Shea Coulson 

Shea Coulson

Vancouver
Royal Centre, Suite 1500
1055 West Georgia Street, PO Box 11117
Vancouver, British Columbia V6E 4N7

t: 604.691.7467
e: shea.coulson@mcmillan.ca

overview

Shea is a Litigation partner in our Vancouver office. Shea is a general commercial litigator with significant experience in partnership and shareholder disputes, disputed buy-outs, collapsing or collapsed transactions, commercial misrepresentation claims, breach of confidence matters, business valuation disputes, broker fee and deposit disputes, commercial supply disputes, commercial real estate disputes, and general contractual litigation. Shea also has special experience in fraud and asset recovery, financial crime and anti-money laundering, cannabis and liquor law, transportation law, and constitutional law.

Shea has acted for public and private companies and high net worth individuals in their commercial and regulatory disputes, including Whirlpool Corporation, EBA Engineering (now Tetra Tech), Canadian National Railway, BMW, FortisBC, the Attorney General of British Columbia, the Insurance Council of British Columbia, the Agricultural Land Commission, the University of British Columbia, and the Association of Beverage Licensees of British Columbia among others.

Shea has appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada on multiple occasions in constitutional cases, most recently in R. v. Comeau, on behalf of BC's wine industry. R. v. Comeau was one of the most important business cases of 2018, in which the court addressed the meaning of the s. 121 "free trade" provision of the Constitution Act, 1867, determining the extent of free trade between the provinces that is constitutionally protected.

Shea is also a recognized practitioner in administrative law. Shea regularly appears before the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal on complex administrative law cases both for and against the government of British Columbia and in federal matters. Shea has acted in the following business sectors: transportation and shipping, post-secondary education, freedom of and access to information, municipal zoning regulation, insurance regulation, real estate brokerage regulation, automotive regulation, liquor regulation, and cannabis regulation.

Shea has acted for numerous businesses in all facets of the cannabis sector, and regularly provides licensees and ancillary businesses advice on regulatory compliance with the Cannabis Act and its regulations, provincial cannabis regulation, provincial retail regulation, provincial monopoly wholesale, business transactions, commercial agreements, and litigation. Shea was formerly the regulatory lead of a large international firm’s national cannabis group.

Representative Matters

Cannabis and Liquor Regulatory

· Zenabis Global Inc.: Advised on a confidential transaction in the cannabis industry.

· Experion Biotechnologies Inc.: Advised on multiple confidential transactions in the cannabis industry.

· Truss Beverages: Regulatory and licensing advice.

· Fire & Flower Inc.: Regulatory advice on multiple retail transactions.

· Benchmark Botanics Inc.: Regulatory experience.

· Confidential client, federal licenced producer: Regulatory advice in relation to a Canadian-Australian transaction.

· Confidential client, federal licenced producer: Regulatory advice relating to cannabis promotion.

· Confidential First Nations client: Regulatory advice (provincial and federal) and ongoing corporate business advice in the cannabis sector.

· Burb Cannabis Corp.: Regulatory advice regarding cannabis retail.

· E. & J. Gallo Winery: Regulatory advice.

· Diageo Canada Inc.: Regulatory and commercial advice.

· Numerous British Columbia wineries: Regulatory enforcement, regulatory compliance and commercial litigation.

· Numerous British Columbia liquor importers and agents: Regulatory enforcement, regulatory compliance and commercial litigation.

· Numerous British Columbia liquor licensees: Liquor enforcement, judicial review and regulatory compliance.

· Alliance of beverage licensees of British Columbia: Ongoing regulatory advice.

· Large British Columbia restaurant chain: Regulatory compliance and enforcement.

· Large Alberta brewery: Regulatory and commercial advice.

· Private liquor retailers: Advising in a months-long policy review process with the City of Vancouver that resulted in the City Council voting to support a motion to allow grocery stores to open a “store within a store” but to prohibit “wine on grocery shelves”.

· Group of hospitality businesses: Advising in relation to British Columbia’s liquor policy review, including developing and drafting submission on regulatory reform.

Litigation

· B.C. Container Trucking Commissioner and Canadian National Transportation Ltd., CTC Decision No. 02/2019: Successfully defended Canadian National Transportation Ltd. in a regulatory audit of its trucking operations by the B.C. Container Trucking Commissioner. Saved the client millions of dollars in potential payments and fines. Successfully defended the legitimacy of its collective agreement in the context of rate requirements under the provincial Container Trucking Act.

