Stephen Penney


“Let us go forward together” and “Deserve victory”
- quotes from two vintage WWII Churchill posters hanging opposite Steve’s office desk.

Size up the competition.

Steve’s practice focuses on employer-side labour and employment law, municipal law and general litigation in the areas of construction and insurance. He has a broad range of court and hearing experience, including labour abitrations and labour board hearings, as well as judicial reviews, trials and appeals at the Trial Division, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Although sometimes unavoidable, Steve recognizes that litigating is not most people’s first choice for resolving a dispute. That’s why he works with his clients to make an early assessment of the matter to see if alternative dispute resolution or other procedures might assist in resolving the matter efficiently.

Representative matters

  • Counsel for the employer at the Supreme Court of Canada in one of the leading cases on judicial review of arbitration awards (NLNU v. Newfoundland).
  • Co-counsel for an intervener in a landmark Supreme Court of Canada case involving the Charter right to freedom of association (Ontario v. Fraser).
  • Counsel for an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada in a case considering the closure of a business and the statutory freeze provisions (UFCW v. Wal Mart).
  • Counsel to the operator in a number of significant labour arbitrations, labour board hearings and judicial reviews involving the unique labour relations regime in the offshore oil and gas industry. Steve has also completed the offshore safety training, and has experience travelling offshore.
  • Counsel to the employer in a number of complex occupational health and safety prosecutions, including issues such as mining safety, and the "Principal Contractor" obligations.
  • Co-counsel in the successful defence of a significant and complex multi-million dollar product liability claim (Sobeys v. CRA Trailers).
  • Counsel in a number of challenging municipal cases, including appeals relating to the ambit of municipal powers, a disputed municipal election involving a judicial recount and a Charter challenge, and numerous other cases involving taxation, tendering, liability and development issues.
  • Counsel in a number of construction disputes, involving delay claims, professional negligence and tendering.

Areas of practice:

  • Labour and Employment
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Municipal Law
  • Construction Law
  • Litigation


Newfoundland and Labrador, 1998


Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador


Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B., 1997
Queen’s University, B.A., 1994


  • Member, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, Partnership Board, Stewart McKelvey, January 2013 to December 2015
  • Member, Board of Directors, Y of Northeast Avalon, 2012-present
  • Member, Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, 2010 to the present
  • Member, Articling and Recruitment Committee, Stewart McKelvey, 2009 - 2012
  • Member, Business Development Committee, Stewart McKelvey, 2008 - 2010
  • Member, Board of Directors, Community Youth Network, St. John’s, 2006 - 2012
  • Avid soccer player, having played and coached competitively for many years




  • Best Lawyers 2017 Administrative and Public Law "Lawyer of the Year" in St. John's
  • Benchmark Canada, local litigation star (Labour and Employment), 2017-2018
  • Benchmark Canada, future star, 2015-2016
  • Best Lawyers: Administrative and Public Law, 2017-2019
  • Best Lawyers: Labour and Employment Law, 2014-2019
  • Best Lawyers: Municipal Law, 2011-2019
  • Lexpert Rising Stars Leading Lawyers Under 40, 2010


  • "Recent Labour Law Developments in the Offshore", Newfoundland and Labrador Employer's Counsel, May 2015
  • "Taking Stock: Assessing the Impact of Recent Major Case Law and Legislation", Halifax Human Rights and Labour Law Conference, Lancaster House, May 2015
  • "Conflict of Interest", Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, November 2014
  • “Public Tendering and Procurement”, Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, October 2012
  • “Recent Developments in Administrative Law”, Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, June 2012
  • “Occupational Health and Safety”, Canadian Association of Public Works, NL Branch, May 2012
  • “Labour Injunctions”, Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council, May 2012
  • "Drug and Alcohol Policies", Newfoundland and Labrador Employers Council, May, 2011.
  • "Current Issues in Human Rights", Professional Administrators, April, 2011.
  • "B.C. Health Services - Developments", Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers, September, 2010.

Suite 1100, Cabot Place
100 New Gower Street
St. John's, NL, Canada
A1C 6K3

P 709.570.8881
F 709.722.4565
C 709.691.5588

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