Technology in Canada
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP’s full-service technology practice routinely acts for producers and users of technology, and is well versed across the full spread of transactions, intellectual property, regulatory compliance and cybersecurity issues. In addition, the firm’s pre-eminent banking and finance capability marks it as a popular choice for financial service-related outsourcing and fintech matters, while other industry sweet spots include e-commerce, life sciences, manufacturing and energy. Montreal-based Sunny Handa, who handles both regulatory and transactional work, heads the national group, which was recently bolstered by the arrival of cybersecurity and privacy specialist Imran Ahmad from Miller Thomson. Also in 2019, Robert Percival joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright.
McCain Foods Limited
TD Bank Group
Frontier Capital, LLC
- Advised TD Bank Group on its acquisition of Layer 6.
- Advised Tencent on the launch of mobile video games in Canada.
McCarthy Tétrault continued to cement its top-tier position with strong showings across the full range of outsourcing agreements, M&A, fintech and data security. The transactions side of the practice was further strengthened by the arrival of Toronto-based Christine Ing, who joined in 2018 from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP and has particular experience in the fintech space. Montreal-based Charles Morgan co-leads the team alongside Ing and has a strong record in complex and cutting-edge transactions; he recently advised National Bank of Canada on its $150m debt issuance and innovative blockchain simulation in the US financial markets. George Takach is also highly sought after for transactional matters, while Barry Sookman ranks among the market’s leading regulatory specialists. On the more junior end, Michael Scherman, who provided support on several fintech matters over the past year, is a talented associate in the practice group.
‘McCarthy’s team consistently brings new perspectives to the table and is always up to date on the most recent trends and developments. ’
‘The group has been willing to engage not just on pure legal activities, but has also worked closely with our consultation team to ensure complex legal constructs can be understood by our constituent community.’
‘George Takach has been phenomenal in ensuring that we have access to timely information — he turns products around at lightening speeds. He is also tenacious, dedicated and committed to his clients in a way that gives you unwavering confidence.’
Capgemini Canada Inc.
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI)
National Bank of Canada
- Advised National Bank of Canada on its issuance, together with JP Morgan, of a $150m one-year floating-rate Yankee certificate of deposit, with a parallel simulation of the issuance using blockchain technology.
- Acted for Kira Systems on a $50m minority investment from Insight Venture Partners.
- Advised Bombardier on the negotiation of a $700m global outsourcing agreement for IT services with IBM.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s highly regarded technology practice differentiates itself through its track record in high-end technology transactions and its considerable strength in outsourcing arrangements, where it is particularly active on the customer side. The firm also houses a dominant fintech practice, which routinely advises leading Canadian banks on strategic IT matters, including payment modernization. Wendy Gross is sought after for her impressive record in advising financial institutions and retail clients on mobile banking, mobile wallet and loyalty-related matters. Michael Fekete, who co-chairs the practice together with Gross, has notable expertise in cloud computing, government procurement and privacy. Up-and-coming partner Ted Liu is also recommended. Named lawyers are based in Toronto, but the national group also utilizes specialists in its Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver offices.
Other key lawyers:
Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC)
Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Mobify Research and Development, Inc.
- Assisted Mobify Research and Development to help define their sales processes and streamline their IT systems.
Deeth Williams Wall LLP
Prominent Toronto boutique Deeth Williams Wall LLP houses a full-service technology practice that is best known for its emphasis on privacy and health care-related matters. The firm focuses exclusively on IT and IP law and has strong expertise in technology transfers, e-commerce and dispute resolution. Names to note include Amy-Lynne Williams, who is considered a top choice for complex outsourcing and electronic payment agreements, and Richard Austin, whose practice spans regulatory and transactional issues.
Other key lawyers:
Fasken’s IT practice combines a robust regulatory offering with experience in commercial transactions, including outsourcings and infrastructure service agreements. The firm also houses a dynamic start-up and emerging companies practice, which is particularly dominant in Vancouver and Montreal. In Vancouver, department co-head Karam Bayrakal is highly regarded for his experience in all aspects of acquiring, transferring and developing technology, while in Toronto Andrew Nunes advises technology clients on a varied mix of corporate and commercial matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is knowledgeable, practical and focused on the issues that matter.’
Dapper Labs Inc.
ENTR (9361-5003 Québec Inc.)
Transit App (9280-0366 Québec Inc.)
Sonder Canada Inc.
Soundbite Medical Solutions Inc.
Elastic Path Software Inc.
Group of investors, led by APMS Investment Fund and Calvin Ayre
- Advised Sonder Canada on its $90m series C financing and related secondary offering.
- Advised GCR on its acquisition of MB3 Technologies.
