These are Toronto’s best workplace human rights lawyers based on the results of Lexpert’s extensive annual peer survey. For the complete roster of Ontario’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field, check out our latest practice area rankings.
In our survey, workplace human rights law comprises the provision of advice and representation in all matters relating to discriminatory practices based on grounds that are or are argued to be prohibited by various federal and provincial statutes, codes, constitutional protections and common law. Mandates in this area also include the development of training programs to enable legislative compliance.
Most recommended workplace human rights lawyers representing employers
Raj Anand is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP. His practice includes administrative, human rights, constitutional and employment law, civil litigation, professional negligence and regulation. He represents both employers and employees in workplace rights cases. Anand is a former chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and has served on a variety of administrative tribunals, including the boards of inquiry under the Ontario Human Rights Code and the Police Services Act. He was appointed by the Ontario government to set up the independent Human Rights Legal Support Centre when it revamped the Ontario human rights adjudication process. As an elected bencher of the Law Society for more than a decade, Anand was the chair of the tribunals committee and headed its reform of the Law Society’s hearings tribunal process. He was also the bencher vice chair and continues as a non-bencher adjudicator on the hearing and appeal divisions of the Law Society Tribunal, where he has heard hundreds of cases and written about 170 decisions relating to licensing, capacity and conduct. Anand has also acted as counsel on internal matters, judicial reviews or appeals for several professional regulators and administrative tribunals.
Ranjan K. Agarwal is a partner at Bennett Jones LLP. He devotes his practice to complex commercial disputes, class action, constitutional law, employment and appellate litigation. Agarwal litigates a wide array of commercial cases, ranging from class action, investment treaty and commercial arbitration matters and employment disputes to human rights and professional regulation. He also advises companies, individuals and regulators on sensitive investigations. Agarwal is a well-known civil rights and constitutional litigator. His cases have ranged across religious liberty, freedom of speech, equality rights and federalism. He has appeared in almost 20 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada and regularly appears on matters in courts and arbitrations across Canada. Agarwal will serve as president of the Ontario Bar Association in 2022. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto and co-author of Class Actions Law and Practice. Agarwal is past president of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto.
Matthew L.O. Certosimo is a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where he served as national leader of the labour and employment group from 2011 to 2016. Certosimo is certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in Labour Law. He frequently appears before the courts, including the appellate level. Certosimo counsels and acts on behalf of private and public sector employers in labour relations, employment law, including wrongful dismissal litigation, labour arbitrations, collective bargaining, human rights complaints and charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. He is co-author of Just Cause: The Law of Summary Dismissal in Canada and assistant editor of the Canadian Cases on Employment Law, a national law report series. Certosimo is also the author of Ontario Employment and Labour Law & Commentary, Federal Employment and Labour Law & Commentary and The Regulation of Picketing: An Employer’s Primer to Labour Injunctions. Certosimo has served as chair and speaker at numerous labour and employment law conferences. He was an adjunct professor of employment law at the University of Toronto from 1996 to 2011.
Sarah C. Crossley is a partner at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP. She acts for employers in both the federal and provincial jurisdictions. Her clients operate in a range of industries, including manufacturing, telecommunications, retail, financial services and pharmaceutical. Crossley provides practical and strategic advice to employers on all aspects of labour and employment law. She regularly acts as counsel in wrongful dismissal litigation, human rights proceedings and grievance arbitrations. Crossley is also regularly retained to conduct workplace investigations.
Jonathan L. Dye
Law firm: Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP
Year called to the bar: 1997
Jonathan L. Dye serves as a partner at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP. He primarily litigates and advises clients on a range of issues such as wrongful dismissals, workplace human rights, employment standards, recruitment and dismissals, employment contracts and employment issues in corporate transactions. Dye has appeared as lead counsel in cases before the Ontario Court of Appeal, Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Divisional Court, Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, Ontario Labour Relations Board and Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal.
