Canada

Reviews

Practice area

IFLR1000 Reviews

Overview

Solicitors governing body: Federation of Law Societies of Canada

Competition authority: Competition Bureau

Financial regulator: Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions

IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:

Banking, Capital markets, Financial services regulatory, M&A, Project developmentProject finance, Restructuring and insolvency

Jurisdiction overview

Canada’s legal system derives largely from English common law. It is one of the most stable and prosperous societies in the world, and it has a highly sophisticated legal industry. 

While Canada is geographically vast, legal offices and talent are heavily concentrated in a handful of cities. Some of the leading Canadian corporate law firms have deep roots in Montréal, but in recent decades the base of the country’s legal industry has shifted markedly to Toronto. Seven law firms with offices there have acquired the popular moniker “The Seven Sisters” for their dominance of the corporate M&A market. These are Blake Cassels & Graydon, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Goodmans, McCarthy Tétrault, Olser Hoskin & Harcourt, Stikeman Elliott, and Torys. 

Outside Toronto, major markets include Montréal, Ottawa, Calgary, and Vancouver. Montréal poses special opportunities and challenges for law firms because of its bilingual (French and English) character and the propensity for heritage issues, regarding the preservation of distinctly Québécois institutions, to crop up in the course of deals. Québéc has a robust project finance market, not least because of the provincial government’s requirement that at least 10% of installed energy capacity comes from wind power. 

Calgary is another vitally important market with a distinct character of its own, at the heart of western Canada’s oil and gas markets. The city has been dubbed “North Dallas.” Most of the leading corporate firms have lawyers with oil and gas transactional expertise though not all of them have an office in Alberta. It is a point of contention among the law firms whether those without boots on the ground in Calgary may credibly claim to be leaders in the market. 

Vancouver is yet another market with a complex character all its own. British Columbia’s economy is highly resource-oriented and lacks an industrial base. It is a dynamic Asia-facing technological hub, with innovation a feature of daily life, and tech companies and startups that wish to go public require the input of capital markets lawyers at local and national law firms. Nevertheless some of the capital markets practices in Vancouver have a strong underwriter, rather than issuer, focus. Again, firms tend to disagree on whether a presence on the ground is necessary or whether lawyers in Ottawa (for example) can successfully advise on a capital markets deal anywhere. But there is no question that competition for market share in Vancouver is growing among the large Canadian law firms.

At the federal level, a thicket of complex rules and regulations drive banks to seek out expert counsel. Canada’s legal industry is considerably smaller than that of the United States, and it is more common in Canada to encounter lawyers who handle all areas of their firm’s relationships with banks, regulatory as well as transactional.

This is not to say that work on the regulatory side is in short supply. Canada was more fortunate than many countries in the sense that it came through the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, without major banks collapsing or requiring bailouts. Even so, regulators came out with new guidelines in January 2013, with a view to implementing loss absorption mechanisms. The new rules require banks’ capital to convert to common equity should regulators determine that the banks are in a highly distressed situation. Other regulatory responsibilities include compliance with Basel III and detailed derivatives regulations. 

Financial and corporate
Blake Cassels & Graydon

Blake Cassels & Graydon can make the case for being Canada’s most well-rounded and versatile law firm. The firm is among Canada’s leaders for banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, financial services regulatory, M&A, project development and project finance work, and also has a very competitive restructuring and insolvency practice.  

Real estate, energy, oil and gas and retail were key sources of work for Blake’s banking group over the research period.  

In addition to the energy sector, mining and infrastructure were focusses for the firm’s project finance group.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce $750 million 2.7% bond issue 

Choice REIT C$3.9 billion acquisition of Canadian REIT 

ENMAX $959 million acquisition of Emera Maine 

Gordie Howe International Bridge 

Government of Canada C$4.5 billion acquisition of TMEP 

Nouvelle Autoroute 30  

St Barbara $536 million acquisition of Atlantic Gold 

Borden Ladner Gervais

Borden Ladner Gervais most stands out for its project development, project finance and financial services regulatory practices.  

