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

One of Canada’s Seven Sisters firms, very few others in the country can lay claim to the kind of versatility and dynamism Blakes can. The firm places in the first tier almost unanimously, only ranking outside it for restructuring, where the firm is in tier two.  

Blakes’ banking team worked on a range of notable financing deals, with many connected to deals for energy and oil and gas companies. In one highlight, the team advised Cenovus Energy with regards to its bridge facility for the acquisition of ConocoPhillips assets.  

The capital markets team advised issuers and underwriters on a number of notable offerings. Like the banking team, the capital markets group was kept busy by deals related to the oil and gas industry, such as client Kinder Morgan Canada’s IPO.  

The agribusiness, oil and gas and real estate sectors were some big sources of business for Blakes’ M&A team this past year. One of the standout deals from the real estate sector came in connection with Choice Properties’ acquisition of client Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust (CREIT).  

In addition to oil and gas projects, the project development group worked on several high profile transportation projects. One such project was the city of Calgary’s Green Line LRT project, which Blakes is advising Calgary on.  

Among the deals the restructuring team handled, one that stands out is the restructuring of Blakes’ client the Carillion Canada Group.  

The M&A team added partners Noralee Bradley and Alex Moore from Osler Hoskin & Harcourt and Davies Ward Philipps & Vineberg, respectively.  

Meanwhile, the project development practice added Sam Adkins as partner and Chris Gaffney as counsel.  

Some of the firm’s key clients were Kinder Morgan Canada, Agrium and Cenovus Energy. 

Borden Ladner Gervais

Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG) has its main strengths in project finance, project development and financial services regulatory. The firm also operates competitive M&A, restructuring and banking practices.  

One the banking team’s highlight deals came from advising construction equipment distributor Finning International in connection with an amendment and restatement of a credit facility.  

BLG’s capital markets group advised issuers on a number of significant offerings. Many of the firm’s clients came from the financial services sector, such as TD Securities and Cantor Fitzgerald.  

The mining and manufacturing industries were two big sources of work for BLG’s M&A team. The group also received business from Canada’s emergent cannabis sector in the form of Aurora Cannabis’ acquisition of CanniMed Therapeutics. BLG advised CanniMed’s board of directors on the transaction.  

The project development team handled an array of transactions in the hydroelectric power and transportation sectors. In one highlight from the transportation sector, the team advised TransLink with regards to all matters relevant to its new light rail rapid transit project in Surrey, British Columbia.  

One highlight from the restructuring team came from representing KPMG as court-appointed liquidator for Maple Bank.  

The banking team hired Christine Mason as partner from Gowling WLG. Meanwhile, the project development group added partner Sarah Bird.  

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada, National Bank of Canada, the City of Ottawa and Grant Thornton were among BLG’s key clients in this research period. 

Client feedback

"The lawyers on our file are knowledgeable, experienced and responsive. They not only understand the law but they have a keen knowledge of our business and help us navigate the ever-changing landscape of regulatory, compliance and the marketplace." - Regulatory

Cassels Brock & Blackwell

A standout firm in M&A and restructuring and insolvency, Cassels Brock & Blackwell also excels in banking and project development. 

The M&A group was busy in many sectors, including natural resources, insurance, technology, pharmaceuticals and aviation. The firm acted for Forsythe Technology on its acquisition by Sirius Computer Solutions.  

One highlight deal in the restructuring and insolvency space came from acting for Deloitte Restructuring in connection with the ongoing liquidations of the Maple Bank group in Canada and Germany, which includes administering cross-border claims.  

In the banking practice, one highlight came from representing Stantec in connection with obtaining a syndicated credit facility. 

In the project development area, the firm acted for Canada on a secured credit wrap basis for the lower Churchill Hydroelectric development in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia. Overall, the deal comprised four projects.  

In terms of attorney moves, the banking practice area added partners Charles Rich from Dentons Canada and Mark Rasile from Bennett Jones. Partners Mary Buttery and Lance Williams, both joined the restructuring and insolvency team from DLA Piper 

Some of the firm’s key clients were Berkshire Hathaway, Luxemburg Investment, Kayne Anderson Real Estate, Trevali Mining Corporation, Yamana Gold and Grant Thornton.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg

A well-balanced firm, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg has practices that place in the second tier in six of the seven practice areas IFLR1000 ranks in Canada.  

