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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/
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...
Case/
1 January 2014

College of Nurses of Ontario v. XX

College of Nurses of Ontario v. XX (constitutional and human rights challenge to statutory regime regulating nurses diagnosed with mental illness...
Case/
26 September 2013

Timmins and District Hospital v. Ontario Nurses’ Association

Timmins and District Hospital v. Ontario Nurses’ Association, 2013 ONSC 6002 (judicial review of labour arbitration award regarding long-term di...
Case/
18 July 2011

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

News/12 March 2019

Cavalluzzo and USW Local 2251 Deal - Algoma Steel Restructuring - Recognized as "Top 10" Deal of 2018

Cavalluzzo represented the United Steelworkers Local 2251 (“USW Local 2251”) in the comp...
Event/7 March 2019

Brendan McCutchen speaks at Osgoode Certificate in Labour Law

Brendan McCutchen speaks at  Osgoode's Certificate in Labour Law conference.  He will be p...
Event/1 March 2019

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

Phil Abbink speaks at the Advocates' Society Conference, "Labour Arbitration Advocacy:  Focus o...
Event/23 February 2019

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Annual Conference

Danielle Bisnar speaks at the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Annual Conference. She will be pa...
Blog/12 December 2018

ONA Successfully Challenges Unreasonable Vaccinate or Mask Policy in ONA v St. Michael’s Hospital

In ONA v St. Michael’s Hospital, Arbitrator Kaplan upheld a grievance filed by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (“ONA”) alleging that the introduction ... Read More
Blog/12 December 2018

ONA Successfully Challenges Unreasonable Vaccinate or Mask Policy in ONA v St. Michael’s Hospital

In ONA v St. Michael’s Hospital, Arbitrator Kaplan upheld a grievance filed by the Ontario Nurses’ Association (“ONA”) alleging that the introduction ... Read More
Blog/28 November 2018

Criminal Liability for Health and Safety Violations in R v Fournier

The Court of Quebec recently delivered an apparent win for worker's rights and workplace safety in R v Fournier. Here, Sylvain Fournier, owner and ope... Read More
News/12 March 2019

Cavalluzzo and USW Local 2251 Deal - Algoma Steel Restructuring - Recognized as "Top 10" Deal of 2018

Cavalluzzo represented the United Steelworkers Local 2251 (“USW Local 2251”) in the comprehensive restructuring of Essar Steel Algoma Inc.... Read More
News/16 January 2019

Cavalluzzo Wins Reinstatement and Damages for Employee Terminated for Misconduct Caused by Addiction

On January 10, 2019, Arbitrator Larry Steinberg released a decision in which he upheld ONA's grievance that a nurse suffering from an addiction, who h... Read More
News/5 December 2018

Cavalluzzo Secures Big Win at Arbitration — Human Rights Violation for Terminating an Employee Due to Theft Caused by Addiction

On December 4, 2018, Arbitrator Eli Gedalof released a highly anticipated Award in this difficult and contentious area of labour relations. In a griev... Read More
News/4 December 2018

Ford Government's Bill 47 Receives Royal Assent and Rolls Back Employment and Labour Reforms

On November 21, 2018, Bill 47, which repeals many reforms implemented in 2017 under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, received royal assent. We ha... Read More
News/30 November 2018

The Society of Energy Professionals Wins Major Policy Grievance as Arbitrator Finds Hours of Work Agreement Enforceable Against Employer

Arbitrator Davie upheld the Society of Energy Professionals' grievance against Ontario Power Generation ("OPG") to enforce an agreement made by the pa... Read More
News/4 October 2018

UFCW Wins Overtime for National Grocers Truck Drivers in Grievance Arbitration

In a decision dated September 27, 2018, Arbitrator Luborsky determined that 272 UFCW Local 1000A members were improperly denied overtime by National G... Read More
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...
Event/Feb 23, 2019: 02:30 - 05:30

Danielle Bisnar Speaks at Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Annual Conference

Danielle Bisnar speaks at the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Annual Conference. She will be participating in a panel on Top Employment and Labou...

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