Brett G. Harrison 

Co-Chair, Insolvency Litigation
Toronto  t: 416.865.7932  |  e: brett.harrison@mcmillan.ca

Brett G. Harrison

Toronto
Brookfield Place, Suite 4400
181 Bay Street
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2T3

t: 416.865.7932
e: brett.harrison@mcmillan.ca

overview

Brett is Co-Chair of the Insolvency Litigation Group and is cross-appointed to the Commercial Litigation and Corporate Restructuring Departments. He has a commercial litigation practice which focuses on restructuring, financial services, securities, corporate governance and cross-border matters.

Brett obtained his LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1999 and has received numerous awards for his academic achievements, including being named to the Dean's List for ranking in the top 10 percent of his class. Brett has also received several advocacy awards, including the award for Top Oral Advocate at the National Justice Bertha Wilson Advocacy competition.

Brett frequently appears as counsel before the Ontario Superior Court (Commercial List) and the Ontario Court of Appeal in proceedings pursuant to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the federal and provincial Business Corporations Acts. He has acted for companies, boards of directors, creditors, receivers, trustees and purchasers. Brett is a member of the Commercial List Users Committee, a joint committee of the bar and bench established to consider and suggest improvements to the Toronto Commercial List Court.

Brett has significant experience acting for financial institutions, both as plaintiff and defendant. He has acted on a number of complex collection and enforcement matters as well as lender liability matters. Brett is the editor of the firm's Financial Services Litigation Bulletin.

He has extensive experience dealing with cross-border litigation issues for both corporate clients and financial institutions. He is an active member of the American Bar Association where he currently serves in leadership as co-chair of the Professional Development Committee, and the American Counsel Association where he currently serves as Vice-President Elect. Brett is the editor of the firm's Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin.

Brett is actively involved in giving back to the community. Brett is a Trustee and Assistant Treasurer of the Toronto Lawyers' Association and, as the Pro Bono Partner for McMillan's Toronto office, Brett supervises and is actively involved in the delivery of Pro Bono services to the Toronto community. Brett is also Co-Chair of the Give a Day Campaign helping to raise funds for the Steven Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International to help fight AIDS in Africa.

Representative Matters

  • Acted as counsel for ESL, the largest shareholder of Sears Canada Inc., in connection with Sears’ CCAA proceedings.
  • Successfully acted for W.P. Carey on a $60 million claim against Nortel in its CCAA proceeding. The claim concerned Nortel’s guarantee of a lease for Nortel’s U.S. subsidiary.
  • Successfully defended RBC against a $10 million lender liability claim (XPG, a Partnership v. Royal Bank of Canada, 2017 ONSC 2598)
  • Successfully stuck a $50 million claim against PwC for negligence (NMF-TV Inc. v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2016 ONSC 7739) 
  • Successfully opposed an injunction brought by a shareholder, director and former CEO for, among other things, oppression (Boni v. Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, 291 A.C.W.S. (3d) 90)
  • Represented HB Construction Company Ltd., a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Williams Companies, Inc., in connection with its acquisition of certain assets of Comstock Canada Ltd. and its affiliate pursuant to Comstock's restructuring under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (Comstock Canada Ltd. (Re), 2014 ONSC 493)
  • Successfully established at Court of Appeal that crown not immune from Letters of Request and clarified the test for their enforcement (Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc. v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2013 ONCA 264)
  • Represented a syndicate of Canadian Banks, owed over $350 million, in contesting the Plan of Arrangement proposed by Yellow Media Inc. (2012)
  • Successfully pursued the Court of Appeal that PPSA creditor who is unaware of transfer of collateral does not lose priority (Lisec America, Inc. v. Barber Suffolk Ltd., 2012 ONCA 235)
  • Successfully established at the Ontario Court of Appeal that no claim exists against employers for negligent investigation. (Correia v. Canac Kitchens, 2008 ONCA 506)
  • Successfully defended a Canadian Bank against a multi-million dollar lender liability claim at trial and on appeal (Cameron v National Bank of Canada, 2009 ONCA 707)
  • Represented holders of over $1 billion in bonds contesting the leveraged buyout of BCE Inc. (BCE Inc. (Plan of Arrangement), 2008 QCCS 905 (Que. S.C. [Commercial Division])
  • Successfully defended a Canadian Bank against a $180 million lender liability claim by an auto parts manufacturer (G.R.W. Industries (1985) Limited, G.R.W. Industries Inc. and Grant Wilson v. The Royal Bank of Canada and Captain Central Holdings (1974) Limited, July 18, 2007)
  • Acted for purchaser of the Disney Stores out of restructuring proceedings
  • Successfully enforced a guarantee for approximately $1 million for US lender against the principal of the borrower and had judgment confined by the Ontario Court of Appeal (FL Receivables Trust 2002-A v. Cobrand Foods Ltd., (2007), 85 O.R. (3d) 561 (Ont. C.A.))
  • Made new law in defending an employer from claim for negligent investigation (Correia v. Canac Kitchens, 2008 ONCA 506 (Ont. C.A.)