Frances R. Gallop
Law firm: Rae Christen Jeffries LLP
Year called to the bar: 1985
Frances R. Gallop is a partner at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP. She is certified as a specialist in labour law by the Law Society of Ontario. Gallop represents and advises employers on all matters related to the workplace, including collective bargaining, collective agreement interpretation, labour arbitrations and labour board proceedings. She also represents and advises employers on dismissals and wrongful dismissal claims, human rights and workplace harassment issues. Gallop provides training and advice to clients and others on relevant workplace topics such as performance and attendance management, workplace harassment, workplace accommodation and managing a collected agreement. She is a sought-after speaker for legal conferences, seminars and webinars, including for the Law Society of Ontario, International Bar Association, Colorado Bar Association, Ontario Bar Association, American Bar Association, Osgoode Hall Law School, McMaster University, Lancaster House and other organizations and groups. Gallop has served as media commentator on workplace legal issues, including for the CBC, Globe and Mail and Canadian Business. She is also a recognized advocate for women in the legal community.
Michelle S. Henry
Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)
Year called to the bar: 2003
Michelle S. Henry is a partner at the labour and employment group at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s Toronto office. She was a partner at the firm until March 2012. In April 2012, Henry joined a leading international package and freight delivery company as corporate counsel and worked extensively in federal employment-related legislation. In October 2013, she resumed her labour and employment practice at BLG. Henry is a recipient of the 2017 Ann Wilson and Robert Prichard Award presented by the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law for demonstration of the highest standards of professional integrity, excellence and leadership and significant contribution to the legal profession and community through public interest work, pro bono activities and community service.
Alix P. Herber is a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. She provides strategic advice to clients in all areas of labour, employment and human rights matters. With over 18 years of experience in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing and healthcare industries, she is a strategic partner to her clients and provides practical solution-oriented advice, while mitigating potential liability. Herber boasts expertise in advising several clients in the federal sector. In her previous role as in-house counsel for one of North America’s largest grocery retail and distribution companies, she was involved in operational labour relations, arbitrations and the administration of approximately 50 collective agreements, leading negotiations in bargaining. Herber regularly acts as chief negotiator for clients in bargaining. She uses her considerable experience to passionately represent her clients in arbitration hearings, labour board hearings, human rights tribunals and court actions relating to all aspects of the employment relationship.
Lorenzo Lisi is a partner and the practice group leader at Aird & Berlis LLP’s workplace law group. He has practised labour and employment law exclusively for more than 30 years, representing clients both provincially and federally. His expertise spans the broad spectrum of workplace law, from defending employers against employee claims such as wrongful and constructive dismissal, human rights and harassment to dealing with a unionized workplace. Lisi has substantial experience in grievance and labour board litigation, injunctive proceedings, responding to union organizing and applications for certification, collective bargaining and grievance arbitration. He advises management clients on acquisitions, divestitures and restructurings, enforceability of restrictive covenants and the application of various labour and employment statutes. Lisi has served on the board of directors of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers and is a member of the Government Affairs Committee of the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario.
Brian D. Mulroney
Law firm: Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP
Year called to the bar: 1981
Brian D. Mulroney is a partner at Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP. He has acted as employer counsel both at the Ontario Labour Relations Board and in labour arbitrations. Mulroney has bargained several collective agreements, including three agreements that allowed his client to acquire a large manufacturing business previously in insolvency protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, one of Ontario’s most significant M&A transactions of 2017. He also has extensive civil trial, injunction and appellate experience. Mulroney has appeared in proceedings under the Human Rights Code at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and its predecessor, the Board of Inquiry.
Chris G. Paliare is a partner at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP. He is considered as one of Canada’s top litigators at trial and appellate levels. Paliare has extensive experience in shareholder disputes, securities litigation, administrative law, Charter of Rights and Freedoms and constitutional litigation, class actions, employment law and white-collar criminal law. Paliare is a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers (Eastern Canadian chair), International Society of Barristers and American College of Trial Lawyers and a former Ontario provincial chair. He is also an honorary member of the Specialist Bar Association for Commercial Barristers (COMBAR) and a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
Katherine M. Pollock
Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Year called to the bar: 1988
Katherine M. Pollock is a partner and the chair of the partnership board at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. She is the also the chair of the board’s human resources and governance committee and its equity, diversity and inclusion committee. Pollock advises and represents employers in labour, employment, human rights and business-related immigration matters. She regularly appears before federal and provincial administrative tribunals and the civil courts, assisting clients with wrongful dismissals, human rights, workers’ compensation and employment standards issues. Pollock is also frequently retained to conduct highly sensitive investigations. A skilled trainer of employees on all aspects of employment and human rights, she arbitrates cases before interest arbitrators and in connection with private, rights-based arbitrations. Pollock is also the founder of the firm’s Pride Network.
