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Deborah Cooper is currently the Director of Labour Relations and General Counsel of a federal union representing both public service and private federally-regulated employees in different bargaining units across Canada, as well as being a regular lecturer at Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre (IRC) since 2013.
Prior to this role, she was the General Secretary of the National Joint Council (NJC) of the Public Service of Canada. She was a union-side appointee to the position, having held the post from May 2013 – June 2018. The position is alternately held by the employer side and bargaining agent side appointees for a five-year period each. The NJC is a union-management organization that is the forum of choice for co-development and consultation between the parties within the federal public service. The NJC also manages numerous directives agreed to by the parties, and incorporated into their collective agreements, on items ranging from travel and relocation to the health care plan and the long-term disability plan.
Prior to the above, Deborah worked in private practice as an employment and labour lawyer, moving over to work in-house at three different federal bargaining agents in 2005, 2009 and from June 2018-August 2019. From 2012-2013, she also worked on the employer side, on an interchange, as a Director in the Labour Relations and Compensation Division of a large federal department. Deborah has also worked in Paris, France at both UNESCO and the Canadian Embassy, and has lectured at the Barreau de Versailles. She holds an Honours Bachelor Degree from the University of Ottawa, a Law Degree from the University of Western Ontario, as well as the Certificate in Labour Relations and Certificate in Advanced Human Resources from Queen’s University IRC. She is a member of the Law Society of Ontario, having been called to the Bar of Ontario in 1997.