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  1. Labour and employment
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The ‘highly recommended’ department at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP advises on regulatory and union matters for both Canadian and international clients, as well as handling litigation brought before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court and Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). In Toronto, Brian Burkett and Douglas Gilbert have been leading advice to Air Canada in various matters, including collective agreement arbitration, labour relations board proceedings, and human rights and health and safety claims. Also in Toronto, John Craig and Christopher Pigott, who was promoted to partner, have been representing Telus in litigation brought by the Telecommunications Workers Union before the Supreme Court concerning the right to notice and information regarding accommodation requests. In Montreal, Louis Bernier has been acting for the government of Quebec in a number of cases before the Supreme Court, including litigation regarding modifications to the Pay Equity Act. The national group includes Ian Campbell and Brian Smeenk in Toronto, Robert Dupont in Montreal and Kevin O’Neill QC in Vancouver. Alexis Charpentier, Stephanie Gutierrez and Shane Todd were promoted to partner in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto respectively. The team was also strengthened by the arrival of Magali Cournoyer-Proulx from Lavery, de Billy in Montreal. David Corbett was appointed Chair of Ontario’s Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Christina Hall is now in-house counsel at Walmart, and Bruce Grist retired. Charles Harrison sadly passed away.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s ‘excellent’, ‘always available’ team has considerable experience working for international clients – particularly in the construction sector. Montreal-based Michel Carle, who heads the national employment group, represented Cascades before the Quebec Labour Relations Board in a constitutional matter regarding an application for certification filed by a union. In Toronto, global practice head Richard Charney represented Independent Electricity System Operator in an arbitration brought by the Society of Energy Professionals regarding the client’s new code of conduct following its merger with Ontario Power Authority. In Calgary, Bernette Ho has been advising Enabil Solutions on employment aspects arising from a significant restructuring. The team also includes Luc Beaulieu, Marie-Hélène Jetté and Martin Rochette in Montreal, and was strengthened by the arrival of Lisa Cabel in Toronto from Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Michael Horvat is now at Aird & Berlis LLP, while John West and William Armstrong QC have retired.

The ‘highly recommended’ and ‘efficient’ team at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has ‘very in-depth knowledge’ in contentious employment matters, including union litigation. In Montreal, group head André Royer and Justine Laurier, who was promoted to partner in 2017, successfully represented Montreal Gateway Terminals Partnership in the landmark human rights case Singh et al v Montreal Gateways Terminals et al brought before the Quebec Superior Court regarding whether Sikh operators were required to wear protective helmets over their turbans. Also in Montreal, Danny Kaufer Ad E, Robert Bonhomme, Corrado de Stefano and senior associate Patrick Trent advised Davie Shipbuilding on a complex collective bargaining agreement. In Vancouver, Steve Winder successfully acted for Armtec in a dispute brought before the BC Labour Relations Board regarding the client’s ability to use surveillance cameras in its plants. The team also includes Matthew Certosimo and Brian Mulroney in Toronto, and was strengthened by the arrival in Montreal of Don Alberga from Norton Rose Fulbright. Melanie Warner sadly passed away.

Ontario boutique Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP acts solely for employers, on all aspects of employment law. In Toronto, the highly regarded Roy Filion QC is experienced representing clients before all levels of the courts, as well as labour boards and tribunals. James Knight, who splits his time between Toronto and Hamilton, often advises on collective bargaining and trade union matters. Other key names include David Wakely in Toronto, and Peter Thorup and Frank Angeletti in London.

Harris & Company is a Vancouver boutique specialising in union-related matters, including collective bargaining, human rights issues and transactional matters. Name partner Eric Harris QC represents clients before all levels of the courts in British Columbia and Canada. Managing partner Colin Gibson has particular expertise acting for universities and colleges. Geoffrey Litherland has a strong focus on wrongful dismissal and breach of contract claims, as well as judicial reviews. Associate counsel Gavin Hurne QC is also recommended.

Excellent’ boutique Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP advises on the full range of employment, labour and pensions law, including human rights and health and safety. Frank Cesario successfully defended Atomic Energy in a wrongful dismissal claim brought before the Ontario Superior Court. Michael Kennedy represented the University of Windsor in a collective bargaining dispute brought before the Ontario Court of Appeal. Managing partner Stephen Shamie, who leads the employment and labour team, often acts for employers in litigation, human rights hearings and labour board proceedings. Jeffrey Goodman, who ‘goes above and beyond’, and John Field are also recommended. Kathryn Bird, Matthew Mihailovich, Maureen Quinlan and Andrew Zabrovsky were promoted to partner in 2017.

