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Stephen Penney


Suite 1100, Cabot Place
100 New Gower St.
St. John’s, N.L.
A1C 6K3




Language(s) spoken: English

Bar Admission(s): Newfoundland and Labrador, 1998

Legal Assistant(s): Erinn House

Providing legal services through a professional corporation.

Steve’s practice focuses on employer-side labour and employment, and civil litigation, particularly in the areas of municipal law, professional negligence and commercial disputes. He has a broad range of court and hearing experience, having appeared at all levels of court in this country, including three matters before the Supreme Court of Canada.

In the area of labour and employment, Steve’s representative matters include:

  • Counsel for the employer at the Supreme Court of Canada in one of the leading cases on judicial review of arbitration awards (Newfoundland Nurses v Newfoundland).
  • Counsel for an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada in a landmark case on the Charter right to freedom of association (Ontario v Fraser) and in a case considering the closure of a business in the context of statutory freeze (UFCW v Wal Mart).
  • Counsel for the operator in a number of significant labour arbitrations, labour board hearings, judicial reviews and appeals involving the unique labour relations regime in the offshore oil and gas industry. These matters involve an array of topics including alcohol and drug testing, safety and the composition of the bargaining unit. Steve has also completed the rigorous offshore safety training, and has experience travelling offshore.
  • Counsel for a university in a wide array of matters, including numerous faculty relations cases involving tenure denials and academic misconduct.
  • Counsel for numerous construction companies responding to certification applications and in labour arbitrations in the context of special projects, as well as the industrial and commercial sectors.

In the area of civil litigation, Steve’s representative matters include:

  • Counsel in numerous precedent setting municipal cases, including the recent successful dismissal of an environmental class action in Dewey v Town of Deer Lake. Other leading cases Steve has argued include appeals relating to the ambit of municipal powers (Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay v Cabot, Town of Long Harbour-Mount Arlington Heights v Eastern Demolition), a disputed municipal election involving a judicial recount and Charter challenge (Coombs v Moss), and numerous other cases involving taxation, tendering, liability and development issues.
  • Co-counsel for the royalty holder in Labrador Nickel Limited Partnership v Vale, one of the largest commercial litigations to come before the Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court.
  • Co-counsel in the successful defence of a significant and complex multi-million dollar product liability claim (Sobeys v CRA Trailers).

Education & Career


Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 1997
Queen’s University, B.A., 1994


Member, Canadian Bar Association
Member, Partnership Board, Stewart McKelvey, January 2013 to December 2015
Member, Board of Directors, Y of Northeast Avalon, 2012-present
Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, 2010 to the present
Member, Articling and Recruitment Committee, Stewart McKelvey, 2009 – 2012
Member, Business Development Committee, Stewart McKelvey, 2008 – 2010
Member, Board of Directors, Community Youth Network, St. John’s, 2006 – 2012
Avid soccer player, having played and coached competitively for many years


Best Lawyers 2021 Administrative and Public Law “Lawyer of the Year” in St. John’s
Best Lawyers 2017 Administrative and Public Law “Lawyer of the Year” in St. John’s
Benchmark Canada, local litigation star (Labour and Employment), 2017 – 2022
Benchmark Canada, future star, 2015 – 2016
Best Lawyers: Administrative and Public Law, 2017 – 2024
Best Lawyers: Labour and Employment Law, 2014 – 2024
Best Lawyers: Municipal Law, 2011 – 2024
Lexpert Rising Stars Leading Lawyers Under 40, 2010

Thought Leadership


Co-Presenter, “Protecting your Workplace: OH&S Legal Updates and Insights”, Stewart McKelvey Labour & Employment Webinar

April 16, 2024

Co-presenter, “Discrimination, Harassment & Workplace Investigations”, Stewart McKelvey Labour and Employment webinar

October 28, 2021

“The Legalization of Cannabis and Municipalities”, Professional Municipal Administrators, June 2018

“Cannabis in the Workplace”, Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council, June 2018

“Taking Stock: Assessing the Impact of Recent Major Case Law and Legislation”, Halifax Human Rights and Labour Law Conference, Lancaster House, May 2015

“Recent Labour Law Developments in the Offshore”, Newfoundland and Labrador Employer’s Counsel, May 2015

“Conflict of Interest”, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, November 2014

“Public Tendering and Procurement”, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, October 2012

“Recent Developments in Administrative Law”, Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, June 2012

“Labour Injunctions”, Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council, May 2012

“Occupational Health and Safety”, Canadian Association of Public Works, NL Branch, May 2012

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