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Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP stands out for the diversity of its infrastructure practice, with its experience acting for a broad spectrum of private and public stakeholders, its national coverage and its record across a comprehensive spread of asset classes distinguishing it from its peers. The team's ability to leverage the wider firm's market-leading corporate finance strength also puts it first in line for secondary market transactions. Among the names to note, Vancouver's Jeffrey Merrick is an 'excellent lawyer’ and, alongside Calgary-based energy expert Mungo Hardwicke-Brown, is advising Shell Canada on the DBO contract for the multibillion-dollar LNG Canada Project. Toronto-based project finance partner Catherine Doyle is another key contact and worked with 'up-and-coming partner’ Vivian Kung, also based in Toronto, to advise EllisDon Infrastructure as the successful proponent on the New Toronto Courthouse DBFM project. On the public sector side, pre-eminent Toronto-based procurement specialist Judy Wilson was selected by the City of Calgary to advise on its C$4.5bn Green Line LRT Project. The group also draws upon the expertise of Montreal-based Alain Massicotte as well as Toronto partners Marianne Smith and Mark Johnson.

A ‘group of superior quality and service’, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP’s ‘indisputably first-tier’ infrastructure practice is a ‘top choice for complex projects’. The Toronto-centred team is highlighted for its ‘deep industry knowledge across all asset classes and jurisdictions’ as well as for its ‘fast, efficient and targeted legal responses’. Among the department’s senior names, the ‘consistently impressive’ Robert Bauer provides ‘efficient advice and direction on any issue presented to him’ and acted for IvanhoĂ© Cambridge in the development of an integrated multi-tower office complex and public transit hub. Gregory Southam, who is ‘simply excellent in all respects’, advised a shortlisted consortium on its bid for the C$2.2bn Gordie Howe International Bridge PPP project. The ‘really impressive’ younger partner William Buchner also attracts praise for his ‘strong knowledge and business understanding’. Buchner led on several highlights over the past year, including advising Plenary Group on the C$685m DBFM contract for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Phase 1C redevelopment project in Toronto and assisting CBCP Limited Partnership with the C$120m DBFM contract for the Corner Brook Long Term Care project in Newfoundland. High-profile finance specialist Carol Pennycook and energy-focused projects partner Nicholas Williams are also highly recommended.

DLA Piper (Canada) LLP is considered by some to be ‘in the top two nationally for transport projects’. In addition, the group’s strong experience in international PPP markets, particularly the UK and the US, combines with the wider firm’s extensive global network to ensure that the Canadian group is a popular choice for cross-border projects, with one client asserting that it is ‘among the best operating in the burgeoning US P3 market’. UK-qualified foreign legal consultant Ian Bendell chairs the group from Toronto and advised the Rideau Transit Group consortium (comprising ACS Infrastructure Canada, SNC-Lavalin Capital and Ellis Don) on the extension of the Confederation Line LRT. In Vancouver, Andrew Burton has a ‘calm, knowledgeable and reassuring presence’ and is able to ‘command the respect of all participants on a deal very quickly’; he represented the design-build joint venture on its successful bid for the LAX Automated People Mover infrastructure project in Los Angeles. On the public sector side, Vancouver-based procurement expert Elizabeth Mayer partnered with Toronto’s Mitchell Mostyn to advise the Province of British Columbia on the C$150m procurement of a DBFM contract for a new court house in Abbotsford. Montreal managing partner Marc Philibert is also noted.

McCarthy TĂ©trault’s projects practice covers all the bases in terms of infrastructure law, with notable expertise in transport, energy and social infrastructure projects. It also sets itself apart through its national breadth, and the sizeable department draws upon well-staffed teams in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. In Toronto, group co-head David Lever advised Bruce Power on certain portions of the construction mandate related to the refurbishment of five nuclear power units at the Bruce Power Generating Station. Ontario managing partner Godyne Sibay is also a key contact in Toronto and advised York University on the extension of the Spadina subway line and stations at York University. In another Toronto office highlight, a team comprising Sibay, real estate partner Tristan Musgrave and counsel Gordon Willcocks advised Infrastructure Ontario and CAMH on construction and procurement matters related to the DBFM contract for the CAMH Phase 1C redevelopment project. In Vancouver, department co-head Linda Brown is held up as a ‘leading projects lawyer’; she recently advised the successful bidder on the Finch West LRT project. Jody Aldcorn and ‘rising star’ Morgan Troke are also recommended in Vancouver, and Mathieu Dubord is a key contact in Montreal. High-profile specialist Byran Gibson QC retired in 2017.

FASKEN’s national projects group, which spans the firm's Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal offices, is adept at advising lenders, developers, contractors and government bodies on infrastructure transactions.  Ella Plotkin leads the infrastructure and PPP group from Toronto and brings to bear a strong record in complex financings; she recently advised the lenders and bondholders on the CAMH Phase 1C redevelopment project. In another Toronto highlight, senior specialist Brian Kelsall and Thomas Barlow advised the Government of Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority on the ongoing Gordie Howe International Bridge project. David Little, who advised Quanta Services and Valard Construction LP on the Fort McMurray West 500-kV transmission project, is a key contact in Vancouver.

