John Illingworth

Of Counsel || Toronto

John Illingworth is of counsel in the Toronto office of Ogletree Deakins. His practice includes a broad range of labour and employment issues, with a special focus on labour relations and occupational health and safety.

John has appeared as counsel at all levels of court and represents clients at various administrative tribunals, including the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Human Rights Tribunal and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board. He has negotiated various collective agreements and routinely represents unionized companies at grievance arbitration.

John works with employers in the development of safety programs. He conducts safety audits and investigations for clients, and defends companies who are charged with OHS offences. John has spoken on various safety topics throughout Canada and the United States.

John is the president of the Kitchener Waterloo Youth Basketball Association (KWYBA).

Learn more about John Illingworth

Defending Companies and Supervisors on charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Examples include:

  • Defended drilling company on charges relating to workplace travel methods, resulting in fatality
  • Defended constructor on charges relating to signaling responsibilities, resulting in fatality
  • Defended construction company on charges relating to supervision and appropriate personal protective equipment, resulting in fatality
  • Defended transportation company on charges relating to material handling, resulting in fatality
  • Defended building owner on charges relating to carbon monoxide, resulting in fatality
  • Defended manufacturer on charges relating to safe means of communication in foundry, resulting in fatality
  • Defended electrical contractor on charges relating to supervision and lock out procedures, resulting in critical injury
  • Defended home builder on charges relating to safe work practices of sub-contractor, resulting in critical injury
  • Defended manufacturer on charges relating to safe use of mobile equipment, resulting in critical injury

Accident Investigations

  • Assisted in conducting investigation of a mining fatality where a worker was struck by a loader
  • Assisted in conducting investigation of a mining fatality where a worker was struck by a falling tree during a surface drilling operation
  • Assisted in conducting investigation of a critical injury where a worker fell during the construction of a wind turbine
  • Assisted in conducting investigation of a critical injury resulting from a splash of molten material

Appeal of Inspector’s Orders

  • Represented solar farm on appeal relating to safe installation of solar panels; Gil & Sons Limited, 2012 CanLII 17123 (ON LRB)

Coroner’s Inquest

  • Represented constructor on inquest arising from collapse of forming panels during construction of a parkway

Labour Relations Matters

  • Defended employer on allegations of bargaining in bad faith arising from plant closure; Navistar Canada Inc., 2015 CanLII 16341 (ON LRB)
  • Successfully obtained request for reconsideration on use of evidence in status dispute on application for certification; Kenmore Developments Waterloo Inc., 2016 CanLII 66683 (ON LRB)
  • Represented employer on discharge of union representative due to threatening and insubordinate behavior; JD Norman Industries v Unifor, Local 195, 2014 CanLII 81690 (ON LA)
  • Represented employer on discipline of employee due to violent threat made to co-worker; Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 1178 v Hood Packaging Corporation, 2013 CanLII 35534 (ON LA)
  • Represented employer on application of the rule in Browne and Dunn; International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Local Union 1891 v. Power Drywall Inc., 2011 CanLII 15323 (ON LRB)


  • LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, 2002
  • BFA, York University, 1998

Admittance to Practice

  • Ontario, 2003

Professional Activities

  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Canadian Bar Association


  • Ogletree Deakins Workplace Safety Symposium - "There Might Not Be a NAFTA, But There Are Still "OSHAs": Working in Mexico and Canada" - Nashville - December 5, 2018
  • Lancaster House 2017 Health and Safety Conference - "Ending Sexual Harassment and Abuse – Complying with the Requirements of Bill 132" - Toronto - October 12, 2017
  • Lancaster House 2017 Health and Safety Conference - "Effective Anti-Harassment Programs and Investigations" - Toronto - October 11, 2017
  • CSSE 2017 Professional Development Conference - "Workplace Harassment – It’s Not All About Sex!" - Halifax - September 19, 2017
  • Lancaster House 2016 Labour Arbitration and Policy Conference - "Rooting Out Bad Apples" - Toronto - December 8, 2016
  • Hamilton Law Association Employment Law Seminar - "Employment Law Developments" - Hamilton - November 17, 2016
  • CSSE 2016 Professional Development Conference - "Fatalities in the Workplace – Expectations of a Safety Professional" - Vancouver - September 19, 2016
  • May 30, 2018 - The Lawyer's Daily - "Legal fight over needle exchanges in prisons would come down to managing risk, labour lawyer says"
  • Best Lawyers Award Badge
  • Canadian Lexpert Directory – “Repeatedly Recommended”
    • Occupational Health and Safety (2016)
    • Workers’ Compensation – Employer (2017, 2018)
  • Best Lawyers in Canada (2018)

Insights by John Illingworth