Ius Laboris alliance member Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP boasts 7 Canadian offices that span Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Nova Scotia. The almost 70-strong department is routinely instructed by clients from a host of sectors, among them security, hospitality, food, construction and healthcare. Vancouver-based practice co-head Keith Murray is experienced in litigation and complex labour relations matters; leading alongside him from Toronto, David Defrancesco majors on representing employers before labour relations boards and in collective bargaining. Additional key partners include Gradin Tyler (Vancouver), who handles labour, employment and human rights law; litigation-focused Sonia Regenbogen (Toronto); and John Craig (Toronto), whose expertise covers federal labour law.
Labour and employment in Canada
Mathews, Dinsdale & Clark LLP
David Defrancesco; Keith Murray
Other key lawyers:
Gradin Tyler; Sonia Regenbogen; John Craig
‘Their team’s strengths lie in their in-depth understanding of employment law intricacies, their proactive approach to legal challenges and their commitment to achieving a favourable outcome for their clients.’
‘Its partners have earned a stellar reputation in the industry, displaying remarkable leadership and commitment to excellence.’
‘Extensive, current and relevant knowledge of union collective agreements, employment law, temporary foreign worker programs and related topics. Great advice/guidance. Great problem-solving practices, collaborations, negotiations etc. Good relationships with their industry colleagues, whether union or management. A very complete organization with access to all issues in the area of employment law.’
Labatt Brewing Company
Chubb Insurance Company of Canada
Ernst & Young LLP
- Assisted Hilton Metrotown Hotel a collective bargaining process and resolving a strike.
- Assisted a construction contractor with the dismissal of a grievance regarding a site ban.
- Represented the Hilton Metrotown Hotel and the Pacific Gateway Hotel in complaints relating to alleged unlawful replacement workers.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP boasts a strong labour and employment offering, with key lawyers posted in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Ottawa. Employment matters, labour relations, collective bargaining, occupational health and safety, privacy, pensions and benefit, and immigration matters feature among the group’s specialities. André Royer steers the sizable national group from Montreal and acts for employers in relation to unlawful dismissal, conditions of employment, occupational health and safety, and labour relations matters. Additional key figures at the Montreal office include senior counsel and collective bargaining specialist Danny Kaufer, and Maryse Tremblay, who is known for advising federally regulated employers. Key Toronto contacts include litigator Matthew Certosimo and Clifford Hart, who covers both contentious and non-contentious matters. Over in Calgary, Duncan Marsden is active in the advisory space.
Other key lawyers:
Coast Capital Savings
Oracle Canada ULC
Schenker of Canada
Quebec Indigenous communities: Crees of Waskaganish, Listuguj Mi’gmaq Government, Micmacs of Gesgapegiag Band, Long Point First Nation, Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, Mohak counsel of Kanesatake, Wiikwemkoong and Makivik
Kiewit Construction, Kiewit Bridge and Marine and Kiewit Infrastructure West
Autorité des marchés financiers
Bank of Montreal
According to one client, the lawyers at Fasken‘s practice stand out for being ‘client-focused, responsive and timely’ in their provision of labour and employment counsel. The group demonstrates strength in advising national employers in the aerospace, telecoms, manufacturing and financial sectors, as well as provincial employers, US corporations and international clients, on the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious work. A trio of experienced partners share leadership of the national group: in Toronto, Karen Sargeant regularly appears before arbitrators, mediators and the Canada Industrial Relations Board; labour and employment all-rounder Stéphane Fillion co-leads from Montreal; and the ‘extremely capable’ David Wong is based in Vancouver. Additional key names in Toronto include counsel Brian Burkett and Jackie VanDerMeulen, both lauded as ‘simply superb’, as well as partner Alix Herber and associate Gillian Round. In Montreal, Magali Cournoyer-Proulx focuses on employment matters while over in Vancouver, David McDonald, majors on labour relations and collective bargaining.
Karen Sargeant; Stéphane Fillion; David Wong
‘Client-focused, responsive and timely. Excellent advice.’
‘Brian Burkett and Jackie van der Meulen are simply superb – extremely insightful, and they provide practical advice that can be applied easily.’
‘David Wong is extremely capable and always takes the time to consider practical solutions that can be applied in business settings while considering the legal principles and long term impact. This is invaluable in a fast-paced business environment.’
