Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP fields a full-service tax practice, which benefits from specialist expertise in income tax, commodity tax, tax disputes, and pension and employee benefits. Although the group routinely teams up with its top-tier corporate practice in a transactional support role, it also secures a significant volume of standalone mandates, which recently included advising The Coca-Cola Company on the tax aspects of the sale of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada to Kilmer Group; a transaction that was led by up-and-coming partner Jeffrey Shafer. Jeffrey Trossman heads the national team and advises on all aspects of income tax planning and tax dispute resolution. Robert Kopstein, who splits his time between Calgary and Vancouver, is a key contact for Western Canada-related matters, while Scott Wilkie heads the transfer pricing team. In 2018, Mark Tonkovich joined from Baker McKenzie to lead the tax litigation practice, following the departures of former tax litigation head Edwin Kroft QC and Vancouver-based tax litigator Deborah Toaze to Bennett Jones LLP.
Tax in Canada
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
KraftHeinz Canada ULC
Novacap Industries IV, LP.
Suncor Energy Inc.
CIT Group Securities (Canada) Inc.
ExxonMobil Canada Ltd.
H&R Real Estate Investment Trust
Power Corporation of Canada
Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd
- Advised The Coca-Cola Company on the tax aspects of the sale of Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada to Kilmer Group.
- Acted for WestJet Airlines on its C$5bn acquisition by Onex Corporation.
- Acted for Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on an agreement to become an equity partner in GCT Global Container Terminals.
- Advised Transurban Group on its C$1.2bn acquisition of the A25 toll road and bridge.
- Represented Husky Energy before the Tax Court of Canada in a case discussing whether certain contributions to a partnership are on income or capital account.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Tax is a cornerstone at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, which advises across the spectrum of transactional tax matters, tax litigation and tax planning issues, with significant expertise in big-ticket deals and innovative structuring. The national group fields dominant practices in both Toronto and Montreal, and is particularly well regarded for its cross-border capabilities, which is bolstered by its ability to work with the firm's US tax practice in New York. In a major set of transactional highlights, Toronto-based up-and-comer Christopher Anderson advised Barrick Gold on the tax aspects of its transformative $18.3bn share-for-share merger with Randgold Resources, and also acted in its $20bn joint venture with Newmont Mining. Ian Crosbie and John Ulmer are also recommended in Toronto for transactional tax matters. Key names in Montreal include Marie-Emmanuelle Vaillancourt, who coordinates the Montreal office’s tax practice, and Brian Bloom, who is recommended for his experience in M&A, international tax planning and transfer pricing. Montreal-based Guy Du Pont Ad E is a key figure for tax litigation.
‘A strong, experienced and very dynamic tax team focusing on high-stakes matters. It is obvious that together, they are able to work intelligently, seamlessly and efficiently.’
‘Lawyers are methodical and speedy in execution and take the issues seriously. They are bright, innovative and really understand the client’s business and overall context.’
‘An extremely commercially focused group that has the ability to provide advice beyond the tax issues. This adds an immense amount of value to their services.’
‘Chris Anderson, is very accessible and solution-focused and has the appropriate sense of urgency when we’re working on transactions.’
Barrick Gold Corporation
Restaurant Brands International Inc.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.
- Acted as lead Canadian tax advisor to Barrick Gold on its $18.3bn share-for-share merger with Randgold Resources.
- Acted as tax counsel to Apotex International on the sale of its commercial operations and certain supporting infrastructure for its generics business in five European countries to Aurobindo Pharma.
- Acted for Enercare on its C$4.3bn sale to Brookfield Infrastructure, and its institutional partners, by way of plan of arrangement.
- Advised Fortis on the C$991m sale of its 51% interest in the Waneta Expansion hydroelectric generating facility in British Columbia to Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Power Corporation.
- Represented James MacDonald in an appeal on the characterization of payments made under a cash settled forward contract to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has been granted leave to appeal before the Federal Court of Appeal.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s premier transactional expertise generates a steady flow of sophisticated M&A, joint ventures and finance deals, where the tax team provides comprehensive support on tax planning, indirect tax and international taxation. The national group’s diverse industry experience crosses all business sectors, with recent strong showings in the private equity, financial services and natural resource spaces. In a highlight example of its first-class private equity practice, the team advised a Blackstone-led consortium on its $20bn partnership agreement with Thomson Reuters; Toronto-based Firoz Ahmed led on the tax aspects of that deal, which marked Blackstone’s largest transaction since the financial crisis. The group’s litigation expertise is also a significant differentiator. Al Meghji, who splits his time between Calgary and Toronto, is widely considered among the leading tax litigators in Canada. Patrick Marley, who specializes in transactional tax, and Monica Biringer who handles both contentious and non-contentious matters, co-chair the group from Toronto.
