Firms To Watch: Restructuring and insolvency

Aird & Berlis LLP's team advises a range of clients including bondholders, financial institutions and purchasers. Expertise includes reorganisations, CCAA proceedings and work-outs.

Restructuring and insolvency in Canada

Lenczner Slaght

Lenczner Slaght fields a dedicated restructuring and insolvency team, with a wealth of litigation expertise. Its wide scope of knowledge benefits clients seeking advice on bankruptcies, creditors’ rights and receiverships. Both Matthew Lerner and Monique Jilesen lead the practice from Toronto. Delna Contractor and Christopher Yung were both promoted to partner in January 2022.

Practice head(s):

Matthew Lerner; Monique Jilesen

Key clients

The Board of Governors of Laurentian University

G2S2 Capital Inc

Canopy Growth Corporation

Carillion

CBRE DRET Custodian I B.V., CBRE DHC Den Haag (Grote Marktstraat V) B.V., CBRE DHC Maastricht (Grote Staat V) B.V., (“CBRE”)

Various Stakeholders – several Real Estate Brokers, Agents and Investors concerning the insolvency of several Cresford projects.

Metro360 / Creditor claim in CCAA proceeding

Michael Newman

Ernst & Young Inc.

The Milky Whey, Inc.

Cameron Stephens Mortgage Capital Ltd.

Zurich Insurance Company re: Bondfield Construction

Work highlights

    Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

    The nationwide practice at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP advises both debtors and lenders. The team is equipped to oversee restructuring and insolvency matters across an array of sectors such as energy, mining, real estate, retail and cannabis. Insolvency expert Pamela Huff heads the practice from Toronto while co-heads include Peter Rubin, Kelly Bourassa and Bernard Boucher who practice from Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal respectively. Rubin has represented clients in all levels of Court in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, in addition to the SCC. Bourassa is acclaimed for her knowledge of restructuring matters, having acted as lead counsel to stakeholders such as Bellatrix Exploration. Bouchers is noted for his advisory to financial institutions and trustees in bankruptcy proceedings. Mention is also given to Linc Rogers whose expertise includes both domestic and cross-border insolvency matters.

    Other key lawyers:

    Linc Rogers

    Key clients

    Deloitte Restructuring Inc.

    Dominion Diamond Mines ULC

    Royal Bank of Canada

    FTI Consulting Canada Inc.

    LTL Management LLC

    KPMG Inc.

    National Bank of Canada

    Alvarez & Marsal

    PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc.

    KSV Restructuring Inc.

    Ernst & Young Inc.

    Work highlights

    • Advised the court-appointed monitor in the insolvency proceedings of JTI-Macdonald Corp. involving over $600bn of claims asserted against the tobacco industry.
    • Advised Dominion Diamond Mines ULC in connection with its Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act filing.
    • Acted for RBC as a creditor in the Laurentian University CCAA proceedings.

    Goodmans LLP

    The Toronto-based practice at Goodmans LLP is a go-to for clients across all provincial jurisdictions including Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta. The team's expertise includes strategic planning, CCAA advice, CBCA restructuring matters and recapitalization mandates. The group is led by Joseph Pasquariello whose vast experience includes advising debtors, creditors, receivers and trustees on matters of commercial insolvency, bankruptcy and litigation. Robert Chadwick is noted for his restructuring and corporate financing expertise while Brendan O’Neill‘s expertise includes leading both domestic and cross-border corporate restructurings and refinancing’s. Andrew Harmes often advises clients on recapitalizations, acquisitions, commercial financing transactions, insolvency restructuring and receivership proceedings.

    Practice head(s):

    Joseph Pasquariello

    Other key lawyers:

    Robert Chadwick; Brendan O’Neill; Andrew Harmes; Chris Armstrong; Caroline Descours

    Key clients

    Spectacle BidCo Holdings Inc. (Cirque du Soleil)

    The Washington Group of Companies

    Sherritt International Corporation

    Source Energy Services Ltd.

    Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Calfrac Well Services Ltd.

