Nicola Simmons

Nicola Simmons



(416) 367-7694


(416) 367-2791


“I am a strong advocate for our clients. I use a problem-solving approach to achieve positive, innovative and practical solutions to address legal issues that are often very complex.”

Areas of Practice

  • Administrative Law
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
  • Civil Litigation
  • Education Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Procurement Law


Nicola has a broad administrative law and advocacy practice, which includes human rights, human resources and employment, privacy, procurement law, civil litigation, and commercial disputes. She addresses a number of legal issues specific to the education sector, including student discipline, special education, family law issues, truancy, and school board governance. Nicola also undertakes the analysis of new legislation, amendments to legislation, and new government policy and assists clients in drafting, amending and reviewing various policies and procedures to reflect statutory and common law requirements.

Nicola has appeared before various levels of court in Ontario, and has represented clients and appeared before a variety of administrative tribunals, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Child and Family Services Review Board, the Special Education Tribunal, the Ontario College of Teachers, the Information and Privacy Commissioner, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board), as well as commercial arbitrators.

As Keel Cottrelle’s Student Program Coordinator, Nicola has the pleasure of overseeing the firm’s student program and serving as an articling student principal.

Publications, News & Media:


  • Regular speaker for small and large client groups on variety of legal issues, including human rights, privacy, governance issues and best practices, student discipline, legal issues in schools, and the legalization of cannabis.
  • Co-Chair and Co-Presenter, Osgoode Professional Development, Human Resources Law for Education Professionals, May 13, 2019.
  • Co-Presenter, “Cannabis in Schools – The Law and Best Practices”, Osgoode Professional Development, School Law for K-12 Education Professionals, February 21-22, 2019.
  • Co-Presenter, “Enrollments/Admissions/Denial of Admissions/Expulsions”, Osgoode Professional Development, Education Law for Private and Independent Schools, November 7, 2018.
  • Co-Presenter, “Child Protection Services and School Boards: Working Together for Student Achievement”, Osgoode Professional Development, 13 th Annual Advanced Issues in Special Education Law, October 11, 2018.
  • Co-Chair and Moderator, 17 th Annual Charter Conference, Ontario Bar Association, October 2, 2018.
  • Co-Presenter, “Medical Marijuana and Schools: An Educator’s Guide to the Law and Best Practices”, Osgoode Professional Development - Webinar, April 25, 2018.
  • Chair, “Key Charter and Human Rights Developments in Education Law”, Ontario Bar Association, April 4, 2018.
  • Co-Presenter, “Child Protection Services and School Boards – Working Together for Student Achievement”, Osgoode Professional Development, 12 th Annual Advanced Issues in Special Education, October 16, 2017.
  • Moderator, “Clarifying the Reach and Limits of Religious Freedom”, Ontario Bar Association – 16 th Annual Charter Conference, October 2, 2017.
  • Panellist, “Case Law Highlights”, OPSBA Education Labour Relations and Human Resources Symposium – Inspiring Positive Workplaces, April 7, 2017.
  • Co-Chair, “Human Rights Law in the Provision of Services”, Ontario Bar Association – Institute, February 10, 2017.
  • Co-Presenter, “Tips and Best Practices to Conduct an Investigation”, Osgoode Professional Development - Student Investigations – The Legal and Practical Guide, November 14, 2016
  • Co-Presenter, “Child Protection Services and School Board: Challenges and Opportunities”, Osgoode Professional Development – 11 th Annual Advanced Issues in Special Education Law, October 17, 2016.
  • Instructor, University of Guelph and Ontario Association of School Business Officials, Certificate in Pupil Transportation Management Program: Contract Management Course, July 2016.
  • Co-Presenter, “Understanding the Latest on Privacy Rights and Obligations for School Boards”, Osgoode Professional Development - 2016 Hot Button HR Legal Issues for Education Professionals, April 18, 2016.
  • Co-Chair, “Balancing Rights in Schools with Accommodation Challenges”, Ontario Bar Association Institute, February 3, 2016.
  • Co-Chair, “Constitutional and Human Rights of Young People – Policing Public Space”, Ontario Bar Association Institute, February 3, 2016.
  • Co-Presenter, “Anaphylaxis: Current Issues and Legal Obligations”, Osgoode Professional Development – 10th Annual Advanced Issues in Special Education Law, October 19, 2015.
  • Co-Presenter, “Student Mental Health Issues in the School System: Legal Implications” Canadian Safe Schools Network Conference, held in Toronto, February 25, 2014.
  • Presenter, “Cyberbullying and the Law” Canadian Safe Schools Network Conference, held in Toronto, April 24, 2007.


  • Co-author, Education Law, 5th Edition (Carswell) (2019)
  • Contributing Editor of KC Education Law Newsletter and KC Human Resources Newsletter.
  • Co-Author, Education and Law Journal - Annual Review of Education Law (Carswell) (2015-2018).
  • Regular contributor to the Ontario Bar Association Education Section Newsletter and Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section.
  • Co-Editor of Education Law Section Newsletter 2014/2015.
  • Contributing author to An Educator’s Guide to the Health and Safety of Students, eds. Robert G. Keel and Nadya Tymochenko, Canada Law Book, 2010.
  • Author, “The Duty to Accommodate and Absence Due to Illness:Termination Agreement Upheld by Supreme Court of Canada” (March, 2007) 16: 3 CAPSLE Comments.
  • Co-author with N. Tymochenko, “Do the Charter and Human Rights Codes Necessitate Standards in Special Education?” presented at CAPSLE 2006, Montreal Quebec and published in R. Flynn, ed., Civil Rights and Education. Proceedings of the Seventeenth Annual Conference of the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education, held in Montreal, Quebec, April 29-May 2, 2006 (Toronto: CAPSLE, 2007).


  • Called to the Ontario Bar in 2006
  • Bachelor of Laws, Osgoode Hall Law School
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), University of Western Ontario

Professional Membership

  • Vice Chair of OBA CCLHR section 2019-2020
  • Executive Committee, Ontario Bar Association - Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section, 2015-present; CLE Liaison 2017- 2019
  • Executive Committee, Ontario Bar Association - Education Law Section, 2014-present
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • The Advocates’ Society