Sharon Vogel
Office:
150 King Street West
Suite 2512 .PO Box 24
M5H 1J9
City:
Toronto
State:
Ontario
Country:
Canada
Tel:
+1 416 585 8602

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders Global Elite

Sharon Vogel is a partner at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP and co-chair of its construction and infrastructure practice group.  Her practice focuses on assisting owners, general contractors, subcontractors, architects and engineers in resolving construction disputes. She specialises in infrastructure and industrial projects, including mines, highways, bridges, tunnels, railways, pipelines, industrial facilities, hospitals, manufacturing plants, commercial buildings, condominiums and transit projects. She has been named one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer.

Why did you decide to specialise in construction law?

I had terrific mentors who encouraged me to specialise in this area and helped me develop the necessary skills. I have enjoyed the intellectual challenge of helping clients determine the best pathways to resolve significant disputes. Having the opportunity to be involved in complex construction projects and learn about the construction process has been fascinating.

You and your colleague Bruce Reynolds were described as “changemakers” by Canadian Law magazine in its 2017 list of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada. What changes would you still like to make to Canadian law or policy in your career?

It was a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the review of prompt payment and adjudication in Ontario and for the federal government. There are other jurisdictions in Canada that are watching what was done in Ontario and will be considering what the federal government intends to do in relation to improving the speed of payments and the efficacy of dispute resolution, and there is scope there for potential alignment across the country. I am very interested in public policy initiatives that affect the construction industry and that ensure that industry participants have equal opportunities to participate on an even playing field. There are a variety of public policy issues, ranging from bidder exclusions to addressing the infrastructure deficit on indigenous lands that affect the construction industry.

You recently joined the firm from Borden Ladner Gervais. What attracted you to Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel?

The fact that over half the lawyers in the firm are focused on construction and infrastructure, and that many of them are well regarded in this area, was important. I was very impressed by the positive energy and focus on launching an innovative platform.

Sources tell us that mediation, rather than litigation or arbitration, is the favoured method of dispute resolution in Canada. How does this affect your approach to resolving construction disputes?

Mediation is a commonly used tool in construction disputes. The determination of when to commence a mediation can be difficult, but mediation can be a swift and effective mechanism to resolve disputes. Once adjudication comes into force in Ontario, it will provide another alternative for swifter and less costly dispute resolution.

What is the most significant trend you are seeing in the construction sector at the moment?

In Canada, we have seen many changes in the area of security of payment legislation. My partner Bruce Reynolds and I were retained by the provincial government to prepare a report containing a package of recommendations on modernisation, prompt payment and effective dispute resolution. We then worked closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General in drafting Bill 142, which included 98 out of the 101 recommendations presented in our report. Bill 142, An Act to Amend the Construction Lien Act, was then proclaimed, and the first series of changes in the new Construction Act have now come into effect.

We were then retained by the federal government to do a review of prompt payment and adjudication. This review included engaging with industry stakeholders across Canada, and we delivered a detailed report. The movement towards prompt payment and adjudication is a significant public policy development for the Canadian construction industry.

How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?

Over the next five years, I am looking forward to growing the Toronto office of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP. We are a leading Canadian firm in relation to construction and infrastructure, and will continue to expand our footprint, which is built on our dedication to our clients and the law both within Canada and internationally.

What has been your proudest achievement to date?

Taking on the challenge of starting our new venture – Singleton Reynolds Urquhart Vogel LLP. We recently opened the Toronto office, and we are growing very quickly and building our reputation in Ontario, Vancouver and globally.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best piece of advice I have received is, I think, timeless: work with lawyers and clients you like, doing work you enjoy and which challenges you.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Canada - Construction

Sharon Vogel is a partner in the construction and infrastructure group in the Toronto office of Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP. She has an LLB from the University of Toronto Law School and an LLM from the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Sharon practises construction and surety law, working primarily on matters involving construction disputes relating to major infrastructure projects including highways, bridges, railways, mines, tunnels, pipelines, and hospitals. Sharon acted as co-counsel for the Ontario government in conducting a review of Ontario’s Construction Lien Act and prepared a report, “Striking the Balance: Expert Review of the Construction Lien Act”. She and Bruce Reynolds then worked closely with the Ministry of the Attorney General in drafting Bill 142, which included 98 out of the 101 recommendations presented in their report. Bill 142, An Act to Amend the Construction Lien Act, was recently proclaimed in the Ontario Legislative Assembly. Sharon has written and spoken extensively on various construction and surety topics including co-authoring Carswell’s text A Guide to Canadian Construction Insurance Law. She is certified as a specialist in construction law by the Law Society of Upper Canada. She is a member of various associations, including the Canadian Bar Association (executive member), the construction law section (2012-2014); the Advocates’ Society; and the Canadian Association of Women in Construction. She is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers.

Sharon has been selected by peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada; recognised in Who’s Who Legal: Construction; recognised in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (for construction law); and peer-review rated 4.6 out of 5 by Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent).

WWL says: Sharon Vogel is “a first-rate construction lawyer” whose is recognised for her extensive expertise in construction disputes which spans litigation as well as mediation and arbitration proceedings.   

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Canada which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Construction: Lawyers

Sharon Vogel has been recognised for her success at settling disputes relating to large-scale infrastructure, industrial and commercial projects, as well as for her skills in drafting contracts on behalf of owners, developers, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Among the many professional acknowledgements she has recently received, she was recognised as one of the 25 most influential lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer, Who’s Who Legal rates her one of the top five construction lawyers in the country and Benchmark Litigation has named her one of the top 25 women in litigation.

Sharon is a partner at Singleton Urquhart Reynolds Vogel LLP and co-chairs the firm’s construction and infrastructure practice group. Her expertise includes negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation of construction disputes, including construction liens, breach of contract, delays, surety bonds, construction insurance, and architects’ and engineers’ errors and omissions.

Sharon has served as counsel to numerous municipalities and government agencies to successfully manage expensive delays and other legal issues on high-profile transportation and other infrastructure projects.

Together with her colleague Bruce Reynolds, she has played an important role in helping the Ontario government modernise the province’s construction law, which saw the first round of amendments come into effect in 2018. The pair reviewed the previous Construction Lien Act for the Ministry of the Attorney General, a process that involved consulting with more than 60 provincial stakeholders and submitted a report with 101 recommendations – 98 of which were eventually included in the new legislation, the Construction Act. Among the changes to the legislation are the creation of a prompt payment framework and the introduction of a mandatory dispute resolution system.

Sharon was also retained as co-counsel by the federal government to assist in the introduction of new legislation on prompt payment and adjudication. She held discussions with industry stakeholders in ten provinces and one territory and, in 2018, submitted the independent expert report Building a Federal Framework for Prompt Payment and Adjudication.

Over the course of her career, managing complex construction cases involving multiple parties, she has appeared at all levels of court, including the Ontario Superior Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. She is a prolific writer and avid speaker on a variety of legal subjects, ranging from dispute resolution and adjudication, to professional ethics and legislative reform.

Outside of the firm, Sharon serves as a board member of Habitat for Humanity in the Greater Toronto Area and is a former board member of Youth Challenge International. She has been both a rider and fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Ride for Heart.

WWL says: Sharon Vogel wins acclaim from sources for her “strong commercial sense and excellent grasp of key issues” in construction disputes relating to large infrastructure projects.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Construction which can be purchased from our Shop.

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