Davies’ banking group advised both borrowers and lenders on a variety of large acquisition financings. In one highlight, the team represented the lenders that financed the cash portion of Metro’s acquisition of Jean Coutu Group.  

The capital markets team represented issuers and underwriters on a number of significant debt offerings. The food and beverage sector was an important source of clients for the Davies team, including client McDonald’s, which made a private placement of notes in Canada.  

Davies’ project development group worked on a high number of deals in the healthcare and transportation sectors. One of the healthcare industry deals saw Davies advise the Plenary Group on the Phase 1C redevelopment of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.  

One highlight from the restructuring team came from representing the United Steelworkers Union (USW) in connection with US Steel Canada’s restructuring.  

Some of Davies' key clients from the past year were the National Bank of Canada, Alimentation Couche-Tard, the Bank of Montreal and the City of Toronto. 

Client feeedback

"Excellent service. Very responsive without hurting the quality of work. Looks at big picture." - Banking 

"Professional advice given on a timely basis, highly responsive service, integrated problem-solving, rapid turnaround on documents, broad-based and cross-disciplinary reviews." - Banking, M&A 

"Very strong team. One of the very best firms I have ever encountered. Efficient, fully knowledgeable, decisive. No known weaknesses." - M&A, regulatory

"Among the best in the business.  Very dependable and reliable." - M&A, regulatory

"Excellent first tier firm. Very strong securities/M&A and regulatory lawyers." - M&A, regulatory  

"The firm stands for quality and knowledge of the market. We have always been highly impressed by their service level." - M&A 

Dentons

Dentons is a well-rounded firm, with particularly strong restructuring and insolvency, project finance and financial services regulatory practices. In addition, the firm is very active in banking, capital markets and M&A. 

A standout deal in the restructuring and insolvency space came from representing Montréal Maine & Atlantic board members and other stakeholders in connection with insolvency proceedings arising from the derailment of 72 tanker cars carrying Bakken crude oil through eastern Quebec. The matter is still ongoing. 

On the capital markets side, the firm was active in the full range of services, with emphases on sectors such as energy infrastructure, power, mining, oil and gas. One equity highlight came from advising BMO Nesbitt Burns as the leader of a syndicate of underwriters:the firm advised the underwriters with respect to an offering of fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes by Enbridge. 

In the M&A practice, one highlight came from representing Shaw communication on selling its wholly-owned subsidiary ViaWest to GI Partners’ portfolio company Peak 10 Holding 

A standout deal in the banking area was to advise a bank as agent for a syndicate of approximately 20 banks that provided a credit facility to Element Financial Corporation (subsequently renamed Element Fleet Management Corp).  

In terms of attorney moves, the banking practice area lost partner Charles Rich, who joined Cassels Brock. In addition, partners Gary Cochrane and Scott Sangster left Dentons’ banking group and moved to Fasken.  

There was a lot of movement at Dentons’ capital markets practice, with the addition of partners Eric Foster from Torys, George Tai from Carscallen and Vitale Santoro from Blakes. However, the capital markets team also lost several partners: Tim Banks joined Amazon Web Services, Ryan Chalmers joined Aird & Berlis, Maxime Cloutier joined Karambatsos, Craig McDougall joined Felesky Flynn, Shawna Vogel joined Katz Group, Allen Garson joined IMCO, Jay Haugen started his own practice and Trevor Korsrud started his own business, Jason Saltzman joined Gowling, Corey MacKinnon went to JD Irving and, finally, Patrick Burgess became consulting legal counsel at Environmental Refueling System.  

Meanwhile, the M&A practice area acquired a considerable numberof partners over the course of the research cycle. Adam Allouba was hired from BCF, Mira Gauvin from Gowling, Bennett Wong from Gowling, Kip Daechsel from McMillanan, Michael Sabusco from Norton Rose and Grant MacKenzie from Burnet Duckworth & Palmer. The group also lost Bruce MacPhail.   

The restructuring and insolvency team made the addition of partner Tom Gusa, who left Miller Thomson and lost David LeGeyt who moved to BDP.  

