge"

Jackie Esmonde Quoted in Toronto Star Article

News/25 September 2017

"Groups Allege Problems and Potential Legal Implications with EI Appeals Process"

Jackie Esmonde Quoted in The Lawyer's Daily Article

News/7 November 2003

Bail, Global Justice, and the Limits of Dissent

How the Law of Bail Provides Insufficient Protections for Civil Liberties

Related Blogs

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...