Canada 2016 – GC Powerlist

Canada 2016

  • Industries

  • Powerlist

Agnes Di Leonardi

General counsel, corporate secretary and director | Mazda Canada

A highly experienced and dynamic corporate lawyer, Agnes Di Leonardi boasts substantial private practice and in-house experience and has impressed peers and clients alike with her exceptional leadership qualities. Currently...

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Andrea Hatzinikolas

Vice president, corporate and legal | Alvopetro Energy

Andrea Hatzinikolas has been praised for the various legal roles she has taken on during her tenure at Alvopetro, currently serving as vice president, corporate and legal. Prior to this...

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Andrea Fellows

Director, corporate legal | Oxford Properties Group

Prior to assuming her current position as director of corporate legal at the international real estate company Oxford Properties Group, Andrea Fellows spent four years working at the Canadian law...

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Angela Avery

General counsel and vice president legal and business development | ConocoPhillips

Angela Avery’s legal career started in 1994 at the internationally recognised Canadian law firm Bennett Jones. After nearly five years at the firm and a one year spell in the...

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Annelle Wilkins

Senior vice president and general counsel | HSBC Bank Canada


Annelle Wilkins was appointed senior vice president and general counsel for HSBC Bank Canada in November 2007. She initially joined HSBC in 1995, and has held progressively more senior roles...

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Anthony Lannie

Executive vice president and general counsel | Apache Canada

Anthony Lannie, general counsel at Apache Canada, oversees 42 employees in the legal department, of whom 28 are lawyers. Apache’s legal department prides itself on its world-class team of attorneys...

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Anthony Pagano

Chief counsel, M&A | Royal Bank of Canada


Anthony Pagano brings an extensive, high-profile international career in private practice and a strong understanding of business fundamentals to his role of chief counsel for M&A at Royal Bank of...

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Bram Abramson

Chief legal and regulatory officer | TekSavvy Solutions

After assuming his position as chief legal and regulatory officer at the telecommunications company TekSavvy Solutions, Bram Abramson formed a functional legal department practically from scratch, hiring all lawyers and...

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Brian Hilbers

Chief legal officer and vice president, emergency management | Bruce Power

As chief legal officer and vice president at Bruce Power, Brian Hilbers leads a large team of 350. Although cost control during litigation has proven to be the biggest challenge...

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Brian Swartz

Executive vice president legal and commercial services and corporate secretary | Aecon Group

Widely recognised by peers and clients alike for his ability to use his excellent judgment skills and ability to weigh legal and commercial risk in the context of a bigger...

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Caroline McNicoll

General counsel and corporate secretary | Pharmascience


After being called to the Quebec Bar in 1997, Caroline McNicoll started her career as a litigator in a medium-sized law firm in Quebec City. However, three years later an...

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Chantal Thibault

Managing director, legal | OMERS Private Equity

As with many other in-house lawyers in Canada, Chantal Thibault started her legal career in private practice, initially working as an associate at Goodmans in Toronto in the corporate and...

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Charlene Ripley

Executive vice president, general counsel | Goldcorp

Charlene Ripley, general counsel for Goldcorp, boasts 25 years’ experience in the field of corporate law. Ripley has an impressive list of achievements that includes building LINN Energy through numerous...

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Chris von Boetticher

Vice president, general counsel and secretary | CI Investments

Chris von Boetticher has spent the majority of his career working as an in-house lawyer at his current employer CI Investments, where he was promoted to general counsel in 2008....

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Christopher Ginther

Senior vice president and general counsel | Ontario Power Generations

An effective leader with 27 years of experience, Christopher Ginther has occupied senior and prestigious legal and operational positions at a variety of Canada’s largest business enterprises. Well known for...

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Christopher Lemon

General counsel, corporate secretary | First Quantum Minerals

Christopher Lemon joined First Quantum in 2007 as general counsel. ‘The offer was too good to turn down as it afforded me the opportunity to work in a rapidly expanding...

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Constance Crosby

Legal director | CISCO Systems Canada

Constance Crosby is an effective problem solver, widely recognised for her adaptability and leadership qualities. Having worked in-house for over 10 years, Crosby is able to utilise her extensive knowledge...

