Labour Law

Trade unions and professional employees’ associations in the public and private sectors face an increasingly complex legal environment with an array of laws at the federal and provincial level. For over thirty years our labour lawyers have helped shape the field of labour law through their innovative approach to labour board, grievance arbitration and interest arbitration issues. 

Our approach is to maximize opportunities to engage in dispute resolution and, if a hearing is necessary, to conduct it in the manner most likely to produce excellent results in a cost effective and timely manner.

We provide advice and representation to trade unions in the following areas: 

  • all Labour Board matters at the federal and provincial level, including certification applications, related/successor employer applications, unfair labour practice complaints, interim applications, first contract arbitration applications, unlawful strike or picketing applications, PSLTRA applications, jurisdictional disputes, Occupational Health and Safety appeals, and duty of fair representation complaints;
  • all aspects of grievance arbitration, including consensual mediation-arbitration; 
  • all aspects of interest arbitration, including both providing advice and presenting at interest arbitration process for unions, as well as  sitting as union nominees on interest arbitration boards;
  • employment benefits including employment standards, workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety, pensions, disability issues, benefits, and employment insurance; 
  • workplace policies and procedures on all matters, including workplace harassment and violence, attendance management, accommodation, workplace rules and alcohol and drug policies;
  • human rights, pay and employment equity issues, Charter litigation; 
  • education of stewards, union representatives, advice and co-counsel work with in house counsel; 
  • collective bargaining; and
  • strategic advice on labour legislation amendments and policy.

Recent notable representations include:

  • National Grocers Co. Ltd. v United Food and Commercial Workers Union, a grievance arbitration in which the UFCW alleged that National Grocers had violated the Employment Standards Act, 200 ("ESA") by failing to pay overtime wages. The arbitrator agreed that the members were presumptively entitled to overtime under the ESA for hours worked in excess of 44 hours a week, and National Grocers failed to rebut this presumption or establish an applicable exemption.
  • St. Michael's Hospital v Ontario Nurses' Association, a grievance arbitration considering a challenge to Toronto-area hospitals' "Vaccinate or Mask" policy.Arbitrator Kaplan agreed with ONA that the policy was not supported by sufficient scientific evidence, and that the "'ask' that [health care workers] wear a mask for their entire shift for possibly months on end when entirely free of symptoms is completely unreasonable and is contrary to the collective agreement".
  • Labourers’ International Union of North America, Local 837 v. Cotton Inc., an application for remedial certification under the Labour Relations Act in connection with an organizing drive in 2014. In a rare decision, the Ontario Labour Relations Board granted remedial certification, finding that the employer had violated the Act by cancelling a primary organizer's shift and then terminating his employment during the organizing drive. The Board found that these acts were intended to disrupt the organizing drive and grounded in anti-union animus, which warranted remedial certification.
  • Canada Post Corporation v Canadian Union of Postal Workers, a grievance arbitration challenging the termination of a temporary employee's employment for purportedly being unreasonably unavailable for work assignments. Arbitrator Shime reinstated the employee, ruling that the collective agreement required workers to have reasonable availability for work assignment, but did not require, as Canada Post argued, a certain acceptance rate. The decision was upheld on judicial review.

Related 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/
14 January 2019

The Guarantee Company of North America v. Royal Bank of Canada

Paul Cavalluzzo, Amanda Pask and Alex St. John acted for the Labourers International Union of North America, Local 183 in  Guarantee Company of N...
Case/
10 January 2019

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Sunnyside Home) and Ontario Nurses' Association

Kate  Hughes and Tyler Boggs acted for the Ontario Nurses' Association in The Regional Municipality of Waterloo (Sunnyside Home) and Ontario...
Case/
4 December 2018

Humber River Hospital v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2018 CanLII 115718 (ON LA)

Humber River Hospital v Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2018 CanLII 115718 (ON LA)
Case/
27 November 2018

Ontario Power Generation Inc. v. Society of Energy Professionals

Ontario Power Generation Inc. v. Society of Energy Professionals, 2011 CanLII 92495 (ON LA). This decision deals with a request by the Society for an ...

Related Resources

Event/9 November 2022

Patricia D'Heureux speaks at OBA Webinar “Tricky Professionalism Issues for Labour and Employment Lawyers”

Patricia D'Heureux speaks at OBA Webinar on professionalism for Labour and Employment lawyers, and n...
Event/18 October 2022

Tyler Boggs Speaks at Lancaster House's Seminar "Macro Questions about Microaggressions"

Tyler Boggs speaks at Lancaster House's Seminar: "Macro Questions about Microaggressions: When do th...
News/12 October 2022

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Confirms Concurrent Jurisdiction of Labour Arbitrators and the Tribunal over Human Rights Code Claims of Unionized Employees

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) released its Interim Decision in Karen Weilgosh v Lond...
Event/26 June 2022

Adrienne Telford Participates in CALL Conference Panel on Supreme Court and Appellate Court Advocacy Updates

Adrienne Telford Participates in CALL Conference Panel on Supreme Court and Appellate Court advocacy...
Blog/16 February 2022

Reflections: Labour, Human and Civil Rights

June Veecock: “Ruffling Feathers” in pursuit of Anti-Racism in the Workplace and Union Movement

Sydney Lang sits down with June Veecock to discuss her anti-racism activism, including beginning the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Canada chapter...
Blog/16 February 2022

Reflections: Labour, Human and Civil Rights

June Veecock: “Ruffling Feathers” in pursuit of Anti-Racism in the Workplace and Union Movement

Sydney Lang sits down with June Veecock to discuss her anti-racism activism, including beginning the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists Canada chapter...
Blog/17 December 2021