Blackstone Property Partners
The Bank of Nova Scotia
Wheaton Precious Metals
Devon Canada Corporation
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Bank of Montreal
Vale Canada Limited
The Stars Group
- Advised a Blackstone-led consortium on its partnership agreement with Thomson Reuters to acquire a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk Business.
- Advised BMO Financial Group on its acquisition of KGS-Alpha Capital Markets.
- Advised Pegasus Capital Advisors, as minority shareholders and the management, on the sale of its equity interests in Pure Biofuels Del Peru to Valero Energy Corporation.
- Advised the investors, led by BC Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, on their C$5.1bn buyout of GFL Environmental.
- Represented Cameco in a landmark C$1.3bn case discussing the recharacterization transfer pricing provisions in section 247 of the Income Tax Act.
Goodmans’ practice is highly sought after for its expertise in domestic and multi-jurisdictional transactional tax matters, where it is routinely engaged to advise on big-ticket M&A and corporate finance deals. The wider firm has considerable strengths in restructuring and real estate, an invaluable component of which his the strength of the tax team. In addition, the practice group also has a capable tax litigation team. Group head Carrie Smit has a strong reputation for her impressive record in corporate reoganizations and debt refinancing issues. Other names to note include Mitchell Sherman, Jon Northup, and up-and-coming partner Jarrett Freeman.
‘The Goodmans tax practice, particularly for real estate transactions, is top tier and best in class.’
‘Goodmans may not have the largest tax practice but they are the first group we engage with on all strategic, M&A, restructuring and controversy tax matters.’
‘The entire team is very responsive and reactive when needed, but also uniquely proactive when appropriate. The team is also very personable and easy to work with.’
‘Carrie Smit is my sanity check when I want a second opinion. Super quick and one of the nicest people in the space.’
‘Jon Northup is an outstanding tax professional and a go-to person for valuable insights on technical and strategic tax matters. His thoughtful and nuanced views, not only on tax law but how to engage the c-suite and the board on complex tax structuring matters, has tremendous value.’
‘Jon Northup stands out for his ability to get to the crux of complex and difficult tax issues quickly and with thoughtful insight. He is the triple threat – smart, good-natured, with great business instincts.’
Newmont Mining Corporation
Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P.
Ceridian HCM, Inc.
Tricon Capital Group Inc.
Minto Properties and Minto Apartment REIT
Invesque Inc. (formerly Mainstreet Health Investments Inc.)
Clairvest Group Inc.
- Advised Newmont Mining on its $10bn acquisition of Goldcorp.
- Advised Onex Corporation on its C$5bn acquisition of WestJet Airlines.
- Advised Tricon Capital Group on its agreement to acquire Starlight US Multi-Family No. 5 Core Fund in an all-stock transaction worth $1.4bn.
- Advised Altria Group on its C$2.4bn acquisition of a 45% equity stake in Cronos Group.
- Advised Searchlight Capital Partners on its $2bn take-private buyout of Mitel Networks Corporation.
McCarthy Tétrault’s practice is well weighted between transactional tax matters and tax litigation, with notable expertise in transfer pricing and commodity tax. The national group, which draws upon platforms in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, is also distinguished by its strong experience in the financial services and energy sectors, as well as REITs transactions and cross-border mandates. A key figure in the practice group is Gabrielle Richards, who has a strong record advising banks, such as BMO and TD Bank, on capital markets transactions. Douglas Cannon advises on a range of M&A, reorganizations and financing transactions, and Chia-Yi Chua heads the tax disputes practice. The team was recently boosted by the arrival of Raj Juneja, who joined from AutoCanada.
‘A very technical group that comes up with creative solutions to problems. Lawyers are responsive and always on-call. The firm thinks about issues commercially, not just academically.’
‘McCarthys’ team is composed of very knowledgeable partners, who provide very practical advice.’
Brookfield Asset Management
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)
Rio Novo Gold
Summit Industrial Income REIT
Walter Surface Technologies
- Advised Airbnb on the first-ever lodging tax remittance agreement in Canada.
- Advised Brookfield Asset Management on the C$4.3bn acquisition of Enercare by Brookfield Infrastructure Partners.
- Advised CIBC, as part of a consortium, on its acquisition of the Aeroplan rewards program from Aimia.