In M&A the firm took on a lot of work in what was a more active Canadian mining sector recently. The M&A team also demonstrated its ability to handle deals in Canada’s cannabis industry.  

The restructuring team worked on a number of cases involving entities from the retail industry.  

The banking team hired partner Benjamin Gross from Quebec firm Lavery Avocats and the capital markets practice added partners Cameron MacDonald and Nav Dhaliwal from Stikeman Elliott and Blake Cassels & Graydon, respectively.   

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Aurora Cannabis C$1.23 billion acquisition of CanniMed Therapeutics 

Cineplex C$800 million financing 

Central 1 Credit Union C$350 million bond issue 

Coast Capital Savings Federal Credit Union C$1.5 billion financing 

FMC $340 million NYSE IPO 

Government of Canada C$4.5 billion acquisition of TMEP 

Pan American Silver $1.7 billion acquisition of Tahoe Resources 

Scotiabank C$2.585 billion acquisition of MD Financial Management 

Cassels Brock & Blackwell

Cassels Brock & Blackwell is active across the financial and corporate space, particularly in M&A and restructuring work.  

In recent banking work the firm worked with both borrowers and lenders in the research period and was active on new money syndicated loans and refinancing. 

In the capital markets area the firm advised on structured finance and private placement note offerings for refinancing, equipment financing and raising capital. 

In investment funds work it advised on private equity fund formation. 

In M&A the firm has clear industry sector strengths in the mining and cannabis industries, acting for buyers and sellers on deals. Highlights saw the firm advising Goldcorp, a large gold producer, in its merger with Newmont Mining Corporation, and extensive work with MedMen Enterprises in an acquisition and notable reverse takeover in the cannabis sector. It also advised on private equity acquisitions (mainly on the sell side) and investments in multiple sectors including lifecycle management software, energy-related technology, and agriculture. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm has been involved in large mandates including restructuring in the oil and gas sector, and has represented multiple companies in the filing of CCAA proceedings, bankruptcy and receivership. 

Internally the firm saw partner changes across several practice areas. Frank Arnone, Michael DeCosimo, Brenda Swick and Daniel Zuniga joined the corporate team from Blake Cassels & Graydon, Borden Ladner Gervais Dickinson Wright and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt respectively, while Eva Bellissimo and Mark Rasile left the firm to join McCarthy Tetrault and Bennett Jones respectively. 

Recent deal data highlights  

•Canopy Growth Corporation C$600 million bond issue  

•Concordia International Corporation $3.7 billion refinancing 

•Connacher Oil and Gas restructuring  

•Goldcorp / Newport Mining Corporation merger 

•MedMen Enterprises $682 million acquisition of PharmaCann 

•Planet Fitness C$1.28 billion refinancing

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg

A very balanced firm, Davies maintains strong banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, M&A, project development, project finance and restructuring and insolvency practices.  

The firm worked with a number of underwriters on equity and debt capital markets deals in industries such as gaming, financial services and cannabis over the research period.  

The capital markets team hired partner Aaron Atkinson from Fasken over the research period.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Aurora Cannabis C$3.2 billion acquisition of MedReleaf 

•Brookfield Infrastructure Partners C$4.3 billion acquisition of Enercare 

•Brookfield Renewable Partners C$750 million investment in TransAlta  

•Constellation Brands C$5 billion investment in Canopy Growth 

•Groupe Michelin C$1.7 billion acquisition of Camso 

•Ipsen $1.31 billion acquisition of Clementia Pharmaceuticals 

•Lions Gate Capital $520 million 5.875% bond issue 

•The Stars Group $950 million secondary offering

Client feedback 

“Great service. Great quality work.” – Banking  

“Strengths: excellent depth of experience to draw on - including project finance, insolvency and insights into regulatory environment for new industry; reliability, availability and quick response time; and pragmatism and creative problem solving. The senior lawyer is always the main contact. Pro-active on many occasions (i.e. in making suggestions), follows up without prompting and excellent at negotiations and other interactions with borrower counsel.” – Banking  