Presentations

International Discovery: Obtaining Foreign Evidence for Use in a US Trial
Demonstration and Debriefing: Handling the Hostile Witness

Publications

The use of fairness opinions in a proxy circular
Assigning Contracts in Canadian Insolvency Proceedings
Bear Lake Gold Ltd. decision - Ontario Court Supports Existing Practice Regarding The Use Of Fairness Opinions In Plans Of Arrangement
Ontario Court Makes Observations On Purpose Of Fairness Opinions In The Context Of Plans Of Arrangement
What's in a name - The Supreme Court of Canada confirms that domain names are personal property
Litigating a Cross-Border Dispute in Canada: 10 Things American Lawyers Need to Know Before Getting Started
Allocation of Restructuring Costs: Don't Be Caught By Surprise!
Beware – indemnify a Canadian company and you may just find yourself stuck in a Canadian Court
Appeal court offers guidance in jurisdictional battles
Allocating Restructuring Costs Amongst Creditors: Don't Get Stuck Holding The Bag
Ontario Court of Appeal clarifies enforceability of exclusive jurisdiction clauses
The Current State of the Law in Canada and the U.S.: Key E-Discovery Decisions
An Introduction to Receiverships
The best things in life are free, but you can keep them for the birds and bees
E-Discovery Around The World
Staying Foreign Parallel Proceedings Just Got Tougher
A Broker's Word is Its Bond: Verbal Contract Held Binding in UBS v. Sands
Gathering Evidence in the Great White North:
It's not just the weather that will surprise you!
It's a Small World After All: Business Litigation in a World Economy
Don't Take it to the Limit: Ontario Court of Appeal says Limitation
Periods can no longer be extended by Special Circumstances
International Discovery: Around the World in Ninety Minutes
The Unusual Suspect – Ontario Court of Appeal Bars Claims of Negligent Investigation against Employers
Insolvency Along the NAFTA Highways: What You Need to Know
Exclusion of arbitration appeal rights requires 'final and binding' clause
Evidence of the Absent Witness
Comparing E-Discovery in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico
Service and Examination of Canadians: The Hague Is Not the Answer
Internet Jurisdiction A 'Minimum Contact' Sport For Foreign Defendants
Court Adopts U.S. Approach to Resolve Issue of Internet Jurisdiction
House of Lords Holds that a bank owes no duty of care to beneficiaries of MAREVA orders
The House of Lords concludes that bank owes no duty of care to the
beneficiary of freezing orders: Customs and Excise Commissioners v. Barclays Bank plc
Focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution
China provides guidance on its arbitration law
Risk Management Module
Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators accreditation course
A Deal is a Deal
Top B.C. Court Dismisses Class Action and Upholds Interest Provisions in Credit Card User Agreements
Legislative Update - Payday Loans Legislation
The New Wave of Equity Committees in Bankruptcy: What Are They and Are They Here to Stay?
Mining Company Barred from Staking its Claim in an Ontario Court
When Lending to Investors, Lenders Must Make Sure They Are Not Acting as Advisors
Recent Ontario Court of Appeal Decision Confirms Importance of Jurisdiction Clauses
Voluntariness of Payments May be Weak Link in Certifying Usury Class Actions
Don't Panic and Attorn, as What is Attorned Cannot be Unattorned
Class Actions Target Financial Institutions
Cross-Border Insolvencies: When Should a U.S. Debtor be Filing Ancillary Proceedings in Canada
Enforcing US Judgments in Canada
Bank Held liable by Court for Providing Inaccurate Credit Information
A Clause in Time Saves Time, Money and Maybe Even Your Case...How Proper Jurisdiction and Governing Law Clauses May Give You One Less Thing to Worry About in Cross-Border Contracts
Negative Credit Rating for Customer Causes Negative Impact for Bank
So you Want to Depose a Canadian, Eh?
Check That Cheque or be Left Holding the Bag
Where do we go from here?
Receivership Orders - Where do we go from here?
How to Stay Canadian Proceedings When You Have a Claim in the United States
Receivership Orders - Where Do We Go From Here?
Ontario Court of Appeal Opens the Door to Enforcement of Non-monetary Judgements
PIPEDA Six Months Later: Not as Revolutionary as Expected
Ontario Court expands enforceability of foreign judgments
Court Holds that Trustee Cannot Claim Litigation Privilege
Discovering your limitations - changes for Ontario litigation
Ontario Radically Amends Limitations Legislation
New costs grid: still unpredictable
Ontario's new Limitations Act heralds a new era of limitations litigation
New Limitations Act Accelerates Litigation Clock
Enforcing US Judgments In The Great White North
Enforcing US Judgements
Courts use inherent jurisdiction to fill in the gaps
Trustee Sells Copyrights
How Can You Get Paid When Your Client Goes Bankrupt
Mandatory Mediation in Toronto: How it All Works
Navigating Toronto's New Case Management Program
Conflicts of Interest, Chinese Walls and the Changing Business of the Law
Conflicts of Interest, Chinese Walls and the Changing Business of the Law

