Human rights are an increasingly complex aspect of legal relations in Ontario. They arise in a broad range of disputes, and are dealt with before a wide variety of judicial and administrative bodies. Given their prevalence, lawyers must understand human rights issues and how they intersect with other areas of law.
We have special expertise in human rights law. We regularly act for individuals, trade unions, academic institutions, regulators, employers and employees in their capacities as plaintiffs/applicants, defendants/respondents and intervenors in disputes involving human rights. We have won several landmark cases before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. The cases in which we have been involved are among the leading cases defining the scope and impact of human rights in Ontario.
- Representative Work
Rob Centa and Glynnis Hawe represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in C.M. v. York Regional Police, 2019 ONSC 7220. The court accepted Rob and Glynnis’s submissions that the over-policing of marginalized and racialized persons bolsters the importance of providing a transparent and fair process for persons seeking and challenging the content of a police Vulnerable Sector Check.
C.M. v York Regional Police, 2019 ONSC 7220 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/j3z3v>
Andrew Lokan and Lorne Waldman of Waldman and Associates successfully represented Kazakh businessman Rustem Tursunbayev in securing the Federal Court’s largest-ever costs award in an immigration matter, after the Federal Court found that the Attorney General had unreasonably opposed Mr. Tursunbayev’s request for a stay of deportation proceedings against him, based on his claim that Canadian officials had committed an abuse of process in seeking his deportation to a country that uses torture.
More details can be found here: https://bit.ly/2ZW6dAy
Nini Jones, Jodi Martin, and Glynnis Hawe successfully represented the Waterloo Regional Police Association in an appeal brought by the plaintiffs, current and former uniform women members, in a proposed class action proceeding. They were entirely successful once again in arguing that the civil courts have no jurisdiction over claims of unfair representation by the Association, which must be heard by specialized labour arbitrators appointed under the Police Services Act.
Rivers v Waterloo Regional Police Services Board, 2019 ONCA 267:
Rabi v. University of Toronto 2019 HRTO 358 (CanLII)
Rob Centa obtained an order from the Tribunal deferring consideration of the application pending the outcome of a parallel court application. See: http://canlii.ca/t/hxt5x
Zeng v. The Governing Council of the University of Toronto – Robert Centa – 2018 CarswellOnt 14162 (Div. Ct.) – Public Law/Judicial Review - Fact member of committee found in favour of applicant in past did not constitute reasonable apprehension of bias when viewed from perspective of reasonable person cognizant of all relevant facts, and nothing in conduct of hearing met test for reasonable apprehension of bias — Applicant did not ask member to recuse herself and was barred from raising issue of reasonable apprehension of bias — Applicant had not shown denial of procedural fairness, as he was represented at hearing and received legal advice throughout — Committee was alive to existence of applicant's disability issues and gave consideration to whether they should impact result — There was no error of fact or law that rendered committee's decision unreasonable.
Nini Jones and Glynnis Hawe successfully represented the Ontario Provincial Police Association in a grievance that advanced the scope of the OPP’s obligations in respect of the mental health of its employees: http://canlii.ca/t/htshr
Don Eady and Jessica Latimer represented the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union against the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services before the Grievance Settlement Board(“GSB”) with respect to two grievances filed on behalf of an employee. The first grievance alleged that the Ministry had condoned harassment and discrimination of the employee because of his sexual orientation and had allowed a poisoned work environment to persist in the workplace. The second grievance alleged that the Ministry had failed to accommodate the employee when he became ill as a result of the harassment and discrimination and the poisoned work environment . In 2011, the GSB found for the union and declared that the Ministry had breached the collective agreement and the Human Rights Code. In the second decision, the GSB had to determine the amount of damages that flowed from the finding of liability. In a decision released in July, 2013, the GSB awarded the employee compensatory damages totalling $98,000 as well as lost vacation and a top up until retirement of overtime and shift premiums the employee would have received if he had been able to remain employed in the correctional facility. The $98,000 award is the largest ever compensatory damages award made by the Grievance Settlement Board. To read the decision, click here.
Nini Jones successfully argued on behalf of OPSEU in Arias v. Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, 2009 HRTO 1025 that a union cannot be to have violated the Human Rights Code simply by failing to properly or adequately represent one of its members.
Nini Jones, Tina Lie and Nasha Nijhawan successfully argued Krieger v. Toronto Police Services Board, 2008 HRTO 183 before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, a case involving the discriminatory termination of a probationary police officer. In Krieger, the Tribunal ordered the reinstatement of the police officer's employment, the first case to do so under the new human rights regime in Ontario.