    Bellatrix Exploration Ltd.

    Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc.

    Ad Hoc Group of Term Loan Lenders of Tailored Brands Group

    Ad Hoc Committee of Noteholders of Crystallex International Corporation

    Ernst & Young Inc.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. (PwC)

    Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited

    Brookfield

    Mezzanine Lenders of Stoneway Capital Corporation

    FTI Consulting

    Pengrowth Energy Corporation

    McEwan Enterprises Inc.

    Yatsen Group of Companies Inc.

    The Province of Ontario

    Algoma Steel Inc.

    KSV Advisory

    Gramercy Funds Management LLC

    Work highlights

    • Advised Sherritt International on a modified Dutch auction and fixed tender offer with its existing outstanding secured and unsecured debt.
    • Advised the key creditors of Algoma Steel Inc. in a restructuring under the CCAA.
    • Advised FTI Consulting Canada Inc. as the court-appointed Monitor of Harte Gold Corp. in its CCAA proceedings.  

    Bennett Jones LLP

    Bennett Jones LLP‘s team advises clients on the full spectrum of restructuring and insolvency matters and leverages a multidisciplinary approach, whereby it pools together expertise from the firm’s litigation, securities law, corporate and M&A practices. Particular focus lies within the restructuring of energy and natural resource companies. The team is headed by both Kevin Zych and Christopher Simard. Zych’s expertise encompasses private loan workouts and CCAA and CBCA restructurings whereas Simard is well-known for his representation of creditors, debtors and court-appointed monitors.

    Practice head(s):

    Kevin Zych; Christopher Simard

    Other key lawyers:

    Sean Zweig; Kelsey Meyer; Ken Lenz

    Work highlights

      McCarthy Tétrault

      The team at McCarthy Tétrault excels on domestic and cross-border restructurings, work-outs and insolvencies. The group has extensive experience overseeing Canadian and US border bankruptcies as well as those concerning European issues. Dedicated bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency expert James Gage leads the practice from Toronto; his breadth of expertise benefits an array of clients including creditors, investors, debtors and court officers. Sean Collins oversees both out of court and court-supervised restructurings and is a key contact for reorganizations. Lance Williams joined the practice from Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP.

      Practice head(s):

      James Gage

      Other key lawyers:

      Sean Collins; Heather Meredith; Alain Tardif

      Key clients

      Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc.

      Atis Group

      Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

      CannTrust Holdings Inc.

      Ernst & Young Inc.

      Groupe Dynamite

      Hertz Corporation

      Investissement Québec; Sayona Mining Limited, Sayona Quebec Inc. & 9444-1169 Quebec Inc.

      National Bank of Canada

      Nemaska Lithium and, subsequently, its former directors and officers

      Northern Pulp Nova Scotia

      PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc.

      Raymond Chabot

      Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc.

      Welichem Research General Partnership

      Wiivv Wearables Inc.

      Work highlights

      • Represented CannTrust in its successful CCAA proceedings.
      • Advised and represented apparel retailer Groupe Dynamite in its CCAA and the chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code restructuring, which aimed at renegotiating its leases for its over 300 stores in North America.  
      • Advised Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation in CCAA proceedings wherein it and various affiliates are the debtor companies.

      Stikeman Elliott LLP

      Stikeman Elliott LLP‘s practice often oversees cross-border insolvencies concerning both Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 proceedings, also counting CCAA proceedings among its core strengths. Clients range from lenders and purchasers of assets to court appointed officers and restructuring companies, with the group’s presence across Montreal, Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver allowing for seamless and comprehensive advice. Elizabeth Pillon and Guy Martel co-lead the practice from Toronto and Montreal respectively. Mention is also given to David Byers whose extensive litigation expertise includes cases concerning insolvency and insurance.