News

60 McMillan Lawyers Recognized in the 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
McMillan LLP recognized in the 2019 Benchmark Litigation Canada Guide
Pro bono: It's in you to give, says Brett Harrison (Lawyer's Daily)
McMillan Highlighted in both Lexpert's Top 10 Deals and Top 10 Business Decisions
Brett Harrison explains how insolvency disputes have become a growing area for litigation funding
McMillan lawyers recognized in US/Canada Cross-Border Guide 2018
Paul Davis and Brett Harrison quoted in Financial Post
Hellen Siwanowicz and Brett Harrison honoured with the 2013 International Law Office Client Choice award
McMillan wins three Zenith Pro Bono Awards

Education

  • University of Western Ontario, LLB - 1999
  • Huron College, University of Western Ontario, BA (Hons.) - 1995

Year Of Call

  • Called to the Ontario bar - 2001

Practices

securities litigation
business litigation
security enforcement
restructuring and insolvency
litigation
cross-border restructuring
corporate governance

Industries

banking, finance and insurance
private equity - buyouts & venture capital investment

Directorships and Professional Associations

  • Toronto Lawyers' Association – Trustee and Assistant Treasurer
  • Commercial List Users Committee
  • American Bar Association – Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee, Section of Litigation
  • The American Counsel Association – Vice-President Elect
  • The Advocates' Society
  • Pro Bono Law Ontario's Volunteer Lawyers Service

Community Involvement

  • As Pro Bono Partner for the Toronto office, Brett supervises and is actively involved in the delivery of Pro Bono services to the Toronto community.
  • Brett is also Co-Chair of the Give a Day Campaign helping to raise funds for the Steven Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International to help fight AIDS in Africa.

