Denise Workun is a senior lawyer at Nelligan O’Brien Payne, and specializing in human rights and employment law. She has represented both complainants and respondents in human rights matters, and has acted for unions, employees, and employers in both the private and public sectors.

Volunteer work and travel are important to Denise and have always been a significant aspect of her personal life. Her involvements include Team Leader for two Canada World Youth community projects in Peru and Ecuador, serving meals at the Ottawa Mission, fundraising for the Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program, and teaching English to young children in rural Tanzania. She is also actively involved in environmental initiatives, and led a community-based conservancy project and referendum campaign to preserve an important wildlife corridor and wetlands area in Chelsea, Quebec. For many years Denise has also assisted Maison D’Amitie with the Christmas party held for all of the women and children living in Ottawa’s shelters over the holiday season.

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. She also participated in International Election Observer Delegations to El Salvador in 1994 and 2014. In 2004 and 2006, Denise participated in Habitat for Humanity building projects in El Salvador, with a group of Ottawa lawyers. Since July 2015, Denise has been co-leader of the Ottawa Outaouais Refugee Sponsorship Group which is privately sponsoring four families from Syria and Eritrea. Link to articles here: The Law Times and CBA National

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.


  • >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

  • >Action Chelsea for the Respect of the Environment – Volunteer (2001 - Present)
  • >Habitat for Humanity – Volunteer in El Salvador (2004 & '06 - present)
  • >Ontario Bar Association – Youth Mock Trial Program (2004 - 2010)
  • >Chelsea Nordiq – Lead Organizer for SEVEC Youth Exchange with Canmore Nordic (2009 - 2010)
  • >Canada World Youth – Team Leader (2010 & '14 - present)
  • >Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club – Nationals and Quebec Cup Trip Coordinator (2006 - 2012)
  • >Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program at the Ottawa Mission (2010 - Present)
  • >Project TEMBO - Tanzania Education and Micro-Business Opportunity (2012 - Present)
  • >SALVAIDE (2014 - present)
  • >Ottawa Outaouais Refugee Sponsorship Group - co-leader (2015 - present)