The projects team at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP is a ‘well-oiled machine’ and there is a feeling in the market that ‘the firm is beginning to catch up with the best in the field’. Particular praise is reserved for Toronto-based financial services chair Chris Bennett, who is considered by many to be ‘peerless in the project finance space’. Bennett is advising the shortlisted Trillium Link consortium on its bid for Stage 2 of the Trillium Link Extension project. Toronto-based Tobor Emakpor is also highly regarded and with Bennett advised on a string of highlight deals, including advising EllisDon Capital and STRABAG (as lead partners in the Toronto Tunnel Partners consortium) on the C$116.9m Highway 401 Rail Tunnel project. Toronto-based Rocco Sebastiano and Calgary's Lorne Carson are also respected names.

Torys LLP impresses with its ‘clear and strategic advice’ and its ‘robust private and public sector expertise’. Led from Toronto by the ‘very knowledgeable’ Mark Bain, the projects practice benefits from a New York platform and an active presence in the US P3 market. Public sector highlights included Bain advising the Government of the Northwest Territories on the Tlicho All-Season Road PPP. Bain and Daniel Ford also advised the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and Western Regional Health Authority on the Corner Brook Long Term Care project. On the financing front, Ford represented RBC Capital Markets, as the financial adviser, and CIBC World Markets and RBC Dominion Securities, as the underwriters, on the Fort McMurray West 500 kV Transmission project. Tara Mackay, who is based between New York and Toronto, and ‘excellent associate’ Josh Van Deurzen are also noted.

Bennett Jones LLP’s group, which demonstrates ‘broad business acumen and industry knowledge’, ‘excels at achieving fair outcomes for the client’, according to sources. Among the names to note, Toronto-based infrastructure lead Paul Blundy is an ‘infrastructure specialist who is great at solving complex problems’, and Calgary-based capital projects head Jason Roth is a ‘very capable contract development leader’. Highlights included advising Alberta PowerLine on the development of the Fort McMurray West 500 kV transmission project. On the public sector side, it advised the Government of Nunavut on the Iqaluit International Airport improvement project.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP leverages its signature construction practice to specialise in advising project sponsors on infrastructure development and it is also well known for its close links to local authorities. The diverse group also routinely advises lenders, multilateral agencies and development banks on the full spread of infrastructure projects, with notable skill sets in transportation, energy, natural resources, social infrastructure and utilities. In Vancouver, senior infrastructure partner Robert Shouldice and PPP lead Douglas Sanders are the key names, and, in Toronto, construction specialist Richard Shaban is recommended.

Gowling WLG’s practice, which is weighted evenly between private and public sector work, is led jointly from Toronto by Ted Betts and Darryl Brown. Merie-Anne Beavis and Lindsay Wong are also recommended in Toronto and together advised the sponsors (Infrastructure Ontario and Sinai Health Systems) on Sinai Health System's Phase 3A redevelopment project at Mount Sinai Hospital. Luc Lissoir, who brings to bear a strong record in transport projects, is a key contact in Montreal.

McMillan LLP’s infrastructure expertise spans the full life cycle of procurement, project finance, project development and secondary market activity. Recent highlights include advising Scotiabank on the financing of the C$128.5m Cooksville Station redevelopment project. Timothy Murphy and Peter Willis chair the project finance and infrastructure groups from Toronto. Candy Saga is a senior name in Vancouver.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s national practice is a force in Vancouver, which is the seat of sought-after national Group head Greg Lewis QC, who is ‘consistently open to debate and always calm, cool and curious’. James LeMoine, also in Vancouver, is an ‘excellent lawyer’ and advised a transit authority on a line extension project. In Montreal, senior sector specialist Robert Bordaus and Alain Ricard acted for an infrastructure client regarding a light rail project. Ottawa’s Geoffrey G. Gilbert and Vancouver’s Matt Mulligan are also recommended.

Stikeman Elliott LLP’s diverse national practice has had recent strong showings in the transport, social infrastructure and energy sectors. Vancouver-based Jamie Templeton, who leads the PPP and infrastructure group, is a ‘leading lawyer in this space’ and advised the lenders on the Capital Regional District’s C$126.8m Residuals Treatment Facility project. In Montreal, Erik Richer La FlĂšche advised Veolia Energy Canada on the reorganization of the design and construction of the second phase of the Centre hospitalier de l'UniversitĂ© de MontrĂ©al PPP. Montreal-based Maxime Turcotte is also noted.

Toronto-based Aird & Berlis LLP possesses a sophisticated infrastructure practice, which is routinely instructed by both private and public sector participants on procurement, finance and development issues. Douglas Younger, who chairs the group, and Heidi Visser are the key contacts; together they advised an Ontario regional government on the procurement of a waste management processing system.

Among Dentons’ recent highlights, Vancouver-based department co-chair John Haythorne advised Vancouver Fraser Port Authority on the C$454m Centerm Expansion Project. In Montreal, Anca Neacsu and Mathilde Carriùre are advising ENGIE Services, as operation and maintenance provider in a consortium, on the Ohio State University energy project. Montreal-based Ilan Dunsky and Toronto-based Michael Ledgett chair the group.

British Columbia’s Farris LLP has a pedigree for projects and infrastructure deals, with its experience in transport projects impressing in particular. Vancouver-based senior counsel Michael Allen has a well-established reputation in the area and Maria McKenzie, also based in Vancouver, is another key name; together they led the firm’s advice to the lenders on the New Toronto Courthouse project.

Goodmans houses a solid public sector-side practice, which is commended for its ‘specialist, thoughtful and timely advice’ — it also acts for private sector clients. Real estate partner Ira Berg heads the PPP and procurement groups and continues to advise Ontario Lottery and Gaming on the modernization of gaming in Ontario. The firm has also recently undertaken work for Ontario Power Generation, Infrastructure Ontario and SkyPower Global.

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