For more than 30 years, Emond Harnden has developed an extensive practice in the municipal sector. Our dedicated municipal team represents a variety of municipalities of all sizes and types throughout Ontario, including upper-tier, lower-tier and single-tier municipalities, as well as public library boards, police service boards, emergency services and municipal long-term care facilities. In addition, our municipal team represents associations of municipalities operating in both in English and in French throughout Canada. As a result of this significant experience in the field, our municipal clients can expect to have access to a team of lawyers well-versed in providing advice and representation in litigation matters specific to municipalities, as well as in all areas of labour and employment law and related fields.

Our municipal team has developed a unique understanding and in-depth knowledge of the legal issues that affect municipalities, and provides municipalities and related associations with top quality legal services, including in the following areas:

Municipal Law

  • Providing advice on the interpretation of governing statutory authorities, including the Municipal Act and its regulations
  • Providing municipal representation, including with respect to municipal board hearings, by-law matters and governance

Employment and Labour Law

  • Providing advice on employment and labour relations issues including but not limited to legislative compliance, policy development, employment contracts, workplace management, occupational health and safety, pensions and benefits, workplace investigations, workforce adjustments, pay equity, performance management and discipline, as well as terminations
  • Providing advice and representation in collective bargaining as either chief spokesperson or strategic advisor with inside and outside groups, administration, public utilities, police, firefighters, paramedics, library staff and municipal long-term care homes
  • Providing advice and representation to clients governed by compulsory interest arbitration provisions or essential service legislation at interest arbitration proceedings, including under:
    • the Fire Protection and Prevention Act
    • the Hospital Labour Disputes Arbitration Act
    • the Police Services Act
    • the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act, and
  • Providing representation before all levels of court or tribunal in various proceedings (e.g., Ontario Labour Relations Board, Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Pay Equity Commission, Pay Equity Hearings Tribunal, etc.)

Human Rights Law

  • Providing advice on compliance with human rights legislation, including the duty to accommodation employees with disabilities and avoiding claims of discrimination or harassment, whether as an employer or service provider
  • Providing advice and assistance with the development of human rights’ policies or training programs

Privacy and Cybersecurity

  • Providing advice on legislative compliance, including with respect to freedom of information obligations under the Ontario Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
  • Providing advice in relation to Freedom of Information requests, as well as representation before the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario when decisions are challenged
  • Providing advice and assistance on various privacy matters, including protecting privacy, the conduct of privacy impact assessments, privacy audits, recommendations and associated risks, privacy policies and training

Training Seminars
In addition to traditional legal services, Emond Harnden offers interactive training sessions tailored for municipal sector employers and related associations on emerging employment and labour issues, upon request. Some recent examples include the delivery of an in-depth webinar on the steps required to ensure a successful return to work during the COVID-19 pandemic to a provincial municipal sector association, as well as an in-person seminar on current topics in employment law to a French provincial municipal sector association.

Municipality Team

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