“Davies is an outstanding firm with exceptional lawyers who are very bright and capable. They staff files leanly, which means they are efficient and the whole team is aware of what is happening on the transaction. They also have innovative solutions to complex problems.” – Banking  

“Great firm with strong lawyers.” – Banking  

“Very knowledgeable of cross-border issuance matters, specifically considerations for SEC-registered issuers. Provided practical advice throughout the process and was very commercially focused.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“They provide valuable advice and pay attention to details without getting distracted by them. I wish the agreements were easier to understand for end-users.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Davies (and in particular our lawyer, Olivier Desilets) is always available, tireless and creative, with incredible attention to detail.  More than anything, it has the ability to provide creative solutions to problems.” – Capital markets: Equity 

“Excellent, professional and timely. The firm provides valuable advice and recommendations, meets deadlines and demonstrates genuine concern and care about our file.” – M&A 

“Excellent. High quality, timely and thorough.” – M&A 

“Fantastic.  Always creative, flexible and responsive. Solves issues with creative solutions” –M&A 

“Top shelf legal and strategic advice; organized and efficient; incredibly responsive; impeccable work product; and a team that is deep and works together seamlessly across disciplines.” – M&A 

“Excellent work across all practice areas” – M&A  

“Exceptional performance. The contract negotiations and agreement is completely in line with our expectations. Very satisfied.” – Project development 

“Outstanding. Unparalleled breadth and depth, with a constant focus on what really matters to us.” – Project finance 

“One of the leading firms in the country in all areas. Excellent restructuring and insolvency group. Recognized as a leading practice. Practical and sensible legal advice. Largely cost-effective. Excellent on all matters. Broad depth of expertise can be brought to restructuring mandates.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“The firm's work is the best in the business. Our contacts are readily accessible. We enjoy great creativity from the firm and the counsel forms an integral part of the team in developing and implementing strategies.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Dentons

The Canadian arm of the international firm Dentons is recognised for syndicated lending, capital markets note offerings and restructuring. 

In banking and finance the firm mainly advised on the lender side in acquisition financing, asset-based lending and syndicated and mezzanine credit facilities in the mining, drug manufacturing, waste management and recycling, media, construction and real estate sectors. 

In capital markets work the firm was extremely active in debt and equity offerings, particularly in Canada’s emerging cannabis sector. It mainly advised underwriters in the offerings of fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes; senior high-yield and term notes, subscription receipts, and rate reset preferred shares. It also advised issuers in common share private and public offerings. 

In M&A the firm had large mandates in the agriculture, renewable power and cannabis sectors, working for buyers and sellers. Notable clients include Bayer, Enbridge, Sky Power Global and PharmaCann. 

In restructuring and insolvency the firm advised lending syndicates in cross-border restructurings and advised in Carillion Group companies’ creditors’ arrangement act (CCAA) proceedings. 

In recent staffing changes, Gary Rose, Kevin Rooney, Adam Allouba, Mira Gauvin, Michael Sabusco, Kimberley Burns, Tim Theroux, Rick Skeith, Alex Farcas, Ora Wexler, Grant MacKenzie, James O’Sullivan, Kirsten Thompson, Bennett Wong and Jay Hayden were hired as partners in the research period. In departures, Ray Rutman, Ron Matheson, William Cheung, Dale Skinner and Frank Alexander retired and Trevor Morawski, Cynthia Hickey, Shawna Vogel, Kris Miks, Nicholas Roy, Jay Haugen and Joseph Palin left the firm.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•ARI Financial Services C$600 million financing  