Goodmans’ multi-disciplinary technology group brings together skill sets in M&A, finance, venture capital investing, regulation and commercial matters. The Toronto-based team, which acts for both technology providers and users, is particularly well known for its strengths in outsourcing agreements, corporate transactions, and privacy and data protection law. Richard Corley has a strong profile for outsourcing, where he routinely advises clients on procurement issues and litigation, while Peter Ruby is a go-to name for privacy issues. Also recommended is Jamie Firsten, who is a key contact in the firm’s emerging companies’ practice.
Other key lawyers:
SAP Canada Inc. and SAP America Inc.
Canaccord Genuity Group
Ceridian HCM Holding Inc.
Ontario Lottery & Gaming Corporation
KIK Custom Products Inc.
Canadian Institute for Exponential Growth (Singularity University Canada)
- Advised Vivid Seats on its $60m acquisition of Fanxchange.
- Advised Blockstation on its agreement with the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
- Advised Searchlight Capital on its $2bn acquisition of Mitel Networks.
- Advised Ontario Lottery and Gaming on the structuring, procurement strategy and transaction documents for the modernization of land-based gaming in Ontario.
- Advised the investor group, led by Monashees, on its investment in Brazil-based fintech start-up, Rebel Bank.
Bennett Jones LLP
Calgary-headquartered Bennett Jones LLP routinely advises energy and natural resources companies on technology issues, including clean tech and licensing matters. Other practice strengths include health care, electronic payments and outsourcing agreements. Key lawyers include Stephen Burns, who advises on outsourcing, IT procurement and privacy issues; data protection expert Martin Kratz QC; and up-and-coming technology specialist Sébastien Gittens, all of whom are based in Calgary. Toronto-based Matthew Flynn recently joined from McCarthy Tétrault to co-head the fintech and blockchain group.
‘Bennett Jones has assembled a cross-functional team that are capable of handling a wide array of technology issues (including SAAS, IP, Data Privacy etc.).’
‘Bennett Jones has the bullpen to be able to serve almost any need that develops during a deal or one-off situations that arise.’
‘Sébastien Gittens really stood out to me as an excellent project manager – not only was he able to provide succinct business and practical advice, but he was able to manage foreign firms in achieving the same or similar results.’
‘Stephen Burns is a fountain of knowledge and experience. He knows the technology contracting market exceptionally well and can drive favourable and above market outcomes through negotiation and cogent analysis of transaction dynamics.’
Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc.
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc.
Calgary Police Services
Cancer Care Ontario
Canopy Growth Corporation
Celero Solutions Inc.
FlashStock Technology Inc.
Husky Energy Inc.
Monsanto Canada Inc.
North West Redwater Partnership
LNG Canada Inc.
Pembina Pipeline Corporation
- Advised North West Redwater Partnership on an array of technology licensing, outsourcing and intellectual property issues.
- Acted for Atomic Energy of Canada on the off-boarding of its IT service provider and on the preparation of its RFP.
- Engaged by Payments Canada to assist with the modernization of Canada’s payments infrastructure.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP has an impressive track record in advising public sector entities on major outsourcing transactions, with recent strong showings in the health and defence sectors. The practice group also stand out in technology M&A, intellectual property and privacy matters. Toronto-based group head Mark Fecenko is noted for his procurement expertise and is a popular choice for clients in the health care, energy and education spheres.
- Advised Transform Shared Service Organization, comprised of five hospitals that provide public health care for Southwestern Ontario, in the negotiation of a licensing and hosting arrangement for all of their primary clinical systems.
- Advised Defence Construction Canada on negotiating and finalizing a cloud-based outsourcing arrangement for their IT systems.
- Advised University Health Network on the renegotiation of a hosting arrangement involving over 20 hospitals.
Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright’s ability to plug into its extensive global network makes it an attractive choice for multinational technology clients. In a recent example, the team advised Calgary-headquartered software company Solium Capital on its C$1.1bn acquisition by Morgan Stanley, which involved legal teams in the US and the UK. In addition to a strong corporate transactional offering, the group advises on a variety of related issues including outsourcing, venture capital investments, and data security. The department is led from Toronto by intellectual property specialist Anthony de Fazekas, and also includes associate Andrew McCoomb, who is highlighted as a rising star for contentious matters. Robert Percival left the firm for Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘An experienced and thoughtful team. Lawyers are very professional and willing to listen to ideas.’
‘Andrew McCoomb is experienced, organized and detail-oriented. He provided good strategies and was easy to talk to.’
Royal Bank of Canada
Coveo Solutions Inc.
Flight Centre Group
Purplebricks Group Plc
Canadian Tire Corporation
- Acted for FundersClub on its investment in Bonfire Interactive and also on its related divestiture in connection with the $108m sale of Bonfire to GTY Technology Holdings.
- Advised Solium Capital on its C$1.1bn acquisition by Morgan Stanley.