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Daniel Desjardins

General counsel | Bombardier

A leader in the North American in-house community, Bombardier’s general counsel Daniel Desjardins has been among the most influential figures during the transformation of how legal functions at a large...

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Daniele Chouinard

Vice president, legal affairs | Hydromega Services

Daniele Chouinard has been vice president, legal affairs for Hydromega Services – an industry leader in the development, construction, financing and operation of independent renewable energy facilities in Quebec and...

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Danielle Lavallée

General counsel, compliance officer, corporate secretary and member of the board of directors | Philips Canada

Following her graduation from the University of Ottawa in 1998, Danielle Lavallée joined the large Canadian law firm Borden Ladner Gervais. Her work there focused primarily on the provision of...

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David McCoy

Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | Enerplus Corporation

A brilliant lawyer, widely recognised for his long term vision for running legal processes in the energy sector and strong expertise in overseeing complex M&A transactions, David McCoy, has been...

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David Miller

Chief legal officer and secretary | Rogers Communications

Described by peers as a ‘highly competent professional’, David Miller currently serves as chief legal officer and secretary at Canada’s national communications and media company, Rogers Communications, where he is...

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David Onorato

General counsel | Royal Bank of Canada


David Onorato joined Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) as general counsel in 2015 following the retirement of the much respected David Allgood. Onorato arrived with considerable in-house and private practice...

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David Shapiro

Chief legal officer | Air Canada

David Shapiro is senior vice president and chief legal officer of Air Canada. An expert in aircraft financing and leasing transactions, Shapiro joined predecessor company Canadian Airlines International in 1997...

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Dawn Devoe

General counsel | World Vision Canada

Dawn Devoe is general counsel for World Vision, Canada’s largest private, child-focused international humanitarian development agency and sponsor of nearly half a million children in developing nations around the world....

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Deborah Greenberg

Vice president and general counsel | Aimia

As an award winning vice president and general counsel, Deborah Greenberg has shown exceptional dedication to her team and has led a number of strategic projects during her time at...

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Dustin Isaacs

General counsel and corporate secretary | Turquoise Hill Resources

Before being appointed as general counsel and corporate secretary at mineral exploration and development company Turquoise Hill Resources in January 2013, Dustin Isaacs spent some time with Rio Tinto in...

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Eric Adelson

Senior vice president, head of legal | Invesco Canada

Highly experienced in transactional law, Eric Adelson first became general counsel at the age of just 36, following his involvement in many unique, innovative products. Earlier in his career, while...

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Eric Notkin

Vice president, legal services | CGI Group

Eric Notkin, vice president, legal affairs of information technology consulting company CGI Group has contributed to the company’s “Build and Buy” growth strategy in a number of pioneering ways. Sources...

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Fernando Garcia

General counsel | Nissan Canada

Managing a team of five employees at Nissan Canada, general counsel Fernando Garcia has been a crucial element of the department’s transformation in the past three years. During his time...

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Frank Herbert

General counsel and corporate secretary | Centerra Gold

Frank Herbert has experience in the mining and natural resources industries spanning over 25 years. He joined Centerra as general counsel in 2004 and was appointed president in 2015. Herbert...

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Gary Maavara

Executive vice president and general counsel | Corus Entertainment

Gary Maavara is executive vice president and general counsel for Corus Entertainment, one of Canada’s largest integrated media and entertainment companies and owner of Global Television Network, Canada’s second most...

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George Valentini

General counsel | Dream Unlimited Corp

A lawyer with 26 years’ worth of experience in private practice, George Valentini made his move in-house in July 2013 to oversee the legal function at Dream Unlimited, a leading...

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Isabelle Robitaille

Director of legal affairs | Sandoz Canada

An outstanding lawyer with great managerial skills, Isabelle Robitaille has had a highly impressive legal career with a distinct focus on pharmaceuticals. In 2000, she started articling at Paquette Gadler,...

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James McLandress

General counsel and corporate secretary | Winnipeg Airports Authority

A highly experienced professional in Canada’s in-house legal community, James McLandress operates as the sole and first lawyer at Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA). His achievements in this role are diverse...

