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Human Rights Law

Goldblatt Partners has a thriving human rights law practice, representing trade unions and individuals before many different boards and tribunals.

Our labour lawyers regularly litigate human rights issues in grievance arbitration hearings. We also assist our trade union clients in drafting collective agreement language that promotes equality and human rights, and in reviewing employer policies for compliance with human rights legislation.

We represent individuals and trade unions in proceedings before human rights tribunals, not only in employment-related claims but also in a broad range of issues beyond the workplace, such as access to education, health services and other public services.

In addition to representing individuals and organizations before human rights commissions and tribunals, we have acted for human rights commissions and tribunals themselves in judicial reviews and appeals.

We frequently intervene on behalf of clients in court cases raising human rights issues, pushing for progressive interpretations of legislation to afford the broadest possible protection to vulnerable groups. For example, we acted for intervenors in Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid, Nixon v. Vancouver Rape Relief and Jazairi v. Ontario (Human Rights Commission). We also acted for the Canadian Labour Congress, which intervened in Renaud v. Central Okanagan School District, No. 23, a case involving the respective obligations of employers and unions in the accommodation process.

We also have a pay equity practice, assisting clients in the negotiation of pay equity plans, ensuring that pay equity gains are maintained, and litigating pay equity disputes in both the provincial and federal sectors. There is more information about our pay equity practice here. We provide our federally-regulated clients with advice regarding the Employment Equity Act and the Federal Contractors Program, and our provincially-regulated clients with advice on the development of special programs to remedy disadvantage consistent with the requirements of Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

Our lawyers frequently conduct workshops and education seminars for trade unions and other organizations on human rights law and harassment issues. In addition, we have trained human rights investigators, intake officers and mediators, and our lawyers have themselves investigated discrimination and harassment complaints for non-unionized employers, human rights commissions and a federal political party.