- Advised Enbridge Inc. on the C$4.7bn acquisition of Enbridge Income Fund Holdings.
- Advised Uber Canada on all of its tax dealings with the Agence du revenu du Québec and the Québec Government.
Torys LLP’s first-class corporate and M&A practice generates a steady workflow of high-profile transactional tax matters. In particular, the team has notable expertise in advising pensions funds, financial institutions and energy corporations on big-ticket deals. Also fo note is the firm’s impressive cross-border capability and its ability to draw on its New York office for support in US-related work. Moreover, the team has recently advised outbound transactions involving Europe, Asia, Australia and South America. Toronto-based Corrado Cardarelli chairs the national tax practice and specializes in domestic and cross-border tax structuring. Other names in Toronto include Jerald Wortsman and tax litigation head Martha MacDonald.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provides excellent practical and very timely advice. Lawyers are knowledgeable in many areas and up to date on current legislation, explaining what effect the law has on our particular business.’
‘Torys has a fantastic mix of individuals, who are very bright, practical, smart and responsive but have very little ego and are great to work with.’
‘Corrado Cardarelli is fantastic. He has great breadth and depth of experience and brings a practical perspective to all of our work — I can’t remember ever second guessing his conclusions.’
‘Martha MacDonald is very confident and capable. As a litigator, I am glad she is on my team — I would not want to go up against her!’
Brookfield Group of Companies
Bank of Montreal
Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board (OTPP)
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)
CIBC/CIBC World Markets Inc.
TD Bank Group/TD Securities Inc.
Rogers Communications Inc.
- Acted for OMERS Finance Trust and OMERS Administration as tax counsel on its both its $1.2bn inaugural offering of US dollar-denominated term notes, and also on its C$1bn offering of senior secured notes.
- Successfully represented BMO in appealing a tax assessment issued under the general anti-avoidance rule (GAAR) in respect of unwinding a cross-border financing structure.
- Acted for Scotiabank on its $2.2bn acquisition of a 68.19% stake in BBVA Chile from Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria.
Bennett Jones LLP
Bennett Jones LLP’s signature energy offering has led the firm to develop expertise in natural resources taxation, with recent strong showings in oil and gas, power and mining-related matters. The group also has an impressive record in advising on the tax aspects of major corporate restructurings and cross-border transactions. Toronto managing partner Stephen Bowman is a key figure for transactional tax matters, while Calgary-based practice co-chair Darcy Moch is noted for his coverage of both corporate and personal tax planning. The firm also houses a dynamic tax litigation practice, which was recently boosted by the arrivals of high-profile litigator Edwin Kroft QC, who is based between the firm’s Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary offices, and Vancouver-based Deborah Toaze from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Moreover, Calgary-based litigator Jehad Haymour recently joined from Dentons.
‘ A very capable tax team. Lawyers provide a great level of service.’
Bank of Montreal
Devon Energy Corporation
Gateway Casinos & Entertainment Ltd.
Gibson Energy Inc.
Killam Apartment REIT
MEG Energy Corporation
NCSG Crane & Heavy Haul Services Corporation
Niska Gas Storage Partnership
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board
Osisko Gold Royalties
Osisko Mining Corporation
Parkland Fuel Corporation
Premier Gold Mines
Riverstone Holdings LLC
Statoil Canada Inc.
Tri-West Capital Partners
Waste Connections Inc.
- Advised the holders of senior unsecured notes on Concordia International’s $4bn CCAA restructuring.
- Represented BP Canada Energy Group ULC, and its related entities, in a complex tri-party tax litigation.
- Advised the senior management team of Dalradian Resources on its C$537m acquisition by Orion Mine Finance, including tax advice on the overall structure of the transaction.
Norton Rose Fulbright provides a comprehensive tax service spanning tax planning, litigation and transactional support matters. The team sets itself apart through the size of its platform both nationally, where it can draw upon tax specialists throughout its six Canadian offices, and internationally, where it can plug into the wider firm’s 150-strong global tax group for support on multi-jurisdictional deals. The group is jointly led by Calgary-based transactional tax specialist Dion Legge and Montreal-based tax litigator Dominic Belley, and also includes Montreal-based Wilfrid Lefebvre QC, who is widely regarded as one of the country’s leading tax specialists.
Other key lawyers:
Brookfield Asset Management and Brookfield Infrastructure
Wolf Midstream Inc.
Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc.
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec
MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Inc.
