Joshua Phillips

Lawyer, he/him/his



Formerly the long-time managing partner of UPFH, Josh Phillips is an excellent litigator whose strengths begin with formidable problem-solving skills and the ability to manage complex relationships and environments.

Josh represents unions, associations and individual union members in all matters related to labour law, employment law and professional discipline and regulation. Serving clients in education, police, transportation, entertainment and health, he appears frequently before a wide range of tribunals, as well as before appellate courts conducting judicial reviews. Josh prides himself on providing sound strategic advice that best serves his client’s interests and delivers real-world solutions to real-world problems. Having enjoyed a professional career in theatre prior to pursuing the law, he is an accomplished story teller able to present a compelling case.

Josh has a distinguished record of achievement litigating labour law cases of wide-ranging importance including specific instances in which he acted for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association before the Supreme Court of Canada. Of equal importance to Josh are the myriad more ordinary cases he has won helping unions and workers protect livelihoods, reverse unfair labour practices or remedy discrimination or harassment.

He has been a featured speaker for the Ontario Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers (CALL), the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law and Education (CAPSLE), Lancaster House, Osgoode Hall Law School, the Police Association of Ontario and other organizations.

Josh studied law at the University of Toronto. He holds a BA in Industrial Relations from McGill and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.  Prior to practising law, Josh worked as a professional bus boy, snack bar attendant, warehouse worker, civil servant, theatre technician, stage/production manager, murder mystery producer and advocate for injured workers. For a bus boy, Josh is a damn good lawyer.

Decisions of Interest

Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd.. 2013 SCC 34

  • Josh represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) before the Supreme Court of Canada in a successful challenge to mandatory alcohol testing in the workplace. 

Ontario (Attorney General) v. Fraser, 2011 SCC 20

  • Josh represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) before the Supreme Court of Canada in the seminal case defending the Charter right of freedom of association for agricultural workers excluded from the Labour Relations Act.

McKinnon v. Ontario (Ministry of Correctional Services), 2011 HRTO 263

  • Josh was counsel for the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and Divisional Court in the leading case on human rights remedies. For the first time, the tribunal determined to state a case for contempt against an employer representative, in this case a Deputy Minister.