Founded in 2018, O’Neill Associates brings together a hand-picked team of like-minded lawyers and support staff who find creative solutions to each client’s unique problems.
Called to the Bar in 1991
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Garth O’Neill is one of the most well known and respected labour and employment lawyers in Northwestern Ontario and is recognized by the Law Society of Ontario as a Certified Specialist in Labour Law. Since 1991, Garth has advised many leading industrial and public-sector organizations throughout Northwestern Ontario on labour and employment law issues. He regularly represents management in contract negotiations and appears as counsel before the Labour Relations Board and Grievance Arbitrators, as well as at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Employment Standards, and Occupational Health and Safety proceedings. Garth serves larger institutions as well as smaller companies and service-sector clients, and represents individuals in disputes with their employers.
Garth has completed comprehensive advanced training in facilitative mediation through the Stitt, Feld, Handy Group in Toronto, and adds ADR/mediation to the long list of services he offers his clients.
Garth believes in building strong, long-term relationships with clients. He regularly travels throughout Northern Ontario to serve his clients in their communities. Garth takes the opportunity, wherever possible, to commit to speaking engagements on workplace planning and management training for many of his clients. He often appears as a speaker and panellist at labour and employment law seminars in Thunder Bay and the region.
Chancellor, Anglican Diocese of Algoma
Frequent Speaker and contributor at Human Resource conferences and events
Member, Private Pension Committee
LLB, Queen’s University, 1989
Called to the Bar in 2016
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Liz is a results-oriented labour relations and employment lawyer and workplace investigator with a diverse and client-focused workplace law practice. Liz provides counsel and advocacy to a broad and diverse client base through the complex world of workplace law including collective bargaining, policy development, disciplinary matters, and wrongful dismissal and human rights litigation. Liz is experienced in conducting thorough, fair, and effective workplace investigations in various work environments. She is an attentive problem-solver and strives to provide her clients with practical legal solutions to equitably resolve conflicts and build productive, healthy work environments.
Liz is a proud member of the Charter class of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. She gained practical advocacy experience both through participating in the Integrated Practice Curriculum and as a competitor at the Wilson Moot in 2016, a national debate competition that explores current constitutional issues facing women and minorities. Liz has advocated for clients in front of the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Labour Arbitrators, Unjust Dismissal proceedings at the CIRB and the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. She advises clients in both federally and provincially regulated sectors with matters under both the Canada Labour Code and the Ontario Employment Standards Act.
Liz has previously worked in client service positions in the private and broader public sectors, and has travelled extensively. These experiences have helped shape her well-rounded approach to law, and her ability to see issues from many sides. Liz is known for her professionalism and strong advocacy, her candour, and her balanced, well-grounded counsel.
Sessional Instructor, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University (Federal and Aboriginal Law of Work)
Volunteer, Dew Drop Inn Thunder Bay
Board Member, LEAF Thunder Bay (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund)
Board Member, Thunder Bay Law Association (TBLA)
JD, Lakehead University, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, 2016
Course Prize: Trust Law, 2016.
Called to the Bar in 2018
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Hayley Yorke is a graduate of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law where she was heavily involved in the growth and development of the school in its early stages. Hayley excelled at her studies in Bora Laskin, graduating with first-class standing. Her academics and oral performance earned her a place representing her school at the Wilson Moot in 2018, a national debate competition that explores constitutional issues.
Hayley has an eclectic range of work experience prior to her call – few lawyers can claim to have worked at Walt Disney World as Mickey and Minnie Mouse (and Piglet!). On a more serious note, Hayley has worked as a Legal Research Assistant, having researched the issue of Dementia and Human rights in partnership with the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group with the view of informing a shadow report to the United Nations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as well as researching complex poverty issues for Peterborough Social Services in housing stability and panhandler outreach.
Hayley believes volunteer work is an integral part of a lawyer’s commitment to their community. Hayley has volunteered her time for the YWCA, the Humane Society, and the Dew Drop Inn. She has acted as VP Academic for the Law Student Society, and President of the Lakehead University Labour Law Association
Hayley’s Corgi, Mozzarella, has become our unofficial mascot – at least he thinks so!
President, LEAF Thunder Bay (Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund)
Volunteer, Dew Drop Inn Soup Kitchen
JD, Lakehead University, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, 2018
Called to the Bar in 2020
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Erin joined O’Neill Associates in May 2019 as a Summer Student, and returned as a Placement Student in September 2019 before finally joining the team as an Associate Lawyer in November 2020. Erin has always had her sights set on working as a labour and employment lawyer. Erin graduated from the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law where she was awarded a number of prestigious scholarships and awards for her academic achievements, including First Class Standing, Dean’s Honour Roll Prizes for ranking second in her class, and the Course Prize for the highest mark in Evidence Law. During law school, Erin was heavily involved with the school’s Labour Law Association, holding both Vice President and President roles. Before completing her law degree, Erin completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management with a Major in Law and Business where she focused her studies on workplace law and economics. Erin was also a competitive member of the debate team for all of her academic career leading up to law school, taking home her first debate trophy at only 12 years old.
