Telecoms in Canada

Fasken

The telecoms group at Fasken is particularly noted for its regulatory practice, but also has a strong track record of contentious and transactional work. Clients include major Canadian telecommunications service providers and carriers. With practice group members in London and Johannesburg, as well as in Ottawa, Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver, the department is also noted for its experience advising major multinational clients. Ottawa-based Laurence Dunbar has advised domestic and foreign governments on policy, and handles a variety of competition and related interconnection, ownership, licensing and tariff issues. Also recommended in Ottawa is practice head Gerald Kerr-Wilson, who leads the wider technology, media and telecoms group. Stephen Whitehead has retired.

Practice head(s):

Gerald Kerr-Wilson

Other key lawyers:

Laurence Dunbar

Testimonials

Excellent, thoughtful and timely advice. The Team takes the time to ensure we have what we need, they are trusted advisors. I appreciate their candor and transparency.

Regardless of amount of work we request, the service and advice is strategic, thoughtful, pragmatic and consistent.

Key clients

SaskTel

Eastlink

TekSavvy

Rogers Media Inc.

Rogers Communications Canada Inc.

Sirius XM Canada Inc.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Société Radio-Canada

Videotron Ltd

Cogeco Communications Inc.

Shaw Cable Systems G.P.

Work highlights

  • Represented SaskTel, Eastlink and TekSavvy in bringing copyright claims for statutory damages against some internet service providers.
  • Acted for Rogers Communications Canada Inc. in carriage disputes involving Canadian and non-Canadian programming services.
  • Acted for Rogers in relation to pay-per-view sports agreements and certain other sports agreements for content on its cable television service for 20 years.

McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tétrault's team handles a full range of telecoms work, from high-value transactions to bespoke regulatory matters and complex litigation. The disputes group in particular is routinely involved in market-leading cases, a recent example of which was its representation of Bell Canada and the NFL in a closely-watched case at the Supreme Court of Canada. Toronto-based practice head Grant Buchanan has extensive experience in broadcast and telecom regulation and financing. Counsel Keith Rose, who has a background as software engineer, specializes in technology and communications law. Satellite carriers, mobile and fixed wireless networks, cable operators, and other service providers are also among the core client base. Peter Grant retired in April 2020.

Practice head(s):

Grant Buchanan

Other key lawyers:

Keith Rose

Key clients

National Football League

Bell Canada

Cineworld Group plc

Ministries: Canadian Heritage; Innovation, Science & Development

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

TD Securities Inc.

Xplornet Communications Inc.

Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority

Queens University

Work highlights

  • Advised the National Football League and Bell Canada on its litigation with the CRTC over simultaneous substitution of US and Canadian advertisements during the Super Bowl.
  • Advised Xplornet on the substantial update of its service terms and conditions, in anticipation of the CRTC Internet Code.
  • Represented Bell Canada and its affiliates in the Federal Court of Appeal regarding Quebecor’s case over the TVA Sports/Bell dispute.

Dentons

Dentons is rated by clients for its 'in-depth industry knowledge with a sense of what is needed to provide actionable, practical advice'. The telecoms team plays a key role in corporate and financing transactions and complex regulatory matters. In particular, the group is a top choice in the broadcasting sector, where it can draw on the complementary expertise of the firm's media and entertainment team. Practice head Monica Song is highlighted for her responsiveness and her 'on-point understanding of the industry'. Based in the firm's Ottawa office, Song acts for a wide range of Canadian and foreign carriers and has particular expertise in radio communication matters. Also recommended is Gregory Kane QC, who has experience assisting clients with privatizations and copyright issues.

Practice head(s):

Monica Song

Other key lawyers:

Gregory Kane QC

Testimonials

‘Strong ability to address both small and large issues. Extensive knowledge and experience in Canadian telecoms.’

‘Greg Kane is fantastic–a real rock star!’

‘The Dentons Canada team is exceptionally professional and responsive. They combine in-depth industry knowledge with a sense of what is needed to provide actionable, practical advice.’

‘My principal point of contact with the Dentons Canada team — Monica Song — has been a pleasure to work with. She is professional, responsive and has in-depth industry knowledge to provide practical advice on a wide range of legal and regulatory issues.’

‘The team at Dentons is extremely responsive and very knowledgeable. They have consistently demonstrated good legal judgment and given us advice useful for our needs.’

‘Monica Song is one of the better outside counsel that we work with anywhere. She is extremely responsive and on-point with her understanding of the industry and her advice.’

Key clients

Shaw Communications Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Shaw Communications Inc. on an $800m two tranche bond offering of 10- and 30-year notes by Shaw Communications Inc.

Goodmans LLP

Goodmans LLP stands out for its  expertise in telecoms, broadcasting and internet regulation, acting for both domestic and foreign media companies. The team has noted expertise in emerging issues, including the internet of things, cloud-based media services, next-generation satellite services and direct-to-consumer streaming and broadcasting. Contacts in Toronto include Michael Koch, who advises on competition and federal regulatory matters, and Monique McAlister, recommended for her work in broadcasting and digital media.

Practice head(s):

Michael Koch; Monique McAlister

Other key lawyers:

Peter Ruby

Key clients

Communications BCE Inc./Bell Media Inc.

Major League Baseball Collective of Canada, Inc.

The Walt Disney Company

Turner Broadcasting System Inc.

Rainbow Media/AMC

CBS Corporation

Bragg Communications (operating as Eastlink)

Rogers Communications

Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago

Gogo Internet

Work highlights

  • Represented multiple clients in making submissions to the communications legislative review panel or advising on the potential implications of the review on foreign over-the-top services in Canada.
  • Acted for Eastlink, a network owner and provider of network services, in relation to the CRTC’s August 15, 2019 decision to reduce wholesale rates for Internet access.
  • Acted as external regulatory counsel for  the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad and Tobago in disputes filed by interconnecting carriers regarding rates for termination of international traffic.

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP

Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP acts for internet service providers, telecoms carriers and satellite service providers, providing a range of regulatory and transactional advice as a part of the firm's wider technology group. Montréal-based Sunny Handa heads the practice group and has extensive experience in the field of e-commerce.

Practice head(s):

Sunny Handa

Other key lawyers:

Robert Percival

Key clients

Inmarsat Solutions (Canada) Inc., Inmarsat Licenses (Canada) Inc. and Inmarsat PLC (Inmarsat)

SES S.A.

BCE Inc. and Bell Canada

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners

Work highlights

  • Advised Inmarsat, a global player in the satellite communications space, on its compliance with the Canadian telecoms and radio communication regulatory regimes.
  • Advised SES, the largest global satellite communications player in the world, on its Canadian operations and its strategic approach in addressing the upcoming reallocation and clearing of C-band spectrum to support the deployment of 5G services in Canada.
  • Advised Stonepeak, a North American focused infrastructure investment firm, on its acquisition of Xplornet Communications Inc.