Practice Advisory Committee
The Tribunal has established an HRTO Practice Advisory Committee that will serve as a resource for consultation and feedback about policies, practices, rules, practice directions and services. The Committee will focus on the effectiveness of those aspects of the Tribunal's work as they relate to the Tribunal's mandate to provide fair, just and expeditious process for the resolution (by way of mediation and adjudication) of proceedings before it.
The Tribunal invited expressions of interest from individuals who appear regularly before the Tribunal on behalf of applicants or respondents. Eight people were selected who represent the diverse range of individuals and groups who use HRTO services.
David A. Wright, Associate Chair, and David Draper, Executive Director, represent the Tribunal on the HRTO Practice Advisory Committee.
Patty Murray (Co-chair)
Ms. Murray practises in all areas of labour and employment law, including grievance arbitration, Labour Board matters and human rights. As the Chair of the Hicks Morley Human Rights Practice Group, Ms. Murray has a particular interest in human rights matters. She advocates for clients before the Canadian Human Rights Commission and is involved in litigating a variety of different matters at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. Ms. Murray's human rights expertise is not limited to the employment arena; she regularly advises service providers such as school boards and police service boards in defending against human rights complaints.
Mary Cornish (Co-chair)
Ms. Cornish is a senior partner at Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre & Cornish LLP, a legal scholar and has taught as an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. She is recognized internationally as an expert in the fields of human rights and labour law, pay and employment equity, social protection, judicial reform and dispute resolution issues. Her 1992 Ontario Human Rights Code Review Task Force Report "Achieving Equality" recommended transformative changes to Ontario's human rights enforcement system. The Ontario Government cited the Cornish report as the foundational basis for the 2006 human rights reform law. She is co-author of the book, "Enforcing Human Rights in Ontario." As an international consultant, she has provided advice on human rights and labour issues to the World Bank, International Labour Organization, European Economic Community and Swedish, Chilean and New Zealand governments. In 1993, she was awarded the Law Society Medal for her outstanding service to the legal profession. In 1996, she was awarded the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators' (SOAR) Medal of Honour for outstanding contribution to the administrative justice system.
Mr. Baker heads a small litigation firm called bakerlaw that specializes in constitutional and human rights law, disability, health and education law, tort, employment and sexual assault law and immigration and national security law. The firm's Credo is "Accessible Justice," which it strives to make meaningful by finding creative ways to assist members of disadvantaged groups to exercise their rights. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law where he teaches a course on Access to Justice. He articled with the late Ian Scott, at Cameron Brewin and Scott, leaving to do an LL.M. After spending a period in Washington working as a legal advisor to Ralph Nader's Tax Reform Research Group, he returned to Canada to found ARCH, which is a legal clinic and Canada's national disability law centre. He was named to UNESCO's International Panel of Human Rights Experts, received the Law Society Medal and an honourary doctorate from Trinity College at the University of Toronto and is the first non-disabled person to be made an Honourary Member of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities. He is a founding Board member of Democracy Watch and is Advocacy Co-Chair and member of the executive of Human Rights Watch Canada.
Ms. Bernhardt specializes in labour, employment, human rights, administrative and constitutional law. From 1993-2001, she worked for the Ontario Nurses' Association. She presented ONA's policy position and represented ONA members before arbitration boards and tribunals. She has also served on the Public Service Grievance Board and was a part-time appointee to the Human Rights Board of Inquiry. From 1989 to 1992, she lived in the United Arab Emirates and taught business for the Higher Colleges of Technology. From 1978 to 1984 Ms. Bernhardt was an Investigation Officer with the OHRC. Ms. Bernhardt has been involved in community and legal organizations concerned with equity, law, education, and social issues. She has written papers and presented at numerous conferences and events; in particular on employment and human rights issues. Ms. Bernhardt obtained her LL.M in 1999 from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and her LL.B in 1988 also from Osgoode.
Ms. Ceddia is a Litigation Lawyer with the City of Toronto. Her practice includes defending the City in constitutional challenges to its by-laws and defending human rights matters against the City, Toronto Police Services Board and Toronto Police. Ms. Ceddia practised litigation at McCarthy Tetrault LLP in Toronto before joining the City and articled as a Law Clerk at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She was called to the bar in 2003. She holds an M. A. in Political Science (Public Policy) and has extensive professional experience in human rights as an Investigator at the Ontario Human Rights Commission in the early 1990s; manager of her own human rights consulting business; and as the first full-time Investigator of Human Rights at Ryerson University. She also served in Policy Advisory roles in both the Ontario Cabinet Office and in Mayor Barbara Hall's Office, here in Toronto. Ms. Ceddia serves on the United Way of Toronto Board of Trustees and chairs the Allocations Committee which disburses approximately $75 million, annually, in donor funds to Toronto's 150 United Way agencies.