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Janice Odegaard

Senior vice president and general counsel | Suncor Energy

Currently serving as general counsel, corporate secretary, chief privacy officer and senior vice president at Suncor Energy, Janice Odegaard holds responsibility for all legal and regulatory matters across the company...

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Jay Safer

Vice president, general counsel and secretary | IBM Canada

Jay Safer assumed the position of vice president, general counsel and secretary of IBM Canada in 2001. Prior to joining IBM, Safer worked in a mid-size full service law firm...

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Jean Mayer

Vice president legal affairs and corporate secretary | 5N Plus

Jean Mayer, vice president of legal affairs at 5N Plus is a legal executive with 17 years’ international business experience. Mayer has been instrumental in a combination of corporate, commercial,...

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Jeffrey Haar

Executive vice president, legal | Postmedia Network

Jeffrey Haar joined Postmedia, the largest newspaper group in Canada, in January 2012 as executive vice president and general counsel. Currently leading a team of seven employees, Haar has managed...

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Jim Willoughby

Chief legal officer, corporate director and secretary | Allergan Canada

Responsible for the Canadian legal operations of the Botox-manufacturer Allergan, Jim Willoughby has recently distinguished himself with his work on the company’s efforts to fight off a US$53bn hostile takeover...

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Joanna Scott

Vice president, corporate services, corporate secretary | Mullen Group

Though a litigator by training, Joanna Scott, corporate secretary and vice president of corporate services at Mullen, has excelled in a corporate law environment. Prior to joining Mullen, Scott was...

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John Coyne

Vice president, legal and external affairs and general counsel | Unilever Canada

Unilever Canada’s general counsel, John Coyne, has been an active contributor to his company’s evolution over the last three decades through his work on a number of prominent transactions and...

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Jonah Davids

Executive vice president and general counsel | Just Energy

Operational change has been one of the key highlights of Jonah Davids’ time in the position of executive vice president and general counsel at Just Energy. Apart from expanding his...

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Jonathan Drimmer

Vice president and deputy general counsel | Barrick Gold Corporation

Described as fair and unfailingly gracious by peers, Jonathan Drimmer, deputy general counsel at Barrick Gold is consistently praised by his contemporaries for his extraordinary contribution to the legal field...

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Josée Kouri

Vice president, legal affairs and corporate secretary | Dollarama

Josée Kouri is vice president, legal affairs and corporate secretary at Dollarama, a TSX listed corporation that operates more than 1,000 retail stores across Canada. She joined Dollarama in 2011...

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Karin McCaskill

Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary | Sobeys

Senior vice president, general counsel and secretary at Empire Company and Empire’s subsidiary company, Sobeys, Karin McCaskill is described as the ‘model’ general counsel. She is praised for her ability...

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Kate Chisholm

Senior vice president, legal and external affairs | Capital Power Corporation

Kate Chisholm, named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, has led Capital Power’s legal, regulatory and compliance, government relations and external affairs teams...

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Kay Nguyen

General counsel | Kia Canada

Kia has experienced unprecedented growth since Kay Nguyen joined the company in 2010. The Canadian business has been the fastest growing car company in the country, experiencing sales growth in...

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Ken Tennenhouse

Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | Manitoba Hydro

During his time in the role of vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at the Canadian electric power and natural gas utility company Manitoba Hydro, Ken Tennenhouse has recruited...

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Kenneth Fredeen

General Counsel | Deloitte (Canada)

Kenneth Fredeen stands out from his peers due to his sterling reputation as a leader and his active participation in a range of diversity initiatives aimed at improving the quality...

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Kevin Derbyshire

Vice president and general counsel | Acklands-Grainger

Kevin Derbyshire, vice president and general counsel at industrial supply company Acklands-Grainger, is responsible for all legal matters and, as of October, 2013, the company’s corporate global real estate and...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Kristine Delkus

Executive vice president and general counsel | TransCanada

Managing a team of 300 spread across Calgary, Montreal and Houston at the major North American energy company TransCanada, Kristine Delkus prides herself on creating a strong and versatile legal...