Working for Workers Act, 2021

Ontario Passes Legislation Affecting Workers’ Rights

Cavalluzzo LLP lawyers share their thoughts on the Working for Workers Act, 2021, which received Royal Assent on December 2, 2021. Reforms affecting O...
Blog/8 November 2021

Bill 27: Working for Workers Act, 2021

Ontario Introduces Legislation Affecting Workers’ Rights

Cavalluzzo LLP lawyers share their thoughts on Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021. This Bill proposes several changes that will impact Ontario wor...
News/12 October 2022

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario Confirms Concurrent Jurisdiction of Labour Arbitrators and the Tribunal over Human Rights Code Claims of Unionized Employees

Decision is a major win for unionized employees

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (“HRTO”) released its Interim Decision in Karen Weilgosh v London District Catholic School Board and A.P. Fernand...
News/8 June 2022

ONCA Overturns Rahman v Cannon Design Architecture Inc

Employee's Level of Sophistication Has No Bearing on Enforceability of Termination Clause

ONCA Overturns Rahman v Cannon Design Architecture Inc, Proving that Employee's Level of Sophistication Has No Bearing on Enforceability of Terminatio...
News/24 May 2022

How Uber Got Almost Everything It Wanted in Ontario's Working for Workers Act

Ryan White discusses how Bill 88 negatively impacts gig workers while helping employers

Cavalluzzo's Ryan White comments in today's Globe and Mail article, "How Uber Almost Got Everything it Wanted in Ontario's Working for Workers Act". R...
News/10 May 2022

"New Bill Won’t Stop Employers from Looking Over your Shoulder"

In today's Legal Matters, Stephen Moreau discusses a newly enacted law that compels Ontario firms to disclose if and how they are monitoring the activ...
News/27 April 2022

"What ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ Warrant Longer Notice Periods?"

In today's Legal Matters, Stephen Moreau discusses “reasonable notice” of termination  by employers, and what are the exceptional cir...
News/11 April 2022

"Unions Careful when it comes to Duty of Fair Representation"

Jeff Andrew discusses a union’s responsibility to protect the collective interests of all members, not necessarily just an individual’s rights

In today's Legal Matters, Jeff Andrew discusses a union’s responsibility to protect the collective interests of all members, not necessarily just an i...
Event/Nov 9, 2022

Patricia D'Heureux speaks at OBA Webinar “Tricky Professionalism Issues for Labour and Employment Lawyers”

Panel called "Navigating Client Complaints"

Patricia D'Heureux speaks at OBA Webinar on professionalism for Labour and Employment lawyers, and navigating client complaints. “Tricky Professionali...
Event/Oct 18, 2022

Tyler Boggs Speaks at Lancaster House's Seminar "Macro Questions about Microaggressions"

Seminar provides guidance on recognizing and reducing workplace microaggressions

Tyler Boggs speaks at Lancaster House's Seminar: "Macro Questions about Microaggressions: When do they amount to harassment? Is discipline or educatio...
Event/Jun 26, 2022

Adrienne Telford Participates in CALL Conference Panel on Supreme Court and Appellate Court Advocacy Updates

Panel discusses cases heard by appellate courts across the country in the past year

Adrienne Telford Participates in CALL Conference Panel on Supreme Court and Appellate Court advocacy updates. This panel provides a discussion on cas...
Event/Jun 25, 2022

Adrienne Telford Participates in CALL Conference Panel: "Bedford Goes to Saskatchewan: Sex Workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association"

Panel will address how the labour movement can help enhance protection for all workers

Adrienne Telford speaks at CALL Conference Panel: "Bedford Goes to Saskatchewan: Sex Workers’ Rights to Freedom of Association". This panel will seek...
Event/Jun 24, 2022: 8:54 AM

Jackie Esmonde Participates in Panel on Mandatory Vaccinations at 2022 CALL Conference

Panel offers an overview of the legal issues raised by mandatory vaccination policies

Jackie Esmonde participates in a panel on mandatory vaccination policies, constitutional issues and Case Law at the 2022 CALL Conference. This panel o...
Event/Jun 24, 2022

Michael Thorburn and Sydney Lang participate in CALL Session: "Labour Lawyering in a Climate Crisis"

Session provides insight on climate-related changes to the workplace

Michael Thorburn and Sydney Lang participate in CALL Session: "Labour Lawyering in a Climate Crisis - Developing a Climate Competent Practice". This...
Publication/6 October 2020

Analysis of Bill 195

Just posted to our publications page is an analysis of the impact on the collectively bargained rights of employees of Ontario’s Bill 195 "Reope...
Publication/10 December 2019

Recent Changes to the Canada Labour Code - Bill C-86 and Bill C-63

Recent Changes to the Canada Labour Code - Bill C-86 and Bill C-63
Publication/13 February 2018

Summary of Bill 148 - "Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 Brings Major Changes to Ontario's Labour and Employment Laws"

Please note that new legislation has been introduced, which will repeal many of these reforms.  Please see the summary at this link. A summary of...
Publication/4 February 2015

Case Law Update - Historic Win for Workers' Rights: The Supreme Court of Canada's New Labour Trilogy

Case Law Update -  Historic Win for Workers' Rights: The Supreme Court of Canada's New Labour Trilogy
Publication/29 November 2013

The Year in Review in Labour and Employment Law

2013 was another eventful year on the labour and employment law fronts. The workplace continues to be the locus of much litigation before courts and t...
Publication/1 November 2013

Ignored and Misunderstood: Privacy Rights and Medical Information in the Canadian Workplace

Introduction In 1881, an English Appellate court said: "[I]t is well established that persons do not by virtue of their status as employees lose their...