Vancouver Canucks Limited Partnership
British Columbia Housing Management Commission
Canadian Olympic Committee
Canadian Pacific Railway Company
Ontario School Board: Council of Trustees’ Association (CTA), Peel District School Board, Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board, Toronto District School Board (TDSB), and all eight French Catholic district school boards in Ontario
Canadian Universities: Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia, College of New Caledonia, Coast Mountain College, Northern Lights College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Justice Institute, St. George’s School, Crofton House School, Alexander College, Alexander Academy, and Education First International Schools.
- Assisted the Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries with employment-related litigation across Canada.
- Assisted the Canadian Olympic Committee with strategic and practical day-to-day employment advice, including contract development and review, updating employment policies and assistance with hiring and terminating employees.
- Advised CP Rail on labour strategy and acted as counsel in labour arbitration proceedings before the Canada Industrial Relations Board.
The labour and employment practice at McCarthy Tétrault provides advisory and litigation support to finance, mining, retail and beverage-sector clients across Canada, delivered from offices in Toronto, Montréal, Québec City, Calgary and Vancouver. Toronto-based Tim Lawson leads the group at the national level, handling contentious and non-contentious work including collective bargaining and appearances before provincial and federal labour boards, often assisting clients in the energy, finance, transportation, retail and construction segments. Additional key contacts in Toronto include Toronto practice lead Sunil Kapur and all round labour practitioner Kate McNeill-Keller. Shana Wolch directs the Calgary team, which saw the promotion of Justin Turc to the partnership in January 2023. Partners André Baril (Montreal) and Christopher McHardy (Vancouver) are also noted for their activity in the practice area.
Other key lawyers:
Sunil Kapur; Kate McNeill-Keller; Shana Wolch; Justin Turc; André Baril; Christopher McHardy
Bank of Montreal
Hudson’s Bay Company
Cirque du Soleil
Electronic Arts (Canada)
CM (Canada) Asset Management
Score Media and Gaming
Norton Rose Fulbright‘s labour and employment practice is well-versed in advising on severance issues, boardroom disputes, class and collective actions, corporate governance and whistleblower claims, as well as other disciplinary and grievance issues. The team is co-led by seven partners from all six of the firm’s Canadian offices: Herb Isherwood, in Vancouver, stepped up to the practice co-head role in October 2022, joining existing lead Taryn Mackie; Daniel Leduc leads from Montreal and specializes in advising employers on the application and interpretation of collective agreements and labour standards. Anne K. Gallop (Toronto), Jean-Sébastien Cloutier (Quebec City), Lindsay Mullen (Calgary) and Tate McLeod (Ottawa) complete the leadership team. Additional names to note in Toronto include senior partner Richard Charney and litigators John Mastoras and Daniel MacDonald; François Côté in Montreal is noted for his expertise in grievance arbitration.
Herb Isherwood; Daniel Leduc; Jean-Sébastien Cloutier; Tate McLeod; Anne K. Gallop; Lindsay Mullen; Taryn Mackie
Other key lawyers:
Richard Charney; John Mastoras; Daniel MacDonald; François Côté
‘They understand our legal needs and are responsive to us both proactively (webinars, educational sessions) as well as just in time legal advice when needed.’
‘This firm is highly regarded in the field of labour law. They understand our role in the electricity market and they have historical knowledge of the labour trends and outcomes. They partner with us to create and implement effective labour strategy.’
‘Exceptionally responsive; even the highest profile lawyers like Richard Charney are quick to return calls and provide counsel.’
‘Very effective team, very responsive. They are well-connected and provide great networking opportunities.’
‘Éric Lallier – he is very concise, right to the point. He is very effective and very knowledgable.’
‘The firm provides a one-stop shop for our company on all matters – employment, labour, immigration, pension matters.’
‘Great expertise in all areas of labour law and across multiple provinces. In a nutshell, they respond quickly to our needs in line with our way of doing business.’
‘Client-focused. Always available. Eric Lallier in Montreal and Lindsay Mullen in Calgary do stand out.’
Maritime Employers Association
Canadian Union of Public Employees
- Advised the Maritime Employers Association on the renewal of the collective agreement with its longshoremen, as well as assisting with conciliation and mediation.
- Defended Hydro One in a grievance claim involving alleged discrimination.
- Represented the Canadian Union of Public Employees after a grievance was brought alleging it failed to post a temporary vacancy.
Baker McKenzie‘s Toronto-based labour and employment team frequently handles discrimination, harassment and gender pay equity claims, labour relations representation, as well as providing transactional and regulatory compliance support. George Avraam singlehandedly steers the practice and focuses on complex employment and labour disputes. Key partner Andrew Shaw handles contentious and non-contentious matters, including wrongful dismissals, collective bargaining and workplace investigations. Jennifer Bernardo, who was promoted to the partnership in January 2023, majors on labour, employment and corporate matters.