Matthew Horner has been counsel with the Constitutional Law Branch of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General since 2006. Prior to joining CLB, he carried on a constitutional and public law practice with a large national law firm. Mr. Horner has represented Ontario on numerous constitutional and Human Rights Code matters, including Withler v. Canada, one of the Supreme Court’s most recent Charter s. 15(1) decisions. He frequently appears on behalf of Ontario in response to Charter and Human Rights Code issues raised before administrative boards and tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Mr. Horner is co-chair of MAG’s Human Rights Law Practice Group, a member of the Advocates’ Society’s Civil Prosecutors Network, a member of MAG’s Lawyers Learning Committee and has for many years served as factum judge for the Wilson Moot. Mr. Horner was called to the bar in 2002 after completing a clerkship with the Honourable Justice Michel Bastarache of the Supreme Court of Canada.
Mr. Goodman is a Partner with Heenan Blaikie LLP in Toronto and is both a lawyer and a mediator. He focuses his practice on employment, human rights, disability and labour law and heads the Toronto office's human rights practice. He represents employers before various courts and administrative bodies and tribunals and, in particular, The Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. He also advises clients on employment law issues and on the implementation of human rights policies and training and accommodation programs. Mr. Goodman regularly chairs and speaks at conferences on human rights, employment and labour-related matters and teaches employment law (including human rights law) at Queen's University, Faculty of Law. He completed the Program of Instruction for Lawyers Mediation Workshop presented by the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School. Mr. Goodman is the co-author of Canada Law Book's "A Guide to Alternative Work Relationships," and is the coordinating editor and a contributing author of the human rights, employment, privacy, occupational health & safety and worker safety and insurance chapters of CCH's Ultimate Corporate Counsel Guide and has authored numerous other papers and articles on employment, disability and human rights law.
Cathy Pike has been Counsel with the Ontario Human Rights Commission since 1990. She obtained her LL.B. and a B.A. (Honours) in Linguistics and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Ms. Pike has represented the Commission at hearings and interventions before the Tribunal and all levels of the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Paula M. Rusak
Ms. Rusak provides advice on a full range of employment related matters to employers and regularly appears before various administrative tribunals and arbitrations. She is regularly involved, either in an advisory capacity or as a spokesperson, with employers in collective bargaining. In addition to advising on various issues including human rights matters, such as, duty to accommodate, sexual harassment and the like, Ms. Rusak conducts independent third party investigations of human rights complaints and provides proactive training to employers, supervisors and employees. Ms. Rusak obtained her L.L.B. from McGill University in Montreal. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1980. She is a founding member of the Labour Law Specialty Committee, Law Society of Upper Canada.
Ms. Sanson heads SANSON LAW OFFICE Professional Corporation, a litigation law boutique and ADR practice specializing in human rights, labour, employment, constitutional and administrative law. Ms. Sanson works as an external neutral appointed by governments, unions, companies, institutions, and professional associations, to conduct adjudications, mediations, facilitations and investigations of workplace issues including harassment, discrimination and violence. In her litigation practice, Ms. Sanson has appeared as counsel at all levels of the Court and before various administrative tribunals including inquests dealing with issues of workplace violence. She previously served as Counsel to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, Senior Litigation Counsel for ARCH Disability Law Center, Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall, co-teaching Human Rights, and as a Bar Admissions Instructor, teaching Administrative Law. Ms. Sanson regularly speaks and presents papers on topical issues of human rights, administrative law and labour and employment law. Ms. Sanson is an Executive Member of the OBA’s Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law Section. She co-chaired the 2011 OBA Human Rights conference and is co-chairing a program on Workplace Investigations for the 2012 OBA Institute Conference. Ms. Sanson is identified in L'Expert, Canada's Legal Directory, as a leading lawyer in workplace human rights. She is the recipient of the Law Society Medal for her work in equality rights and has been honoured in the Canadian Bar Association's magazine as a "local hero", for her human rights work.
M. Kate Stephenson
Ms. Stephenson is a partner at WeirFoulds LLP in Toronto, on leave of absence from the firm and serving as Director of Legal Services at the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. She has a diverse civil litigation practice including constitutional, administrative, human rights and employment law. She has argued before all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada, and she has been co-counsel in constitutional challenges. Ms. Stephenson attended law school at the University of Toronto. She articled at the firm Scott & Aylen and worked there after being called to the Bar in 1996. She moved to WeirFoulds LLP in 1998. From 2002 to 2004 she was seconded to Legal Aid Ontario where she served as the first "Resident Barrister" at the Clinic Resource Office in Toronto. Ms. Stephenson was the first person to be awarded the Advocates Society's Arleen Goss Young Advocate's Award, inaugurated in 2004 to recognize a lawyer who has been engaged in practice for less than 10 years, and who has a record of innovative, passionate advocacy, and concern for social justice. She is on the Board of Directors of the Income Security Advocacy Centre, in Toronto, and is a member of the Charter Committee on Poverty Issues.
Mr. Wray is a partner at Pinto Wray James LLP. He is a litigator who focuses his practice on employment, human rights and administrative law. He represents a culturally diverse client base before various levels of federal and provincial courts and all manner of administrative tribunals. Mr. Wray is often called upon to challenge government regulators at various levels of decision making, including appeals and judicial review of those decisions. He is active as the Chair of the Administrative Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association and the Legal Committee of the Centre for Spanish Speaking People. Mr. Wray is also a member of the Association des jurists d'expression français de l'Ontario. He has studied in both France and Mexico, completed his LL.B. in French at the University of Ottawa and is fluent in French and Spanish.