Some of the firm’s key clients were Capital Power, TD Securities, Clementia Pharmaceuticals, Wilmington Trust, National Association and Royal Bank of Canada.  

Client feedback

"Technically brilliant, great deal managers and easy to work with." - Banking 

"Experienced lawyers and pragmatic approach. Legal fees can be higher than mid-size firms." - Banking 

"Knowledgeable, attentive, bright, entrepreneurial and solution focused." 

"The team at Dentons provides valuable insight with a high level of customer service. The firm is responsive and timely." - Banking 

"Excellent match." - Banking

"Dentons provides a very high quality of work. Their depth of knowledge is impressive, and they apply it using clear communications and practical advice. They have an excellent international network which is valuable to us." - Banking

"Knowledgeable, responsive, strategic and all around great to work with." - Restructuring 

"Dentons has a strong team in Canada.  We have used their lawyers in a number of provinces.  We also draw on the firm's global presence in those situations where our clients are seeking expansion outside Canada and the US." - Banking

Fasken

Fasken stands out for its project finance, project development, banking and financial services regulatory practices, all of which place in the second tier. The firm also has strong M&A, capital markets and restructuring groups.  

The firm’s banking team guided borrowers and lenders on a range of financings, including a high number of deals in the mining sector.   

The capital markets team also handled a lot of work for the mining sector, including client First Quantum Minerals’ bond offering. The capital markets team also worked on notable equity deals. Among these were the IPO by cannabis company MedReleaf where Fasken advised GMP Securities as co-lead underwriter and sole bookrunner.  

The mining and real estate sectors were main sources of activity for the M&A team. In one standout deal, Fasken advised OneREIT on its acquisition by SmartREIT and Strathallen Acquisitions.  

The firm’s project finance group handled a bevy of deals related to the healthcare sector.  

The real estate sector also made up a significant amount of the work that Fasken’s restructuring group undertook over the past year, in addition to the retail sector.  

Fasken’s banking team expanded over the past year with the additions of partner Brent Clark from Miller Thomson and of partners Gary Cochrane and Scott Sangster from Dentons.  

Meanwhile, the capital markets team hired partner Anne-Marie Naud from McCarthy Tétrault and the M&A group added Janet Howard as counsel.  

Fasken’s key clients included National Bank Financial Markets, the Bank of Nova Scotia, Richmont Mines, and Toronto-Dominion Bank.  

In February 2018, Fasken opened a new office in Surrey, British Columbia, giving the firm a total of 10 offices. 

Client feedback

"One of our 'go-to' firms. A strong and deep team of PPP specialists, equally at home in the US and Canada." - Project finance, project development

"Excellent client service levels. Consistency amongst partners. Quick turnaround of work." - Banking, project finance

"The team at Faskens is extremely knowledgeable about mining, and have been one of the dominant firms serving lenders to that sector for many years now. As a result, the team is fully aware of market norms and recent precedents with respect to structure and documentation. This allows for a more streamlined and efficient process to get a deal structured, documented, and closed. The team is highly responsive regardless of time of day and consistently deliver on timelines committed to." - Banking

"Excellent practitioners. Thorough and responsive. Drafts documents to capture the spirit of the transaction. Highly recommended." Banking, restructuring

"Good people. Responsive. Know the law that they need to deal with, and if they don't know the law then they bring in the appropriate resource from their firm." - Banking

Goodmans

One of Canada’s leading firms, Goodmans ranks in the first tier for its M&A, restructuring and capital markets practices. The firm also places in the second tier for its banking and project finance groups.  

The banking team worked with borrowers and lenders on a range of deals, including a significant number of acquisition financings and refinancings. In one highlight deal, Goodmans advised lender Morgan Stanley in connection with HUB International’s refinancing.  

The capital markets team worked on a number of deals connected to REITs and SPACs, including Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corporation’s IPO. Goodmans advised underwriter Canaccord Genuity on the offering.  

The lottery and energy sectors were among the main sources of work for Goodmans’ project finance team over the past year.  

Goodmans’ restructuring group handled a number of the most significant Canadian restructuring deals over the course of the past year. In one highlight, the team advised pharmaceutical company Concordia International in connection with its CBCA proceedings.  

