Cheryl A. Edwards is Lead in the firm’s OHS & Workers’ Compensation practice group. She has brought a highly focused, strategic and practical approach to workplace safety management, problems and litigation for provincial, national and international clients for over 25 years. A former Ontario Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Prosecutor, Cheryl has been repeatedly recognized as one of the best OHS and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) lawyers in Canada.
Cheryl has extensive experience representing employers, constructors, supervisors and officers and directors at OHS regulatory trials, complaints, inquests and appeals. She also advises and conducts litigation in labour relations and employment matters, including grievance arbitration, employment standards, wrongful dismissal, human rights and workers’ compensation matters. She was partner at a boutique labour and employment firm before joining Heenan Blaikie.
Drawing on her extensive knowledge of occupational health and safety law, Cheryl routinely assists clients with proactive OHS measures. These include advice on policy development and compliance with OHS and WSIB requirements. Cheryl has conducted health and safety “due diligence” audits for organizations of all sizes and their management. She assists with the immediate issues arising from a serious workplace accident, but also develops proactive Accident Response Plans and strategies to minimize the legal consequences of accidents. She also conducts practical and interactive in-house seminars and training sessions. Her in-house training seminars provide guidance on such topics as meeting Canadian OHS due diligence standards, dealing with workplace violence requirements, OHS standards when using contractors, discipline for safety infractions.
Specialized in-house training seminars that Cheryl has developed and can customize in length and content for organizations include:
• When Can You Discipline for Safety?: Responding to Safety Infractions and the Exercise of Safety-Related Rights
• The Contracting Conundrum: OHS Liabilities, Due Diligence and the Need for Contractor Safety Programs
• Contracting For Services and Construction Projects: A Course For Federally Regulated Employers
• Construction at Industrial Establishments: How to Get Into the Construction Business While Staying Out of Hot Water
• There’s an OHS Inspector at the Door!: Are You Prepared With an Accident Response Plan
• Workplace Violence and Harassment: A Ten Point Policy and Prevention Strategy
• Health and Safety in the Boardroom: Briefing on Corporate and Personal OHS and Bill C-45 Responsibilities and Prevention Strategies
• OHS Due Diligence for Supervisors: Best Practices to Meet Court Standards
Cheryl is a frequent speaker at professional conferences and writes extensively for specialized OHS publications and magazines, and trade publications. She has delivered and published hundreds of OHS-related papers and articles throughout her career. She is a regular writer for OHS and industry publications, including Canadian Occupational Safety magazine, OHS Canada magazine, Building Ontario magazine, Coverings and Wood Industry magazine, Canadian HR Reporter, Ontario OH&S Law Report, OH&S Safety Compliance Insider and the creator and past editor of Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Cases.
Cheryl has been listed as a leading lawyer in workers compensation in The Best Lawyers in Canada (Woodward/White), and as a leading Canadian occupational health and safety practitioner in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory for well over 10 years. She is the Co-Chair of the International Practice group for Occupational Health and Safety of Ius Laboris, a global alliance of labour and employment firms, and has chaired the OHS Sub Committee of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers since 2010.
- LL.B., York University (Osgoode Hall Law School), 1984
- American Bar Association
- Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers (CACE)
- Canadian Labour Law Association (CLLA)
- Global Occupational Safety and Health Network
- International Organization of Employers
- Ontario Bar Association
- The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario)