OBITUARY

Derrick McIntosh

8 August, 19791 September, 2020
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It is with profound sadness and grief that we share the news that our cherished friend and colleague, Derrick McIntosh, died suddenly on September 1st.

Derrick was a man of many dimensions. His quick wit, astute mind and wicked sense of humour were readily apparent to all those who met him, as were his compassion and profound sense of social justice. The outpouring of condolences we have received over the past few days from lawyers, clients, and arbitrators throughout the labour law community reflects the high regard everyone had for Derrick’s legal skills, and for his humanity, integrity and decency.

It is difficult to convey how much Derrick meant to so many of us at the firm – lawyers and staff members alike. He was everyone’s friend. He enthusiastically celebrated the milestones and successes of his colleagues. Of his many gifts, perhaps the greatest was his ability to notice when someone might be struggling with work or personal issues. A truly empathetic and generous man, he was always willing to lend a hand – or an ear or a shoulder – to anyone who needed it.

Derrick was also a joy to spend time with, often winding up holding court at firm social events, sometimes into the wee hours. He could tell a story better than just about anyone – and he seemed to have endless side-splitting stories to tell. His stories were often self-deprecating, always hilarious, and he employed a dead-pan delivery and conspiratorial wink to devastating effect.

Perceptive, eloquent and analytical, Derrick excelled as an advocate. He joined the firm in 2008 as a summer student from the faculty of law at McGill University. He held an honours bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and cultural studies, a master’s degree in philosophy, and experience both as a factory worker and a union representative. His labour law professor described him as one of the most thoughtful and committed students she has ever taught. After obtaining his law degree, Derrick articled with us and was hired as an associate following his call to the bar in 2011. He quickly developed a thriving practice representing a variety of trade unions and employee associations and a reputation as an excellent lawyer.

We welcomed Derrick into the partnership in 2018, and looked forward to so many more years of working together, hanging out, telling stories, and laughing ourselves into stiches.

Words cannot express how devastated we are and how deeply we will all miss Derrick. He was, quite simply, the loveliest friend and colleague. The firm will not be the same without him.

  • DONATIONS

  • A trust fund has been established in Derrick’s name for a post-secondary scholarship for a graduate of Derrick’s high school, Norwell District Secondary School. The scholarship will be managed by the Upper Grand Learning Foundation (UGLF) and will be awarded annually. You may make a donation online here: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/30387. When making your donation, please be sure to specify “NDSS – Memorial Award (Derrick McIntosh)” in the ‘Message for Upper Grand Learning Foundation’ section so that the Foundation will know where to direct the funds.

Memories

Derrick McIntosh

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Helen Nowak

21 October 2020

Derrick and I were sitting in an Uber in Scarborough, stuck in traffic, when I revealed that I loved reading historical fiction. He then, very animatedly, began recounting a book that took place in medieval times that he couldn't put down. I remember watching him talk and thinking to myself how much I loved his energy and intelligence, and that I hoped our working relationship could lead to a friendship.

I unfortunately can't remember the name of the book he was speaking of that day. Since his passing, I have thought many times about how much I wish I could read that book so I could feel closer to him.

The loss of Derrick is indescribable. What a wonderful human being.

Karen Chen

19 October 2020

As a summer student, working at the firm could be intimidating, so I was grateful for the Friday nights at the Queen and Beaver that Derrick always hosted. He would light up the conversation, making us feel very much a part of the family, and in on the jokes. He also told us to go to as many hearings as we could, because he wouldn't have thought of himself as a litigator if he hadn't done that and seen that there are so many ways to litigate. I am sad I won't be able to see him litigate, but will carry that advice and inclusive spirit with me.

Cynthia Petersen

9 October 2020

I worked with Derrick at Goldblatt Partners until June 2017.

From his first day at the firm as a summer student, Derrick's light shone brightly. His quick wit, intellectual curiosity, passion for social justice, and hard work ethic were evident from the start. I mentored him as an articling student and as a "junior" associate lawyer at the firm. He was a natural advocate and was such a pleasure to work with.

Derrick was incapable of insincerity or hypocrisy. He was always thoughtful and generous with emotional support for others. He did not take himself too seriously. He had a rich sense of humour that brought laughter to the office.

My heart goes out to all his family, friends and loved ones. He will be deeply deeply missed.

Cynthia Petersen

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