•Carillion Group restructuring 

•Enbridge $750 million bond issue  

•Flexiti Financial C$353 million financing  

•MedMen Enterprises US$682 million acquisition of PharmaCann 

•Poseidon Concepts restructuring  

•Shaw Communications C$1 billion bond issue 

•Wynnchurch Capital C$120 million financing 

Client feedback  

“Thorough analysis of the situation. Very commercial review of issues of concern. Thoughtful consideration of solutions to get things done.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Exceptional depth of knowledge of Canadian law with specific expertise in oil and gas. Additional cross-border capabilities provide balanced solutions for our clients.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Dentons has provided solid legal advice and has focused on being practical and finding solutions which is appreciated.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Very knowledgeable staff who are always ready to help.” – Financial services regulatory  

“I have worked with Dentons (specifically Jay Duffield and Andrew Bourns) on several M&A transactions, several large-scale equity raises, and some structuring of our investment funds. They are dedicated to helping us successfully navigate these transactions to achieve our objectives. They are client focused and have never let me down on a key deliverable or deadline. They also bring a practical approach to risk management which gives me comfort that we're protected but allows us to efficiently conclude these transactions.” – Investment funds  

“We have found Dentons to be highly articulate and professional. They have handled some highly complex M&A cases for us and the team, led by Tim Haney, was outstanding. Very strong and would highly recommend. The firm has some of the best lawyers in the country.” – M&A  

“The Dentons team does an excellent job working with our clients. They provide clear concise feedback to our clients, quickly understand their business and do a good job of focusing on items in a transaction that are a risk to our clients without getting bogged down in minutia. They consistently win concessions for our clients that are critical deal points without slowing the process. Our clients find them trustworthy, honest and fair. The tax team does a good job structuring transactions and have found material tax savings for our clients. They are a great resource and add significant value for our clients. When selecting a firm we want a group that we can have open and honest dialogue with. We want a firm that can understand our clients business and who we can trust to quickly and competently close a transaction. We have never had any issues with Dentons. Negotiations and closings have always gone smoothly and that is a credit to their team. We have had issues with many of the other firms we deal with and that is why we consistently bring work to Dentons.” – M&A  

“The work performed was excellent and of the highest quality. Concerns were answered promptly and appropriately. No weaknesses or negative feedback comes to mind.” – M&A  

“Tim Haney is the lead on our file at Dentons and we have worked together for over 15 years. He brings the best teams to the plate and provides the best service in relation to cost in my experience.” – Real estate  

Fasken

Fasken most stands out for its financial services regulatory, project development, banking and project finance practices. The firm also has strengths in M&A, debt capital markets and restructuring and insolvency too. 

The energy, oil and gas and transportation industries were key sources of work for Fasken’s project finance and project development teams over the research period, with the team frequently representing project developers in all three areas.  

The M&A group added partners Gesta Abols and Gordon Raman from Goodmans and Borden Ladner Gervais, respectively.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Air Canada $2.39 billion acquisition of Aimia’s Aeroplan business 

•Cambrex $425 million acquisition of Halo Pharmaceuticals 

•Desjardins Securities C$800 million 3.056% bond issue 

•First Quantum Minerals C$1.85 billion 6.875% bond issue 

•Muskrat Falls 

•Parmalat C$1.62 billion acquisition of Kraft Heinz Canada’s natural cheese business 

•PSP Capital C$1.25 billion 3% bond issue 

•Zijin Mining C$1.86 billion acquisition of Nevsun Resources 

Client feedback 

“Sharp answers and quick delivery.” – Asset finance 

“Excellent. Great client service and attention to detail.” – Banking  

“Excellent work.” - Banking 

“Generally very good. Works well with borrowers counsel (i.e. isn’t confrontational just for the sake of it). Responsiveness and attention to details occasionally an issue.” – Banking  

“The firm has a strong appreciation of our institution’s documentation standards and takes a pragmatic approach to documentation.” – Banking 

