George is the Toronto office's managing partner who practices trial and appellate litigation. He has been lead counsel before various administrative tribunals and the courts throughout the country, including the Supreme Court of Canada. He represents defendants in high-profile and reputation threatening cases, such as large-stakes labour litigation, fraud and trade secrets litigation, partnership disputes, multimillion dollar employment class-actions, large-issue employment litigation, and prominent administrative and public law issues, including those involving the Charter.
George also advises Boards on business critical issues, including financial, regulatory, and executive level sensitive matters.
George is recognized as one of Canada's leading labour, employment, administrative and public law litigators. His practice is focused on complex litigation. Referring to George, Chambers Canada stated: "George is simply outstanding. He's highly talented, intelligent and an exemplary lawyer." "He is calm in a crisis, thoughtful in his advice and measured in his actions." Legal 500 quotes a client: " George Avraam is the go-to for labour and employment matters. He provides a practical approach and takes into account the company's operational needs and risk tolerance. He is also a strong advocate when he has had to appear on our behalf in court."
He is a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, is ranked in Benchmark Litigation as a Litigation Star, Chambers (Band 2), Legal 500 (Leading Individual), Lexpert, Who's Who Legal (Canada and Global), and Best Lawyers in Canada. The Law Society of Ontario has also designated George as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation.
Some of George's noteworthy and precedent setting cases, include:
- defending a leading Ontario university in the Divisional Court over its mandatory vaccine policy (Michalski).
- whether an employer must provide an employee consideration for a termination clause in an asset transaction (Olympus, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada denied).
- the scope and purpose of punitive damages (Pate).
- the jurisdiction of the court to entertain a wrongful dismissal after a union has been certified but before a collective agreement has been finalized (Cintas).
- the enforceability of termination clauses in employment contracts (Holland and Andros).
- the authority and powers of a university administrative tribunal (Bart).
- the jurisdiction of a labour board over a foreign entity (Wal-Mart Stores Inc).
- the lawfulness of a store closure during a union certification drive Wal-Mart (Jonquiere, SCC).
- moral damages flowing from an employment relationship (Honda v. Keays (SCC)).
Representative Legal Matters
- Lead counsel to McMaster University in Michalski et al. v. McMaster University, 2022 ONSC 2625 (Can LII), in which the Court dismissed a challenge to the University's mandatory vaccination policy.
- Lead counsel in two different class actions involving security companies in off-the-clock employment class actions.
- Lead counsel to a retailer in an off-the-clock employment class action, which the Court dismissed.
- Lead counsel in Andros v. Colliers Macaulay Nicolls Inc. 2019 ONCA 679, which addressed the enforceability of termination clauses.
- Lead counsel in Krishnamoorthy v. Olympus Canada Inc. 2017 ONCA 873, in which the Ontario Court of Appeal found that fresh consideration was not required for a termination clause secured as part of an offer of employment in an asset transaction. The Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.
- Lead counsel in Bart v. McMaster University 2016 ONSC 5747 (Can LII), in which he successfully represented McMaster University in one of the most significant judicial reviews involving internal university administrative tribunals.
- Lead counsel in Holland v. Hostopia.com, 2015 ONCA 762 in which he successfully upheld the trial court's findings that the Plaintiff was not entitled to commissions arising out of a transaction.
- Lead counsel for the intervener, the Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada, at the Supreme Court of Canada in UFCW, Local 503 v. Wal-Mart Canada Corporation, 2014 SCC 45 (CanLII).
- Lead counsel in Pate Estate v. The Corporation of the Township of Galway-Cavendish and Harvey (2013), 117 O.R. (3d) 481 on the scope and purpose of punitive damage awards.
- Lead counsel for the intervener, the Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada, at the Supreme Court of Canada in Plourde v. Wal-Mart Canada Corporation, 2009 SCC 54 and Desbiens et al. v. Wal-Mart Canada Corporation, 2009 SCC 55.
- Lead counsel for the intervener, the Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada, at the Supreme Court of Canada in Honda Canada Inc. operating as Honda of Canada Mfg. v. Kevin Keays: 2008 SCC 39.
- Lead counsel for Sony of Canada Ltd., 2015 ONSC 5859, in Riskie v. Sony of Canada Ltd., in which he secured a complete dismissal of all claims in a motion for summary judgment.
- Lead litigation counsel for Wal-Mart Canada Corp. in a successful defence of a certification application and an unfair labour practice before the Ontario Labour Relations Board in UFCW Canada v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2011 CanLII 44470 (ON LRB).
Professional Associations and Memberships
- Fellow, College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
- Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, Chair, Advocacy Committee
- The Advocates' Society
- Canadian Association of University Solicitors
- Ontario~Canada (1999)
- Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.M. Administrative Law) (2002)
- Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) (1997)
- York University (B.A.) (1993)