Other key lawyers:
Andrew Shaw; Jennifer Bernardo
‘George Avraam is an excellent litigator and provides practical, commercial guidance taking into account the client’s level of risk tolerance.’
‘They are knowledgeable, well-prepared, extremely responsive and fast with their information and service.’
‘Baker McKenzie has been providing extraordinary strategic advice, guidance and support across a wide variety of complex cases and issues. Key strengths include a client-first approach that is consistent across all employees exhibited by the timeliness of communication, availability for consultation, expertise across a range of portfolios and excellence in litigation.’
Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers
The Canadian Constitution Foundation
CACE York Region
- Assisted the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers to intervene with a case at the Ontario Court of Appeal involving wage restraint legislation.
Bennett Jones LLP‘s labour and employment group is well-equipped to handle both contentious and contentious matters. Litigation and arbitration matters make up the team’s contentious caseload; on the advisory front, it frequently counsels clients in the oil and gas, logistics and finance segments on labour and employment matters arising from mergers, acquisitions, takeovers and reorganizations. Calgary-based John Gilmore heads up the department and focuses on wrongful dismissal claims, M&A, arbitration and litigation. Also in Calgary, Christine Plante is active on human resources matters. Edmonton-based partner Laura Inglis and the Toronto-based Susan Seller are also noted.
Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation IV
TriWest Private Capital Growth Fund
North West Redwater Partnership
Big Plans for Little Kids
Walton Global Investments
Canadian Pacific Railway Company
- Acting for Canadian Utilities Limited in its definitive agreement with Suncor Energy to acquire a portfolio of wind and solar assets in Alberta and Ontario.
- Assisted TriWest Capital Partners with its acquisition of a majority interest in Monarch Industries.
- Assisted Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corporation IV with its business combination with Hammerhead Resources, a Calgary-based energy company.
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP's practice regularly advises clients in the telecoms, banking, oil and gas and retail segments on labour and employment aspects of M&A and corporate reorganizations, in addition to handling cross-border employment issues and related litigation. Practice head Andrea York leads from Toronto, where key partner Holly Reid (harassment and misconduct allegations) is also based. In Calgary, Birch Miller supports oil and gas clients with advisory work and civil and administrative litigation.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
Pembina Pipeline Corporation
Royal Bank of Canada
Sycamore Partners Management
- Advised the Royal Bank of Canada on the employment and labour aspects relating to its acquisition of HSBC Bank Canada.
- Advised Omnicom Canada on workplace law matters including employment-related claims, applications and complaints.
- Advised Pembina Pipeline Corporation on the employment and labour aspects of its joint venture with KKR & Co.
The practice at Dentons supports clients across a range of labour and employment matters, including litigation and arbitration, wrongful dismissals, health and safety law, human resources issues, contracts, workplace investigations and training programs. While the firm fields offices located in six Canadian economic hubs, Toronto is the seat of national lead Andy Pushalik, who routinely assists clients with sensitive advisory human resources matters and labour and employment litigation. Additional key partners include Eleni Kassaris, who works from Vancouver; Montreal-based Christian Létourneau; and April Kosten (Calgary).
Other key lawyers:
Eleni Kassaris; Christian Létourneau; April Kosten
Canopy Growth Corporation
InnVest REIT (Hilton Quebec)
- Assisted Canopy Growth Corporation with general employment advice and conducting internal workplace investigations.
- Assisted ABCRC with counsel on all areas of labour and employment law.
- Assisted Champion Petfoods with corporate structuring, occupational health and safety and labour and employment advice.
The expertise of the 22-strong group at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP spans mediation, arbitration, litigation and a number of advisory issuses. The team is well-equipped to manage the relationships between corporate clients and unions, in addition to handling severance and pension issues, wrongful dismissal claims, collective agreements, and sexual harassment and professional misconduct allegations. The practice is jointly led by Correna Jones, who works from Calgary and handles labour and employment, occupational health and safety and business law matters; and Michael Richards, who leads from Toronto. Key support comes from Calgary-based collective bargaining expert Michael Ford KC.
Correna Jones; Michael Richards
Other key lawyers:
Michael Ford KC
‘The firm’s global footprint is a good match for our company. Corporate policy reviews and other employment practice questions for all of our global jurisdictions can be managed through DLA Piper, using their own local expertise or network of associated firms. The weekly legal insights newsletter keeps us up to date on changing legislation. The firm values diversity.’