“Excellent work quality, communication and responsiveness to tight timelines.” – Capital markets: Debt 

“Deep knowledge of the regulator and its staff and broad insurance knowledge. However, they lack the intricate knowledge of reinsurance transactions.” – Financial services regulatory 

“Very responsive and high quality work.” – M&A 

“Fasken is a great firm to work with. They are extremely diligent, responsive and thorough.” – M&A 

“Excellent work and support.” – Project development 

“Very impressed with legal counsel Kibben Jackson. One of the best insolvency lawyers in Vancouver.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“The firm's work was top-notch, with relevant advice provided to guide the appropriate in and out of court strategy. The firm's strength was in highlighting risks involved during the ongoing strategy development, allowing them to guide our actions appropriately. I cannot think of any weaknesses on this file.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Excellent service.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Goodmans

Renowned for its restructuring and insolvency practice, Goodmans also has leading M&A and debt capital markets practices, as well as highly competitive banking, equity capital markets and project finance teams.  

The firm’s banking group advised lenders in connection with a number of acquisition financings over the research period, in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, real estate and telecommunications.  

Meanwhile, the capital markets groups were kept busy advising issuers on offerings by several REITs and other real estate entities.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•Brookfield Real Estate Services $80 million financing 

•BSR REIT Toronto Stock Exchange IPO 

•Ceridian HMC NYSE / Toronto Stock Exchange IPO 

•Medical Facilities Corporation $150 million financing 

•Minto Apartment REIT Toronto Stock Exchange IPO 

•Newmont Mining $10 billion acquisition of Goldcorp 

•NorthWest Healthcare $1.2 billion acquisition of Healthscope hospital property assets 

•RioCan REIT C$300 million 3.209% bond issue 

•Searchlight Capital Partners $2 billion acquisition of Mitel Networks

Client feedback 

“Very competent and thorough. Always able to offer creative solutions when the lender and borrower were unable to reach common ground on their own.” – Banking  

“Goodmans provided high quality, efficient and practical counsel at all stages of the project.” – Banking  

“Goodmans were absolutely fantastic.” – Capital markets: Equity 

“Fantastic firm. Top quality in all areas.” – Capital markets: Equity 

“Excellent.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Top notch.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Goodmans has been a great partner in our multi-faceted, large-scale venture, offering carefully considered, timely, and strategic legal advice. We have been pleased with the firm's exceptional roster of senior and junior lawyers who bring a great breadth and depth of knowledge across a range of corporate commercial issues. The Goodmans lawyers with whom we have worked have consistently demonstrated high levels of engagement, responsiveness, industry expertise, and a unique mix of firmness and flexibility which perfectly suits our ever evolving needs. We would highly recommend Goodmans to any company looking for engaged and strategic advisors and look forward to continuing our relationship with the firm.” – Financial services regulatory 

“Excellent work - loved the team and their commitment, creativity and great advice to help us achieve success in a very tricky situation.” – M&A  

“Always thorough and responsive. Well-staffed.” – M&A 

“Great responsiveness and attention to detail.” – M&A 

“Overall, their work was very impressive. The lawyers we engaged on the file (Emily Ting and Jonathan Feldman) were attentive to our needs and knowledgeable about the unique type of deal we were negotiating.” – M&A 

“Highly responsive. Innovative and experienced.” – Private equity 

“Goodmans has a very knowledgeable IT shop that also understands the rules and challenges associated with government procurement. They are incredibly responsive and creative in moving projects forward to completion.” – Project development  

“My experience with Goodmans on the Concordia matter was exceptional. The case was large and multinational with a complex capital structure. The Goodmans team was creative, smart and tireless.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Goodmans is a great law firm. They are responsive, very creative and their work product and advice is uniformly excellent. They are a pleasure and I consider them to be the best restructuring law firm in Canada.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

“Goodmans is still the number one restructuring law firm in the country. They have top quality lawyers and an unmatched strength in depth.” – Restructuring and insolvency 

Dan Dedic 

“Dan is an extremely smart, practical lawyer with a keen sense of the business issues at play, and an eye on getting the deal done efficiently.” 