Goodmans’ M&A team added partner Jamie Firsten from Cassels Brock & Blackwell.  

Some of Goodmans’ key clients from the past year included Northwest Healthcare Properties REIT, Kew Media Group and the Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation.

Client feedback

"Excellent. Very deep bench. Very commercial." - Restructuring

"Very responsive, knowledgeable and strong in their field, with enough depth to answer a broad set of corporate needs." - M&A

"Excellent technical knowledge combined with good business judgement." - Banking, capital markets

"Based on the law firms that I have worked with to-date, Goodmans is by far the best firm from a value perspective. Aside from the strong competence and personable nature of the individuals at Goodmans, the firm 'gets it.'" - Banking

"Exceptional law firm with excellent counsel in all key aspects of expertise we require." - Restructuring

"Very good depth." M&A, capital markets

"Goodmans has by far the best restructuring practice in Canada. Unparalleled. No other firm in Canada is even close." - Restructuring

"Super bright lawyers. Pragmatic and intensely detailed." - M&A

"Responsive, thoughtful and practical." - Regulatory 

Dennis Beker

"Dennis Beker is much more junior, but a rising star."

Robert Chadwick

"He is likely the most innovative transactional lawyer I have seen in any market. He is a tireless advocate for his clients and a strong business advisor, as well as a legal advisor."

"Best."

Jeffrey Citron

"Outstanding client relations management and one point of contact for all your corporate needs."

Caroline Descours

"She is developing into a market leader and she is highly respected for her work."

William Gorman & Ali Mirsky

"On the securities side, Bill Gorman and Ali Mirsky have been great partners, offering important perspective, leveraging key relationships and consistently demonstrating steadfastness and agility."

Neill May

"He does excellent regulatory and corporate work."

Joseph Pasquariello

"Well-balanced between tough and practical. Very quick on his feet."

Stephen Pincus

"Excellent skills and strategy."

"He is one of the best lawyers I have ever dealt with and he is a strong and effective leader of his team."

"Very experienced." 

"Excellent."

"Very experienced, amazing counsel, has earned my deep loyalty."

"He has been an invaluable part of our legal team, shepherding complex deals and transactions towards conclusion, providing strategic legal direction and steering his talented team of lawyers through our myriad needs. He offers strong and unique insight and guidance."

Kirk Rauliuk

"Kirk Rauliuk is more junior than Stephen Pincus but well on his way to being his successor." 

Celia Rhea

"Celia Rhea and Samantha Reburn are our lead M&A lawyers and have both brought incredible experience, fastidiousness, forward and strategic thinking and equanimity to every transaction. Our last acquisition was especially complex, and required extreme diligence, care and creative strategising, all of which Celia and Samantha demonstrated in spades."

Gale Rubenstein

"Exceptional- there is nothing more to say."

Jaclyn Seidman

"Great knowledge of our business. Strong technical legal knowledge. Ability to balance business needs vs potential risk (and communicate risks). Not a 'yes-man/woman,' but provides true value to our business."

McCarthy Tétrault

One of the most balanced and consistently exceptional firms in Canada, McCarthy Tétrault ranks in the first tier for banking, project development and project finance.  The firm also places in the second tier for M&A, capital markets and restructuring.  

The banking team advised borrowers and lenders in connection with a range of significant transactions. One highlight for McCarthy came from advising the lenders with regards to the financing for private equity firm Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of payments technology company D+H.  

The capital markets team was kept occupied with a number of IPOs, including client Jamieson Wellness’. The team also advised Jamieson Wellness on a secondary offering.  

The oil and gas and technology sectors were among the biggest sources of business for McCarthy over the past year. In one standout deal, the firm represented Parkland Fuel on its acquisition of Chevron Canada’s downstream fuel business.  

The project finance group worked with a wide range of clients, including on multiple deals related to airport development.  

One of the highlights for the restructuring group came in connection with Pacific Exploration and Production’s CCAA proceedings. McCarthy represented shareholder the O’Hara Administration Company in the proceedings.  

