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Canada: Corporate Tax 2016

In this chapter, 70 lawyers are selected for their market-leading corporate tax practices, including a broad range of advisory and controversy work

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Jack Bernstein Aird & Berlis, Toronto
Firoz Ahmed Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
Richard Tremblay Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
Jerald Wortsman Torys, Toronto
Ian Crosbie Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
Carrie Smit Goodmans, Toronto

Blake Cassels & Graydon has an extensive tax department earning an impressive number of listings in this chapter. Scott Wilkie is seen as a longstanding leader in the field and comes highly recommended for international tax planning matters. Practice head Jeffrey Trossman is well known for advising on tax aspects of corporate reorganisations, cross-border transactions, REITs and investment funds. “He’s an excellent tax lawyer who I’d recommend without hesitation,” states one peer. Paul Tamaki acts as senior counsel to the firm with sources highlighting his prestigious status as a tax adviser on high-profile M&A, reorganisations, joint ventures and transfer-pricing matters.

Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg clearly ranks at the top of the market with several practitioners of note. Ian Crosbie is “one of the powerhouses of the tax bar”, according to respondents. He is extensively experienced in advising Canada-based multinationals on a broad range of international tax matters. Nathan Boidman has covered a range of international tax mandates for over 30 years, and is recognised for his handling of cross-border M&A, joint ventures and financings. One peer sums him up as “seasoned, experienced, excellent”. Stephen Ruby is a senior and extremely well-respected member of the Canadian tax bar. He has an impressive portfolio of longstanding foreign and domestic multinationals that he advises on in and outbound investments respectively; he is also prominent in tax litigation.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt’s “top-tier” outfit includes “one of the star individuals” Firoz Ahmed, who co-chairs the practice and acts as the lead tax counsel in M&A, reorganisations, debt restructurings and other international taxation matters; one recent transaction of note is Mitel Networks Corporation and Polycom proposed $1.96 billion tie-up. It is made universally clear by respondents that Richard Tremblay also merits a place among the very top names, particularly in relation to transfer pricing matters. Robert Raizenne is extensively experienced in both advisory and controversy matters, with peers highlighting his long track record of excellence.

Thorsteinssons is Canada’s largest tax boutique and it stands out as one of the top outfits for complex corporate and international tax matters. Michael Colborne is well known in the market for his advisory work, especially in relation to mining tax matters. Respondents highlight his “smart, solutions-orientated approach”. Ian Gamble has a prominent status in the market, with sources describing him as “very knowledgeable” and “commercially minded”. He is active on tax aspects of cross-border transactions, particularly for companies in the natural resources, real estate, forestry and telecoms industries. Michael McLaren is widely endorsed for international tax-planning matters, including M&A, reorganisations and financing transactions. According to one respondent, “He is very clued up on current issues and a key contact in British Columbia.”  Michael O’Keefe QC is a deeply respected elder-statesman figure in the market with three decades of practice advising foreign and domestic corporations on Canadian taxation. Paul Gibney’s tax planning practice is highly rated with respondents focusing on his “high level of knowledge, professional manner and ease of working with”.

Goodmans’ key tax practitioners include practice head Carrie Smit and Mitchell Sherman. Smit holds a “top-notch” reputation among her peers for her tax advice in major corporate and commercial transactions. Clients describe her as “easy to work with” and “judicious”. Sherman is also very well thought of for his advisory practice, with one peer describing him as “a superb tax lawyer”.

Aird & Berlis has a particularly strong tax offering under the stewardship of Jack Bernstein, who is seen as a leading figure in tax planning, M&A, reorganisations and financing. “He is extremely strong – a number of players see him as the star of the tax bar,” notes one peer. Barbara Worndl is also seen as a key figure at the firm.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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