Philip Abbink, Hons BA, MA, JD, practices in the areas of professional regulation and labour law, primarily providing advocacy for health care professionals in grievance arbitrations and at professional Colleges. He also represents employees in investigations, quasi-criminal regulatory proceedings and at Coroners' Inquests. Philip is also the Co-managing Partner at Cavalluzzo.
After earning a JD and a MA in International Relations from the University of Toronto, Phil articled at Cavalluzzo. During his articles, he represented the Ontario Nurses Association along with Kate Hughes in a Coroner’s Inquest arising from a death in a long-term care home. The recommendations from this inquest led to significant changes specifically related to the assessment of, and care for, residents with behavioural challenges, which remain in practice to this day. He then returned to primarily practice in the area of criminal defence, and related labour arbitration and professional regulator proceedings. He represented clients at Provincial and Superior Court, at the Court of Appeal, and before professional regulatory Colleges. His criminal defence practice principally related to professionals, including teachers and nurses.
As an associate, he worked with David Bloom in a very lengthy, and hotly contested, professional misconduct hearing at the College of Teachers, successfully defending the teacher against scores of allegations and obtaining a penalty of a mere reprimand.
After living in Ireland for several years, Phil returned to Cavalluzzo as an Associate, and became a partner in 2017. During this time, his practice has focussed on representing nurses in labour arbitration and professional regulatory proceedings. He has continued to advocate for individuals and institutions in Coroners’ Inquests, including representing the surviving siblings of Jeffrey Baldwin in the Inquest into his death over several months. Recommendations from this Inquest also led to significant changes in the child protection system in Ontario.
At the Labour Relations Board, Phil acts for institutional clients in relation to appeals under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other matters. He has experience in appeals to the Information and Privacy Commissioner, both as applicant and defendant.
On a pro bono basis, Phil and a team of Cavalluzzo lawyers represented complainants at the disciplinary hearing of Supt. Mark Fenton, which arose from the kettling of protesters during the G20 protests in Toronto in 2010. Supt. Fenton was found guilty of professional misconduct based on the strong advocacy and cross-examinations conducted by Phil and the Cavalluzzo team during this lengthy and complex hearing.
In cases that changed health care policy throughout the province, Phil, Kate Hughes and Tyler Boggs represented the Ontario Nurses’ Association in two arbitration proceedings successfully overturning Hospital policies requiring nurses who had not received the seasonal influenza vaccine to wear a surgical mask during influenza season. This required extensive understanding of the relevant science, as well as preparing and cross-examining the expert witnesses. Another notable victory required a Hospital to apply the short-term disability provisions of HOODIP consistently with the Human Rights Code, by counting modified hours and graduated return to work hours towards reinstatement of benefits (Ontario Nurses Association v. Southlake Regional Health Centre, Jan 8, 2020, B. Keller, unreported).
Most recently, Phil and the Cavalluzzo team obtained an injunction requiring five long-term care facilities to comply with Provincial Directives relating to the pandemic (Ontario Nurses Association v. Eatonville/Henley Place, 2020 ONSC 2467 (CanLII)), and also obtained an award requiring over 200 Long-term Care Homes represented by ONA to comply with the collective agreement, and OHSA, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect both residents and staff (Participating Nursing Homes v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2020 CanLII 36663 (ON LA))
- Successfully limited the application of a regulation which displaced collective agreement provisions, and permitted redeployment of staff, and other measures, in the context of the pandemic in Ontario Nurses’ Association v Corporation of the County of Essex (Sun Parlour Home for Senior Citizens), 2020 CanLII 93596 (ON LA).
- Obtained sweeping orders in relation to health and safety, and infection control practices relating to COVID-19, for approximately 200 homes represented by ONA in Participating Nursing Homes v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2020 CanLII 32055 (ON LA).
- A team of Cavalluzzo lawyers obtained an interlocutory injunction on behalf of ONA requiring four long-term care facilities to comply with government Directives, and specifically provide access to N95 respirators, during the COVID-19 pandemic. A copy of the Judgment of E.M. Morgan J. dated April 22, 2020 can be found here.
- In St. Michael's Hospital v. Ontario Nurses' Association CANLII 82519, for the second time in Ontario, ONA persuaded an arbitrator that a hospital policy requiring nurses who had not received the seasonal influenza vaccine to wear a surgical or procedural mask for the majority of the flu season was unreasonable. The decision relied in large part on the expert evidence called by ONA, and cross-examinations of the Hospital experts.
- In Humber River Hospital v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2017 CanLII 58708 (ON LA) and Humber River Hospital v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2017 CanLII 83072 (ON LA) successfully overturned the termination of a nurse, and obtained a substantial amount of damages in lieu of reinstatement, without deductions for mitigation.
- Persuaded the arbitrator that the union's interpretation of a collective agreement amendment was correct Mount Sinai Hospital v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2017 CanLII 85651 (ON LA) .
- Represented ONA in a Coroner's Inquest into the death of a patient who was restrained in a psychiatric facility, and persuaded the jury to make recommendations for staff training and education: Inquest into the death of: Nokolaos Mpelos (Oct. 16 - Nov. 7, 2017).
- Sault Ste. Marie Area Hospital and Ontario Nurses' Association, 2015 CanLII 55643 (ON LA): With Kate Hughes, overturned an unreasonable Hospital policy which required nurses to wear a surgical mask for the duration of the influenza season if they had not received the influenza vaccination.
- Inquest Into the Death of Jeffrey Baldwin, 2013: With Freya Kristjanson, represented the surviving siblings of Jeffrey Baldwin in Inquest addressing child welfare in Ontario.
- As part of a team of Cavalluzzo lawyers acting for two public complainants and the CCLA, obtained a finding of misconduct against Supt. Fenton in relation to mass arrests he ordered during the G20 held in Toronto in 2010, and successfully argued for an increased penalty on appeal to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (Fenton, Supt. Mark v. Toronto Police Service, 2017 ONCPC 15 (CanLII)).
- Ontario College of Teachers v. William Fabel, 2005 – 2008: With David Bloom, successfully defended licence of teacher accused of multiple allegations of professional misconduct.
- Inquest Into the Deaths of Pedro Lopez and Ezelldine El-Roubie ("Casa Verde" Inquest), 2005: With Kate Hughes, represented the Ontario Nurses' Association as a party with public interest standing in Inquest addressing behavioural issues and resident safety in Long-Term Care facilities.