McCarthy’s M&A group made a number of additions over the past year, hiring partners Jason Gudolfsky and Deborah Salzberger from Blakes, partner Eva Bellissimo from Cassels Brock & Blackwell, partner Cameron Hughes from Dentons, partner Daye Kaba from Fasken, partner Shevaun McGrath from Goodmans and partner Robert Richardson from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC).  

The firm’s key clients included the Bank of Montreal (BMO), Stelco and Toronto Dominion Bank. 

McMillan

A standout firm in financial services, McMillian is well-balanced across multiple practice areas. The firm is also strong in banking, capital markets, project development, project finance, restructuring and insolvency and M&A.  

A highlight deal in the financial services practice area was to act as lead counsel for CCL Industries in connection with a term loan from a syndicate of banks that was led by Bank of Montreal.  

In the capital markets space, the firm worked in a range of industries, including natural resources, automotive, technology and manufacturing. A standout deal was to act for RBC Capital Markets in Tricon Capital Group’s acquisition of Silver Bay Realty Trust.  

In banking, the team acted as counsel to administrative and collateral agent Wilmington Savings Fund Society in connection with a credit facility arrangement made between borrower Staples Canada ULC and a syndicate of lenders. The deal was made concurrently with the acquisition of Staples by Sycamore Partners and Staples making a separate ABL facility with another lending syndicate.  

One highlight deal in M&A was to provide counsel to Waterous Energy Fund on its acquisition of a 67% ownership stake in Northern Blizzard Resources.  

A standout deal in the project development practice area came from representingCIBC Asset Management as the bondholder on financing the new Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Centre Wellington, Ontario.  

In the restructuring and insolvency area, the firm acted as counsel to KPMG in its capacity as monitor of Walter Energy Canada Holdings and its subsidiaries.   

In the financial services area, the firm added partner James Sutcliffe from Lawson Lundell. Partners Michael Burns from Borden Ladner Gervais and Leila Rafi from McCarthy Tétrault joined the capital markets group, while the capital markets group lost Markus Koehnen, who was appointed a judge of the Superior Court Justice in Ontario. In the banking area, partner James Sutcliffe joined the firm. Vicki Tickle from Fasken Martineau DuMoulin joined the firm’s restructuring and insolvency practice.  

Key clients included Royal Bank of Canada, BMO Capital Markets, Aurora Cannabis, Amarc Resources, Norsat International and KPMG. 

Client feedback

"A great firm. Advice is always practical and smart. They are masters of negotiation, strategy and approach. Deep expertise and bench strength. Always willing to help - even off the clock. Great value for money, compared to their peers. Consistently exceed expectations. Clear communication - never surprises." - Banking 

"The firm delivers timely advice, services and products. The deliverables always demonstrate a deep understanding of the issues from both business and legal perspectives. The firm goes above and beyond to provide proactive advice of current prevailing issues that may affect our business. At times, it seems that too many resources get involved in the file." - Banking 

"Very aware of our bank's business needs and tailors their advice and actions to suit those." - Banking 

"Knowledgeable, concise, available, business orientated, client orientated, out of the box thinkers." - Restructuring and insolvency  

"Well rounded team focused on practical solutions. Experienced advice and efficient service." - Project finance 

"Solid knowledge of mining related transactions." - Banking

Pat Forgione

"He has sector expertise and in-debate knowledge of bank financing. He provides excellent customer service and is very responsive. He always puts the bank first in his dealings with the other side."

Julie Han

"She is excellent. A hard worker. Very respectful of client."

Michael Hanlon

"Demonstrates a deep understanding of insolvency law and guides accordingly. Is responsive to the tone our organisation. Decides to take on a file and acts accordingly. Understands our sensitivities and manages/finds solutions accordingly."

Adam Maerov

"Very customer-focused, hands-on and solution-oriented."

Kathy Martin

"Good understanding of mining transactions."

Tim Murphy

"Excellent knowledge and expertise. Practical. Excellent client skills. Good network and excellent knowledge of governmental  environment. Loyal and transparent."

Leila Rafi

"She's excellent. She is very customer-focused and strives to provide the best execution possible."

Tushara Weerasooriya

"She's a pleasure to work with - smart, approachable, confident, great negotiator. Deep expertise and has a market perspective we find extremely valuable."

