Picture
Picture
Name and Title
Sheila MacKinnon
Partner
Partner
Year of Call

1987 (Ontario)

Memberships
Publications
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Description
Date_Published
2018-09-01
Description

Those considering running for the office of school trustee in 2018 should understand the mandate of a school board, the role of an individual trustee and the board of trustees as a whole, says education and employment lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

"People often look to join the school board with a single issue in mind, and that’s not helpful,” MacKinnon tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“They don’t appreciate that one has to act in the best interest of all students and stakeholders of the board, not just your constituents,” she says.

MacKinnon, managing partner of Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office, has given presentations on board of governance issues and says new trustees should be wary of making promises to voters that would require a resolution of the board in order to carry it out.

“A trustee acts as part of a collective on the board as mandated under the Education Act. This role is different than an MPP; there is no party whip.”

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.

Please click here to read the complete article.

Date_Published
2017-12-01
Description

Acting as a director on her first corporate board has had a positive domino effect for Windsor employment and education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, managing partner of Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office, tells AdvocateDaily.com she has often served on boards where she is either the sole woman or one of only a few.

Repeated studies have determined a dramatic absence or under-representation of women on corporate boards, showing that Canada has fallen behind other countries when it comes to promoting female membership.

A report by TD Economics found while women's participation in the labour force has increased significantly, that change has yet to be reflected at the top of Canada's largest companies.

MacKinnon has found it takes determination and, in some situations, strategic planning.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the complete story.

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2017-09-11
Description

Organizations have increasingly found efficiencies by using in-house lawyers, but sometimes there is a need for them to seek outside help, says Windsor employment and education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

“If you’re doing something routine — like real estate, where the transactions are not particularly novel — it makes sense to use in-house counsel,” MacKinnon, managing partner of Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office, tells AdvocateDaily.com.

She points to a municipality needing to draft a new bylaw as an example of routine work that can likely be tackled by an organization’s internal legal team.

But sometimes, unique situations — including litigation — arise outside of the legal staff’s area of expertise. So at that point, they should consider tapping an outside law firm.

This is an excerpt from an article that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the complete story.

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2017-07-21
Description

New legislation under consideration in Ontario would allow more flexibility for those seeking elected office, says Windsor public law lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

Bill 68, Modernizing Ontario’s Municipal Legislation Act, amends several existing acts and passedMay 30, 2017, says MacKinnon, managing partner of Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office.

One aspect of the bill would provide judges more discretion in whether a school board trustee or municipal councilor should be removed from their seat for a conflict of interest, MacKinnon tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“Currently if a judge finds a school board trustee or a municipal councillor has breached the Municipal Conflicts of Interest Act, they have no real discretion as to what they can do with them,” she says. “Their seat must be vacated.”

This is a excerpt from a story that appeared on AdvocateDaily.com.  Please click here to read the full article.

Date_Published
2017-06-01
Description

An employer’s financial position should not be a consideration in determining termination pay, says employment and education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

“You don’t look at the circumstances of the employer, but the circumstances of the employee,” says MacKinnon, managing partner of Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office.

An Ontario Court of Appeal ruling involving teachers at a Windsor-area private school underscored that fact in Michela v. St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic School, 2015 ONCA 801.

Three teachers who were employed on a series of one-year contracts for several years launched a wrongful dismissal lawsuit that proceeded on a motion for summary judgment after the school failed to pay them in lieu of notice.

This story appeared on advocatedaily.com.  Please click here for the full article.

Date_Published
2016-07-27
Description

School boards and parents are grappling with a gap in services for children with special needs between the ages of 18 and 21, says Windsor education law lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, who is managing partner at Shibley Righton LLP’s Windsor office, says school boards are seeing more human rights complaints from parents who are struggling with how to find adequate services for their children.

After the age of 18, children with autism and other disabilities are no longer funded to attend certain treatment centres. But since they are entitled to attend public school until the age of 21, the individuals go to school, only to find their challenges supercede the school’s ability to serve them.

“They try to transition into school and sometimes the child becomes violent or encounters other obstacles,” MacKinnon tells AdvocateDaily.com.

For the full story please click here

Date_Published
2016-06-28
Description

An Ontario Divisional Court has upheld a school board decision to close Niagara-on-the-Lake’s last elementary school in a ruling that acknowledges how difficult and heart wrenching such closures can be for communities, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon, a partner with Shibley Righton LLP.

Citizens for Accountable and Responsible Education Niagara Inc. v. District School Board of Niagara, 2015 ONSC 2058 (CanLII) saw a group of parents challenge the District School Board of Niagara decision to close Parliament Oak School (POS) due to decreased enrollment.