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Larry Kram

General counsel and corporate secretary | Alberta Electric System Operator

Larry Kram, general counsel and corporate secretary for Alberta Electric System Operator, heads a department made up of five lawyers and three administrative assistants. His role has evolved with the...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Leslie O’Donoghue

Executive vice president, corporate development and strategy and chief risk officer | Agrium

Leslie O’Donoghue has been recognised by peers across the board for her contribution to the legal field and in 2013, she received an Alberta Queen’s Counsel Appointment for her outstanding...

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Lisa Damiani

Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | New Gold

Lisa Damiani has made a strong impact on the strategic direction of New Gold since joining the company two years ago. Her work on key strategic transactions for the company...

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Lisa Marcuzzi

General counsel and corporate secretary | ArcelorMittal Dofasco

Lisa Marcuzzi has been the general counsel and corporate secretary at ArcelorMittal Dofasco since June 2013. Prior to this role, she specialised in commercial law with an emphasis on mergers...

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Lori Shalhoub

Vice president, general counsel | Chrysler Canada

Lori Shalhoub has been with Chrysler for 17 years and is among the most respected corporate counsel in the country. She played a leading role in the much publicised negotiations...

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Lorne O’Reilly

Senior counsel | Dow Chemical Canada

Since April 2015, Lorne O’Reilly is responsible for all Canadian legal services for Dow Chemical Canada, Dow AgroSciences Canada and other affiliates. O’Reilly manages corporate governance, secretarial, general corporate, employment,...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Marc Mcclean

Director legal | EDF EN Canada

Marc McClean is director of legal at leading green energy provider EDF EN Canada. McClean has been instrumental in a number of successful acquisitions across the region. When discussing his...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Mark Gosine

Executive vice president, legal affairs and general counsel | DHX Media

Mark Gosine is general counsel at DHX Media, a leading creator, producer, marketer and broadcaster of family entertainment, that is globally recognised for brands such as Yo Gabba Gabba!, Teletubbies...

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Mark Hemingway

Senior vice president, corporate development, governance and general counsel | CIBC Mellon

A results-oriented, analytical and strategic leader, Mark Hemingway is a seasoned lawyer with two decades of experience in financial services. At the present moment, Hemingway heads a legal department of...

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Mark Hounsell

General counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary | CAE

Mark Hounsell is very well regarded in the Canadian in-house community, due to his outstanding reputation for his work on commercial transactions and M&A deals, as well as his contributions...

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Mark Johnson

General counsel | Infusion

‘I can’t place a dollar amount on the value the legal team brings. The value I calculate is the number of people that come up to us and ask legal...

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Martin Guest

Senior vice president, chief compliance officer and general counsel | Manulife

Martin Guest currently serves as the chief compliance officer, general counsel and secretary at Manulife’s Canadian division. His current responsibilities at Manulife range from advising divisional senior management on complex...

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Martin Langelier

Senior vice president, general counsel and public affairs | Bombardier Recreational Products

Martin Langelier is currently chief legal officer and secretary for Bombardier Recreational Products, holding a diverse mix of responsibilities for the management of the company’s global legal and compliance affairs,...

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Megan Evans

Vice president and chief legal and risk officer | The Hospital for Sick Children

When Megan Evans joined The Hospital for Sick Children in 2007, also known as SickKids, there was no general counsel or equivalent position at the Toronto-based institution. There were only...

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Melissa Kennedy

Chief legal officer and public affairs | Sun Life Financial

Melissa Kennedy joined Sun Life Financial, one of the largest life insurance companies in the world with operations dating back to 1865, in 2014 and became chief legal officer in...

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Michael Galego

Deputy general counsel and secretary | Pacific Exploration and Production Company

Managing a team of 20, comprised of lawyers and analysts, at Pacific Exploration and Production Company, the Canadian crude oil and gas exploration and production company, Michael Galego strives to...

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Michel Lalande

Senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | Bell Canada

Michel Lalande, recognised as one of Canada’s Top 40 Corporate Counsel: 40 and Under 40 by the National Post, and in 2008, as Québec’s General Counsel of the Year, serves...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Mirko Bibic

Chief legal and regulatory and executive vice president corporate development | Bell Canada and BCE

Mirko Bibic is chief legal and regulatory and executive vice president, corporate development at Bell Canada, the largest communications company in Canada. He is described as ‘extremely loyal’, ‘innovative’ and...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Olen Aasen

Executive vice president and general counsel | Alderon Iron Ore Corp.

