Shipping in Canada

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

One of the oldest marine law practices in Canada, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP acts for shipowners, operators, shipbuilders, insurers, and charterers. It has a broad national practice, with expertise covering East Coast, Great Lakes, Arctic and West Coast shipping lanes. Disputes are a core practice area for the firm, which is frequently involved in major collision matters, cargo claims, ship arrests and customs disputes. Other areas of work include advising on transactional and regulatory issues. Jean-Marie Fontaine leads the team out of the Montreal office, acting for major clients on both transactional and litigation matters. Other key names are Dionysios Rossi and Graham Walker, both based in Vancouver.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Marie Fontaine

Other key lawyers:

Graham Walker; Dionysios Rossi; Jean-Francois Bilodeau

Work highlights

  • Served as counsel to Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale in all Canadian Federal Court legal proceedings relating to the arrest of the M/V India in the Port of Nanaimo, British Columbia.
  • Served as counsel to Algoma Central Corporation (TSX:ALC), a leading provider of marine transportation services, on a vessel refinancing of its senior secured indebtedness which included.
  • Serving as counsel to Mitsui O.S.K Lines Ltd. and NYK Line in all ongoing Federal Court civil proceedings arising from a vessel fire that occurred on board the M/V MOL Prestige in January 2018.

Norton Rose Fulbright

Norton Rose Fulbright‘s Canada shipping team is able to leverage the firm’s global presence to provide multi-jurisdictional dispute and transactional expertise to clients. Its commercial expertise includes advising on building projects, ship financing, bespoke contractual matters, and insurance issues. Strengths in the dispute space includes assisting with matters arising from collisions, cargo claims, labour disputes and risk management. The team acts for a full range of key shipping entities as well as acting for government entities related to the shipping industry. Shelley Chapelski leads the team out of Vancouver, providing broad maritime law expertise. Other key names include Vancouver litigators John Bromley QC and Andrew Stainer.

Practice head(s):

Shelley Chapelski

Other key lawyers:

John Bromley QC; Andrew Stainer


Solutions driven.

Very customer friendly and flexible on fee arrangements.

Key clients

Seaspan ULC

Other companies of the Washington Marine Group

Groupe Desgagnés and subsidiaries

Bridgemans Services Group LP

Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund

Ocean Group

Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd.

Harlock Murray Underwriting

North of England P&I Association Ltd.

Port of Quebec

Royal Bank of Canada


Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)

Shipowners’ Mutual Protection & Indemnity Association Limited.

Work highlights

  • Advising Bridgemans on a wide variety of matters.
  • Acting as general counsel to Seaspan ULC, including its affiliates, handling both commercial and dispute resolution-related matters.
  • Assisting Martech Polar Consulting with drafting and updating its ice navigator contract.

Stikeman Elliott LLP

Stikeman Elliott LLP offers comprehensive insurance, transactional and litigation practice to its various maritime and shipping clients. Drawing on its broad national platform and international connections, it is able to provide support across Canada, as well as offering seamless support to clients with multi-jurisdictional concerns. Senior Counsel Peter Cullen offers experience in litigation and alternative dispute resolution out of the Montreal office. Laurent Fortier is also noteworthy for his action on behalf of shipping insurers.

Practice head(s):

Peter Cullen

Other key lawyers:

Laurent Fortier