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Steven Barrett

Steven Barrett



Steven Barrett practices in the areas of labour law, administrative law, constitutional litigation, public interest litigation and class actions. This includes representing trade union and employee association clients before a variety of labour and administrative tribunals, appearing on various judicial review applications and appeals in Ontario courts, and arguing numerous appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada (particularly involving labour rights and freedoms under the freedom of association guarantee under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms).

Steven also regularly acts for trade unions and professional/employee associations in collective bargaining negotiations and interest arbitrations, (primarily in the broader public sector), as well as serving as union or association nominee on boards of arbitration. In addition, Steven provides strategic advice and advocacy for trade unions, professional associations and central labour bodies concerning legislative and policy initiatives, including in their dealings with government, universities, hospitals and municipalities.

Some of Steven’s notable cases include Lavigne v. OPSEU (use of union dues for political purposes does not violate Charter); Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia (the first major Charter equality rights case); Council of Canadians (constitutional standing); Central Okanagan School District No. 23 v. Renaud (union liability for discrimination); Rizzo & Rizzo Shoes (termination and severance pay on employer’s bankruptcy); CUPE v. Ontario (Minister of Labour) (independence of boards of interest arbitration); UFCW, Local 1518 v. KMart Canada Inc. (union leafleting as freedom of expression); Vriend v. Alberta (sexual orientation human rights protections guaranteed by Charter); Dunmore v. Ontario (Minister of Labour) (collective bargaining rights for agricultural workers); B.C. Health Services (collective bargaining protected by freedom of association guarantee); Ontario (Attorney General) v. Fraser (exclusion of agricultural workers from collective bargaining legislation); and the recent 2015 freedom of association trilogy (MPAO, Meredith and Saskatchewan Federation of Labour).

Steven has taught at law schools, regularly speaks at conferences, has written various academic articles in the area of labour and constitutional law, and is a fellow of the CLPE (Comparative Research in Law and Political Economy Forum) at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Steven received his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law. He joined Goldblatt Partners (then Sack Goldblatt Mitchell) in 1985, became a partner in 1988 and has been managing partner since 2006. He has consistently named by his peers as a leading labour law practitioner in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory and is named as a notable practitioner in the Chambers Global guide.

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