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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/
14 January 2019

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

Paul Cavalluzzo and Alex St. John acted for the Guarantee Company of North America in Guarantee Company of North America v. Royal Bank.
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/
19 November 2018

Ontario Power Generation and the Society of Energy Professionals

Jeff Andrew acted for the Society of Energy Professionals in Ontario Power Generation and The Society of Energy Professionals in the matter of a ...
Case/
10 May 2018

Toronto Catholic District School Board v Ontrio English Catholic Teachers Association, Toronto Secondary Unit

Adrienne Telford acted for the Toronto Catholic School Board in TDSB v. Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association Toronto Secondary Unit.

Related Resources

News/12 September 2019

Ryan White represents Foodsters United/ CUPW as hearings begin on the fight to unionize Foodora workers

On September 10, 2019 hearings on the application filed by Foodsters United and the Canadian Union o...
News/29 August 2019

Advocate Daily: "OCA Affirms Notice Period Exceptions Granted in Rare Cases"

Advocate Daily: "OCA Affirms Notice Period Exceptions Granted in Rare Cases"
News/25 July 2019

ONA Successfully Challenges Arbitration Decision in Divisional Court

In ONA v Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Arbitrator Dana Randall, the Divisional Court set aside an ...
News/21 June 2019

Divisional Court Quashes York University Decision to Discipline Striking Students

In Ball v Audette, the Divisional Court quashed disciplinary measures taken by York University again...
Blog/30 July 2019

Ontario Court of Appeal Defers to Union's Internal Democratic Channels

A unions' internal affairs are governed by its constitution. In Brown v. Hanley, the Ontario Court of Appeal addressed a novel claim by four members s... Read More
Blog/30 July 2019

Ontario Court of Appeal Defers to Union's Internal Democratic Channels

A unions' internal affairs are governed by its constitution. In Brown v. Hanley, the Ontario Court of Appeal addressed a novel claim by four members s... Read More
Blog/20 June 2019

Termination Without Cause: An Overview

BACKGROUND The law allows your employer to terminate your employment without cause, meaning "for no reason." However, an employee who is terminated ... Read More
Blog/22 May 2019

Case Note: Middlesex London Emergency Medical Services v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 147

Labour Arbitrator Finds Employer Failed to Accommodate Pregnant Paramedic but Awards Limited Damages

OVERVIEW In Middlesex London Emergency Medical Services v Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 147, Arbitrator Steinberg considered whether t... Read More
News/12 September 2019

Ryan White represents Foodsters United/ CUPW as hearings begin on the fight to unionize Foodora workers

On September 10, 2019 hearings on the application filed by Foodsters United and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to unionize Foodora workers began... Read More
News/29 August 2019

Advocate Daily: "OCA Affirms Notice Period Exceptions Granted in Rare Cases"

Advocate Daily: "OCA Affirms Notice Period Exceptions Granted in Rare Cases" Read More
News/25 July 2019

ONA Successfully Challenges Arbitration Decision in Divisional Court

In ONA v Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Arbitrator Dana Randall, the Divisional Court set aside an arbitration award involving a nurse suffering subs... Read More
News/21 June 2019

Divisional Court Quashes York University Decision to Discipline Striking Students

In Ball v Audette, the Divisional Court quashed disciplinary measures taken by York University against members of its graduate student bargaining unit... Read More
News/20 June 2019

Congratulations to Cole Eisen on Winning the Canadian Bar Association's 2019 Labour and Employment Law Student Essay Contest

Cole Eisen, a 2019 Cavalluzzo summer student and law student at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, was announced as the winner of the Canadian ... Read More
News/20 June 2019

Court of Appeal Rules in Favour of CUPW Casual Workers

On June 11, 2019, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favour of CUPW casual workers in a decision arising from a grievance of a casual postal worker&... Read More
Event/Jun 1, 2019: 08:45 - 10:15

Danielle Bisnar presents at the 2019 Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers Conference

On June 1, 2019, Danielle Bisnar will be participating in a panel entitled “#meetoo2” at the 2019 Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers C...
Event/Jun 1, 2019: 13:30 - 15:00

Tyler Boggs presents at the 2019 Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers Conference

On June 1, 2019, Tyler Boggs will be participating in a panel on the duty to disclose vs. the duty to represent at the 2019 Canadian Association of La...
Event/Jun 12, 2019: 10:45 - 11:15

Danielle Bisnar speaks at Ontario Bar Association's Current Issues in Labour Conference

On June 12, 2019, Danielle Bisnar will be participating in a panel on harassment and violence in the unionized workplace at the Ontario Bar Assoc...
Event/May 9, 2019: 09:00 - 16:00

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at Osgoode Course on Responding to Campus Sexual Violence Complaints

Danielle Bisnar will be presenting on unique issues in a unionized environment, including special considerations when your complainant or respondent i...
Event/Mar 7, 2019: 09:00 - 16:15

Brendan McCutchen speaks at Osgoode Certificate in Labour Law

Brendan McCutchen speaks at  Osgoode's Certificate in Labour Law conference.  He will be participating in a module entitled:  "Labour L...
Event/Mar 1, 2019: 09:00 - 16:00

Phil Abbink Speaks at Labour Arbitration Advocacy: Focus on Evidence Conference

Phil Abbink speaks at the Advocates' Society Conference, "Labour Arbitration Advocacy:  Focus on Evidence."  This conference will drill down...

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