Richard J. Charney

Senior Partner
Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

Richard J. Charney

Richard J. Charney


Related services and key industries


Richard Charney is a senior partner in our Toronto office, where he 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. For more than 10 years, he was Norton Rose Fulbright's global head of employment and labour.

Mr. Charney 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. 

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

Professional experience

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

  • Ontario 1983

Mr. Charney has successfully acted for the following clients:

  • A federally regulated transportation undertaking that successfully sought the consolidation of numerous bargaining units into a single bargaining unit (by the Canada Industrial Relations Board)
  • An Ontario municipality opposing a union's challenge to the constitutionality of deemed non-construction employer legislation.
  • A variety of construction associations seeking to expand or establish accreditation bargaining rights
  • A provincial employers' organization, where an arbitrator rejected a union grievance claiming that a number of employers were in violation of the recently increased minimum wage, when their hourly rate fell below the minimum wage but the entire compensation package exceeded it
  • A provincial transportation undertaking, where the Ontario Divisional Court was convinced to uphold an arbitration award that sustained the employer's decision to eliminate free transportation passes for the guests of employees
  • A provincial transportation undertaking, wherein the Ontario Divisional Court overturned an arbitration award that, if sustained, would have expanded a union's bargaining rights
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Labour and Employment Law, 2006-2024
  • Chambers Canada, Ontario: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2016-2024
  • The Legal 500 Canada: Labour and Employment (Hall of Fame), 2022-2024 
  • Ranked amongst the highest lawyers in Who's Who Legal as a Thought Leader - Labour, Employment & Benefits 2024
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2012-2024: recommended in Employment Law (Employer); Labour Relations (Management); Labour Relations - Construction Sector (Management); 2022-2023: recommended in Workplace Human Rights (Employer) 
  • Recipient of Hall of Fame (highest) ranking by The Legal 500 Canada in the area of Employment & Labour, 2022
  • Lexology Client Choice Awards, 2022 and 2013 for Labour & Employment in Canada
  • The Legal 500 Canada: Labour and Employment (Leading Lawyer), 2017-2022
  • Chambers Canada, "Employment Lawyer of the Year," 2021
  • Who's Who Legal: Canada - Labour, Employment & Benefits 2014-2015, 2020
  • Chambers Canada, Nationwide: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2017-2020 
  • Chambers Global, Canada: Employment and Labour (Band 1), Chambers and Partners, 2018
  • The International Who’s Who of Management Labour and Employment Lawyers, 2011-2013
  • Co-presenter, Vertra Forums:  Practical Workshop for Young Lawyers - The Nuts & Bolts of Construction Law, December 6, 2023, Toronto, ON.
  • Co-chair, Vertra Forums Construction Labour & Employment Relations Conference 2023, December 4 and 5, 2023, Toronto, ON.
  • "Shifts in Organizing" (panelist), Association of Labor Relations Agencies 71st Annual Conference, July 17, 2023, Vancouver, BC.
  • "When Does Wage Restraint Legislation Breach Canada's Charter of Rights? Can this Question Always be Litigated?" (panelist), National Academy of Arbitrators 2023 Annual Meeting & Education Conference, May 6, 2023, Denver, CO (virtual appearance).
  • "The Bill 124 Case and Beyond – Bringing Charter Restraints on Wage Restraints into Focus" (panelist), Queen's University Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, April 14, 2023, Toronto, ON.
  • Co-chair, Vertra Forums Construction Labour & Employment Relations Conference 2021, November 30 and December 1, 2021.
  • "COVID-19 and International Workplace Implications," American Employment Law Council, October 16, 2020.
  • "Expansion of Labor Arbitration and the Role of the Courts," 10th International Labour and Employment Relations Association, June 27, 2020.
  • "Bill 66 - Schedule 9:  Restoring Ontario's Competitiveness Act, 2019.  How do we address the outcome?" Vertra Forums Construction Labour & Employment Relations Conference, December 9, 2019.
  • "Marijuana in the Workplace," American Employment Law Council, October 24, 2019.
  • American Employment Law Council, 2014 to present
  • Fellow, The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers (elected 2012)
  • Member, Tel Aviv University International Board of Governors, 2017 to present
  • Adjunct professor, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, 2006-2015
  • Faculty member, Osgoode Hall Law School Graduate Program (instructor in collective bargaining), 2001-2002