David Conklin 

“David was fantastic to work with.” 

“Excellent on all counts.” 

Ira Berg 

“Deep knowledge of our organization; responsive; thorough. Very conservative.” 

Jon Feldman 

“A ton of experience. Advocated very hard for our positions. Very responsive.” 

Michael Bertrand 

“Michael is extremely responsive and creative in bringing both sides to a common ground. Very knowledgeable in the corporate finance and banking space.” 

Richard Corley 

“Richard Corley is incredibly knowledgeable and responsive.” 

Rob Chadwick 

“Rob is exceptionally talented - very creative, aggressive in coming up with and pursuing solutions, and a pleasure to work with.” 

“He's a great lawyer. Think very highly of him.” 

“Rob's legal knowledge, deal making skills, ability to deal with difficult situations and people combined with his ability to understand complex financial issues make him the number one restructuring lawyer in Canada.” 

Stephen Pincus 

“A brilliant man and my go-to for challenging deals.” 

“Very good in all aspects.” 

“Excellent.” 

“Stephen Pincus has been an invaluable contributor to our growing success, guiding complex deals and transactions towards conclusion, providing strategic legal direction, and steering his talented team of lawyers through the myriad needs. His work cuts across numerous sectors of our business, to which he consistently brings a great depth of experience, equanimity and creativity.” 

“I have worked with many very good securities and M&A lawyers over the years, and I would rank Stephen right at the top. In addition to an overall very high level of competency, he has a wonderful personality and is fun to work with.” 

McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tetrault is among the most versatile firms in Canada, with leading banking, equity capital markets, financial services regulatory, project development and project finance practices. It also boasts strong debt capital markets, M&A and restructuring and insolvency groups.  

The firm’s project finance group advised lenders in connection with a range of deals, including financing for rail, healthcare and natural gas projects during the last research period.  

The capital markets team was kept busy guiding issuers and underwriters on both debt and equity issuances.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Brookfield Asset Management $4.8 billion acquisition of Oaktree Capital Management 

Brookfield Infrastructure C$4.3 billion acquisition of Enercare 

CCMP Capital Advisors $1 billion acquisition of BGIS 

Constellation Brands $5 billion investment in Canopy Growth 

CPPIB $1.27 billion acquisition of NextEra Energy Partners wind and solar power plant projects 

IPL Plastics Toronto Stock Exchange IPO  

Noverco C$1.12 billion acquisition of Valener 

Stars Group $950 million secondary share offering 

Toronto-Dominion Bank $2 billion 3.35% bond issue

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada

The Canadian branch of Norton Rose Fulbright is active across the financial and corporate space, particularly in project development, capital markets and M&A.  

In banking and finance during the research period the firm advised lenders and borrowers on acquisition and project financings and syndicated and asset-based lending. In project finance the firm mainly advised borrowers. 

In capital markets work the firm advised agents, dealers and issuers in public offerings of high yield, senior and floating rate notes, and common and preferred shares. It also advised a company on the establishment of a new medium term note programme and a concurrent note issuance.  

In M&A the firm advised buyers and sellers in acquisitions, including in outdoor clothing and gear making, cannabis, aviation, and oil and gas and energy sectors. 

In project development the firm advised procurement sponsors, investors, project companies and the Government of Canada on PPP projects in predominately railway and public transit infrastructure. However, it has also advised on renewable energy projects and waste management. 

In restructuring and insolvency it advised as counsel to court-appointed monitors and counsel to the board of directors, debtors and as counsel to the receiver in restructuring and CCAA proceedings, and parallel bankruptcy proceedings. 

