Paula Knopf decided to become an arbitrator while attending her first arbitration hearing as an articling student in 1975. She was called to the Bar in 1977 and soon began Fact Finding and Mediation training with the Education and Colleges Relations Commission. That led to Ms. Knopf beginning to arbitrate in the early 1980’s.
Ms. Knopf is an active mediator and arbitrator in the private and public sectors. She has been chosen to resolve disputes in Ontario, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, and Iqaluit, travelling as far north as Pond Inlet to hear cases. She has been named as a roster arbitrator in many collective agreements.
Ms. Knopf was the Chair of the Ontario Education and Colleges Relations Commission from 1991 – 1997. She was a member of the 1996 Federal Task Force that made the recommendations for changes to Part One of the Canada Labour Code contained in the Report entitled, Seeking a Balance. Ms Knopf also served as a part-time Vice Chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and the Grievance Settlement Board.
Ms. Knopf feels her most significant contribution to the labour relations community has been through her teaching and mentoring. As an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School from 1999 to 2006, she taught a Labour Arbitration seminar to countless students who have become leading practitioners in Ontario and other provinces. Ms. Knopf was also the Director of two Arbitrator Development Programs, leading to the successful careers of several much-needed new arbitrators and mediators across Canada. She also takes pride in her individual mentoring and support of colleagues.
Ms. Knopf has focused her career on the importance of professional responsibility, competence, and ethics through publications, public addresses, and professional activities. To that end, she has authored several articles and contributed to many texts. She was the Director of a recent Interest Arbitration Skills Program for the Ontario public sector community. She has also helped to develop and present educational programs for the Ontario Labour-Management Arbitrators’ Association (OLMAA) and the National Academy of Arbitrators (NAA). Her professional activities include being named the President of the OLMAA and the NAA’s Vice President, member of the Board of Governors, Chair of the Committee on Professional Responsibility and Grievances, and Co-Chair of two Program Committees.