      Practice head(s):

      Guy Martel; Elizabeth Pillon

      Other key lawyers:

      David Byers; Jean Fontaine; Ashley Taylor

      Work highlights

        Torys

        Torys often advises credit unions, banks and insurance companies on matters arising from the resolution and regulation of distressed financial institutions. Expertise extends into resolution planning, living wills, winding-ups and bail-in regimes and the team is also proficient in overseeing in-court and non-insolvency restructurings. Toronto-based David Bish and Tony Demarinis co-lead the practice. Bish’s practice focus lies within advising clients through distressed circumstances, while DeMarinis is well-versed in the oversight of recapitalizations, debt exchanges and CCAA proceedings. Julie Himo  joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright.

        Practice head(s):

        Tony Demarinis; David Bish

        Other key lawyers:

        Kyle Kashuba; Scott Bomhof; Adam Slavens

        Testimonials

        ‘Torys LLP represents a full service law firm with exceptional talent within each practice that enables us to get to the right expert quickly in time-sensitive multi-dimensional restructuring cases regardless of industry.’

        ‘Their restructuring team has excellent depth both in Toronto and across the country including Calgary.’

        ‘Kyle Kashuba – A rising star in the Calgary market. Adam Slavens – A rising star in the Toronto market with incredible client management skills and restructuring capabilities. David Bish – Exceptional technical expertise. You always get to the right answer quickly with David.’

         

        Key clients

        DDJ Capital Management, LLC, Brigade Capital Management, Western Asset Management Company, Barings LLC

        Arctic Canadian Diamond Company Ltd.

        KSV Kofman Inc.

        The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited

        Sagard Credit Partners

        Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc.

        Sheldon Libfeld and Jay Libfeld, co-owners of The Conservatory Group

        Ernst & Young Inc.

        JT Canada LLC Inc.

        Orion Mine Finance

        FTI Consulting Canada

        KPMG Inc.

        QuadReal Property Group

        Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals

        Jenny Coco and Rocky Coco

        MGM Resorts International

        Medical Pharmacies Group Limited

        Work highlights

        • Advised Dominion Diamond Mines, one of the world’s most prominent diamond mining companies, in its high-profile multi-staged CCAA proceeding that is entering the final stages.
        • Advised Arctic Canadian Diamond Company after its acquisition of substantially all of Dominion Diamond Mines during that company’s CCAA proceedings in 2021.
        • Advised KSV Kofman as the court officer in the CCAA proceedings of Bondfield Construction Company Limited, a family-owned Canadian construction company and in its capacity as Receiver and Trustee-in-Bankruptcy of Forma-Con, a subsidiary of Bondfield.

        Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

        Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP‘s team oversees both domestic and international restructurings and insolvencies and often advises clients with assets across Europe, South Africa and Mexico. Its domestic clients include lenders, court officers and debtors. International and domestic insolvency expert, Jane Dietrich, leads the practice, with Shayne Kukulowicz and Ryan Jacobs serving as key contacts. Alan Merskey joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright.

        Practice head(s):

        Jane Dietrich

        Other key lawyers:

        Ryan Jacobs; Shayne Kukulowicz; Mary Buttery

        Key clients

        Wilks Brothers LLC

        Ad Hoc Committee of Debenture Holders of iAnthus Capital Management, LLC

        Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc (as monitor of Mountain Equipment Co-op and related entities)

        Official Committee of Opioid Related Claimants of Mallinckrodt plc

        Ernst & Young Inc (in its capacity as information officer appointed in LTL Management LLC’s recognition proceedings)

        FTI Consulting Canada

        Ernst & Young Inc (in its capacity as court-appointed monitor of Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc.)

        Knotel Inc

        Grant Thornton Limited (in its capacity as Monitor in the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act restructuring of Cambridge Group Inc)

        Huntington University

        Pandion Mine Finance

        Tenor Special Situation I, LP

        Business Development Bank of Canada

        Alvarez & Marsal Canada Inc (as Monitor of Sunniva Inc. and related entities)

        Government of Northwest Territories

        Timbercreek Mortgage Servicing Inc

        BDO Canada Limited (as court appointed Monitor of Calgary Oil & Gas Syndicate Group Ltd.)