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada

Norton Rose Fulbright’s top practice is its M&A group. In addition, the firm excels in banking, capital markets, financial services regulatory, project development, project finance and restructuring and insolvency. 

A standout deal for the M&A practice came from representing the board of directors of Agrium (now Nutrien) on its merger with fellow fertilizer company Potash. 

In the banking practice area, one highlight was advising RBC Capital Markets and BofA Merrill Lynch on the financing for Maxar Technology’s acquisition of DigitalGlobe.  

On the debt capital markets side, the firm advised Valeant Pharmaceuticals International on its US and Canadian private placements of its 6.5% senior secured notes and its 7% senior secured notes.    

On the equity capital markets side, the firm advised engineering company SNC-Lavalin Group in connection with a public offering of 15,550,000 subscription receipts and the private placement of 7,775,000 subscription receipts. 

In the regulatory space, the group worked on many significant deals. Among others, the team conducted a review and update of the Canadian legal and regulatory requirements as part of an ongoing compliance review in connection with the Canadian branch of Wells Fargo.  

A standout deal in project development came from advising CDPQ Infra - a subsidiary of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec dedicated to the development of infrastructure - in connection with the Réseau express métropolitain (REM) project, an automated light-rail transportation system in the Greater Montreal area.  

One highlight for the project finance team wasadvising Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) on the development of the Fort McMurray West 500-kV transmission project that will allow more power to flow in and out of the Fort McMurray area in Alberta.  

In the restructuring and insolvency practice area, the group advised Pacific Exploration and Production (now Frontera Energy), a petroleum explorationand production company with strong focuses on Colombia and Peru’s markets. The firm advised Frontera in connection with the restructuring of its debt and other liabilities.  

Client feedback

"The quality of their services, the client experience, and team's level of expertise are always flawless." - Capital markets 

"Very strong and practical team - consistent across various specialty areas." - M&A 

"Strong P3 experience and broad international bench strength in order to deal with complex and unique problems." - Project development 

"Highly knowledgeable and readily available with appropriate attention to timelines." - Regulatory

"Strengths - legal advice (on point, timely, in respect of budgets and overall goals); client service is wonderful (relationship development, management of relationship, acting in best interest); innovative solutions (regulatory, tax, project development and other)." - Project development

"The firm has deep connections to the 'right' people, [which is helpful] in negotiations and discussions as you need to be speaking with the highest level of people possible. Additionally because the firm works for many large clients they have a strong base of precedent -- it is rare that they wouldn't have seen something before." - Banking

"They forge strong client relationships, are accessible and responsive. They are subject matter experts who provide solutions and oriented advice." - Banking

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt stands out most for its tier one M&A and capital markets practices. However, the firm’s restructuring, project finance, project development, banking and financial services regulatory groups all place in the second tier, giving the firm incredible depth.  

Osler’s banking team worked with both borrowers and lenders in connection with a number of high-profile acquisition financings. In one highlight deal, Osler advised the lenders and underwriters on the financing for Washington Companies’ LBO of Dominion Diamond.  

Meanwhile, the capital markets team spent a good portion of the past year advising underwriters on some of Canada’s most meaningful IPOs. Among the IPOs the firm worked on was Canada Goose’s. The clothing company listed on both the TSX and NYSE.  

In the M&A space, Osler handled a large number of transactions in the real estate and energy sectors.  

The energy and rail industries were big sources of work for Osler’s project development team. One highlight saw Osler advise Mobilinx consortium on its bid for the Hurontario Light Rail Transit project in Mississauga, Ontario.  

The restructuring team was kept busy working on deals in the retail sector, including for clients Sears Canada and Payless ShoeSource Canada.  

Osler’s banking team hired partner Lisa Mantello from Goodmans, while the capital markets group added partner Trevor Scott from Farris Vaughn Wills & Murphy. The M&A team also made additions: the firm hired partner Lynne Lacoursière from Torys and Andre Perey from Blakes. Finally, Randal Van de Mosselaer joined Osler’s restructuring practice as a partner from Norton Rose Fulbright.  

Osler’s key clients from the past 12 months included BMO Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and Hydro One. 

Stikeman Elliott

Stikeman Elliott excels in a number of areas, with first tier rankings for its capital markets and M&A practices, and second tier rankings for its banking, project finance, project development, financial services regulatory and restructuring groups.   