· R. v. Comeau, 2018 SCC 15: Advising as lead counsel for a group of British Columbia wineries at the Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark case determining for the first time in modern Canadian history the meaning of s. 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (Canada's free-trade provision).

Director of Employment Standards and Sun, Huigang, Besco International Investment Co Ltd., Wiston Building Materials Ltd., Viceroy Houses (2015) Ltd., et. al., ER #186-

  • 601: Successfully defending a group of companies in an unusually complex employment standards matter arising from numerous complaints filed following an asset acquisition within a complex bankruptcy and insolvency proceeding.
  • British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Johnson, 2016 BCSC 1570: Advising the Director of Civil Forfeiture in an important case applying the Charter to civil forfeiture proceedings. Successful on all major Charter breach issues.
  • Goodwin v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2015 SCC 46: Advising as lead counsel for the drivers arguing BC's administrative roadside prohibition impaired driving law violated section 8 of the Charter.
  • ATL Trucking LTD. et al v. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, 2015 FC 520: Advising as co-counsel in a successful judicial review of decisions by Port Metro Vancouver to deny licenses to almost 30 companies representing hundreds of trucks for access to the Port to conduct local shipping and drayage.
  • Provincial Court Judges' Association v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2015 BCCA 136: Advising as co-counsel for the government of British Columbia on an appeal of the constitutional petition by the Provincial Court Judges’ Association challenging the Province’s decision on Provincial Judges compensation.
  • Provincial Court Judges’ Association of British Columbia v. Attorney General of British Columbia, 2014 BCSC 336: Advising as co-counsel for the government of British Columbia in the constitutional petition by the Provincial Court Judges’ Association challenging the Province’s decision on Provincial Judges compensation.
  • 18320 Holdings Inc. v. Thibeau, 2014 BCCA 494: Advising as co-counsel on the leading case in British Columbia on tribunal standing to make submissions in judicial review and on costs awards against tribunals.
  • Sivia, Goodwin et al. v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2014 BCCA 79: Advising as co-counsel on the constitutional challenge to British Columbia’s administrative impaired driving regime. This case was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • 18320 Holdings Inc. v. Thibeau et al, 2013 BCSC 539 and 2013 BCSC 1677: Advising as co-counsel on a successful judicial review of Student Aid British Columbia’s decision to prohibit some private post-secondary institutions from enrolling students with government student loans.
  • IAT Air Cargo Facilities Income Fund v. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., 2010 BCSC 1965 and 2011 BCCA 226: Advising as co-counsel in contract dispute involving unjust enrichment claim for improperly paid commission for financial services. Was successful at trial and upheld on appeal.

Presentations

Publications

Litigating During COVID-19: Still Possible
Combatting Civil Fraud Against Businesses in the Age of COVID-19
COVID-19: New Emergency Rules for Operating Businesses in BC: How to Comply with BC's "Essential Business" and Public Health Orders

News

13 McMillan Lawyers Recognized in the 2020 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide

Education

  • University of British Columbia, J.D. - 2009
  • York University, PhD program - 2006
  • University of Western Ontario, M.A. - 2005
  • University of Toronto, B.A. Honours - 2003

Practices

administrative law
anti-corruption and fraud
appellate advocacy
arbitration
business litigation
dispute resolution
fraud law
government and public policy
government relations
licensing
litigation
marketing and advertising
regulatory compliance
supreme court

Industries

automotive
cannabis practice group
transportation
trucking

Directorships and Professional Associations

  • Member, board of Directors, BC Hospitality Foundation
  • Member of planning committee, Vancouver International Wine Festival
  • Member, Advocate’s Club
  • Former Co-chair CBA Administrative Law Subsection

Teaching Engagements

  • Taught constitutional remedies at UBC’s Allard Hall Law School - 2013-2015

Community Involvement

  • Board member, BC Hospitality Foundation
  • Member of planning committee, Vancouver International Wine Festival

Awards & Rankings

  • “Litigation Star”, general corporate commercial and constitutional litigation, 2020 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide 
  • “Litigation Star”, general corporate commercial and constitutional litigation, 2019 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide 
vcard

Shea is a Litigation partner in our Vancouver office. Shea is a general commercial litigator with significant experience in partnership and shareholder disputes, disputed buy-outs, collapsing or collapsed transactions, commercial misrepresentation claims, breach of confidence matters, business valuation disputes, broker fee and deposit disputes, commercial supply disputes, commercial real estate disputes, and general contractual litigation. Shea also has special experience in fraud and asset recovery, financial crime and anti-money laundering, cannabis and liquor law, transportation law, and constitutional law.