        DIP Lenders to Just Energy Group Inc.

        MedMen Enterprises Inc

        Work highlights

          Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

          The team at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP utilizes its cross-office approach to handle all aspects of restructuring and insolvency matters, including the integration of its litigation and corporate groups. Clients such as bondholders, landlords, banks and creditors also benefit from the team's cross-border expertise. Robin Schwill and Natasha MacParland lead the team from Toronto, while Denis Ferland and Christian LaChance lead the team from Montreal.

          Practice head(s):

          Denis Ferland; Natasha MacParland; Robin Schwill; Christian Lachance

          Other key lawyers:

          Louis-Martin O’Neill

          Testimonials

          ‘Davies has a team that has broad skills and exceptional talent.’

          ‘Natasha MacParland is an exceptional, practical lawyer. Her ability to see issues and solutions is excellent. Everything about her practice speaks of understanding, organization and execution.’

          ‘Very good range of business understanding and excellent collaborators. All their staff were always well informed.’

          ‘Denis Ferland, excellent business acumen and very capable lawyer always able to respond quickly and with sound advice.’

          Key clients

          KSV Restructuring Inc

          Alvarez & Marsal Canada

          Laurentian University

          PwC

          EY

          Habitations Trigone

          HSBC Bank Canada

          FTI Consulting, Inc

          Willoughby Asset Management

          Fulcrum Capital Partners

          Work highlights

          • Acted for The Aldo Group Inc. in its restructuring attempt under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
          • Acted for FTI Consulting Canada Inc. in its capacity as court-appointed monitor of Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited and its affiliated corporation, Imperial Tobacco Company Limited, in proceedings under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act and Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
          • Acted for The Pallinghurst Group in its joint 50-50 acquisition with Investissement Québec (IQ) of Québec-based Nemaska Lithium Inc. pursuant to a sales process under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

          Dentons

          Dentons deploys its restructuring expertise across all industries, including cannabis, energy, mining, natural resources, and real estate, to advise clients on restructuring and insolvency matters arising from all circumstances. In addition to non-contentious work, the team also represents clients before various courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada. David W Mann  heads the team from Calgary, while John Sandrelli oversees a strong restructurings team in British Columbia. Clients include both secured and unsecured creditors, trustees and accountancy firms, and distress lenders and acquisitors.

          Practice head(s):

          David Mann

          Other key lawyers:

          John Sandrelli

          Key clients

          Alberta Public Inquiry

          Alvarez & Marsal

          BP Energy

          Cortland Lending Corporation

          National Bank of Canada

          Wilmington Trust, National Association – Calfrac

          Farber

          Wilmington Trust, National Association – Dominion Diamond

          Clover Condo

          ATB – JMB Crushing

          SunTrust

          PwC – Clover Calgary

          Spartan Bioscience

          Deloitte – express gold

          Work highlights

          • Counsel for Alvarez and Marsal Canada Inc., in its capacity as the Receiver of 55 large real estate properties formerly owned by Strategic Group, pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.
          • Acted for BP Energy to negotiate an on-going post-filing supply agreement where BP was owed approximately $230m from the Insolvency of Just Energy.
          • Counsel to the Commissioner of The Public Inquiry a two-year investigation into the use of foreign funding of anti-Alberta energy campaigns.

          Fasken

          The ‘solutions-orientated team’ at Fasken advises the full array of restructuring-related clients, including debtors, lenders and trustees. Its industry expertise includes technology, retail, energy, real estate, mining and life sciences. Toronto based Stuart Brotman heads the team; his expertise includes forbearance agreements and CCAA proceedings. Cross-border insolvency expert Kibben Jackson is another key contact for the practice. Personnel changes include the promotion of Fergus McDonnell to partner and the arrival of Alexander Bayus from Gowling WLG.

          Practice head(s):

          Stuart Brotman

          Other key lawyers:

          Kibben Jackson; Brandon Farber

          Testimonials

          ‘Team works well together and is very integrated within a large national full-service firm which allows for optimal service delivery.’

