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Michael Torrance


Michael  Torrance


T:+1 416.216.1908

Michael Torrance advises corporations on domestic and international human resources management, occupational health and safety and human rights law, with experience in international standards of sustainability and risk management. He is the Toronto practice leader for occupational health and safety.

He regularly advises corporations on human resources management and strategy, employment and labour law disputes, human rights and health and safety matters. He has conducted judicial review and appellate litigation provincially and federally. His litigation practice includes discovery examinations, trials, human rights tribunal advocacy and defence of occupational health and safety prosecutions.

Mr. Torrance’s practice also includes risk advisory on international standards of environmental and social risk management and human rights due diligence. He has advised on global human rights governance and conducted international human rights due diligence in Africa and Latin America. He has given presentations and delivered training on sustainability governance in Australia, South Africa and Canada. Mr. Torrance has been extensively published and quoted in the media on sustainability and corporate social responsibility topics. He is the editor and lead author of IFC Performance Standards on Environmental & Social Sustainability: A Guidebook, published by Lexis Nexis in 2012.

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  • Education

    LL.M., Osgoode Hall Law School, 2010
    LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, 2005
    B.Comm., University of Calgary, 2002
    B.A., University of Calgary, 2002

  • Representative experience


    Mr. Torrance has acted recently in the following matters:

    • Represented large Canadian employers before various human rights and employment tribunals and courts
    • Successfully defended occupational health and safety charges against a food services company, raising constitutional motion arguments, with withdrawal of charge before trial
    • Labour injunction proceedings before the Ontario courts, in which he represented a major Canadian telecommunications company
    • Lead counsel on highly contentious labour arbitration proceedings and labour negotiations for Canadian construction, transportation, media, pulp and paper and manufacturing companies
    • Judicial review proceedings before the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal in which he represented a major Canadian financial institution
    • Led international independent human rights assessment of supply chain relationship in Canada and North Africa
    • Advised two major Canadian resource companies on strategic responses to human rights-focused shareholder proposals, leading to withdrawal of five proposals and negotiated agreements with shareholders
    • Developed supply chain code of conduct for major food retailer
    • Represented national transportation company before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal
    • Developed anti-corruption policies for Canadian mining and oil and gas companies operating in Eastern Europe and North Africa 


  • Admissions
    • Ontario 2006
  • Memberships and activities

    • Canadian Bar Association
    • Law Society of Upper Canada
    • Success Beyond Limits Program