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From left to right: Mendel Green, LL.B., Q.C., C.S., Partner, Green and Spiegel LLP, Toronto; Pierre-André Themens, Managing partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Montreal; Valerie Mann, Managing partner, Lawson Lundell LLP, Vancouver; Michel Brunet, Chair, Dentons Canada LLP, Montreal; Tina Woodside, Partner, Gowlings, Toronto; Nancy G. Rubin, Q.C., Partner, Stewart McKelvey, Halifax


Mendel Green, LL.B., Q.C., C.S.
Partner, Green and Spiegel LLP, Toronto
*Best Lawyers' 2014 Toronto Immigration Law "Lawyer of the Year"

Corporate immigration law has become a fascinating sub-specialty of immigration law. Recently, we have seen increased tension arising from corporate Canada's desire to recruit employees from outside of Canada to fill its need for skilled workers coming up against the federal government's goal to ensure that qualified Canadians and Permanent Residents have first crack at jobs. The federal government has a misperception that there are available Canadian citizens and Permanent Residents to fill corporate Canada's needs. The global economy has placed significant pressure on Canadian businesses to become more flexible in order to be competitive. I think we are poised to see a major shift in migration patterns once the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union is ratified.

Nancy G. Rubin, Q.C.
Partner, Stewart McKelvey, Halifax
*Best Lawyers' 2013 Halifax Energy Regulatory Law "Lawyer of the Year"

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2013 has seen ongoing conflicts about court openness. Despite the presumption that search warrant material is accessible once executed, only by costly and strategic court challenges has the public learned of key information in cases such as Richard Oland in Saint John.

On the upside, most jurisdictions now allow texting, tweeting and occasionally live web-casting from courts (kudos to Nova Scotia). Not so in Quebec, which prohibits e-communications from inside a courtroom.

Ontario is close to passing anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit against Public Participation) legislation, a bill to end abusive lawsuits intended to silence critics.

In 2014, expect to see more clashes between privacy rights and free expression, liability for Internet comments and decisions on the defence of responsible communication to defamation claims for matters of public interest.

Valerie Mann
Managing partner, Lawson Lundell LLP, Vancouver

With the global economy in essentially a static state, North American merger activity has dropped in 2013. In particular, mining acquisitions are at their lowest level in almost a decade. However, non-traditional buyers, such as private equity, are now entering the market because they see favourable valuations, notwithstanding their earlier hesitation over the volatility of mining cash flows and political risk in countries where mining operations are located.

After a low at the beginning of the year, we are seeing a positive trend in mid-market deals. One bright spot in the deal market is the food/beverage sector, and there has also been a resurgence of healthy valuations in the mid-market food/beverage sector largely from strategic buyer acquisitions.

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Pierre-André Themens
Managing partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, Montreal
*Best Lawyers' 2009 Montreal Real Estate Law "Lawyer of the Year"
Best Lawyers' 2014 Montreal Project Finance Law "Lawyer of the Year"

2013 has been a very active year in the Canadian real estate market. Canadian REITS and pension funds continue purchasing assets in Canada and the U.S., especially retail and office space. Pension funds have also been busy investing beyond our borders to help Canadian companies expand their base. For example, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan Board's recent $500-million equity investment in Hudson's Bay Company to help finance its acquisition of Saks. Montreal saw strong sales in multi-residential, office and industrial sectors. Major new office developments were also announced, such as the Cadillac Fairview Deloitte Tower, which will be the first LEED Platinum commercial office tower in the city, and Tour des Canadiens, a new 50-storey residential condominium building to be located adjacent to the Bell Centre.

Michel Brunet
Chair, Dentons Canada LLP, Montreal

In the field of securities law, practitioners in Quebec, in particular, are following the federal government's attempt to concentrate securities regulation through a co-operation system between the federal government and consenting provinces.

One of the most interesting developments in project finance is the federal government's decision to proceed with the Champlain Bridge linking the Island of Montreal to the South Shore as a public-private partnership, with a consumer contribution in the form of tolls, despite the provincial government's clear opposition to this mode of financing. The Champlain Bridge project will be the largest project to date in Canada to be financed as a public-private partnership.

Tina Woodside
Partner, Gowlings, Toronto

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With the ever-increasing globalization of the mining industry, Canadian mining company executives and boards may now be facing the threat of litigation in Canada for conduct by their foreign subsidiaries or agents.

In the past, Canadian companies presumed that the conduct of their foreign subsidiaries abroad would be governed by local laws and judged by the legal standards in those jurisdictions. But that may no longer be the case.

The Ontario Superior Court recently refused to dismiss lawsuits brought against HudBay Minerals for alleged abuses involving their Guatemalan subsidiary's personnel. Although only at the motion to dismiss stage, the potential implications if the suits are ultimately successful are definitely a cause for concern for companies with operations abroad.

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