Employment & Labour

For employers, the growing complexity of legal compliance in the workplace is a major issue. CEOs, managers, and human resources professionals must cope with constantly changing legislation affecting the employment relationship. They need prompt, comprehensive response from their legal advisors.

At Torkin Manes, response is key: we’re there when our clients need us. There’s a union organizer at your door? A complaint of harassment has been made against a senior executive? We walk you through the steps to take while we prepare your case. But we don’t stop there: we help you draft policies and procedures to minimize your exposure. From prevention to litigation, Torkin Manes is with you all the way.

Whenever possible, we prefer to be proactive, thinking ahead on creative ways to prevent problems. With a new client, we review any existing employment contracts and collective agreements, checking for any possible issues in time to take preventive action. We record when collective agreements expire and whether the client has sound HR policies and procedures in place.

In a dispute, our general approach is to seek the resolution that is in the best interest of our client, avoiding lengthy, costly, and uncertain hearings wherever possible. Where this is not possible, we thoroughly prepare to represent our clients right through to trial and appeal.

We represent clients in a wide range of industries, notably health and long-term care, municipal, construction, architecture, engineering and design, manufacturing, retail, food and hospitality, banking, professional services, insurance, pharmaceuticals, transportation, telecommunications, and automotive.  We have substantial client involvement in both the private and public sectors, and in both provincially regulated and federally regulated sectors


Our Employment & Labour Law Group advises and represents employers in the full range of employment matters, from structuring employment contracts, agreements, and policies, to applications, complaints and other proceedings under both federal and provincial legislation. We also advise and represent employers in matters before the Ontario Courts, including wrongful dismissal and departing employee litigation.

We have special expertise in matters involving privacy of employee information. Our Group advises employers on the conduct of workplace investigations and will conduct investigations ourselves, should a third party investigation be advisable.

Human Rights

A significant portion of our practice includes advising employers on human rights issues related to hiring, disability, accommodation, discrimination, harassment, discipline and termination. We have extensive experience in dealing with all manner of alleged discrimination and/or harassment on the basis of all prohibited grounds, including (most commonly) disability, race, ethnicity, place of origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation and family status. We provide prompt advice on human rights issues that arise in the workplace, drafting policies, conducting investigations, and helping to determine appropriate remedies, which sometimes include discipline or termination. In addition to our significant experience in the investigation, mediation and adjudication of internal discrimination and harassment complaints, all of our lawyers regularly represent clients before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal in defence of complaints of discrimination and/or harassment in the workplace.

Labour Relations

Torkin Manes has significant experience advising and representing employers in all aspects of labour relations, more particularly set out below.

We are well known and respected by the major unions as being firm, but fair. We regularly negotiate with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, UNIFOR (formerly Canadian Auto Workers), the Christian Labour Association of Canada, the Ontario Nurses’ Association, Service Employees International Union, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Public Service Alliance of Canada and United Steelworkers of Canada. They view us as resolution-oriented and pragmatic, while being respectful and collaborative.

Some of our many services include advice and representation relating to:

Employment & Human Rights

  • Offers of employment, contracts, and agreements
  • Hours of work, overtime, public holiday and vacation entitlements
  • Advice with respect to the Employment Standards Act and responding to applications and appeals under the Act
  • Workplace discipline and termination
  • Maternity, parental and other leaves of absence
  • Illness, disability and accessibility
  • Workplace injuries and their reporting
  • Pay Equity complaints and appeals
  • Responding to applications for employee reinstatement rights, including those under the Human Rights Code and the Canada Labour Code
  • Wrongful dismissal litigation, including mediation and including injunctive proceedings
  • Different entitlements of employees, contractors and volunteers
  • Workplace policies and handbooks
  • Restrictive covenant issues, including litigation relating to fiduciary duties and oppression actions

Labour Relations

  • Responding and providing advice regarding union certification campaigns
  • Responding to and providing advice and litigation with respect to unfair labour practice complaints
  • Acting as counsel in all matters involving employers before the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Canada Industrial Relations Board
  • Collective agreement negotiations
  • Applications to terminate bargaining rights

Thomas A. Stefanik

Practice Group Lead

Tel: 416 777 5430  Fax: 1 888 587 9140
Email: tstefanik@torkinmanes.com

Lisa Corrente

Tel: 416 643 8800  Fax: 1 888 554 6180
Email: lcorrente@torkinmanes.com

Gillian Howe

Tel: 416 777 5424  Fax: 1 888-683-6543
Email: ghowe@torkinmanes.com

Irv Kleiner

Tel: 416 777 5403  Fax: 1 888 603 4593
Email: ikleiner@torkinmanes.com

Daniel Pugen

Tel: 416 777 5194  Fax: 1 888 554 6177
Email: dpugen@torkinmanes.com

Peter C. Straszynski

Tel: 416 777 5447  Fax: 1 888 587 5766
Email: pstraszynski@torkinmanes.com

Practice Group Lead(s)

Thomas A. Stefanik 416 777 5430 tstefanik@torkinmanes.com

Practice Group Lawyers

Lisa Corrente 416 643 8800 lcorrente@torkinmanes.com
Gillian Howe 416 777 5424 ghowe@torkinmanes.com
Irv Kleiner 416 777 5403 ikleiner@torkinmanes.com
Daniel Pugen 416 777 5194 dpugen@torkinmanes.com
Peter C. Straszynski 416 777 5447 pstraszynski@torkinmanes.com
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