- Represented Symantec in the defence of two related consumer protection class actions.
Torys LLP’s technology group is regularly engaged by major Canadian banks to advise on fintech issues and regulatory compliance. In addition, the firm houses a strong public sector practice, which counts Payments Canada (the provider of Canada’s national payments systems) and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board as key clients. The team is jointly headed by Adam Armstrong, who focuses on outsourcing and licensing transactions, and payments and cards specialist Joel Ramsey. Counsel Ebad Rahman, who specializes in technology contracting, outsourcing and sponsorship arrangements, is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Torys brings a different approach to deal making than some of the other firms in that they work on trying to bridge client needs with supplier capabilities. Partners seek to find a win/win outcome for both sides as opposed to completely de-risking the deal and putting a disproportionate amount of risk on the supplier.’
‘Both Joel Ramsey and Steven Slavens have exceptional client relationships and are extremely well versed in marketplace standards. This combination results in a bilateral negotiation that balances risk and supplier performance in deals that work for both sides.’
‘Ebad Raman is a highly skilled lawyer and technology expert, as well as a calm and professional negotiator.’
The Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)
The Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS/Scotiabank)
Home Trust Company
Morneau Shepell Ltd.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP)
Indigo Books & Music Inc.
Canadian Football League (CFL)
Workplace Safety and Insurance Board
- Advised Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan on its acquisition of online financial services marketplace, Kanetix.
Baker McKenzie fields a robust technology practice with strengths in commercial transactions and data protection matters. The group also distinguishes itself through its ability to link up with teams from across its global network to provide advice to multinational clients on the implementation of cross-border IT projects. Department head Theo Ling enjoys a strong market profile for his specialist expertise in privacy and data protection law.
‘What makes the Baker McKenzie practice unique and very valuable to us is the global reach of the firm, and the fact that if we have cross-border issues (as we often do) getting relevant advice becomes quite seamless.’
‘The team are strong across the technology spectrum and also excellent at managing multi-jurisdictional projects.’
‘Theo Ling is a knowledgeable technology lawyer, with a practical, “can-do” attitude who is excellent at getting things done. He has a very refreshing creative, problem-solving approach and is the go-to person for complex global technology requirements.’
Dentons has demonstrated strengths in commercial transactions, joint ventures and M&A, which transfers well to its increased focus on start-ups and emerging companies. The national technology group is also well versed in licensing, privacy and trade secrets-related matters. Toronto-based Michael Beairsto has a solid record in technology and e-commerce, while Edmonton-based Tom Sides has an emphasis on intellectual property matters.
‘The Technology practice has provided extremely valuable assistance in negotiations with key strategic customer contracts. The team is able to quickly synthesize the business and legal issues, while their practicable knowledge and suggested solutions to roadblocks has helped us close deals that were stalled. ’
‘We value the team’s depth of experience and ability to supply practical solutions as well as the continuity of the team. Having the same Dentons team to call upon has allowed us to develop good working relationships and reduce the time taken to ramp up on issues.’
Celtic House Venture Partners
CRM Fusion Inc.
Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada
MaRS Investment Accelerator Fund
Dream Payments Corporation
Power Survey and Equipment Manufacturing Canada
Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute
Servus Credit Union Ltd.
- Acted for SSENSE in its acquisition of certain of the assets of Polyvore, an online community dedicated to fashion and beauty.
- Advised CRM Fusion and its shareholders on its sale to Validity.
- Advised Endy in its C$89m sale to Sleep Country Canada.
Gowling WLG draws on the wider firm’s full service offering to provide multi-disciplinary coverage of the technology sector, from regulatory compliance to venture capital investing to IP concerns. The practice is chaired by Viona Duncan, who is based in the fast-growing tech hub of the Waterloo region. Ottawa-based corporate finance partner Lorraine Mastersmith is also recommended.
Other key lawyers:
‘Gowling WLG’s technology practice is comprised of highly responsive, skilled professionals. Lawyers consistently give pragmatic, thoughtful, business-based advice and if they are unable to answer my question, I know they will be able to quickly access the necessary resources within the firm to do so.’
‘As in-house counsel, I often have general knowledge regarding a specific issue; I rely on GWLG to augment my analysis and support (or refine) my thinking.’
‘Lorraine Mastersmith is responsive, very competent, pragmatic and fair in her approach to client service.’
- Advised the selling shareholders of Bluesun on the company’s cross-border acquisition by iPipeline.
- Advised CENX on its acquisition by Ericsson.
- Advised Geosoft on its acquisition by Seequent.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
A popular choice for high-end corporate and finance transactions, Stikeman Elliott LLP also advises technology service providers and end-users on outsourcing arrangements, intellectual property and contentious matters. Toronto-based department hea Wesley Ng focuses on e-commerce, biotechnology and data privacy.