‘Correna Jones is a fantastic lawyer. She is sharp, tough, and understands both our business and our priorities when it comes to legal matters. Correna provides excellent advice on a wide range of matters.’
Greyhound Canada Transportation ULC
The Calgary Drop-In and Rehabilitation Centre
Alberta Health Services
Calgary Board of Education
Raytheon Elcan Optical Technologies
Genesys Cloud Services
- Represented Open Ice Productions (Netflix) in a grievance arbitration challenging the employer’s policy of requiring criminal record checks for employees working in close proximity with minors.
- Advised Greyhound Canada on labour and employment matters relating to the closure of its Western Canada operations.
- Assisted the Calgary Board of Education with labour issues, including collective agreement, matters arising from maternity leave and professional misconduct complaints.
The labour and employment practice at Vancouver-headquartered Lawson Lundell LLP is noted for its handling of occupational health and safety matters, collective bargaining, wrongful dismissals, employment standards, employment equity and pension and benefits litigation. The group is frequently instructed by clients in the mining, retail, manufacturing, food and forestry segments. Practice head Robert Sider KC focuses on labour and employment aspects of commercial transactions, as well as litigation and arbitration; Nicole Skuggedal specializes in arbitration and contracts work. Deborah Cushing deals with a range of advisory labour matters, while Ryan Berger majors on litigation.
Robert Sider, KC
Aird & Berlis LLP
The Toronto-based team at Aird & Berlis LLP handles the full range of labour and employment matters, namely hiring and dismissals, addressing claims of workplace bullying and harassment, compliance issues, collective bargaining and litigation. The experienced Lorenzo Lisi steers the practice; Michael Horvat is an additional key partner-level contact.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is excellent and stands out amongst our Ontario law firms. Its attorneys are thorough, creative and efficient. The team readily calibrates its advice to the client’s risk tolerance. The team responds quickly and provides ample time to review work product. The firm respects and supports our diversity, inclusion and belonging ethos.’
Canada Men’s National Soccer Team Players Association
MHI Canada Aerospace
Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association
Medline Canada Corporation
International Automotive Components Group North America
Black & McDonald
Multy Home LP
De Havilland Aircraft of Canada
- Assisted PepsiCo Canada with general labour and employment matters.
- Assisted Xerox Canada with ongoing labour and employment advice.
- Assisted the Canadian men’s national soccer team and their newly formed players association, the CMNSTPA, with labour advice.
The ‘passionate, accurate, confident and experienced’ group at Gowling WLG is routinely retained by corporations in diverse sectors seeking assistance with labour and employment matters. The practice is jointly led by a trio of partners, comprising: the ‘very knowledgeable’ Toronto-based national lead Andrew Bratt; Maxwell Brunette, who splits his time between Calgary and Vancouver and focuses on labour relations matters and employment standards disputes; and Josée Gervais, who leads from the Montreal office and handles the gamut of employment law matters. Bettina Burgess is the key contact at the Kitchener office.
Andrew Bratt; Maxwell Brunette; Josée Gervais
Other key lawyers:
‘The team collaborates very well – great people skills, and good business understanding.’
‘Passionate, accurate, confident and experienced.’
‘The lawyers are extremely professional and have excellent subject expertise, providing authentic, up-to-date and relevant guidance, all delivered with a very down-to-earth approach. Able to take legal jargon and make it useful in day-to-day business. Always accessible, thorough and provide a quick turnaround.’
‘Andrew Bratt is amazing. He is accessible, approachable, down-to-earth and very knowledgeable on how the legal aspect impacts our day-to-day business. We would be lost without his guidance on some very tricky cases.’
Canadian Blood Services
Billyard Insurance Group
The Genuine Canadian
Government of Québec – Ministry of Family
Government of Québec – Secrétariat du conseil du trésor
Suncor Energy Services
Société Ferroviaire et Portuaire de Pointe-Noire (SFPPN)
Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
Medical Council of Canada
LifeWorks (now Telus Health)
Edgewell Personal Care Canada, ULC
Mattr (formerly Shawcor)
October’s Very Own (OVO)
David Thom and Scott Stewart
Ryder Truck Rental Canada
QuadReal Property Group
- Acted for Mattr in connection with a multi-million dollar wrongful dismissal lawsuit commenced by a former executive following the termination of his employment.
