Canada: Corporate Tax 2017

In this year’s edition we identify 75 leading names with exceptional proficiency across both advisory and contentious matters in the corporate tax field.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Jack Bernstein Aird & Berlis, Toronto
2. Wilfrid Lefebvre QC Norton Rose Fulbright, Montreal
3. Al Meghji Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
4. Jerald Wortsman Torys, Toronto
5. Firoz Ahmed Osler Hoskin & Harcourt, Toronto
6. Ian Crosbie Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Toronto
7. Carrie Smit Goodmans, Toronto

 With a stellar 10 listings, BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON leads our research this year.Practice group leader Jeffrey Trossman is singled out as “an excellent lawyer” and “a real star” whose practice covers all aspects of income tax planning.According to sources, “outstanding” international tax specialist Scott Wilkie “should be considered in the top 10 in Canada”. With over 30 years of experience, he is among Canada’s most distinguished tax practitioners.
Edwin Kroft QC is lauded by peers as “one of the best pure litigators” operating in the corporate tax market. Among his recent successful representations was acting for the Mark Anthony Group in an excise tax dispute.
International controversy specialist Janice McCart is singled out by some of the country’s leading tax experts as an authority on contentious transfer pricing matters.
She is joined in Toronto by Kathleen Penny who is held in similarly high regard for her transfer pricing acumen in the advisory space. Focusing her practice on cross-border transactions, she draws praise for her work on the taxation of inbound and outbound investments.
The “incredibly smart” Robert Kopstein is identified by sources as “one of the main players in Western Canada” whose skill in structuring tax-optimal M&A has seen him advise on several multibillion-dollar transactions in recent years.
In Paul Stepak and Nancy Diep, the firm is home to two up-and-coming practitioners, both of whom are tipped for prominence in the Canadian corporate tax space by market sources. Both have broad transactional, financing and restructuring skillsets but are particularly prominent for their inbound restructuring and resource taxation expertise, respectively.

DAVIES WARD PHILLIPS & VINEBERG boasts eight nominations in this edition, headlined by the “excellent” Ian Crosbie. Noted for his sharp intellect and work ethic, his insights into fund formation and fund investments are prized by private equity clients.
Raj Juneja is recognised for providing corporate tax counsel on a range of major Canadian mergers and acquisitions. Most recently, he was Canadian tax counsel to Restaurant Brands International during its US$1.8 billion acquisition of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.
The “outstanding” Elie Roth is acclaimed for his broad practice and “creative and professional” approach. Sources pinpoint his ability to “explain complex concepts in clear, comprehensible language without losing any of the relevance” as one of his key strengths.
John Ulmer is widely acknowledged for his results-oriented approach and intelligence. He is highly sought-after by multinational groups based in Canada seeking advice on the tax structuring of their global investment portfolios.
As the firm’s “elder statesman and a definite inclusion”, Nathan Boidman remains “a big name” in Canadian tax circles. His exhaustive expertise in structuring cross-border transactions makes him the lawyer of choice for companies across a wide spectrum of industries.
In Quebec, market sources are quick to highlight Brian Bloom as a crucial part of the firm’s tax offering. He uses his experience in the public sector with Finance Canada and the Canadian Revenue Agency to provide innovative structuring counsel, and has advised on several ground-breaking financing and restructuring matters.

At OSLER HOSKIN & HARCOURT six top practitioners are recommended.
The “outstanding” Firoz Ahmed is considered “one of the top in his field”. He is “the go-to guy for difficult issues” in connection with corporate reorganisations and debt restructuring, according to sources. He recently provided counsel to Tervita in its US$3.6 billion recapitalisation transaction.
The “fantastic” Al Meghji wins universal and effusive praise from market sources in the contentious space who variously describe him as “a litigation guru” who is “very strong on the litigation front”. His track record representing a number of Canada's largest corporations across multiple sectors means he is considered by several eminent tax practitioners to be “THE tax litigator in Canada.”
Mark Brender is described as “a great tax lawyer; really smart and a pleasure to work with” by peers, who emphasise his work on domestic and cross-border M&As, including Airbnb’s recent acquisition of Montreal’s Luxury Retreats International.
Acclaimed cross-border specialist Richard Tremblay ranks prominently for his international tax practice, receiving wide-ranging endorsements for his expertise in transfer pricing matters.

Canada’s premier boutique tax firm, THORSTEINSSONS, achieves six listings this year.
Michael Colborne earns widespread acclaim for his profound understanding of the mining sector which forms the basis of his advice to both multinational companies on transactional matters and governments on mining-related tax policy.
Ian Gamble is consistently identified as one of Canada’s leading tax advisers. He is prominent for the breadth of his practice, advising on a range of corporate and international tax-related matters, across multiple industries.
Management committee member, Michael McLaren is commended for his thought-leadership in international tax planning, while Brian Carr’s 43 years of experience make him an invaluable part of the firm’s industry-leading mining tax offering.

At GOODMANS, “excellent” practice head Carrie Smit and advisory expert Mitchell Sherman both win recognition. Regularly cited for their proficiency in all aspects of income taxation resulting from corporate and commercial transactions, they are considered “super tax practitioners and the key people there”.

“Outstanding litigator” Wilfrid Lefebvre QC at NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT enjoys a first-rate reputation in the market as the most highly regard practitioner in the contentious space this year, according to our research.Marshalling immense experience that includes positions with the Department of Justice and Revenue Canada, he is lauded by sources for his exhaustive knowledge and courtroom prowess. 

The “unparalleled” Jack Bernstein at AIRD & BERLIS is considered by interviewees to be “the leading Canadian tax adviser”. He wins praise for his “indefatigable approach”, in-depth local knowledge and expert advice across a full range of tax issues, particularly multi-jurisdictional tax planning.

At TORYS, the “terrific” Jerald Wortsman ranks among the very elite of practitioners in our research. Commended by sources for the “outstanding” quality of his work with domestic and foreign financial institutions, he emerges as “one of the very best” corporate tax practitioners in Canada.

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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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