John W. Saunders

John Saunders Bio Photo

Partner, Toronto
Direct: 416.864.7247
Main: 416.362.1011
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Year of Call: Ontario, 1988
  • Biography

John Saunders is a senior labour and employment lawyer in Hicks Morley’s Toronto office.  He has over three decades of experience advising public and private sector employers on a wide range of labour and employment issues.  John’s practice includes collective agreement negotiations, rights and interest arbitrations, human rights applications, and wrongful dismissal litigation.

John also has a particular expertise in municipal law with regard to fire and paramedic issues.  He provides ongoing negotiation advice to fire and paramedic departments on staffing, deployment, benefit issues, accommodation, mandatory retirement, presumptive disability legislation, negotiations and interest arbitrations.

He has also represented numerous municipalities in private sector corporations in Coroner’s Inquests and Judicial Inquiries into fatalities.

John also works with employers in the healthcare, manufacturing, waste disposal, forestry, nuclear, property assessment and call centre sectors.

John is the past Chairman of the Board of Elders of his local church.  He is an avid downhill skier and enjoys fixing things at his cottage.

Awards & Recognition

Best Lawyers in Canada (2005–2020)
Labour and Employment Law

Best Lawyers Global Business Edition (2018)
Labour and Employment Law

Who’s Who Legal (2017-2018)
Labour & Employment Law

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2014-2019)
Labour Relations (Repeatedly Recommended)

Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (2014)
President’s Award

Memberships & Affiliations

Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers – Member

Canadian Bar Association – Member

Ontario Bar Association – Member (Labour & Employment Law and Municipal Law sections)

Select Publications & Presentations

“Public Sector Restructuring” 2019 Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association (OMAA) Fall Workshop (October 17, 2019)

“Council Gone Wild” Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) Fall Conference 2019 (September 10, 2019)

“Provincial Governance Review” Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) One Day Seminar (June 24, 2019)

“Labour Relations Certificate: Collective Bargaining” Ryerson University and Lancaster House (May 16, 2019)

“Annual Hicks Morley Legal Update” Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) Spring Workshop (April 10-12, 2019)

“Bill 47 & 57 Bootcamp” Ontario Municipal Human Resources Association (OMHRA) Conference (February 12, 2019)

“Urban Chiefs – Managing Your Service” Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) Labour Relations Seminar (January 24, 2019)

“Labour Relations 101” Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) Labour Relations Seminar (January 22, 2019)

“#MeToo for Employers” Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Annual Education Conference (September 16, 2018)

“Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector” Emergency Services Steering Committee (May 25, 2018)

“Interest Arbitration Skills Enhancement Program” Ministry of Labour and the Ontario Arbitrators’ Association (April 13-14, 2018)

“Labour Relations Seminar” Greater Vancouver Fire Chiefs’ Association (January 31, 2018)

“Fire, Police & Emergency Services Bargaining Trends” Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC) Labour Relations Seminar, Toronto (January 17-18, 2018)

“Medical Marijuana in the Workplace” Toronto Labour, Arbitration and Policy Conference Lancaster House (December 7, 2017)

“Trends in Fire Negotiations Across Canada” Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia (June 8, 2017)

“Good Faith Bargaining, Freedom of Expression and Statutory Freezes” Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference, Lancaster House ( December 2016)

“Firefighters Behaving Badly in a Social Media World” Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (September 26, 2016)

“Its Not Just the Rescue – The Role of Law and Communications in Major Incidents” Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs (September 19, 2015)

“Legal Liability Following The Event” Durham Region 3P Symposium (October 30, 2015)

“Paramedic Negotiation Trends” Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs (May 15, 2015)

“Negotiations in the Fire Sector” Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (January 21, 2015)


Queen’s University, LL.B.

University of Toronto, B.Sc. (Hons.)