Stikeman’s banking team worked on a number of significant financings, including representing Hudson’s Bay Company in connection with amendments to its asset-based revolving credit facilities.  

The capital markets team advised issuers and underwriters on a number of large debt and equity offerings, including client Canada Goose on its secondary offering.  

A significant portion of the M&A team’s work came from the technology, mining and telecommunications sectors. In one highlight from Canada’s emerging cannabis sector, Stikeman advised Aphria on its proposed acquisition of Nuuvera.  

In the restructuring space, Stikeman worked on several deals that involved the retail and steel industries. One highlight for the team came from advising Essar Steel Algoma on its Chapter 15 restructuring.  

Water treatment, transportation and renewable energy were sectors that kept Stikeman’s project development team occupied during the past year. In the water treatment space, one deal that Stikeman worked on involved advising the lenders for the consortium that won the bid for the CRD Residuals treatment facility.  

Some of Stikeman’s key clients included Yellow Pages, CIBC, Dominion Diamond and Ernst & Young. 

Client feedback

"An extremely qualified law firm. They offer full advice and support in all stages of the development of our projects." Project development, project finance

"Very strong in M&A and securities. Very responsive and excellent service." - M&A, capital markets

"We particularly appreciate the team approach to managing files and the pragmatic advice both on the legal and practical issues relates to our acquisitions." - M&A

"An experienced team of professionals providing high-class client service and creativity to problem solving." - Banking 

Alethea Au

"She is an amazing technology, corporate and securities lawyer - fantastic to work with. Knows her stuff through and through and always gets great results for her clients." 

Marc Barbeau

"He is truly a strategic advisor, beyond a legal advisor. He is a great technician but also knows the market and the local environment very well."

David Byers

“He is one of the top five restructuring lawyers in the country.”

"He is a leading senior practitioner. Reasonable, strategic and respected."

Curtis Cusinato

“Incredibly brilliant. A true business advisor.” 

Alix d'Anglejan-Chatillon

"Has excellent knowledge."

Ron Ferguson

“He provides great access to the resources of his firm. He is energetic, maintains a high standard and easy to work with for both his clients and their counter parties. He is pragmatic and knowledgeable. We have a very high regard for his work.” 

Raman Grewal

"She is extremely good and wonderful to work with." 

Tim McCormick

“Excellent - very responsive.  Very knowledgeable regarding securities and transactions. Good client skills.”

Dana Porter

"5 star!" 

Darin Renton

"He is an excellent resource."

Erik Richer La Fléche

“Absolutely the kind of lawyer everybody needs.”

Jeffrey Singer

"He is very knowledgeable. Good facilitator and negotiator."

Sean Vanderpol

“Strong corporate and securities lawyer - extremely knowledgeable of both the law and market practice.”

Torys

Torys excels in the project finance, project development, financial services regulatory, M&A and capital markets spaces, all practice areas that the firm ranks in the first tier for. In addition, Torys places in the second tier for banking and restructuring.  

The healthcare, oil and gas and mining sectors were important sources of work for the firm’s banking team. In one highlight from the mining world, Torys represented lender Orion Mine Finance on the financing it provided for borrower Leagold’s acquisition of Los Filos’ Mexican mining operations.  

In the capital markets space, the team worked with underwriters and issuers on a number of significant deals, particularly on the debt side. One standout transaction came from advising Manulife Financial on a notes offering.  

Torys’ M&A group handled many of the most publicised and interesting deals in Canada over the past year, including a number of transactions from the real estate, financial services and oil and gas sectors. In one highlight, the team advised Choice Properties on its acquisition of Canadian Real Estate Investment Trust’s assets.  

The project development team worked with a range of clients in energy and oil and gas sectors, as well as in the utilities sector.  

The Canadian restructuring team worked on an array of deals that involved US Chapter 11 and Canadian CCAA proceedings. Among the many deals the team worked on was client Home Capital Group’s emergency restructuring. Part of the restructuring included securing a loan from the Health Care of Ontario Pension Plan. 

Torys' key clients over the past year included Royal Bank of Canada, Fairfax Financial Holdings, Bank of Montreal, and Home Capital Group.