Growing up in Kenora and Thunder Bay, Erin understands what it’s like to live and work in Northwestern Ontario. Prior to law school, Erin worked full-time for a not-for-profit organization that was devoted to studying and improving the labour market conditions in Northwestern Ontario. In that capacity, Erin travelled to communities throughout the area to speak with business owners and employees about the difficulties they faced in working and running businesses in the North. Erin’s personal, professional and academic history have all helped her develop a deeper understanding of employment and human rights issues faced by individuals and employers in the region. She puts this background to good use in her legal career.
In her spare time, Erin makes the most of the outdoors, even in the face of Thunder Bay’s infamous six (or more) months of winter. Erin’s hobbies include downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sailing, and hiking. She also devotes much of her time to volunteering with local animal rescues and is usually ready at any time to show you pictures of her latest foster animals.
Volunteer, Paws for Love Dog Rescue
Volunteer, Murillo Mutts Respite Refuge
JD, Lakehead University, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, 2020
French Language Diploma, Level B2 (Diplôme d’études en langue), 2014
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Rosanne Stasiewicz’s title only scratches the surface of her importance on the O’Neill Associates team. She has worked side by side with Garth O’Neill since 1996 as an indispensable point of contact for clients – with Rosanne, Garth really can be in two places at once. She is also invaluable behind-the-scenes developing documentation, reviewing files, working up files in preparation for arbitration, assisting at arbitrations, and drafting settlement documents. As well, Rosanne is responsible for marketing O’Neill Associates by developing presentations, creating ads and brochures, overseeing all the firm’s charitable sponsorships and generally heading up community relations.
Rosanne herself is active in the community. She is one of the founding members of “Chairs for Chairity” and has participated or volunteered in many Thunder Bay events including the Dragon Boats races, Shelter House’s Corporate Relay, the Children’s Aid Society’s Hamper Program, and the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle. She has fundraised for numerous local charities especially PRO Kids, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Rosanne is known for her wicked sense of humour (a product of her environment, she claims) and her creativity in finding resourceful solutions to any problem. Her professionalism, dedication, and approachability are the embodiment of O’Neill Associates.
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Karen Mercier brings with her nearly 40 years of legal experience, having worked in many areas of law including Labour and Employment, and Litigation matters. She is an IT, organizational and legal procedures guru, having trained countless junior and not-so-junior staff during her career. Her get-it-done approach ensures effective file and document management, and gives our clients great comfort in knowing their matters are well in-hand. Her professionalism and calming demeanour assists in the most stressful situations.
Legal worker by day, artist by night, Karen is a talented painter lending her time to various fundraising events. She enjoys working with acrylics as well as yarn art. A woman with many interests, her next goal will be mastering her electric ukulele.
Karen enjoys spending time with her family at their cottage on Lake Superior. With our office just a short walk up from Marina Park, watch out for her travelling to the office by boat, or paddle board, next summer. With Karen, you just never know!
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Donna has more than thirty years’ experience in law firm administration. If an issue has arisen in the complex world of legal services, she has encountered it – and conquered it. Every now and then, you meet someone who has found a solution before you knew you had a problem. Donna is that person. With a calm demeanour and a wry sense of humour, Donna’s presence in the office brings still waters, and clients can be comforted in knowing she’s “on it”.
Donna is responsible for overseeing our administration functions in the office. She excels in customer service and is the friendly face who greets you when you arrive. Her administrative role includes various tasks such as file support, accounts payable, accounts receivable, data entry, payroll, and banking services.
With a passion for all that’s Northwestern Ontario, Donna particularly enjoys taking time to savour the tranquility of the outdoors. She has a zest for life like no other, and can always find reason to add a theme to the occasion. Her true passions in life are family and the time spent together, and community involvement.
Donna is a long-time supporter of local charitable organizations, and has left her mark on community events such as the Dragon Boat Festival, Corporate Relay, Chairs for Charity, Big Bike and the United Way, to name a few.
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Heather joined the OA family on November 1, 2019 marking her return to private practice after two years as a Law Clerk for Lakehead University.
Over her 35-year legal career, Heather has clerked in many areas of practice and has extensive knowledge in litigation, and labour and employment law. Her background has her proficiently assisting with the drafting of legal documents and correspondence, and facilitating the file process for the benefit of clients.
Law is a passion for Heather. She loves to be able to assist clients to achieve the best possible resolution to their legal issues.
Heather volunteered extensively with her children’s extracurricular organizations, and has now redirected her volunteer efforts to community organizations.
Outside the office, Heather enjoys baking and cooking, and often hosts both family and friends for a meal.
When not in Thunder Bay, you are likely to find Heather in Kelowna enjoying the finest of Okanagan wineries.