Awards & Rankings

  • Recognized in the 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Repeatedly Recommended lawyer in the area of Insolvency & Financial Restructuring – Insolvency Litigation
  • Recognized in the 2019 Benchmark Litigation Canada Guide as a Litigation Star
  • Ranked by Lexpert Guide (2018) as a leading US/Canada Cross-Border Lawyer in Canada
  • 2013 International Law Office Client Choice Award in the Litigation category for Canada: Ontario
  • Dean's List
  • Top Oral Advocate – Wilson National Moot Competition
  • Dean Ivan C. Rand Honour society Award for meritorious academic standing and outstanding contributions to the Faculty of Law
  • Genest Murray Advocacy Award

Media Mentions

linked in vcard

Brett is Co-Chair of the Insolvency Litigation Group and is cross-appointed to the Commercial Litigation and Corporate Restructuring Departments. He has a commercial litigation practice which focuses on restructuring, financial services, securities, corporate governance and cross-border matters.

Brett obtained his LLB from the University of Western Ontario in 1999 and has received numerous awards for his academic achievements, including being named to the Dean's List for ranking in the top 10 percent of his class. Brett has also received several advocacy awards, including the award for Top Oral Advocate at the National Justice Bertha Wilson Advocacy competition.

Brett frequently appears as counsel before the Ontario Superior Court (Commercial List) and the Ontario Court of Appeal in proceedings pursuant to the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the federal and provincial Business Corporations Acts. He has acted for companies, boards of directors, creditors, receivers, trustees and purchasers. Brett is a member of the Commercial List Users Committee, a joint committee of the bar and bench established to consider and suggest improvements to the Toronto Commercial List Court.

Brett has significant experience acting for financial institutions, both as plaintiff and defendant. He has acted on a number of complex collection and enforcement matters as well as lender liability matters. Brett is the editor of the firm's Financial Services Litigation Bulletin.

He has extensive experience dealing with cross-border litigation issues for both corporate clients and financial institutions. He is an active member of the American Bar Association where he currently serves in leadership as co-chair of the Professional Development Committee, and the American Counsel Association where he currently serves as Vice-President Elect. Brett is the editor of the firm's Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin.

Brett is actively involved in giving back to the community. Brett is a Trustee and Assistant Treasurer of the Toronto Lawyers' Association and, as the Pro Bono Partner for McMillan's Toronto office, Brett supervises and is actively involved in the delivery of Pro Bono services to the Toronto community. Brett is also Co-Chair of the Give a Day Campaign helping to raise funds for the Steven Lewis Foundation and Dignitas International to help fight AIDS in Africa.

  • Acted as counsel for ESL, the largest shareholder of Sears Canada Inc., in connection with Sears’ CCAA proceedings.
  • Successfully acted for W.P. Carey on a $60 million claim against Nortel in its CCAA proceeding. The claim concerned Nortel’s guarantee of a lease for Nortel’s U.S. subsidiary.
  • Successfully defended RBC against a $10 million lender liability claim (XPG, a Partnership v. Royal Bank of Canada, 2017 ONSC 2598)
  • Successfully stuck a $50 million claim against PwC for negligence (NMF-TV Inc. v. PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP, 2016 ONSC 7739) 
  • Successfully opposed an injunction brought by a shareholder, director and former CEO for, among other things, oppression (Boni v. Leonardo Worldwide Corporation, 291 A.C.W.S. (3d) 90)
  • Represented HB Construction Company Ltd., a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of The Williams Companies, Inc., in connection with its acquisition of certain assets of Comstock Canada Ltd. and its affiliate pursuant to Comstock's restructuring under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (Comstock Canada Ltd. (Re), 2014 ONSC 493)
  • Successfully established at Court of Appeal that crown not immune from Letters of Request and clarified the test for their enforcement (Lantheus Medical Imaging Inc. v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., 2013 ONCA 264)
  • Represented a syndicate of Canadian Banks, owed over $350 million, in contesting the Plan of Arrangement proposed by Yellow Media Inc. (2012)
  • Successfully pursued the Court of Appeal that PPSA creditor who is unaware of transfer of collateral does not lose priority (Lisec America, Inc. v. Barber Suffolk Ltd., 2012 ONCA 235)
  • Successfully established at the Ontario Court of Appeal that no claim exists against employers for negligent investigation. (Correia v. Canac Kitchens, 2008 ONCA 506)
  • Successfully defended a Canadian Bank against a multi-million dollar lender liability claim at trial and on appeal (Cameron v National Bank of Canada, 2009 ONCA 707)
  • Represented holders of over $1 billion in bonds contesting the leveraged buyout of BCE Inc. (BCE Inc. (Plan of Arrangement), 2008 QCCS 905 (Que. S.C. [Commercial Division])
  • Successfully defended a Canadian Bank against a $180 million lender liability claim by an auto parts manufacturer (G.R.W. Industries (1985) Limited, G.R.W. Industries Inc. and Grant Wilson v. The Royal Bank of Canada and Captain Central Holdings (1974) Limited, July 18, 2007)
  • Acted for purchaser of the Disney Stores out of restructuring proceedings
  • Successfully enforced a guarantee for approximately $1 million for US lender against the principal of the borrower and had judgment confined by the Ontario Court of Appeal (FL Receivables Trust 2002-A v. Cobrand Foods Ltd., (2007), 85 O.R. (3d) 561 (Ont. C.A.))
  • Made new law in defending an employer from claim for negligent investigation (Correia v. Canac Kitchens, 2008 ONCA 506 (Ont. C.A.)
March 2017
International Aspects of U.S. Litigation