Brault and Martineau
- Advised Tervita Corporation on its business combination with Newalta Corporation by way of plan of arrangement.
- Acted for Brookfield Infrastructure, and its institutional partners, in its C$4.3bn acquisition of Enbridge’s Canadian natural gas gathering and processing business.
- Advised Canadian Tire on the C$985m acquisition of Helly Hansen from Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the management shareholders of Helly Hanson.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP advises across the full range of tax law, with notable strengths in tax planning, transfer pricing, commodity tax and tax controversy. The group also routinely teams up with other departments from across the firm to provide specialist advice on corporate, investment and real estate matters both for publicly listed and private entities. Key contacts in Toronto include national group head John Lorito, who has a solid reputation for transactional and contentious tax matters, and Dean Kraus, who advises on the tax aspects of corporate and commercial transactions. Montreal tax head Frank Mathieu, who is dual-qualified in New York and Quebec, is also recommended.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s transaction-driven tax practice acts for a varied client base, with a particular focus on the energy, life sciences and financial services sectors. Stephen Fyfe in Toronto is a key contact on the transactional front and brings to bear extensive experience in energy markets and investment funds. The firm also houses an increasingly active tax litigation practice, where Calgary-based Laurie Goldbach is the name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Canada Development Investment Corp.
Pan American Silver Corp.
Atlas Copco AB
CanniMed Therapeutics Inc.
Pitney Bowes Inc.
Arbutus Biopharma Corporation
First Coin Capital Corp.
- Advised the Government of Canada on the purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline system and the related expansion project, and the Puget Sound Pipeline crude oil system from Kinder Morgan.
- Advised Pan American Silver on the acquisition of Tahoe Resources pursuant to a plan of arrangement.
- Advised CanniMed Therapeutics on its C$1.2bn acquisition by Aurora Cannabis.
Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP
Alberta stalwart Burnet Duckworth & Palmer LLP benefits greatly from its market-leading oil and gas practice, and has distinguished itself as a leader in resources taxation. The group is well versed across a range of investment matters, joint ventures, M&A and corporate reorganizations, with specialist expertise in the creation of tax-assisted financing vehicles. The firm also has strength in tax litigation. Firm chair John Brussa ranks among the foremost tax specialists in Western Canada.
Dentons’ tax team covers all the key areas of taxation in Canada, with notable experience in corporate transactions, indirect and sales taxes, resource taxation and trusts and estates. Well known for its solid litigation capability, the group frequently advises on transactional work, particularly in the energy, technology, entertainment and cannabis fields. In Toronto, up-and-coming partner Larry Nevsky handles a broad mix of advisory, tax planning and tax litigation matters, while Edmonton-based Mark Woltersdorf heads the national tax practice. Calgary-based litigator Jehad Haymour left to join Bennett Jones LLP.
Other key lawyers:
‘The firm demonstrates a practical approach to complex global tax issues. The team communicates well to its client and coordinates with outside accounting firms and legal offices around the world to quarterback for the client. Lawyers are very knowledgeable and can explain complex tax issues and resolutions in layman terms.’
‘Larry Nevsky was a calming influence and able to easily explain complex tax matters. Larry highlighted areas of risk and gave recommendations to mitigate.’
‘Larry Nevsky is technically proficient but also practical in the way he delivers his advice. He understands the business context in which he operates, which we value.’
Overwater Limited DBA Endy
Lions Gate Entertainment Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.
Teledyne Technologies Inc.
Gran Colombia Gold Corp.
- Canadian counsel to Bayer AG on its $9bn divestiture of businesses and assets to BASF, following its acquisition of Monsanto.
- Advised Enbridge on its C$1.7bn sale of a 49% interest in a portfolio of renewable power assets in North America and Europe to the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.
- Acted as Canadian Counsel to PharmaCann on its $682m acquisition by MedMe.
EY Law LLP
EY Law LLP’s sizeable Canadian practice benefits from specialist expertise in each of the country’s key business centres, and also offers unrivalled global support through its international network spanning 140 countries. The national team enjoys a prominent reputation for its tax controversy practice, with Toronto-based managing partner Daniel Sandler highly sought after for tax litigation. The firm also handles tax planning and corporate support matters, where Montreal-based Angelo Nikolakakis is a key contact.
Other key lawyers:
Fasken’s global mining reputation places it in a strong position to advise on tax matters in the natural resources sector, including tax planning and international tax structuring. Toronto-based Christopher Steeves leads the group, which is also active in the financial services and private client spheres. In Montreal, Alain Ranger is noted for his skill sets in transactional and contentious tax issues.
