John P. McGowan

Partner | 

John McGowan is a partner in the Employment & Labour and Municipal, Planning & Environmental Groups at Cassels. John’s interest in law arose from a lengthy history as bass player, and therefore arbitrator, in a number of entirely forgettable bands. His practice is focused on employment and environmental law, areas to which he was particularly attracted because, “nobody speaks Latin and sometimes you get mud on your shoes.” In both the employment and environmental areas, John’s practice ranges from mergers and acquisitions to litigation. His approach is straightforward, he explains the scope of the legal issues and lays out possible strategies along with their relative merits and risks. He believes that clients should make informed decisions, and that lawyers should make recommendations with an understanding of how they might be implemented.

As a member of the firm’s Employment & Labour Law Group, John represents various clients at all stages of the employment relationship from recruiting, to drafting employment, consulting and personal service contracts, to the negotiation and administration of collective agreements and to grievance arbitration and wrongful dismissal litigation.

His work in the employment area includes:

  • Representing clients before numerous boards and commissions ranging from the Ontario Labour Relations Board in certification, termination and unfair labour practice applications, to arbitrations under both public and private sector collective agreements.
  • Representing clients in the entertainment and sports industries, as well as other sectors, like health and financial, where employment and labour matters raise public interest and media attention.

On the environmental side, he deals with regulators and consultants to provide advice and reach solutions on environmental liabilities that make sense. That applies whether his client is buying potentially contaminated land or being charged with an environmental offence.
John is the author of the leading Canadian text on Delegated Legislation and has extensive experience in advising both private and public sector clients on the validity of rules, regulations, and the administrative process to which they are subject. He has written and lectured extensively on practice and procedure before Courts and administrative tribunals.
John joined the firm in 1989 and became a partner in 1992. He presently plays with The Tantrums, a rock band whose members are not about to quit their day jobs.

  • Martindale Hubbell, Distinguished™ Rating
  • LL.B., Western University, 1984
  • Ontario, 1986
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Toronto Lawyers Association