Olen Aasen has been general counsel and corporate secretary at Alderon Iron Ore Corp since September 2012. Specialising in corporate and securities law, he began his career as an associate...

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Olivier Chouc

Vice president, corporate services | Canadian National Railway Company

Olivier Chouc started his career at Norton Rose Fulbright as a corporate lawyer. After a brief time in the forest industry in 1998 he was approached by Canadian National Railway...

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Peter Kalins

Vice president, general counsel | Apotex

Peter Kalins is a highly respected in-house lawyer in Canada, who has earned a reputation for his strong work ethic and integrity. After a four-year spell at Canadian law firm...

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Peter Nguyen

General counsel and corporate secretary | Resolver

Peter Nguyen is well known for his outstanding leadership qualities as general counsel. He assumed his position at Resolver in January 2016 and prior to his current appointment he had...

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Peter Rozee

Senior vice president, commercial and legal affairs | Teck Resources

In his position of senior vice president for commercial and legal affairs at Teck Resources, a Canadian metals and mining company, Peter Rozee manages a team of flexible lawyers spread...

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Peter Volk

General counsel | Pacific Exploration and Production Corp

Seasoned lawyer in the Canadian energy sector, Peter Volk holds both an MBA qualification and an LL.B degree from York University in Toronto. Volk’s strong commercial background allows him to...

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Riccardo Trecroce

Vice president and general counsel, America and Asia | Magna International

Prior to going in-house, Ricardo Trecroce practiced corporate law for 15 years with Fraser Milner Casgrain (now Dentons) in Toronto and for three years with Parlee McLaws in Edmonton, Alberta....

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Richard Adams

Chief legal officer, secretary and compliance manager | Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Canada & Mercedes-Benz Canada

After obataining law degrees that permitted him to practice in both English Canada and Quebec, Richard Adams gained an MBA from Rotman University to improve his business understanding. Adams originally...

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Richard Brait

General counsel - Canada | Siemens

The multinational conglomerate Siemens has a significant presence in Canada with 4,500 employees and annual revenue of CAD$3bn. Richard Brait has successfully lead the legal and compliance groups for the...

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Richard Carty

Vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary | E-L Financial Corporation

Richard Carty currently serves as secretary, vice president and general counsel of E-L Financial Corp. He wear several hats at once as he also serves as corporate secretary of United...

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Robert Closner

Regional general counsel, Americas | Boart Longyear Canada

A highly ambitious and target-oriented lawyer, Robert Closner is widely recognised in Canadian in-house legal circles for his strong work ethic. Following his graduation with a J.D. qualification from Queen’s...

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Robert Hemstock

Executive vice president, regulatory and legal services | ENMAX Corp.

A member of the executive leadership board at the Alberta-based utility company ENMAX, Robert Hemstock has his say on important strategic issues for his company. ‘My boss is the CEO,...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Roch Vaillancourt

General counsel | Iovate Health Sciences International

As the general counsel at Iovate Health Sciences International Roch Vaillancourt oversees 16 professionals handling compliance, regulatory, safety assurance and corporate affairs. Vaillancourt has spent large parts of his career...

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Sachin Kanabar

General counsel | LG Electronics Canada

Sachin Kanabar is a highly flexible in-house lawyer, who is able to generate creative solutions to a diverse array of complex legal matters. His proven ability to proactively establish trusting...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Sarah Qadeer

Senior director, legal | The Home Depot Canada

Currently leading the legal efforts of Home Depot’s Canada business, Sarah Qadeer manages enterprise risk and supervises a team of corporate lawyers, while providing business-minded advice on a wide array...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Sean Finn

Executive vice president corporate services and chief legal officer | Canadian National Railway Company

Sean Finn joined the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in 2000 and was appointed executive vice president corporate services and chief legal officer in December 2008. At CN he is...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Sean Kelly

General counsel | Hockey Canada

Formerly known as the Canadian Hockey Association, Hockey Canada is the national governing body of ice hockey and sledge hockey in the country. When Sean Kelly joined in 2008 as...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Shannon Rogers

President and general counsel | Global Relay

Shannon Rogers started her legal career working on Bay Street in Toronto for a couple of years before realising that she would prefer the commercial exposure of an in-house legal...

