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Securities Litigation

In the current business climate, it is critical that your securities litigation counsel have the experience and national reach to help your organization minimize its exposure to civil and regulatory litigation risks and to defend its interests before courts and tribunals, should the need arise.

The Blakes Securities Litigation team is at the forefront of Canada’s most significant securities disputes, including primary- and secondary-market securities class actions, contested transactions,  financial products litigation, regulatory enforcement matters and investigations. Our leading lawyers focus almost exclusively on securities litigation. No matter how complex or novel the issue may seem, chances are we have encountered it before.

We provide a broad range of litigation and risk-management services, including advising and representing clients with respect to litigation avoidance and preparedness, internal and regulatory investigations, compliance, and all stages of civil and regulatory proceedings. As securities disputes increasingly span multiple jurisdictions, our national team coordinates to represent clients in proceedings across Canada, and we regularly work with U.S. and international firms. Given the strength of our regulatory and civil practices, our securities litigators are particularly adept at managing the challenges associated with multi-faceted disputes that combine civil and regulatory elements.

Blakes securities litigators work closely with members of the Firm’s leading Capital Markets practice to keep clients apprised of new legislative and case law developments so that potentially contentious matters can be identified and managed before they escalate.

However, some disputes are unavoidable. When securities litigation ensues, our clients benefit from our strategic insights and advocacy skills. Our nationally recognized team of securities litigators have successfully defended cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada and regularly appear before securities regulators across the country.  

Recent Experience
  • Celestica Inc. in its successful appeal before the Supreme Court of Canada to uphold the limitation period for bringing a statutory secondary market securities class action in Trustees of the Millwright Regional Council of Ontario Pension Trust Fund v. Celestica Inc. et al. The decision makes several important observations relating to the interplay between the Ontario Securities Act and the Class Proceedings Act.

  • BDO LLP in successfully defeating certification of a proposed investment fund class action. Whitehouse v. BDO represents an important development in the law regarding auditors’ duties of care to investors (subject to appeal). Blakes also represented BDO LLP in related enforcement proceedings.

  • The lead underwriters in securities class actions in Ontario and Quebec against HEXO Corp., a cannabis producer. The plaintiff alleges that HEXO made material misrepresentations in its primary and secondary market disclosures.

  • A major Canadian financial institution in a proposed class action alleging that mutual fund trustees and managers improperly paid a portion of the commissions collected on mutual funds to “order-execution only” brokers, while those brokers did not provide any advice or services to investors, in contrast to full service brokerages.

  • The Stars Group Inc. (“TSGI”) in successfully defending an urgent proceeding brought by certain investment funds to prevent the conversion of convertible preferred shares in the capital of TSGI into common shares worth more than $2.3 billion.

  • Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc. in defending a securities class action seeking damages for the decrease in value of units of Horizons’ BetaPro S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures Daily Inverse ETF. 

  • KPMG in its role as auditor to CannTrust in proposed securities class action involving claims that misrepresentations with respect to unlicensed growing and storage of cannabis caused resulted in shareholder losses.

  • Olympia Trust Company in seven class actions against real estate development and financing companies and other related parties in respect of syndicated mortgage investments in different real estate development projects in Ontario and Alberta. Blakes succeeded in having certification dismissed in one of the actions, which dismissal was upheld on appeal. The other actions are at the pleading stage.

  • A major Canadian financial institution in a proposed class action brought in British Columbia, alleging that managers of a mutual fund, contrary to disclosures in fund documents, followed a “closet indexing” investment strategy that simply replicated the fund’s benchmark index.

  • The six largest Canadian accounting firms in connection with submissions to the Ontario Law Commission on Class Action Reform and subsequent submissions to the Standing Committee of the Ontario Legislature on Justice Policy in connection with Bill 161, which implements changes to Ontario’s class action regime.

  • Bank of America/Merrill Lynch entities in two related class actions brought in the Ontario Superior Court and the Federal Court involving allegations regarding the manipulation of the market for SSA Bonds. The matter was settled on favourable terms.

  • Bank of Nova Scotia in a series of proposed class action proceedings filed in Quebec and Ontario relating to alleged market manipulation pertaining to benchmarks affecting gold and silver markets.

  • Hudson’s Bay Company (“HBC”) and the Special Committee of independent directors of HBC in a proceeding before the Ontario Securities Commission relating to the privatization of the Company.

  • A discount brokerage in proposed class actions in Ontario and B.C. alleging that order-execution-only brokerages improperly collected trailing commission fees on mutual fund sales without providing any advice or services to investors, in contrast to full-service brokerages.

  • A former officer of an Alberta corporation in a national class action involving allegations of primary and secondary market misrepresentation.

  • A mutual fund trustee in the defence of a class action in Quebec based on allegations of misappropriation of funds and securities fraud.

  • A Special Committee of the Board of an Ontario public issuer, in conducting an internal investigation into issues of compensation, conflicts of interest, and breach of fiduciary duty by senior management.

  • An international investment bank in an OSC regulatory investigation, probing alleged negligence regarding securities offerings of an Ontario public issuer.

Awards & Recognition

Blakes Securities Litigation lawyers are consistently recognized as leaders in the following publications and awards:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys – Class Actions, General Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation and White Collar Crime

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2013-2022): Repeatedly Recommended – Securities Litigation

  • The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada

  • Benchmark Canada: 40 & Under Hot List and Top 50 Women in Canada

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada – Corporate, Commercial Litigation and Securities Litigation

  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2022 – Corporate, Commercial Litigation and Securities Litigation


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