Within the firm, Caroline Desbiens joined the firm as of counsel, and both Douglas Buchanan and Kyle Genga joined as partners. 

In departures, Jamie Gagner, Serge Levy, David Millette, Janne Duncan, David Knight, James O’Sullivan and Richard Skeith left the firm and Dawn Whittaker, a senior partner, and partners Samuel Durante, John Carleton, Peter Lockie, Peter Newell, Richard Sutin and Robert Kozlov all retired. 

Recent Deal Data highlights  

•Bausch Health Companies $4.5 billion financing

•Canadian Tire Corporation $985 million acquisition of Helly Hansen 

•City of Ottawa Confederation Line Light Rail Transit project Phase II 

•Essar Steel Algoma restructuring  

•Quebec City public transit network project  

•Réseau express métropolitain (REM) PPP 

•Wolf Midstream C$1.5 billion acquisition of 50% in Stonefell Terminal 

Client feedback 

“Overall very strong performance. Very responsive and solutions-based approach to legal issues. Their international focus is extremely helpful as the trend among our borrowing customers is towards more off-shore operations.” – Banking   

“The firm's work is good. They have a broad range of areas of expertise, and they can be helpful in providing value added strategies.” – Capital markets: Debt  

“Biggest strength of the firm is the multi-jurisdictional capabilities.” – M&A  

“The support and advice provided was exceptional. They are intimately familiar with securities and tax laws. Their advice regarding governance expectations was strong. They have no weaknesses or areas to improve.” – M&A   

“NRF are fantastic - extremely thorough, great experience and very responsive.”  

“Very good.” – Project development   

“The firm is a true multidisciplinary firm; within large-scale P3 projects, advice in many areas is required and almost without exception, NRF has the practice groups to support complex mandates. The P3 team are excellent drivers of the projects, exerting a level of control and accountability which helps to collate the input of any number of owners and advisors feeding into the development of the project. They have become more experienced with transit projects over time in Canada. I would like to see more emphasis on originality; I often feel that they see their role as slightly more about executing direction than originating solutions and ideas that might be perceived as bold.” – Project development  

“Excellent. Great communication and timely advice.” – Project development  

“High degree of subject and procedural knowledge. They are very responsive to client needs and provide creative solutions to issues as they arrive.” – Project development  

“Strengths: excellent quality, adequate turnaround time and excellent technical skills.” – Restructuring and insolvency  

“They were excellent - hard-working, effective, practical and had our best interests at heart.” – Restructuring and insolvency   

“NRF provided excellent litigation, legal and strategic advice. They deserve a great deal of the credit for helping us resolve many thorny issues without requiring long and expensive court proceedings. Additionally, as monitor and in conjunction with our counsel, we write many reports to the Court. I have worked with many law firms and nobody writes better court reports than Evan Cobb at NRF. My one concern would be the depth of the team, but this will not be an issue for long as they have a number of excellent associates coming through the ranks.” – Restructuring and insolvency  

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

Osler is one of the most visible and active firms in Canada, with leading debt capital markets, equity capital markets and M&A practices, and highly competitive banking, project finance, project development, financial services regulatory and restructuring and insolvency practices.  

The firm was active on equity capital markets deals over the research period, advising issuers and underwriters on a number of public offerings.  

The firm’s M&A group received a lot of work from the mining, energy and telecommunications sectors.  

The firm’s capital markets team hired partner Terence Doherty from Stikeman Elliott. Its M&A team added partner Craig Spurn from McCarthy Tetrault.   

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Constellation Brands $5.1 billion investment in Canopy Growth 

Ensign Energy Services $947 million acquisition of Trinidad Drilling 

Hydro One C$1.4 billion bond issue 

Ipsen $1.3 billion acquisition of Clementia Pharmaceuticals 

Morgan Stanley $900 million acquisition of Solium Capital 

Searchlight Capital Partners $2 billion acquisition of Mitel Networks 

South32 C$2.1 billion acquisition of Arizona Mining 

Stars Group $950 million stock offering 

Tilray NASDAQ IPO 

Stikeman Elliott

During the research period in banking and finance Stikeman Elliott advised sponsors, borrowers and lenders in syndicated lending, asset-backed financing, recapitalisation involving new investors, acquisition financing and project financing transactions. 

