Nick Milanovic has spent his life advocating for people in Hamilton and around the world.

He was born and raised in Hamilton. His parents, both refugees to Canada, taught him a strong work ethic and a desire to serve others.  And so, Nick worked hard and gave to his community. When he was a teenager, he volunteered for the Serbian National Theatre. Later, he played football for the Hamilton Hurricanes, CJFL. When he was in high school, Nick worked full-time nights and weekends and at Camco Inc. so he could go to McMaster.

Nick earned three degrees at McMaster before going to law school where he focussed on social justice law and won several academic prizes. Nick went on to earn a graduate degree in law before beginning his legal practice.

Nick went to Washington, DC, and worked on international legal cases against corporations that were exploiting vulnerable people. He helped bring lawsuits to stop Burmese villagers from being forced into slavery to build an oil pipeline, to stop women from being sexually victimized in Mexican factories, and to help farm labourers in the USA claim compensation for pesticide-related illnesses.

In 1997, Nick came home to Canada where he joined the CUPE legal department to fight on behalf of workers and pursued ground-breaking cases that have improved the lives of tens of thousands of people across the country. He now practices as an arbitrator, mediator, and workplace investigator. He investigates claims of harassment and bullying at work and issues reports that resolve these complaints.

While teaching law at Carleton University, Nick won a national competition that funded his research into protecting workers’ rights during bankruptcy. His study was published in an internationally recognized law journal.


Family Timeline

1956 Beginnings

My grandfather, mother and her little sister at Knockalisheen refugee camp, Limerick, Ireland.  (1956)

My Grandparent’s home in Hamilton

Nick’s family were refugees who fled the Hungarian revolution and located in the Delta. His grandfather worked as a steelworker at Stelco and his grandmother worked as a shipper at Susan Shoes, to make ends meet and provide a better life for their children.


My grandfather, mother, grandmother holding my uncle as they arrive in Canada in 1958. (from left to right)


My parents were married at Saint Nicholas Serbian Orthodox Cathedral on Nash Road.

Mom and Dad

Dad and Mom with “little Nicky”

After escaping from the former Yugoslavia, my father came to Canada met and married my mother. They located on Parkdale Avenue after having their first of two children. Dad worked at Camco Inc. a factory making fridges and stoves.  Mom waitressed in order to go back to school and became a nurse.  We were a close knit family that spent a lot of time together.

Gage Park

Me, my Aunt and Uncle in Gage Park. (left to right)


Nick at Ivor Wynne Stadium after playing his last game for the Hamilton Hurricanes, CJFL.


Nick with his brother David after his graduation ceremony at McMaster University

His family’s example instilled in Nick a strong work ethic and a desire to excel. He worked full time through high school and worked at the same factory as his father during university. Nick obtained three degrees at McMaster University, a law degree at Queen’s University and a master’s degree in law from the University of Toronto.


At home with friends and family.


Nick with students, lawyers and judges at an awards ceremony

As a lawyer, Nick fought for social justice by protecting workers and pensioners from unfair treatment during bankruptcy. He helped bring an international corporation to court for using slaves to build a pipeline and secured Charter protection at the Supreme Court for a pensioner denied benefits because he was gay. He has participated in NAFTA related litigation protecting pregnant women from sexual harassment in sweatshops, and to protect the health and safety of farmworkers using pesticides at work.


Nick teaching students constitutional law.

As a law professor, Nick has taught labour, trade and constitutional law and published books and articles in these areas. He has won a national academic competition to fund his research dealing with worker’s rights during bankruptcy and has been nominated for a prestigious teaching award.  Nick also coauthored Bill C-331, which is currently before Parliament that would, if passed, protect labour, human and environmental rights.

Politics Today

A more mature Nick meets Jagmeet Singh, the leader of Canada’s NDP.

Nick the Activist

Nick engaged in political activity as a young student at McMaster.

From an early age Nick was an activist. At McMaster he served as Vice President of the NDP campus club organizing protests against tuition increases and advocating for public auto insurance. Nick agitated to divest from South Africa and gathered signatures to free Nelson Mandela.

Mom’s Influence

Mom’s graduation photo from Mohawk College.

My mother set a shining example of the importance of public service for me and my brother. She worked as an intensive care nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital and taught us to be ethical and honest in our everyday lives. She advocated for her patients and was always held in high esteem by her colleagues and patients alike.

Dad’s Influence

My Dad carrying his union’s flag at the Hamilton Labour Day parade.

My father acted in the Serbian National Theatre and served as an executive member of his union, CAW Local 504.  When we marched in the Labour Day parade together he used to stress the importance of giving back to the community and inspired me to get involved in the labour movement.

Nick’s Family

Our family: Nick, Sarah, Ann and Mary (left to right)

Nick and Ann are married with two children, two cats and a dog. “My wife and daughters inspire me to be the best man I can possibly be and to leave this world a better place than I found it.”

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