Joanna Smith is an arbitrator, adjudicator, and mediator with extensive experience in labour and employment law, including human rights complaints in the workplace. She is a Vice-Chair at the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal and is appointed to the Federal Minister’s list of approved Grievance Arbitrators, Unjust Dismissal Adjudicators and Wage Recovery Referees under the Canada Labour Code and Referees under the Wage Earner Protection Program Act.
Prior to commencing practice as an arbitrator and mediator, Joanna practiced for many years in labour and employment law, appearing regularly in arbitrations, at the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Canada Industrial Relations Board , the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and the Superior Court of Justice, and has appeared at the Federal Court of Appeal. Joanna has led training and seminars on human rights complaints in a unionized workplace, dealing with “difficult people”, and administrative fairness in conducting a hearing.
Along with an LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, Joanna also holds an MSW and worked for over 15 years as a social worker, first in the area of child welfare and later as counsellor in a family service setting, before pursuing a career in law. During her years as a counsellor, Joanna was actively involved in all aspects of the labour relations of the family service agency for whom she worked.
Joanna continues to maintain her status as a Registered Social Worker, is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations, was a Labour and Employment Section Executive of the OBA from 2014 to 2017, and from 2015 to 2017 was the executive’s Public Affairs Liaison. She has completed the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) certification in adjudication program, is a member of both SOAR and the ADR Institute of Ontario (ADRIO), and currently sits on SOAR’s Innovation and Advocacy Committee.
Joanna offers arbitration services in respect of labour relations and employment law disputes. She has earned a reputation as a knowledgeable and fair adjudicator, committed to conducting hearings that are thorough yet efficient and principled decision-writing, produced in a timely fashion.
Joanna also offers mediation services, in which she combines her past experience as a counsellor with her expertise in labour, employment and human rights legislation and jurisprudence to conduct mediations that are highly effective. Because of her multi-faceted background, Joanna has been able to achieve an excellent record for settlement through mediation.