In capital markets work the firm advised on public offerings of subscription receipts, and acted as counsel to a personal care company in connection to its IPO and a concurrent credit facility.  

Sylvia Avedis left the firm during the research period. 

Recent Deal Data highlights 

•GFL Enviromental C$5.1 billion refinancing  

•Transcontinental C$1.72 billion acquisition of Coveris Americas 

•WSP Global US$1.8 billion financing 

Client Feedback  

“High quality firm. They do outstanding work.” – Banking   

“I have nothing but strong, constructive and positive things to say about Stikeman. Most notably, about D'Arcy Nordick. I would not do nearly as much business or have as much confidence in them if I were not dealing with him.” – Capital markets: Debt   

“Excellent service. Integrated approach with a clear point of contact. Subject matter expertise.” – Capital markets: Debt  

“Fantastic.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“The quality of Stikeman’s work is always excellent. Their deep practice knowledge and relationships with regulators are always helpful.” – Capital markets: Equity  

“Excellent depth of knowledge - both of the regulation and market practice.” – Financial services regulatory   

“Responsive, practical and business oriented with the necessary expertise.” – Financial services regulatory  

“Stikeman is a phenomenal law firm. Their depth of knowledge and experience is unparalleled. They can navigate complex matters and always provide practical advice.” – M&A  

“We work with a strong team at Stikemans under Jeff Singer’s leadership. They provide practical advice because that is what we are looking for. They are good at understanding what advice we need and providing it. Their advice helps us achieve our key goals from the transactions we work with the on.” – M&A  

“Excellent. Very strong, business-oriented advice. Great strength from partner level down to associates. Very efficient at using the right people for the right parts of the deal. Great competition law team providing support to the M&A team.” – M&A  

D'Arcy Nordick 

“Great communicator, extremely knowledgeable and hard working. First class. The best securities lawyer in Canada bar none.” 

Jeff Singer 

“Jeff provides great guidance to his team and to GFL.” 

Peter Castiel 

“A highly trusted business and legal advisor. Understands both sides in a negotiation and very adept at finding win-win solutions to get deals done.” 

Ramandeep Grewal 

“Excellent - detailed, thorough, well-versed in the law and market practice, friendly, intelligent. I could go on.” 

Sean Vanderpol 

“Sean is a skilled technical lawyer and able to give pragmatic, helpful advice.” 

Serge Levy 

“Outstanding lawyer. Great work. Super responsive. Can be counted on the meet deadlines.” 

Sidney Horn 

“Sidney is the brightest and most knowledgeable lawyer I have ever worked with. His innovative problem-solving abilities and his depth of knowledge make him a loyal, strategic advisor and key partner of ours.” 

Torys

A versatile and capable firm, Torys excels in equity capital markets, debt capital markets, M&A, financial services regulatory, project finance and project development, and also has strong banking and restructuring and insolvency groups.  

The M&A team was very active in the financial services and real estate sectors over the course of the research period.  

The capital markets team was busy working with underwriters and issuers across a range of sectors.  

Recent Deal Data highlights 

Bank of Nova Scotia $2.2 billion acquisition of BBVA Chile 

Brookfield Asset Management $11.4 billion acquisition of Forest City 

Brookfield Infrastructure / GIC $6.4 billion acquisition of Genesee & Wyoming  

Brookfield Property Partners $9.25 billion acquisition of GGP 

Choice REIT C$3.9 billion acquisition of Canadian REIT 

Platinum Equity $3.85 billion acquisition of Husky IMS International 

Scotiabank C$1.725 billion secondary share offer