‘Fasken’s team demonstrated excellent knowledge of their subject matter with the ability to translate it into results on our behalf.’
‘Lawyers possess strong knowledge of the law, with the capacity to apply the law on a practical basis to move cases forward.’
Government of Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority
Special Committee of The Jean Coutu Group (JCP) Inc.
Sotera Health LLC and Nordion Inc.
Zijin Mining Group Co.
Agreement Express Inc.
United Rentals, Inc.
Fiera Infrastructure Inc.
NewCastle Gold Ltd.
Just Energy Group Inc.
- Advised Air Canada on its acquisition of the Aeroplan business from Aimia.
- Advised the Government of Canada and the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority on the C$5.7bn Gordie Howe International Bridge Project.
- Advised Zijin Mining group on its C$1.8bn acquisition of Nevsun.
Calgary-headquartered Felesky Flynn LLP focuses exclusively on tax law from its three offices across Western Canada. The tax boutique has specialist expertise in corporate tax planning, resource taxation and litigation, with notable experience in inbound and outbound international tax matters. In Calgary, Brent Perry QC is a respected name for transactional tax matters, particularly in relation to financing transactions and M&A.
Gowling WLG’s well-rounded national practice group has strengths in several core transactional areas, including private equity and real estate, with specialist offerings in transfer pricing, tax-effective executive compensation plans and indigenous taxation. Led from Toronto by tax litigator John Sorensen, the group also includes transactional tax partner Ash Gupta and executive compensation specialist Paul Carenza.
‘The team provides thoughtful feedback and is willing to work toward solutions, rather than simply providing one point of view. We value its responsiveness and willingness to explore options.’
‘Gowlings sets itself apart by providing effective and practical advice in terms that a non-tax expert can understand, and in a timely and cost-efficient manor.’
‘Paul Carenza provides excellent expertise on complex transactions.’
NextEra Energy Partners, LP
Alectra Utilities Corp.
Lasalle Investment Management Ltd.
Silversmith Capital Partners
Minera Alamos Inc.
Investment Management Corporation of Ontario
Blackhawk Network (Canada) Ltd.
- Advised NextEra Energy Partners on all Canadian tax aspects of the planning, structuring and sale to Canada Pension Plan Investment Board of a portfolio of Canadian renewable energy projects, worth C$1.6bn.
- Advised Alectra Utilities on the sale of its 50% stake in Collingwood PowerStream Utility Corporation to the Town of Collingwood.
- Advised Lasalle Investment Management on the planning, structuring and implementation of a Canadian-based open-end Core RE Fund with tax-optimized global feeder structure.
McMillan LLP has a broad national tax offering, with strong skill sets in the financial services and not-for-profit sectors. Additionally, the firm has a robust tax litigation practice, which routinely advises on the full range of audits, administrative appeals and court challenges. Michael Friedman, who has a strong record in the financial services sector, co-chairs the practice alongside Todd Miller, both of whom are based in Toronto.
With platforms in both Eastern and Western Canada, tax boutique Thorsteinssons LLP handles a mix of advisory, transactional and contentious matters. Resource taxation, investment funds and customs tax all stand out as notable strengths. Headed by Toronto-based managing partner Michael Colborne, the team also has extensive experience in inbound and outbound foreign direct investment matters.
Toronto-based Aird & Berlis LLP houses an effective tax practice, with significant experience advising on the tax aspects of securities and M&A transactions. Headed by Francesco Gucciardo, the tax team also advises on tax disputes and succession planning issues.
Complemented by its premier global tax platform, Baker McKenzie’s Toronto-based practice group specializes in advising multinational corporations on local and cross-border tax matters. The team advises on a range of issues from transfer pricing issues to dispute resolution, and is particularly sought after by clients in the automotive, manufacturing, natural resources and technology sectors. Tax litigator Jacques Bernier heads a department, and transactional specialist Peter Clark is another name to note.
‘Peter Clark’s technical abilities are very strong, but even more important is his understanding of the client’s objectives and his ability to formulate and execute practicable strategies.’
- Acted as lead tax counsel to Camso on its C$1.4bn sale to Michelin.
PwC Law LLP
PwC Law LLP’s six-office national network provides coast-to-coast coverage of all areas of tax law, with a strong record in the financial services, and energy and natural resources industries. Led by Calgary-based litigator Patrick Lindsay, the team is perhaps best known for its record in contentious cases, but also handles tax planning and transactional support matters.