Contributing Author
Chapter VI.B: Foreign Bankruptcy Proceedings: Bankruptcy Code Chapter 15

January 23, 2015
International Discovery: Obtaining Foreign Evidence for Use in a US Trial
American Bar Association Webinar
August 2014
The use of fairness opinions in a proxy circular
ACC Ontario Securities Committee Newsletter, Volume I, Issue 2
July 2014
Assigning Contracts in Canadian Insolvency Proceedings
Restructuring and Insolvency Bulletin
January 2012
Litigating a Cross-Border Dispute in Canada: 10 Things American Lawyers Need to Know Before Getting Started
2012 LEXPERT/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada
November 2010
Allocation of Restructuring Costs: Don't Be Caught By Surprise!
Corporate Restructuring Bulletin
October 2010
Appeal court offers guidance in jurisdictional battles
Quoted, Law Times, October 4, 2010
January 2010
E-Discovery Around The World
Co-author - The Practice Litigator
October 2009
Staying Foreign Parallel Proceedings Just Got Tougher
Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin
February 2009
Gathering Evidence in the Great White North:
It's not just the weather that will surprise you!
Paper - ABA Section of Litigation Committee on Corporate Counsel CLE
February 2009
It's a Small World After All: Business Litigation in a World Economy
Presentation - ABA Section of Litigation Committee on Corporate Counsel CLE
August 2008
International Discovery: Around the World in Ninety Minutes
2008 ABA Annual Meeting, Section of Litigation and presented at the 2009 ABTL Annual Meeting
April 2008
Insolvency Along the NAFTA Highways: What You Need to Know
Paper presented by Brett Harrison at the ABA Litigation Section Conference, April 2008
September 2007
Evidence of the Absent Witness
Presentation - Osgoode Annual Conference
August 2007
Comparing E-Discovery in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Mexico
2007 Annual Meeting - American Bar Association
Summer 2007
Service and Examination of Canadians: The Hague Is Not the Answer
Commercial and Business Litigation
Spring 2007
The House of Lords concludes that bank owes no duty of care to the
beneficiary of freezing orders: Customs and Excise Commissioners v. Barclays Bank plc
Banking and Finance Law Review
November 2006
Risk Management Module
Canadian Institute of Chartered Business Valuators accreditation course
Co-authored with Paul Macdonald
October 2006
Legislative Update - Payday Loans Legislation
Financial Services Litigation - Legislative Update
Fall 2006
The New Wave of Equity Committees in Bankruptcy: What Are They and Are They Here to Stay?
International Corporate Rescue, Volume X, Issue X
Co-authored with Bob Rajan of PricewaterhouseCoopers
August 2006
Mining Company Barred from Staking its Claim in an Ontario Court
Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin
August 2006
When Lending to Investors, Lenders Must Make Sure They Are Not Acting as Advisors
Financial Institution Litigation Bulletin
Spring 2006
Voluntariness of Payments May be Weak Link in Certifying Usury Class Actions
Financial Services Litigation Bulletin
Winter 2006
Don't Panic and Attorn, as What is Attorned Cannot be Unattorned
Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin
November 2005
Class Actions Target Financial Institutions