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Shaun Logue

Vice president, general counsel | Brookfield Energy Marketing

Shaun Logue joined Brookfield Energy in 2011. He provides practical advice on litigation and commercial energy transactions he has had major litigation success in a number of cases. The changes...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Sheila Murray

Executive vice president, general counsel and secretary | CI Financial Corp

Sheila Murray is executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of CI Financial. She plays a key role in directing the operations and setting corporate strategy for CI Financial and...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Simon Fish

General counsel | Bank of Montreal


Simon Fish’s extensive list of initiatives to shape and innovate within the legal profession have not gone unnoticed, with peers singing his praises for being the best in the field....

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Stefan Gruszka

assistant general counsel | Kiewit Canada Corp.

In addition to being the lead legal support for some of the largest and most complex construction projects in Canada, Stefan Gruszka’s tenure as assistant general counsel at Kiewit Canada...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Tanya Rothe

General counsel | D-Wave Systems

Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau caught the media’s attention earlier this year with his confident response to a journalist’s question about quantum computing, a subject rarely discussed outside the world...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Ted Nieman

Senior vice president and general counsel and secretary | Canpotex

Ted Nieman began his legal career in 1973 and spent almost 20 years as a private practice lawyer. He became a partner at law firm Robertson Stromberg in 1977 and...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Thomas Santram

Vice president, legal and chief privacy officer | Cineplex

Thomas Santram has been vice president legal and chief privacy officer of Cineplex Entertainment since 2008, Canada’s largest motion picture server, with approximately 70 million customers annually, and operating 134...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Tim Hutzul

Vice president, legal | ShawCor

Despite operating globally in more than 70 locations across six continents in more than 25 countries, ShawCor, the world’s largest integrated energy services company, has a very small legal department....

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Tracey Beaudoin

General counsel | Packers Plus

Tracey Beaudoin started her tenure at Packers Plus Energy in 2009 when the company was on a mandate to fuse industry expertise with the ability to build a legal team....

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

Tracy McGilley

General counsel | Vector Aerospace Corporation

Starting out as a private practice lawyer in 1997, Tracy Connelly McGilley accepted a position as securities counsel at Nortel Networks after a brief two year spell at a law...

#GCPowerlist Canada 2016

For 29 years, The Legal 500 has been analysing the capabilities of law firms across the world. The GC Powerlist is the latest publication from The Legal 500, turning its attention to the in-house function, and recognising those corporate counsel who are driving the legal business forward. The latest edition is the GC Powerlist: Canada, which identifies an array of the most influential and innovative in-house counsel working in those two jurisdictions.

We have canvassed opinions from law firm partners and in-house counsel across Canada, to identify corporate counsel that have been instrumental in changing or forming opinions within their company or industry; developing brilliant technical solutions to complex issues; creating innovative structures to ensure that the in-house function is driving the business forward; or providing a business working model that other corporate counsel should follow. Our team of experienced researchers assessed the nominations, speaking both to general counsel and nominating lawyers to finalise each list. GC Powerlist: Canada features not just information on why that individual has made the list, but also comment from those in-house lawyers about how they have helped shape innovation in the legal industry.

If you have feedback on the GC Powerlist: Canada, or wish to nominate other in-house individuals (either in Canada or global), please do get in touch at

We hope that this listing will stimulate debate around the role of the in-house lawyer and help corporate counsel with possible improvements and efficiencies in running their departments.

McCarthy Tétrault

McCarthy Tétrault logo

We are delighted to congratulate the counsel named in the inaugural GC Powerlist Canada. The impact these remarkable individuals have made on their companies, on the legal profession and on the Canadian business landscape cannot be overstated. They are innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders who have left an indelible mark on our country’s economy. Next year, Canada will mark its 150th anniversary of being a nation. A nation of innovators and explorers, with a rich cultural history encompassing our indigenous people as well as new Canadians who have built their families and businesses here. This is a country still youthful and vibrant, brimming with opportunities for Canadian and international business.

