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Richard J. Charney

Global Head of Employment and Labour

Richard J. Charney


T:+1 416.216.1867

Richard Charney is global head of our employment and labour practice. 

Mr. Charney practises management labour relations and employment law, a field in which he is widely recognized as an advocate on behalf of national and local clients. He acts for numerous employers and employers’ organizations and appears at provincial and federal labour relations boards and the courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and before rights and interest labour arbitration tribunals. He also advises on all matters of employment and labour law and legislative reform.

Mr. Charney’s practice also involves collective bargaining on behalf of employers, employment standards, human rights, wrongful dismissal, workplace health and safety and constitutional law. 

He is particularly active as an advocate before national labour tribunals such as the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which has jurisdiction over transportation and similar national industries; the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which has jurisdiction in provincial industries such as construction; and in judicial review challenges to tribunal determinations in the federal and provincial superior courts. 

He is also a leading labour counsel to a variety of well-known arts and cultural organizations in Canada.

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  • Education

    LL.M., University of Cambridge, 1982
    LL.B., Western University, 1980

  • Representative experience


    Mr. Charney has successfully acted for the following clients:

    • A provincial electric power utility at arbitration, establishing the right of an employer to terminate the employment of a unionized employee who underperforms
    • A provincial power utility against a union injunction that sought to restrain the promotion of certain unionized employees into management prior to a labour dispute
    • A provincial power utility against an unfair labour practice accusation at the Ontario Labour Relations Board with respect to conduct before and during strike activity
    • A major pulp and paper producer in a judicial review challenge to an arbitration decision that concluded the employer discriminated when it provided different benefits to employees on long-term disability than to employees under workers’ compensation coverage. The Ontario Divisional Court quashed the arbitrator’s ruling
    • A variety of employers at the Ontario Labour Relations Board concerning jurisdictional assignments on construction sites
    • An Ontario-based broadcaster at arbitration with respect to a union challenge to a management decision to the effect that an employee with seniority was unqualified for a particular position
    • A media outlet against a union attempt to convince the Ontario Labour Relations Board to consolidate city-based bargaining units into a province-wide unit
    • A construction association in which an interest arbitrator substantially adopted the proposal put forward by the employer and rejected the union position
    • A major Canadian arts organization in arbitration against a union challenge that would have required additional payments to stage employees had the grievance succeeded
    • Employers in the financial services and transportation industries at the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal against numerous employee- and union-initiated judicial review applications challenging the decisions of administrative commissions and boards that were favourable to management


  • Admissions
    • Ontario 1983
  • Rankings and recognitions
    • Chambers Global, Canada: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
    • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
    • Chambers Canada, Ontario: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
    • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2012-2017): recommended in Employment Law – Employer; Labour Relations – Management; Labour Relations - Construction Sector Management
    • Best Lawyers in Canada, 2006-2016: Labour and Employment Law
    • Who’s Who Legal, Canada 2014-2015: Labour & Employment
    • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers, 2011-2013
    • PLC Which Lawyer? Cross-border Labour and Employee Benefits Handbook
    • Canadian HR Reporter’s Canada’s Employment Lawyers Directory, 2009
    • Walter Owen Book Prize, 1999
    • Martindale-Hubbell – “AV” rating
    • Guide to the World’s Leading Labour and Employment Lawyers
    • Canadian Who’s Who
    • PLC’s Which Lawyer? Yearbook
    • The Legal 500 Canada, 2018: Labour and Employment (Leading Lawyer)
  • Speaking engagements
    • "Picking a Fight: Strategies, Tragedies and Triumphs," Norton Rose Fulbright Employment Law Conference, May 9, 2017, Brampton, ON.
    • "Law, Work and Family Care: A Symposium," York University, February 18, 2017, Toronto, ON.
    • "Freedom of Expression and the Right to Demonstrate at Airports," Airports Council International World Annual General Assembly, September 24, 2016, Montreal, QC.
    • "Litigating Labour Cases: Can an Employer Win?" Norton Rose Fulbright Employment Law Conference, May 17, 2016, Brampton, ON.
    • The Canadian Institute Forum on Employment & Labour Law (steering committee member and facilitator), April 7 and 8, 2016, Alton, ON.
    • Insight Workplace Rights & Accommodations Forum 2016 (co-chair), March 29 and 30, 2016.
    • "Accommodation: The Best, or Something Less?" Insight Workplace Rights & Accommodations Forum 2016, March 29, 2016, Toronto, ON.
    • "Update on Canadian Labour and Employment Developments," Canadian Labour and Employee Relations Network conference, October 6, 2015, Toronto, ON.
    • “The Right to Strike and Other Musings from the Supremes,” Norton Rose Fulbright Employment and Labour Law Conference, May 27, 2015, Brampton, ON.
    • Insight 7th Biennial Construction Labour Relations Conference (co-chair), April 29 and 30, 2015, Toronto, ON.
  • Memberships and activities


    • American Employment Law Council, 2014 to present
    • Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University:  Member, Board of Directors, 2013 to present
    • Not-for-Profit Artistic Organization in Canada:  Member, Board of Directors, 2011 to present
    • Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2006-2015
    • Not-for-Profit Organization in Toronto
      • Chair, Board Committee, 2006-2015
      • Member, Board Finance Committee, 2006-2010
      • Board of Trustees,  2003-2006
    • Ontario Labour Relations Board
      • Construction Litigation Committee, 1995-2005
    • Faculty Member, Osgoode Hall Law School Graduate Program (Instructor in Collective Bargaining), 2001-2002
    • Association of Canadian Orchestras, 1995-1997


  • Events

    Annual workplace law conference

    Our team of leading management-side labour and employment lawyers will examine current developments in the law and offer practical guidance for in-house counsel and human resources leaders..

    May 8, 2018

    Annual Workplace Law Conference

    Our team of leading management-side labour and employment lawyers will examine current developments in the law at our Annual Workplace Law Conference..

    May 9, 2017

  • Videos

    Why whistleblowing should be high on your agenda

    May 2016

  • Publications

    Global employment law

    The Global employment law guide is designed to provide our clients throughout the world with an important tool to help asses and compare HR risk and compliance in the areas in which they operate..

    February 14, 2018

  • News