          ‘Solutions oriented team. Very supportive of each other and all are great with clients. Good people that know what they are doing.’

          ‘Knows how to read a room of people when negotiating and or dealing with difficult situations.’

          ‘The Fasken practice is unique as a result of its combination of deep technical expertise and experience combined with its responsiveness and capacity.’

          ‘Brandon Farber is responsive, amicable, intelligent and creative. The combination of these qualities makes him stand out from his peers as he is able to find innovative solutions for time sensitive matters while being very pleasant to work with.’

          ‘A powerhouse legal firm that is a one stop shop. Fasken is a firm that is able handle almost any legal matter and in an excellent fashion.’

          ‘Excellent teaming and collaboration across the firm. Very practical team, focused on solutions and expedient results.’

          Key clients

          Grant Thornton Group

          Plus Products Inc.

          BNP Paribas Group

          Ernst & Young Group

          HSBC Bank Group

          TD Bank Group

          BHG-BC Holdings Ltd./RC Morris Group

          MNP Group

          PwC Group

          Robert Fung and Marc Oppenheimer (Crystallex International Corporation)

          Work highlights

          • Advised Sandoz in connection with its claims in the Chapter 11 restructuring proceedings initiated by certain Purdue Pharma entities in the United States and in the Canadian recognition proceedings of Purdue Pharma under the CCAA.
          • Acted for The Bowra Group Inc., the court-appointed monitor of the debtors, in relation to their proceedings under the CCAA.
          • Represented BNP Paribas in connection with its loans and a series of pre-filing forbearance arrangements with Harte Gold Corp., and in connection with a marketing and sale process undertaken by Harte Gold Corp, the sale of BNP Paribas’ loans to a third party, and in connection with BNP Paribas’ continuing interests as hedge provider in Harte’s CCAA proceedings.

          Gowling WLG

          Gowling WLG‘s broad practice benefits clients seeking multi-jurisdictional and cross-border restructuring and insolvency expertise. Its know-how is often sought by debtors, creditors and court appointed officers. The practice is led by Montreal based expert, Geneviève Cloutier whose practice focus lies within distressed acquisitions as well as commercial and banking litigation.

          Practice head(s):

          Geneviève Cloutier

          Other key lawyers:

          Virginie Gauthier; Jonathan Ross; Clifton Prophet; David Cohen; Tom Cumming

          Testimonials

          ‘Jonathan Ross is very knowledgeable of restructuring and insolvency matters and has the experience to provide practical legal advice that considers his client’s business requirements. Simply put it is very easy to work with Jonathan to devise strategies and action outcomes, he does not waste time, does not overcomplicate the issues, and is flexible to respond on short notice.’

          ‘Gowling WLG’s restructuring and insolvency team provides timely, expert, and relevant strategic and legal advice regarding complex CCAA matters.’

          ‘Virginie Gauthier is an outstanding asset to Gowling WLG. She takes the time to get to know her clients, and really cares not only about the files but about the clients instructing her. She is smart, strategic, and cuts to the chase, providing laser focused advice that doesn’t waste time or funds. I highly recommend Virginie!’

          ‘Jonathan Ross is very responsive, always available and extremally knowledgeable in his area of law. He has obtained a number of very positive results for us in difficult situations. Highly recommend.’

          ‘They are very attentive to client needs and work with the client to solve their issues.’

          ‘John Ross has been excellent to respond to all needs, as well as provide excellent direction in difficult situations. Very timely and responsive.’

          Key clients

          Ernst&YoungInc.

          The Cadillac Fairview Corporation

          Groupe Dynamite Inc.

          Encore FX

          CallidusCapitalCorporation

          FTIConsultingCanadaInc.

          Budden & Associates

          Various Retail

          Ontario Auditor General

          MeridianCreditUnion

          Cree Nation Government and the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee)

          The Bowra Group

          MNP Ltd.