Financial Services Litigation Bulletin
Fall 2005
Cross-Border Insolvencies: When Should a U.S. Debtor be Filing Ancillary Proceedings in Canada
ABA Section of Litigation - Newsletter of the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Committee
September 2005
Enforcing US Judgments in Canada
Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin
July 2005
Bank Held liable by Court for Providing Inaccurate Credit Information
Published by International Law Office
June 2005
Negative Credit Rating for Customer Causes Negative Impact for Bank
Financial Services Litigation Bulletin
April 2005
So you Want to Depose a Canadian, Eh?
Cross-Border Litigation Bulletin
March 2005
Check That Cheque or be Left Holding the Bag
Financial Services Litigation Bulletin
March 2005
Where do we go from here?
Courts will be reviewing receivership orders more closely and insolvency practitioners should be ready to justify the relief sought
CAmagazine, March 2005
December 2004
Receivership Orders - Where do we go from here?
Co-authored with Paul Macdonald, National Insolvency Review, Vol. 21, Number 6
September 2004
Receivership Orders - Where Do We Go From Here?
Co-authored with Paul Macdonald, The Canadian Institute's Advanced Forum on Turnarounds, September 27, 2004
September 17, 2004
Ontario Court of Appeal Opens the Door to Enforcement of Non-monetary Judgements
Article from Commercial Litigation Committee, published by DRI's The Business Suit
Fall 2004
PIPEDA Six Months Later: Not as Revolutionary as Expected
From The Canadian Law Newsletter, Vol.XL No.2
May 2004
Court Holds that Trustee Cannot Claim Litigation Privilege
Case Comment on Re Beetown Honey Products Inc. (2003), 67 O.R. (3d) 511
Ontario Bar Association Insolvency News, May 2004.
Co-written with Theresa Maxwell, Student-at-Law.
February 2004
Discovering your limitations - changes for Ontario litigation
Binchmarks column in Playback Magazine, February 2004
January 2004
Ontario Radically Amends Limitations Legislation
The Business Suit, a Defense Research Institute Publication
November 28, 2003
New costs grid: still unpredictable
The Lawyers Weekly
November 2003
Ontario's new Limitations Act heralds a new era of limitations litigation
Published in The Lawyers Weekly
October 2003
New Limitations Act Accelerates Litigation Clock
Litigation Bulletin
Fall 2003
Enforcing US Judgments In The Great White North
Published in The Canadian Law Newsletter
March 2003
Enforcing US Judgements
Points North
January 17, 2003
Courts use inherent jurisdiction to fill in the gaps
The Lawyers Weekly
November 2002
Trustee Sells Copyrights
Restructuring Bulletin
October 25, 2002
How Can You Get Paid When Your Client Goes Bankrupt
Lawyer's Weekly
July 2001
Mandatory Mediation in Toronto: How it All Works
Litigation Bulletin
June 2001
Navigating Toronto's New Case Management Program
Litigation Bulletin
2000
Conflicts of Interest, Chinese Walls and the Changing Business of the Law

Business Law International, International Bar Association

2000
Conflicts of Interest, Chinese Walls and the Changing Business of the Law
Business Law International
October 29, 2013
Demonstration and Debriefing: Handling the Hostile Witness
10th Annual Conference: Evidence Law for the Civil Litigator, Osgoode Professional Development