Denise Workun is Senior Counsel at Nelligan O’Brien Payne specializing in employment, human rights, and disability insurance law.  She represents complainants and respondents in human rights matters, and acts for employees and employers in both the private and public sectors.

Getting to know Denise. Watch the video

Volunteer work is important to Denise and has always been a significant aspect of her personal life. Since July 2015, Denise has been co-leader of the Ottawa Outaouais Refugee Sponsorship Group which has privately sponsored five families from Syria and Eritrea. Link to articles here: The Law Times and CBA National.  In 2018, Denise spent time in Jordan and Greece volunteering with a refugee project focused on assisting victims of torture and sexual violence.  Her other international volunteer involvements include leading two Canada World Youth community projects in Peru and Ecuador, participating in International Election Observer Delegations to El Salvador in 1994 and 2014, providing educational opportunities for Maasai women and children in rural Tanzania, and participating in Habitat for Humanity building projects in El Salvador in 2004 and 2006.  Denise is also a founding board member of the Canadian Lawyers Association for International Human Rights (CLAIHR). On behalf of CLAIHR, Denise coordinated a human rights/judicial law reform project in conjunction with the Legal Studies Institute of El Salvador.

At the local level, Denise serves meals at the Ottawa Mission, has assisted with fundraising for the Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program, and led a community-based conservancy project and referendum campaign to preserve an important ecological corridor and wetlands area in Chelsea, Quebec. For many years Denise has also assisted Maison D’Amitie in hosting a party for women and children living in Ottawa’s shelters over the holiday season.

Denise’s natural inclination is to resolve problems in a practical manner. She is someone who genuinely cares about clients on a human level and is willing to take the time to truly understand their circumstances. She finds great reward in helping people effectively deal with conflicts and problems, while enabling them to get their lives back on track.

Education

  • >Call to Ontario Bar (1990)
  • >LL.B., Queen's University (1988)
  • >B.A.(Special), University of Alberta (1984)

Professional Activities and Organizations

  • >County of Carleton Law Association

Public Organizations

  • >Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program at the Ottawa Mission (2010-present)
  • >Project TEMBO - Tanzania Education and Micro-Business Opportunity (2012-present)
  • >SALVAIDE (2014)
  • >Action Chelsea for the Respect of the Environment (2001-present)
  • >Habitat for Humanity - Volunteer in El Salvador (2004 and 2006)
  • >Ontario Bar Association - Youth Mock Trial Program (2004-2010)
  • >Chelsea Nordiq - Lead Organizer, SEVEC Youth Exchange Canmore Nordic (2009-2010)
  • >Canada World Youth - Team Leader (2010 and 2014)
  • >Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club - Nationals and Quebec Cup Trip Coordinator (2006-2012)
  • >Ottawa Outaouais Refugee Sponsorship Group (2015-present) - Co-leader