UPFH partner Ian Fellows is a shrewd strategic advisor and a keen litigator with over three decades’ experience advocating for trade unions and working people.
Acting in all areas of labour and administrative law, Ian helps clients address near-term challenges, anticipate long-term issues and steer critical disputes to successful resolutions. As lead counsel, he advises unions in the transit and other sectors negotiating major, multi-round collective bargaining agreements. As a litigator, he represents unions and workers in the courts and before tribunals such as boards of arbitration, the Grievance Settlement Board, the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. He frequently litigates rights arbitrations involving individual grievances as well as policy matters of wide-ranging significance to unions. In complex cases, his mastery displays itself in his deft handling of intricate fact, expert evidence and challenging cross-examination.
Since joining the firm in 1992, Ian has amassed a significant record of achievement working for clients in the transit and construction sectors as well as in education and healthcare. His recent successes representing unions include acting as lead negotiator bargaining major industry-leading collective agreements, extending and enforcing contracting-out protections, successfully challenging (before international tribunals) attempts to ban strike action by workers, establishing bargaining rights for soccer players in Canada’s national domestic mens’ league and leading a Charter challenge of legislation banning strikes by workers at the TTC. Ian has also acted in labour injunction proceedings, judicial review applications and Charter challenges. Ian is General Counsel to the Professional Footballers Association Canada.
In decisions benefiting thousands of workers, Ian has obtained significant wage increases in job evaluation and policy grievances. He has also won numerous reinstatement cases for workers unjustly dismissed. One notable example involved a careful deconstruction of rape myths advanced by a large institutional employer to justify the dismal of a worker who reported having been sexually assaulted by a supervisor.
Ian has been invited to speak on important matters of labour law by organizations including trade unions, the Law Society of Ontario, the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers and Lancaster House, and the Canadian Bar Association (Ontario). Ian is a graduate of the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and a long-time member of the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers.
Decisions of Interest
Freedom of Association Complaint to the International Labour Organization
- Ian spearheaded a complaint to the International Labour Organization’s Committee on Freedom of Association challenging the prohibitions in the Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011. The committee confirmed that metropolitan transport did not constitute an essential service in the strict sense of the term.
Toronto Transit Commission v. Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113, 2022 CanLII 9 (ON LA)
- In a difficult interest arbitration, Ian successfully convinced the arbitrator to award normative wage and benefit increases, despite significant challenges and a climate of resistance as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
TTC and ATU Local 113 Customer Service Agent Interest Arbitration
- In a complex and lengthy interest arbitration, Ian obtained fair and robust terms and conditions of employment for a new classification of employees.
Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Toronto Transit Commission, 2018 CanLII 69588 (ON LA)
- Ian successfully litigated on behalf of an employee who was wrongfully terminated for making a complaint of sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by her supervisor.