Canada



World Tax Reviews

Tax
Baker McKenzie

The Canadian tax department at Baker McKenzie is separated into five specialties: tax planning & transactions, tax controversy, transfer pricing, indirect tax and global wealth management. The group represents a large number of multinationals, both public and private.

Over the recent research cycle, the firm served as tax counsel to Affirm in its acquisition of Paybright, a Canadian buy-now-pay later fintech company. The 340 CAD deal, represents Baker McKenzie’s expertise in supporting emerging Canadian industries.

Barsalou Lawson Rheault

The firm of Barsalou Lawson Rheault practices in the disciplines of transfer pricing and tax controversy. The firm’s tax litigation department advises on a broad range of tax disputes, including complex audits, administrative appeals, competent authority, and judicial proceedings. It represents many pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology companies in these matters. The firm is most recognized for its expertise in transfer pricing and tax incentives.

The firm has defended several international entities before Canadian authorities. For example, it defended Roche Long Term Foundation, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical group, in the Tax Court of Canada in the first non-resident trust case. This was a precedent setting matter as there were no existing jurisprudence on the issue. Moreover, it defended a US-based biopharmaceutical group’s deduction for legal fees. The team countered the CRA’s novel argument that only one patent owner is entitled to the specific deduction.

Bennett Jones

Founded in 1922, Bennett Jones’ corporate tax practice provides services in corporate tax, tax litigation, and transfer pricing. Tax clients consist of public corporations, private equity investors, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, and high net worth individuals. The group works across seven strategic offices in three countries. 

The firm has been active with both controversy and transactional matters. Over the research period, the group served as counsel for Calfrac Well Services Ltd in an unprecedented debt restructuring process. The file required the seamless integration of corporate and litigation considerations. The group concurrently managed the structuring, negotiation, amendments, and implementation of a recapitalization transaction. It additionally made multiple attendances to the Court of Queen's Bench and Court of Appeal of Alberta.  

Between 2020-2021 Bennett Jones promoted five individuals to partnership, Marshall Haughey, Barbara Kimmitt, Jared Mackey, Sophie Virji, and Philip Ward.  

Blake Cassels & Graydon

Blake Cassels & Graydon is a leading law firm in Canada which excels in corporate, transactional, and tax controversy. The firm handles both domestic and international tax matters. The tax group stands as one of the largest in the country, with offices in all of Canada’s key business centers. 

The team has seen substantial volume in complex cross-border work. It acted for The Fertility Partners in their acquisition of two fertility clinics, in addition to securing approximately C$90-million in equity and debt financing. The transactions involved the complex interplay between health care regulations and indirect tax regimes in multiple jurisdictions. 

Since the beginning of 2020, the firm added two new partners to its leadership. Casey Richardson-Scott was promoted to the new role, and Marie-Claire Dy joined from Dentons Canada.

Borden Ladner Gervais

Made up of a collection of over sixty tax professionals over five offices, Borden Ladner Gervais provides advice on domestic and international tax laws, in addition to tax planning services. The tax group commits to providing clients with industry specific advice across a broad range of sectors such as communications, and financial service markets.   

Over the research period, the firm acted on behalf of Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company in their acquisition of the Montana Alberta Tie-Line. The transaction was completed through a series of share purchase agreements, for an approximate purchase price of C$200 million. The complex cross-border elements and nature of the transaction involved a significant amount of teamwork across the firm’s diverse professionals.  

In 2020, the tax practice added partner Robert Nearing to their team.

Charles River Associates

Charles River Associates offers economic, financial, and strategic expertise to corporations, law firms, accounting firms, and governments.  The company is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, but maintains many global offices, including in Canada. The firm provides litigation support, business strategy and planning, market forecasting, policy analysis, and risk management consulting services. Some industry sector strengths include life sciences, technology, and financial services.

Tax controversy matters make up a significant volume of the firm's work. During a recent customs audit, the team performed an economic analysis to justify the appropriateness of the pricing utilized for a client's customs duty obligations. The analysis had to be in sufficient depth to prepare for potential litigation. The analysis was completed, and the customs audit successfully resolved.

On February 3, 2020 David Kemp, previously a Partner and National Transfer Pricing Leader at Baker Tilly Canada, transitioned his transfer pricing practice to Charles River Associates' Toronto Office.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg

The forty-person tax group of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg works across offices in Toronto, Montréal and New York. The Canadian based department is known for their work in cross-border business transactions. It additionally provides services in the areas of general tax advisory, and tax controversy.    

The team has recently been involved several unique tax matters. An example of which is their serving as counsel for the Appellants, Estate Trustees of Barry and Honey Sherman, in their appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada against the Toronto StarThe matter concerned a sealing order obtained by the Estate Trustees, which restricted public access to materials filed in connection with estate planning and probate tax documents. The case set critical precedents around privacy and probate filings.  

Over the recent research period, the firm has expanded its partnership, promoting Andrew Ellis in their Toronto Office, in addition to welcoming new partner Marie-France Dompierre in Montréal, from Lavery Avocats.

Deloitte

Deloitte Canada’s tax and legal team consists of 12,648 individuals, including 998 partners, in 30 locations throughout Canada. Deloitte Canada is one of the largest tax practices in the global network of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. The group is led by Philippe Bélair, the National Managing Partner for Tax & Legal. Some key industry focuses of the practice include energy, technology, financial services, and consumer business.

The firm has been active within the country, handling several matters of Canadian significance. It recently engaged in a litigation matter against the Canada Border Services Agency to defend a client's importing activities. There are relatively few decisions rendered by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, making this matter significant. The litigation raised the issue of the applicable valuation method for the client’s imports and will generate precedents for all importers into the country.