          GNCR

          Work highlights

          • Represent EY as monitor in the wind-up and realization on complex real property and resource assets in Northern Ontario; claims in excess of $1bn.
          • Acted as counsel for Callidus Capital Corporation, in its capacity as senior lender, and other related entities, against a claim made by Bluberi in the aggregate amount of $220m.
          • Represented three landlord clients where the issue of payment of rent under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act was for the first time debated in Quebec in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

          Norton Rose Fulbright

          The team at Norton Rose Fulbright is entrusted by an array of clients to oversee restructuring and insolvency matters, including receivers, creditors, boards of directors, lenders, bondholders, trustees and monitors. The team handles all overlapping issues that arise through its multi-disciplinary approach with support extending into its M&A, employment and tax groups. Montreal-based Luc Morin leads the practice, and his track record includes reverse vesting orders and bridge financings. Howard A. Gorman KC is the practice’s key Calgary contact.

          Practice head(s):

          Luc Morin

          Other key lawyers:

          Howard A. Gorman KC; Jennifer Stam; Christian Roy

          Key clients

          Investissement Québec

          FTI Consulting Canada Inc.

          Shell Energy North America (Canada) Inc.

          Shell Energy North America (US), LP

          Cline Trust Company LLC

          Deloitte Restructuring Inc.

          Ernst & Young Inc.

          Contemporary Amperex Technology Company Ltd.

          Wells Fargo

          Imperial Oil Resources Limited

          Alvarez and Marsal Canada Inc.

          ATB Financial

          PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc.

          KPMG

          CIBC

          BDO Canada Limited

          MNP Ltd.

          KSV Restructuring Inc.

          HSBC

          National Bank

          Work highlights

          • Acted for Investissement Québec in connection with the $1.1bn filing by Blackrock Metals Inc. and its affiliates for protection under the CCAA.
          • Represented FTI Consulting Canada Inc., court-appointed monitor overseeing the insolvency of Sears Canada under the CCAA; total debt of $1.1bn with aggregate claims in the range of $2bn.
          • Acted for Shell in the ongoing CCAA proceedings of the Just Energy group of companies, which includes 48 separate entities; total debt in excess of $1.2bn.

          DLA Piper (Canada) LLP

          The restructuring group at DLA Piper (Canada) LLP is led by commercial restructuring expert, Brian Davison who is based in Edmonton. With over 40 years’ worth of experience, he has extensive knowledge in matters concerning bankruptcy, debt restructuring, loan workouts and receiverships. Toronto-based, Edmond Lamek, is noted for his expertise in this space and is likewise vastly experienced in this space, bringing over 25 years’ worth of experience to the table.

          Practice head(s):

          Brian Davison KC

          Other key lawyers:

          Edmond Lamek; Colin Brousson; Jerritt Pawlyk

          Testimonials

          ‘Team is very integrated and works well together.’

          ‘Good team that is solutions oriented.’

          ‘Good communications skills; bring clarity and understanding to high tension clients and situations; very good in court; great at negotiating.’

           

          Key clients

          Abbey Resources Corp

          KSV Restructuring Inc. ‎

          Intercap Equity Inc

          Ernst & Young Inc.‎

          CMLS Financial Ltd.

          Bowra Group Limited

          Atlantic Auto Performance Ltd. ‎

          RioCan REIT

          Celadon Group Inc. ‎

          The Royal Bank

          Great American Capital Partners ‎

          MNP Ltd. ‎

          Synergy Projects Ltd.‎

          Lightstream Resources Ltd

          Zeifman Partners Inc.‎

          Work highlights

          • Acted for KSV Restructuring Inc. as CCAA Monitor.
          • Acted for Ernst & Young, the Court appointed Monitor in the Companies’ Creditors ‎Arrangement Act proceeding of Urthecast Corp and its related entities.
          • Acted for Zeifman as court appointed Monitor and court appointed Liquidator appointed ‎under ‎‎the Ontario Business Corporations Act of the estate and effects of two real estate holding ‎and ‎‎development companies owing shopping plazas across the GTA and a condo project under ‎‎‎development in Markham Ontario.‎