Since his admission to the New Brunswick Bar in 1993, Kelly has practiced extensively in the field of civil litigation, focusing primarily on labour, employment and human rights. He represents employers, employees, administrative tribunals and unions, and also serves as an arbitrator and mediator.
He joined the partnership team at Lawson Creamer in 1996 after building a successful labour & employment practice in Fredericton.
Kelly frequently teaches law courses and seminars, and has written books, articles and other materials related to the law.
As an adjunct professor at UNB's Faculty of Business, Kelly has taught undergraduate and MBA courses. He also teaches Trial Practice at UNB's Faculty of Law and Labour & Employment Law in the Law Society of New Brunswick's Bar Admission Course.
His articles have been published in the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, the Canadian Mediation and Arbitration Journal, the Canadian Bar Review, the International Review of Human Rights Law, the Solicitor's Journal, Workplace Today magazine and other publications.
Kelly was also a regular columnist on CBC's Business Network, a nationally broadcasted radio program and has been frequently requested to provide legal commentary to The Globe & Mail, CTV News, CBC News and other media.
His book, Why Employees Sue: Rethinking Approaches to the Resolution of Employment Conflicts, was published by Thomson Reuters in 2017.

Community Contributions

Kelly is currently Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Fredericton and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.
He coaches hockey and rugby, has served as the President of Hockey New Brunswick's award-winning elite hockey program in Southern New Brunswick and is currently the President of the Saint John Major Midget AAA Vito's hockey program.
Kelly is a member of St. Mary's Band, New Brunswick's oldest community band, and he plays in several other music groups, as well.


In 2006, Kelly was awarded the Learning Disabilities Association of Canada National Award of Excellence in Volunteer Recognition.
In 2012, Kelly received the Canadian Bar Association (New Brunswick Branch) E. Neil McKelvey Q.C. Pro Bono and Volunteer Service Award.
In 2013, Kelly was awarded Hockey New Brunswick's Vance Toner Leadership Award.
In 2015, Kelly was honoured to receive a Queen’s Counsel designation with respect to his practice of law.


Canadian Bar Association
Law Society of New Brunswick
Saint John Law Society
Alternative Dispute Resolution Canada Inc.
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Business, University of New Brunswick
Part-time Instructor, Faculty of Law, University of New Brunswick

Outside the Office

Kelly enjoys time with his wife Cynthia, their two sons and the family's crazy bull terrier. He is actively involved in the Anglican Church, coaches hockey, maintains an interest in his preferred sport of rugby and plays the trombone in several bands.
In addition to Why Employees Sue: Rethinking Approaches to the Resolution of Employment Conflicts, he has also written How to Buy a Great House, a book that addresses common house defects that regularly lead to costly and unnecessary lawsuits and has edited How to Live a Great Life, a collection of essays published in support of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.

Bachelor of Arts ’89 (UPEI)

Bachelor of Law ’92 (UNB)

Master of Laws ’03, Employment Law (University of Huddersfield)

PhD, Employment Law ’14 (Nottingham Trent University)

Chartered Arbitrator ’14 (ADR Canada)

He has also studied litigation techniques under renowned American trial specialist Gerry Spence and has completed Employment Law Mediation training at Cornell University.

Certificate in Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University ’19

  • 2021 Canadian Theological Society Annual Conference presentation: Do as We Say…And as We Do? An Examination of Commitment to New Testament Dispute Resolution Principles in the Anglican Church.
  • 2021 International Association of Workplace Bullying and Harassment Conference presentation: Readers’ Theatre workshop on the importance of effective training methods and content in the reduction of workplace harassment and, in particular, the elements, accessibility and effectiveness of Reader’s Theatre as a teaching tool for use by facilitators, including managers, with Dr. Sue O’Donnell and Dr. Anil Adisesh.
  • 2020 Examination of selected judicial decisions using IBM Watson tone analysis. Scribes Journal of Legal Writing, vol. 19: 2020, with Matthew R. Letson, Esq. and Jason Gillan.
  • 2019 The requirement of interpersonal skills in early career Canadian law practices and lawyers’ perceptions regarding the adequacy of the development of these skills in law schools. Journal of Commonwealth Law and Legal Education (forthcoming in spring 2019), with assistance from Navjeevan Gupta, Esq.
  • 2019 Facilitating a safe and respectful workplace. Canadian HR Reporter. With Bill Howatt and Jesse Adams.
  • 2018 An Examination of the Effectiveness of Readers’ Theatre as a Teaching Strategy in Legal Education. Law Teacher, (2018), 2018, doi:10.1080/03069400.2018.1464759.An examination of the effectiveness of readers’ theatre as a teaching strategy in legal education. The Law Teacher (forthcoming). Co-authored with George Filliter, Q.C.
  • 2018 Workforce productivity considerations for managing marijuana in the workplace. Expert Insights. New York: Business Experts Press 978-1-94897-627-5 (2018). Co-authored with William Howatt and Elaine Chin.
  • 2017 Bullying and Business Liability. Expert Insights. New York: Business Experts Press (2017).
  • 2017 Why Employees Sue: Rethinking Approaches to the Resolution of Employment Conflicts. Toronto: Thompson Reuters (2017).
  • 2017 Post-Potter v NBLASC, the law of constructive dismissal still requires attention. The Canadian Labour & Employment Law Journal, 20.1, pp. 43-69.
  • 2017 Canadian mental health legislation, the violation of individual rights and the promotion of discrimination. International Review of Human Rights Law, 2:1.
  • 2014 Justice Beyond Law: Why Litigators Should Embrace Mediation. The Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal. 23.2 (2014): 53-69.
  • 2014 The importance of a standardized approach: Substantial damages awarded underlines the importance of the CSA’s (voluntary) psychological health and safety standard. HR Today. October 23rd, 2014.
  • 2010 The Case for Apology Legislation in the Resolution of New Brunswick Employment Disputes. The Solicitor’s Journal. Summer, 2010.
  • 2004 Damages for Improvident Employer Behaviour: Two Judicial Approaches The Canadian Bar Review. 83 (2004): 755-803.
  • 2004 How to Buy a Great House. Saint John: Dreamcatcher Books & Publishing.
  • 1999 The Termination of Divine Appointments. The Solicitor’s Journal. Fall, 1999.
  • 1998 Ballpark Notice Strikes Out Again. Workplace Today magazine.
  • 1997 Successor Rights after Matella: Inheriting a Union the Easy Way. The Solicitor’s Journal. Summer, 1997.



