Police Law

Johnstone & Cowling LLP has pioneered a practice focusing on police law, and particularly on police labour relations.


The firm excels at guiding police employers through all legal aspects of the employment relationship, including matters dealing with human rights, privacy legislation, jurisdictional disputes and civil actions.


The firm acts as counsel for police services and police chiefs in hearings before all levels of Ontario courts and administrative tribunals including disciplinary tribunals convened under the Police Services Act, grievance arbitrations, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.

We are recognized as a leading firm in Canada with respect to police discipline. Our lawyers are routinely asked to provide advice with respect to:

  • prosecutions for misconduct under the Police Services Act
  • complaints to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director
  • hearings and appeals before the Ontario Civilian Police Commission
  • compliance with the Police Services Act
  • police services board governance


We also provide advice to police services on all other aspects of labour and employment law, including:

  • collective bargaining
  • human rights complaints
  • accommodation issues
  • illness and disability issues
  • employment standards
  • establishing and implementing workplace policies and procedures
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board matters, including appeals to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal
  • occupational health and safety
  • Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act matters
  • judicial reviews


Because of its expertise with respect to policing, the firm is also regularly retained to appear as counsel on behalf of police services and police chiefs in Coroner’s Inquests, commissions or other inquires. We have also defended police services boards in a number of cases in which officers have been accused of racial profiling.


In addition to our representation of employers in the police services sector, we also act for police chiefs and deputy chiefs in matters relating to their individual contracts of employment.