Considered by clients to be ‘exceptional’ and ‘outstandingly responsive’, Vancouver employment firm Roper Greyell LLP has experience working for clients in a wide range of sectors, including construction, healthcare and education. The ‘outstanding’ Delayne Sartison QC has considerable expertise in labour relations matters in the healthcare sector, as well as collective bargaining. Geoffrey Howard has experience acting for both employers and employees in employment agreements, compliance and human rights issues, among others matters. Name partner Thomas Roper QC, who ‘has rightly earned the highest respect in the profession’, Gregory Heywood and Jennifer Devins are also names to note. Ryan Copeland was promoted to partner in 2017.

The national team at Stikeman Elliott LLP has considerable experience handling litigation and advising on the employment aspects of corporate transactions across Western and Eastern Canada. Montreal-based co-head Hélène Bussières led advice to Yellow Pages on changes to the client’s senior leadership team following its digital transformation, including incentive options and drafting termination letters. Bussières and co-head Lorna Cuthbert, who is based in Toronto, advised Lowe’s on the employment aspects of its C$3.2bn acquisition of RONA. Co-head Gary Clarke splits his time between Calgary and Vancouver. Stephanie Weschler was promoted to partner in the Montreal office in 2017. Other clients include Tim Horton’s, H&R Block and iA Financial Group.

The ‘consistently impressive’ team at Baker McKenzie often handles high-profile litigation, as well as collective bargaining, union relations and human rights matters. Practice head George Avraam has been representing a number of Canadian universities in various matters brought before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, as well as in grievance arbitration. William Watson continues to act for McMaster University in a class action brought by faculty members regarding the client’s pension plan. Managing partner Kevin Coon and associate Christopher Burkett are highly recommended. All partners are based in the firm’s Toronto office. Mark Mendl left to found his own firm.

Bennett Jones LLP’s practice covers a broad range of employment and labour matters, including M&A-related, health and safety, human rights and privacy issues. Calgary-based co-head John Gilmore advised DirectCash Payments on all employment aspects regarding Cardtronics’ acquisition of the company, including restrictive covenants and the drafting of new executive employment agreements. In Toronto, co-head Susan Seller and Carl Cunningham assisted Waste Connections with the employment and pensions aspects of the client’s move to Canada following its C$13bn merger with Progressive Waste Solutions, including a restructuring of the workforce. Also in Calgary, John Batzel advised Patterson-UTI Energy on the employment aspects of the client’s acquisition of Warrior Manufacturing Services. Other clients include Calgary Stampede, Macquarie and Telus.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s employment group handles transactions-related matters for domestic and international clients across a range of sectors, including technology, transport and energy. Toronto-based group head Andrea York advised CIT on the employment aspects of the sale of its equipment financing and corporate financing portfolio to Laurentian Bank of Canada. In Calgary, Birch Miller and pensions partner Sean Maxwell assisted Suncor with the employment and pensions aspects of the sale of its Petro-Canada Lubricants business to a subsidiary of HollyFrontier, including the transfer of employees. The team also includes Kathryn Bush, who leads on pensions mandates. Other clients include CIBC, Nestle and Wells Fargo.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice advises on contentious and non-contentious matters, often with an international element. In Toronto, practice co-head Richard Nixon has been defending Imperial Oil in a discrimination test case brought before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal by a former employee. Vancouver-based co-head Allen Soltan and Richard Press have been acting for Huckleberry Mines in all employment matters regarding the suspension of operations due to low copper price. In Calgary, the highly respected Michael Ford QC has been representing the Canadian Media Producers Association in a number of union matters before the Alberta Labour Relations Board, including grievance under collective agreements. Dana Hooker joined from Dentons as associate counsel. The group’s clients include Rogers, Walmart and the University of Calgary.

The labour, employment and human rights team at Lawson Lundell LLP advises on all areas of labour and employment law at the provincial and federal levels, including labour relations, wrongful dismissals and litigation. Practice head Patricia Gallivan QC has significant experience representing employers in labour arbitrations, labour relations board proceedings, human rights tribunals and all levels of the court. Robert Sider advises on the employment aspects of corporate transactions, as well as workers’ compensation and management liability issues. Pensions and benefits group head Murray Campbell is another name to note. All partners are based in Vancouver.

McCarthy Tétrault’s practice often handles transactional matters but also has notable experience in litigation. In Toronto, practice head Tim Lawson successfully defended Ericsson in a constructive dismissal claim, and Paul Boniferro has been acting for Canadian Broadcast Corporation in a grievance matter regarding the high-profile dismissal of a former employee. Jacques Rousse in Montreal, Randy Bauslaugh in Toronto and Shana Wolch in Calgary are also recommended. Other clients include the government of Ontario, PepsiCo and FedEx.

From offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife, McLennan Ross LLP’s team covers all areas of labour and employment law. Edmonton-based co-head Dan Bokenfohr acts for both union and non-union employers in a range of matters, including workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety issues. In Calgary, co-head Tom Ross advises employers on the implementation of executive contract agreements, collective bargaining and non-competition matters. Glenn Tait, who is based in Yellowknife, has experience representing clients before various employment tribunals. Clients recommend Hugh McPhail QC and David Ross QC in Edmonton.

Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s department has significant experience working for major retailers across the full range of labour and employment concerns, including human rights tribunal and reputational issues. In Toronto, group head Jason Hanson has been advising Empire Life Insurance on day-to-day matters such as terminations, the implementation of workplace policies and compensation arrangements. In Calgary, Brian Thiessen assisted CGG with the employment aspects of the sale of its Multi-Physics business to American company NEOS. Toronto-based Sven Poysa has been leading advice to Foot Locker on various employment issues, including store closures, executive employment arrangements and compliance. The team was strengthened in Toronto by the arrival of Lynne Lacoursière from Torys, who joins as co-chair of the compensations group. Michel Benoit and Paul Litner are recommended in Montreal and Toronto, respectively.

Dentons employment and labour group covers all areas of employment law, including litigation, executive compensation and internal investigations. In Calgary, Barbara Johnston QC primarily handles management-side matters and has experience representing clients before all levels of the court and in tribunals. Toronto-based Anneli LeGault has particular strength advising on outsourcing and HR policies, including employment agreements and pay equity. The team includes Fausto Franceschi in Edmonton and pensions expert Mary Picard in Toronto.

Gowling WLG acts for clients across a broad range of sectors, including energy, financial services and life sciences. It is headed by Calgary-based Laura Mensch, who primarily handles employment-related litigation, as well as employment contracts, terminations and workers’ compensation. Maxwell Brunette, who divides his time between Vancouver and Calgary, often represents employers in wrongful dismissal claims and human rights complaints, among other contentious matters. Waterloo-based Christopher Andree is also recommended.

Employment firm Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP has experience working for both private and public sector clients. The firm recently expanded its national reach with the addition of an office in Nova Scotia following the arrival of Kyle MacIsaac from McInnes Cooper. Keith Murray, who splits his time between Vancouver and Calgary, often represents clients in labour relations matters, including human rights complaints and union matters. In Toronto, managing partner Mark Contini assists employers with union issues, including collective bargaining and grievance arbitration, as well as non-union employment issues.

Considered by clients to be ‘very strong in the field’, Torys’ pensions and employment team provides ‘practical and legally sound’ advice on transactional employment matters, litigation, terminations and executive hirings. Litigator Lisa Talbot has been representing a number of Canadian hockey leagues and junior teams, as well as their insurer AIG Canada, in several class actions brought by players alleging that they are paid below minimum wage. Susan Nickerson and Darryl Hiscocks advised Scotiabank on the employment aspects of the client’s acquisition of JPMorgan Chase’s credit card portfolio in Canada, including complex transfers and secondment issues. The group is led by Mitch Frazer. All partners are based in Toronto.

Aird & Berlis LLP assists management clients with employment issues relating to transactions, as well as handling compliance and regulatory matters. Practice head Lorenzo Lisi and associate Fiona Brown advised Cheticamp Fisheries on the employment aspects of its acquisition by Champlain Financial. Barbra Miller acted for Booth Centennial Healthcare Linen Services on employment aspects relating to the sale of all assets to Ecotex Service Corporation and Eiffage Travaux Publics. Other clients include Fleetwood Metal Industries.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s team has notable experience in both transactional and contentious matters. Co-head Kristin Taylor advised Kirkland Lake Gold on the employment aspects of its merger with Newmarket Gold, valued at approximately C$2.4bn, which included resignations and executive agreements for management employees of both companies. Co-head Laurie Jessome has been advising the Greater Toronto Hockey League on a human rights claim regarding certain hockey team names. Jed Blackburn is a name to note.

Although primarily known for its litigation expertise, Lenczner Slaght LLP’s employment practice also has experience assisting clients with establishing policies. Matthew Sammon is experienced representing employers in disputes involving wrongful dismissal, restrictive covenants and trade secrets, among others. Matthew Lerner is also recommended.

Miller Thomson’s group advises public and private sector clients on a broad range of employment and labour matters, including pay equity, workers’ compensation and pensions issues. Recent highlights include advising Plain Oils on the employment aspects of its acquisition by Alstar Oilfield Contractors. Hugh Dyer is a key name, who often represents employers in grievance arbitrations as well as human rights and health and safety tribunals.

Toronto boutique Sherrard Kuzz LLP focuses solely on management-side matters for domestic and international clients. Labour relations expert Michael Sherrard is a key name.

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