  • 2018 VanBuskirk, K. Apology, Yes. But Apology Accepted? Forgiveness as the Forgotten Factor in an Effective Workplace Dispute Resolution. ADR Institute of Canada, National Conference (Montreal)
  • 2018 VanBuskirk, K. Compliance with New Brunswick OHSA Reg. 91-191 Regarding Workplace Harassment and Violence. Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre, University of New Brunswick (Fredericton)
  • 2018 VanBuskirk, K. Making the right decisions on workplace mental health. Conference Board of Canada (Halifax)
  • 2018 VanBuskirk, K. Workplace harassment risks in the #MeToo era. Canadian Bar Association- N.B. Branch, Mid-Winter Meeting (Moncton)
  • 2017 VanBuskirk, K. Why Employees Sue and Why Physicians Should Care. Occupational and Environmental Medicine Association of Canada Annual Conference (St. John’s)
  • 2017 VanBuskirk, K. and G. Filliter. An examination of the effectiveness of Readers’ Theatre as a teaching strategy in legal education. Association of Law Teachers 52nd Annual Conference (Portsmouth, United Kingdom) Commendation: Stan Marsh Best Paper Prize competition
  • 2016 VanBuskirk, K. Why employees sue. Occupational Medicine Specialists of Canada, Annual Scientific Conference (Boston)
  • 2016 Michaud, J. and VanBuskirk, K. Benefits of using mediation to resolve workplace disputes and issues. Canadian Bar Association, New Brunswick Branch, Administrative Law Conference (Saint John)
  • 2016 VanBuskirk, K. Does Canadian employment law resolve the concerns of employees who make legal claims? Osgoode Hall GLS Conference (Toronto)
  • 2016 VanBuskirk, K. Potter, Evans and the evolution of constructive dismissal law. Canadian Bar Association, New Brunswick Branch, Mid-Winter Meeting (Saint John)
  • 2015 Breen, Q.C., R., Houlihan, J. and VanBuskirk, K.Update on Undue Hardship: Exploring the limits of accommodation. Lancaster House Human Rights & Labour Conference (Halifax)
  • 2015 Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner A. Bertrand, Q.C. and VanBuskirk, K. Best practices when making an access to information request. Canadian Bar Association, Privacy Law Section (Fredericton)
  • 2015 Momborquette, D. and VanBuskirk, K. Effective management of mental health illness and disabilities by unions and management. Atlantic Canada Employee & Labour Relations Forum (Halifax)
  • 2015 VanBuskirk, K. Bad relations at work: Interactional injustice and legal suits. Atlantic Universities Conference Human Resources Association (Sydney)
  • 2015 Brittain, S. and VanBuskirk, K. Municipalities in court: Enforcement of by-laws and challenging municipal decisions. Saint John Law Society (Saint John)
  • 2013 VanBuskirk, K. The case for simplifying New Brunswick employment cases. Canadian Bar Association, New Brunswick Branch, Mid-Winter Meeting (Fredericton)
  • 2011 Harris, L. and VanBuskirk, K. What motivates employees to pursue litigation against their employers and to what extent does the New Brunswick legal system offer a relevant response? Congress 2011- Canadian Industrial Relations Association National Conference (Fredericton)
  • 2007 VanBuskirk, K. How lawyers can improve the litigation and arbitration experience. National Administrative, Labour & Employment Law Conference, Canadian Bar Association (Ottawa)
  • 2006 VanBuskirk, K. First Rees, now Keays? I’m a poor employer, please help me – please? Employee & Labour Relations Forum (Ottawa)