Angela E. Rae
Law firm: Rae Christen Jeffries LLP
Year called to the bar: 1989
Angela E. Rae is a founding and managing partner at Rae Christen Jeffries LLP. She is a trusted advisor who represents employers in all aspects of labour and employment law, including negotiations, arbitrations, labour board proceedings and actions for wrongful dismissal. Rae also represents clients in employment standards matters and has extensive experience litigating human rights and pay equity matters. She is a sought-after speaker who has lectured on all aspects of labour and employment law for the International Bar Association, Law Society of Ontario, Ontario Bar Association, Ontario Labour Management Arbitrators’ Association, National Academy of Arbitrators, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, University of Toronto, the Osgoode Hall Law School and Ryerson University Certificate in Labour Law programs and the Canadian Industrial Relations Association. Rae is regularly engaged by both public and private sector employers to develop and implement employee and management training programs. She is a past vice-chair of the Administrative Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association.
Shane D. Todd
Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP
Year called to the bar: 2009
Shane D. Todd serves as a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP. He advises employers on workplace issues and represents them in legal proceedings. Todd has won cases at trial and on motions, negotiated and enforced agreements, achieved great settlements and helped employers through major changes. He is frequently retained in high-stakes litigation. Todd has worked as a human resources professional prior to beginning his practice. He knows how workplace changes and disputes impact a business. Todd also supports employers in major initiatives impacting employees, including reductions in force, closures of business, sale and acquisition of businesses, and policy changes.
Most recommended workplace rights lawyers representing employees
Susan M. Ursel
Law firm: Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP
Year called to the bar: 1986
Susan M. Ursel is a senior partner at Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP. She represents unions, organizations and individuals on arbitrations, labour board proceedings, tribunal hearings and litigation before all levels of court in Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. Her practice focuses on labour, employment, pay equity, employment equity, human rights, insolvency, pensions and benefits. Ursel was named to the independent advisory board for SCC justices in 2016 and 2017. She was senior counsel to the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation in its successful charter challenge to Bill 115. Ursel also served as counsel to Canadian Bar Association in its intervention in the TWU v. LSUC case in the SCC and to Sears Canada employees in ongoing Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) proceedings. She was counsel to Essar Steel Algoma retirees in CCAA proceedings, court-appointed counsel to Air Canada union retirees in 2004 and engaged in class action litigation for pension plan members adversely affected by government reorganizations in the broader public sector. Ursel is a fellow in the American College of Labor and Employment Lawyers.
Caroline V. (Nini) Jones
Law firm: Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Year called to the bar: 2001
Caroline V. Jones is a partner at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP. She devotes her practice to employment and union-side labour law, including collective bargaining. Jones also has a special interest and expertise in human rights matters. Her practice includes a substantial amount of work in the police sector, where she represents police associations in labour relations, human rights issues, collective bargaining, discipline and other work-related disputes. She also provides comprehensive advice to her clients about all aspects of labour and employment law, including human rights, employment standards, pay equity and health and safety. Jones regularly speaks and provides workshops for and continuing legal education to other lawyers, organizations and clients on a range of issues, including administrative law, workplace discipline, addressing workplace criminal conduct, privacy and electronic communications, human rights, the duty to accommodate, grievance handling, labour and employment damages, not-for-profit board governance and collective bargaining strategy.
Linda R. Rothstein
Law firm: Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
Year called to the bar: 1982
Linda Rothstein is a senior partner at Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP. She is best known for probing cross-examinations, strategic advice and behind-the-scenes counsel work on high-stakes cases. Rothstein practises in civil and administrative litigation with expertise in class actions, commercial litigation, professional liability and misconduct, public law, employment and human rights and judicial review and appeals. Her high-profile work includes acting as commission counsel to the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology and lead counsel to the Motherisk Hair Analysis Review. Rothstein was awarded the Law Society Medal by the Law Society of Ontario and the Award of Distinction from the Toronto Lawyers Association.