- Acted for Royal Bank of Canada in connection with the dismissal of an employee involved in an attempted fraud against the bank.
- Assisted ICF Canada with all employment-related work.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
With lawyers stationed in Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto, the group at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP supports clients with day-to-day compliance advice, collective bargaining negotiations, grievance arbitrations, M&A-related issues and litigation. The Toronto-based Allan Wells steers the department and covers the range of labour and employment matters, including executive compensation arrangements, employment contracts and workplace policies. Also working from Toronto, Sven Poysa is active on labour and employment compliance issues. Key Calgary partners include Brian Thiessen, who frequently acts on the managerial side of employment issues; and Shaun Parker, who majors on employment litigation and related M&A and compliance work.
Other key lawyers:
Sven Poysa; Brian Thiessen; Shaun Parker
Thermo Fisher Scientific Company
Wealthsimple Financial Corporation
Stanley Black & Decker Canada Corporation
Canadian Tire Corporation
Stikeman Elliott LLP
The labour and employment practice at Stikeman Elliott LLP offers expertise in collective bargaining, as well as executive employment agreements and other non-contentious matters, such as employment law counsel on insolvencies and restructurings. Gary Clarke leads the Western Canada group and splits his time between Calgary and Vancouver, while Patrick Essiminy heads up the Montreal team. Nancy Ramalho steers the department in Toronto; Kathleen Chevalier and pensions and benefits head Natasha vandenHoven are additional key figures at the Toronto office. Former Toronto lead Lorna Cuthbert retired in December 2022.
Gary T. Clarke, Nancy Ramalho, Patrick Essiminy
Areas of expertise for the Toronto-based team at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP include workplace investigations, compensation packages, terminations, privacy issues, sexual harassment claims, and wrongful dismissal and severance pay class actions. Since the departure of ex-practice head Adrian Jakibchuk from the group in October 2022, Laurie Jessome steers the department and leads on both contentious and non-contentious labour matters. Managing partner Kristin Taylor is an additional key contact.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP's labour offering spans a range of issues, among them wrongful dismissal complaints, grievance arbitration and the negotiation of collective agreements. The group is co-led by Hélène Bussières from Montreal and Toronto-based Seann McAleese; the duo combines advisory and disputes expertise. Louise Patry of the Montreal office is an additional key contact. Partner Jessica Bullock left the firm in December 2022.
Hélène Bussières; Seann McAleese
Other key lawyers:
‘Bilingual, understands the issues, gets results.’
The Aldo Group
New Look Vision Group
Ontario Teachers’ Insurance Plan (OTIP)
Richelieu Hardware Canada
Acuity Brands Lighting
Barrick Gold Corporation
- Advised Shaw Communications on employment matters relating to Rogers Communications’s acquisition of all of Shaw’s issued and outstanding Class A and Class B shares.
- Acted for the World Anti-Doping Agency on a multitude of employment matters, including international employment law issues such as hiring, dismissal and termination settlements.
- Acted for Richelieu Hardware Canada on its statutory compliance, wrongful dismissal and human rights related litigation, as well as collective agreement negotiations.
The Toronto-based group at Torys offers advisory labour counsel on matters including hirings and dismissals, employment standards and occupational health and safety laws, employee benefits and executive compensation, in addition to representing clients in employment class actions. Lisa Talbot heads up the employment litigation practice and has significant expertise in workplace harassment matters. Partner Jennifer Lennon specializes in compensation arrangements for senior management teams, while counsel Darryl Hiscocks provides across-the-board labour support. Ex-practice head Mitch Frazer left the firm in March 2023.
Other key lawyers:
Jennifer Lennon; Darryl Hiscocks
‘The Tory’s employment law team is very responsive and is able to provide excellent advice on a timely and concise basis.’
‘Darryl Hiscocks constantly adds value and looks out for our best interests; he understands our approach to dealing with our current, future, exiting and departed employees. He is able to pick up the thread with little backstory and provide sound direction. I enjoy my interactions and discussing difficult cases with him.’
Superior Plus LP
Connor, Clark & Lunn Financial Group
BMO Financial Group
Champion Petfoods LP
Triple Flag Precious Metals
Mattamy Group Corporation
Schoeller Bleckmann Oilfield Equipment AG
- Assisted Superior Plus Corp. with labour counsel regarding its proposed acquisition of Certarus.
- Advised Brookfield on its plan of arrangement that will result in its division into two publicly traded companies.
- Represented Deloitte in an employment class action alleging the misclassification of employees and breach of contract.