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin

The Fasken Martineau DuMoulin tax team is made up of over forty professionals across Canada. The firm maintains offices in five of the country’s main business centers. Housing one of the largest indirect taxation teams in Canada, the group also provides Tax Litigation and Dispute Resolution services. It has maintained a reputation for advising clients in the energy and natural resources industries with respect to the tax structuring and planning for large public and private M&A.

The group have been participants in the particularly active transactional market in Canada. Over the recent research period, the firm represented CDPQ on all aspects of their acquisition of Plenary America. Plenary Americas is a long-term investor, sponsor, and operator of public infrastructure. CDPQ is an institutional investor that manages funds primarily for public pension and insurance plans. The acquisition was significant as CDPQ stands as one of Canada's leading institutional fund managers, with a truly global portfolio.  

Goodmans

Goodmans is a transaction-driven Canadian Tax firm. The team’s core is its M&A tax practice, and all partners practice in this area. It specializes in public company M&A, private equity transactions, strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. Additionally, the firm provides services in tax dispute resolution, commodity tax, and executive compensation.

Goodmans’ ability to work on cross-border transactions was recently demonstrated with its representation of Northern Private Capital in their purchase of MDA from Maxar Technologies. The transaction involved all of MDA’s Canadian businesses and infostructure, but, was made more complex as Maxar is a U.S based company.

Gowling WLG

Gowling WLG’s Tax team consists of thirty-two professionals practicing across Canada, the majority of who are concentrated in Toronto. The group provides a complete, comprehensive portfolio of tax services; however, transactional tax matters make up a significant volume of its work. The firm serves both domestic and foreign clients.

Over the recent research period, the team advised Peermusic on their amalgamation with Premier Muzik International. The group provided advice in relation to Transaction Tax and Corporate structuring for tax minimization. This matter was unique as it incorporated three tax jurisdictions, and led to Peermusic becoming one of the global leaders in relation to music rights.

Lawson Lundell

Lawson Lundell has maintained a reputation for their knowledge and expertise with advising Canadian institutional investors, including pension plans, on domestic and overseas taxation. The group has experience in Crown law, sovereign immunity, and sovereign wealth funds. Additionally, it offers services related to business taxation, including income tax, sales tax, property tax, and resource taxation.

Lawson Lundell serviced many new and existing clients over the research period, mostly from an advisory position. These relationships remain ongoing.  

Nancy Diep Joined the firm as a Partner in February of 2021. Diep had previously been a part of Blake Cassels & Graydon.

McCarthy Tétrault

The tax team at McCarthy Tétrault maintains a presence across four offices throughout Canada, in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montréal. The group has three specialized departments, Tax Planning, Tax Disputes, and Sales & Commodity. Raj Juneja heads the tax practice area.

The firm advised Husky Energy as tax counsel through the historic transaction between Husky and Cenovus. The deal was one of the most significant within Canada's oil and gas sector since the industries recent and rapid decline. The firm has been a consistent player with transactions in this major sector of the Canadian economy. It additionally served as tax counsel in Centrica's sale of Direct Energy, its North American energy supply.    

The group has been actively recruiting, adding 5 new partners since late 2020 and into 2021, welcoming Robert Kopstein, Michel Ranger, Chia-yi Chua, Jeff Oldewening, and Mike Hegedus, to its team.  Partner Robert Nearing, however, left the group in early 2021 for Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

McMillan

McMillan’s tax practice’s two main branches of service are: Tax Advisory Services and Tax Dispute Resolution. The majority the firm’s tax work focuses on advising domestic and multinational clients on the tax aspects of their large-scale and strategic business initiatives. The tax group is led by Michael Friedman.

The firm remains active in the Canadian transactional market, having recently acted as counsel to Great Canadian Gaming Corporation in connection to its acquisition by an affiliate of funds managed by Apollo Global Management, Inc. The Ontario-based company operates twenty-six gaming, entertainment and hospitality facilities across Canada, and Apollo is a leading global alternative investment manager.

Partner Michael Ranger left the firm in February of 2021 and joined McCarthy Tetrault. 

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

Monica Biringer and Patrick Marley co-chair the tax department at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt. They oversee a team of sixty-five lawyers over five offices in Canada: Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Tax planners and litigators operate as an integrated unit to provide comprehensive advice. The firm has been recognized as a market leader with tax controversies, but provides a range of services including corporate tax planning, negotiation of mergers, indirect taxation, and more.

The group’s controversy practice remained active over the recent research period, despite COVID-19 related procedural slowdown. The team successfully represented JD Irving in its appeal of Revenue Québec’s reassessments. The matter questioned tax regulations which would deny the company certain benefits. The Court’s decision reiterated fundamental principles of Canadian tax law relating to the legal characterization of transactions. The ruling also provided guidance on group loss utilization transactions, a very common and standard form of corporate tax planning.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt welcomed Amanda Heale as a new partner in April of 2021. Heale was hired from Blake Cassels & Graydon.

Torys

Torys has maintained a long-term reputation as a tax powerhouse across transactional, advisory, and litigation support. Torys tax professionals deliver specialized advice across several industries including manufacturing, technology, and mining. The department is made up of twenty-four professionals. The group provides cross-border services in Canada and the U.S., with offices in Toronto and Calgary, and New York.

The firm has been an active and early participant “Limited Recourse Capital Notes” (LRCNs) transaction market. These securities involve novel tax structuring to accommodate important competing tax and regulatory requirements. Over the research period, it served as lead counsel to several Canadian Banks issuing this new banking instrument, including CIBC, Bank of Montreal and CWB.