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Cynthia R. C. Sefton

Partner Admitted to the Ontario Bar: 1978

Over many years of practice as a litigator, focusing on operational risk management, product liability, workplace law and insurance related matters, Cynthia has garnered the trust of regulators and clients alike. She guides clients through a rigorous issue identification and investigation process. This approach combined with her decades of experience helps Cynthia to help resolve her clients’ problems, both in and outside of court. She is a trusted advisor from an operational and strategic business perspective in addition to legal counsel.

Cynthia is a member of the firm’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution Group and Energy and Occupational Health & Safety Groups. Her practice areas include the investigation and defence of fires and explosions and other large disasters, workplace accidents, product liability, insurance issues, construction projects, and liability and mitigation measures relating to outsourcing and use of contractors, risk-management and due diligence, occupational health and safety, contract issues. More specifically, her expertise encompasses all aspects of tort and contract litigation, class actions, investigation and defence of quasi-criminal matters and provincial offences, including the occupational health and environmental fields, technical regulatory compliance and Fire Code issues.

With over 35 years of trial and appellate advocacy experience, she has acted on behalf of individuals and businesses of all sizes, including natural gas utilities, secondary lead smelters, manufacturing companies and energy service and sales companies.

Awards & Recognition

  • Recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of Product Liability Law

Professional Involvement

Cynthia is a frequent speaker at organizations such as the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance, the Canadian Gas Association and other industry groups. She also lectures to management and front line personnel on their legal duties and how to ensure they fulfill those duties in their day-to-day operations, especially as they relate to management of outsourcing and prevention of incidents.

Selected Speaking Engagements

“Privacy Issues in the Workplace: How Workplace Health, Safety and Privacy Clash and Converge,” Aird & Berlis LLP Webinar, March 2016.

“There’s Been an Accident: What Do I Do Now? An Employer’s Guide to Responding to Workplace Accidents in 11 (Not So Easy) Steps,” Aird & Berlis LLP Webinar, May 2015.

Selected Publications

“Changes Coming to Ontario Regulations Coming January 1, 2020 – Will You Be Ready?,” Canadian Environmental Regulation and Compliance News, vol 30 no. 10, October 2019.

“New Rules For Noise Protection at All Ontario Workplaces,” co-authored with Meaghan Barrett, Aird & Berlis LLP Workplace Law Bulletin, May 2016.

“Workplace Blitzes – Is an Inspector Coming to Your Workplace?” Aird & Berlis LLP Workplace Law Bulletin, April 2016.

“New International Standard on Health and Safety Management Systems – ISO 45001 is Coming,” Aird & Berlis LLP Energy Insider, February 2016.

"Criminal Law and Health and Safety in the Workplace For Businesses and Their People,” Aird & Berlis LLP Workplace Law Bulletin, January 2016.

“A Guide to Retaining Skilled Talent for Engineers, Geoscientists and Their Employers,” Aird & Berlis LLP Energy Insider, January 2016.

“How Do Your Health and Safety Professionals Measure Up?” Aird & Berlis LLP Energy Insider, November 2015.

“Canadian Energy Pipeline Association Releases its 2015 Pipeline Industry Performance Report,” Aird & Berlis LLP Energy Insider, November 2015.

“Do You Have Due Diligence and Can You Prove It?” Aird & Berlis LLP Workplace Law Bulletin, May 2015.

“Are You a Supervisor and Why Should You Care?” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, March 2015.

"Are You Ready for Training Requirements for Those Working at Heights?” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, March 2015.

“New Year, New World? Sentencing Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act,” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, January 2015 (with David Reiter).

"R. v. Metron Construction Corporation: Failure (of the Company) is an Option," Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, September 2013 (with Vedran Simkic).

“Bill 168 Compliance – A Reminder” and “Inspection Blitzes and Ontario’s Workplaces: What to do Before the Blitz Comes to You...” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, July 2010 (with David Reiter).

“Bill 168: Something Old, Something New,” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, March 2010 (with David Reiter).

“What You Need to Know About Worker Safety” and “Criminal Prosecution and Workplace Safety,” Aird & Berlis LLP Occupational Health & Safety Law Bulletin, December 2009 (with David Reiter).

"The Regulatory Law Does Not Concern Itself with Trifles," Ear to the Ground, Fall 2009 (with David Reiter).

"The Regulatory Modernization Act 2007, Welcome to the New Reality," Ear to the Ground, Spring 2009 (with David Reiter).

"The Due Diligence Defence after the DoFasco Decision," Ear to the Ground, Fall 2008 (with David Reiter).

"Municipal Criminal Liability: Raising the Bar on Workplace Safety," Municipal World, August 2008 (with Denis Chamberland and David Reiter).

"Corporate Criminal Liability & The Workplace," Ear to the Ground, Spring 2008 (with David Reiter).

Accounting for Damages: A Framework for Litigation Support (with Ronald T. Smith), Toronto: Carswell, 1982.


  • Law Clerk to the Chief Justice of Ontario (Court of Appeal), 1978-1979
  • LLB, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1976