Canada is one of the 10 largest industrialized countries in the world. In fact, the World Economic Forum has declared our banking system to be the soundest in the world – for the eighth consecutive year. Our economy is robust, with strong inbound and outbound investment, a thriving technology sector, and significant activity in many of the industries on which the Canadian market was built, including retail, mining, agriculture, power, infrastructure, financial services and real estate. Canada continues to be an attractive market for foreign investment. With major international trade treaties either in existence or near completion, foreign investors will be best positioned in Canada to benefit from assured preferential access. Our country is exceptionally well-placed to continue to show a strong record of growth as we have over the past decade.

McCarthy Tétrault is excited to support the prestigious GC Powerlist as they recognize those who continue to drive the legal industry forward. Many law firms resist change, content to maintain traditional ways of doing business and serving clients. But we see things differently, through a lens of opportunity, welcoming the demands of our evolving industry by developing innovative tools and solutions for our clients. Our firm provides a broad range of legal services, advising on large and complex assignments for Canadian and international interests. Built on a unique model of collaboration, innovation and efficiency, we offer unequalled legal talent, industry knowledge and practice experience. We efficiently deliver customised legal services to help our clients achieve the results that are important to them in the industries that drive Canadian business.

On behalf of all partners at McCarthy Tétrault, I applaud the corporate counsel included in the GC Powerlist Canada. We are inspired by the drive demonstrated by this exceptional group of counsel to tackle the current economic and business challenges, to harness the power of new technology, and to ask more from their law firms. I urge the international business and legal communities to look to Canada as it remains to be a great place to invest, work and live.

The Legal 500 Medellín Roundtable and Dinner

               On Tuesday 14th of March we were delighted to hold the second Legal 500 GC Roundtable in Medellín, once again in conjunction with Contexto Legal, at the Park 10 Hotel. Despite torrential rain a healthy quorum of GCs – including representatives of Andercol, FANALCO, Alión, Postobón, Grupo Santamaria, Grupo Éxito, Bancolombia and Isagen, among others, turned out to discuss a range of topics arising from the current wave of key reforms being enacted or under discussion in Colombia.

               After words of welcome from Contexto Legal’s managing partner, Guillermo Villegas, the first topic of discussion was a consideration of how companies and businesses were responding to the considerable changes of regulatory and normative frameworks. Given the breadth of areas – tax, mining, labour, social security, health etc. – that these developments are affecting, there was particular consensus around not only the need to grasp the transversal points arising from all these reforms and to approach and respond to them with a singular voice (for example via the ANADE business chamber), but also to have confidence in the independence and resilience of relevant Colombian institutions, the Courts, etc. A valuable additional point was made regarding the need for the business community to reconsider its vocabulary and rhetoric in the ongoing negotiations that will undoubtedly take place as the year proceeds, adjusting to current realities so as to better make its points and ensure its voice as a stakeholder in current debates.

               While the conversation would then touch on how the stresses of these reform processes are affecting GC/Board relations, it was the issue of crisis management – particularly as understood from the GC perspective  – that particularly animated the assembled participants. Crisis management specialist Andrés Gómez (of consultancy ‘Laberinto’), set the frame for the discussion with his definition of a crisis as ‘ a negotiation in which one is obliged to participate but without having any degree of control. Effectively, there is little doubt that the current scenario is one in which the business community is being obligated to participate in just such a negotiation. The conversation ranged across the varying steps that need to be put in place to handle specific emergent crisis – having a media trained figure in place, for example – but the discussion highlighted that many of these steps were beyond the capacities of small-to-medium enterprises which the speed and range of reforms were pushing into crisis with immediate effect. What also increasingly became clear is that communication will be absolutely central to the business community’s collective health in the face of these changes, and that -in general- the extent of its activities on the social front, with communities, etc., as part of ongoing business activities has largely remained unacknowledged. Indeed, the depth and longevity of this social and community welfare activity must be given the prominence it deserves and can also constitute a point of commonality in the discussions to come.

               A fine evening was brought to an end with some measured and well-weighed closing remarks by Contexto Legal partner Gustavo Cruz, whose optimistic realism before the challenges ahead were at once sober but heartening.