The school board was represented by Shibley Righton lawyers Paul Howard and Jessica Koper.

Please click here for the fill story

Date_Published
2015-06-29
Description

The creation of a school dress code requires the often delicate balance between the right to freely express oneself and the need for school environments to be respectful and appropriate, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

One Newfoundland and Labrador school’s dress code recently prompted protests, reports the CBC, as students at Beaconsfield Junior High in St. John's felt the policy was “sexist and unfair.”

Last year, another Newfoundland and Labrador school, Menihek High School in Labrador City, also dealt with dress code controversy after about 30 students were sent home because of attire deemed to have violated the code — including wearing sleeveless shirts and having bra straps exposed, says the CBC.

Click here for the full story

Date_Published
2015-05-20
Description

New guidelines released by the Nova Scotia government to help schools, staff and students support transgender and gender non-conforming students are certain to help stakeholders navigate difficult situations in the future, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

The guidelines, released by the Education Department last month, affirm students’ rights under the Human Rights Act and suggest ways to safeguard their privacy and safety and accommodate their needs, reports the CBC.

Please click here for the full article

Date_Published
2015-04-15
Description

The Ontario ombudsman’s new powers over school boards appear to be unnecessary given the built-in oversight and appeal processes already encompassed in the province’s education system, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

Among other things, the recent passing of Bill 8 – the Public Sector and MPP Accountability and Transparency Act – gives provincial ombudsman André Marin expanded oversight over municipalities, universities and school boards, the Toronto Star reports.

Click here for the full article

Date_Published
2015-03-09
Description

Principals of a school have a duty to ensure the safety of students and others while on school premises, says education lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

MacKinnon, partner with Shibley Righton LLP, weighs in on the subject in a Globe and Mail article about a special meeting recently held by Toronto Catholic District School Board trustees to discuss a trespassing order against a father who had allegedly threatened the school’s principal and physically assaulted a caretaker.

The trustees overturned the trespassing order against the man, the Globe reports, “despite provincial legislation that requires school boards to maintain a safe school environment for staff and students.

Please click here for the complete article

Date_Published
2015-02-23
Description

When using social media as a pre-employment screening tool, recruiters must look at privacy concerns related not only to the applicant – the individual's 'friends' must also be considered, says Toronto and Windsor employment lawyer Sheila MacKinnon.

A partner with Shibley Righton LLP, MacKinnon recently spoke at the Ontario Public School Boards' Association’s 2014 Labour Relations Symposium on the topic of social media in the workplace.

Click here for more information

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2015-01-15
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2014-04-01
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2014-02-28
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2014-01-31
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2013-09-30
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2013-06-01
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2013-05-01
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2013-02-01
Experience
More About
BIO

Sheila is a partner at Shibley Righton LLP whose civil litigation practice currently focuses on education and public law and labour and employment matters.

Sheila brings a wide variety of skills and business experience to the Education and Public Law Group at Shibley Righton. In the early years of Sheila's legal practice, she specialized in the areas of corporate - commercial law and income tax planning and litigation. As well, for many years, Sheila gained practical business experience as the operator and manager of her family-owned retirement home business in Essex County.

Sheila has provided advice in the areas of legislative analysis; policy development; privacy law; special education; human rights; workplace investigations; and employment matters. In addition, Sheila has a particular interest in Corporation and School Board Governance. She has developed and delivered workshops and provided legal advice on Parliamentary Procedure, running effective board meetings, conflict of interest and Trustee Code of Conduct and Enforcement. She has also advised on the development and amendment of corporate and school board by-laws and governing polices. Sheila developed and presented webcasts for the Ontario Public School Boards Association on governance and parliamentary procedure and may be accessed at www.opsba.org.

Sheila has conducted many internal workshops for various organizations and spoke at numerous conferences on a variety of issues.

Sheila is a past Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Windsor and the Board of United Communities Credit Union (now Libro Credit Union). She is also the past Chair of Governance for the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network. Sheila has volunteered on such other community and professional boards as Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education; the Toronto Educational Opportunity Fund; the Crime Concern of Metropolitan Toronto; and the Essex Business Improvement Association.

Sheila is a past Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Windsor and the Board of United Communities Credit Union (now Libro Credit Union). She is also the past Chair of Governance for the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network

Contact Information

T: 519.969.9844
T: 1.866.422.7988
F: 519.969.8045
sheila.mackinnon@shibleyrighton.com

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Education

Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 1985
Carleton University - B.Comm (Honours) 1982

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