Shea has acted for public and private companies and high net worth individuals in their commercial and regulatory disputes, including Whirlpool Corporation, EBA Engineering (now Tetra Tech), Canadian National Railway, BMW, FortisBC, the Attorney General of British Columbia, the Insurance Council of British Columbia, the Agricultural Land Commission, the University of British Columbia, and the Association of Beverage Licensees of British Columbia among others.

Shea has appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada on multiple occasions in constitutional cases, most recently in R. v. Comeau, on behalf of BC's wine industry. R. v. Comeau was one of the most important business cases of 2018, in which the court addressed the meaning of the s. 121 "free trade" provision of the Constitution Act, 1867, determining the extent of free trade between the provinces that is constitutionally protected.

Shea is also a recognized practitioner in administrative law. Shea regularly appears before the BC Supreme Court and the BC Court of Appeal on complex administrative law cases both for and against the government of British Columbia and in federal matters. Shea has acted in the following business sectors: transportation and shipping, post-secondary education, freedom of and access to information, municipal zoning regulation, insurance regulation, real estate brokerage regulation, automotive regulation, liquor regulation, and cannabis regulation.

Shea has acted for numerous businesses in all facets of the cannabis sector, and regularly provides licensees and ancillary businesses advice on regulatory compliance with the Cannabis Act and its regulations, provincial cannabis regulation, provincial retail regulation, provincial monopoly wholesale, business transactions, commercial agreements, and litigation. Shea was formerly the regulatory lead of a large international firm’s national cannabis group.

Cannabis and Liquor Regulatory

· Zenabis Global Inc.: Advised on a confidential transaction in the cannabis industry.

· Experion Biotechnologies Inc.: Advised on multiple confidential transactions in the cannabis industry.

· Truss Beverages: Regulatory and licensing advice.

· Fire & Flower Inc.: Regulatory advice on multiple retail transactions.

· Benchmark Botanics Inc.: Regulatory experience.

· Confidential client, federal licenced producer: Regulatory advice in relation to a Canadian-Australian transaction.

· Confidential client, federal licenced producer: Regulatory advice relating to cannabis promotion.

· Confidential First Nations client: Regulatory advice (provincial and federal) and ongoing corporate business advice in the cannabis sector.

· Burb Cannabis Corp.: Regulatory advice regarding cannabis retail.

· E. & J. Gallo Winery: Regulatory advice.

· Diageo Canada Inc.: Regulatory and commercial advice.

· Numerous British Columbia wineries: Regulatory enforcement, regulatory compliance and commercial litigation.

· Numerous British Columbia liquor importers and agents: Regulatory enforcement, regulatory compliance and commercial litigation.

· Numerous British Columbia liquor licensees: Liquor enforcement, judicial review and regulatory compliance.

· Alliance of beverage licensees of British Columbia: Ongoing regulatory advice.

· Large British Columbia restaurant chain: Regulatory compliance and enforcement.

· Large Alberta brewery: Regulatory and commercial advice.

· Private liquor retailers: Advising in a months-long policy review process with the City of Vancouver that resulted in the City Council voting to support a motion to allow grocery stores to open a “store within a store” but to prohibit “wine on grocery shelves”.

· Group of hospitality businesses: Advising in relation to British Columbia’s liquor policy review, including developing and drafting submission on regulatory reform.

Litigation

· B.C. Container Trucking Commissioner and Canadian National Transportation Ltd., CTC Decision No. 02/2019: Successfully defended Canadian National Transportation Ltd. in a regulatory audit of its trucking operations by the B.C. Container Trucking Commissioner. Saved the client millions of dollars in potential payments and fines. Successfully defended the legitimacy of its collective agreement in the context of rate requirements under the provincial Container Trucking Act.

· R. v. Comeau, 2018 SCC 15: Advising as lead counsel for a group of British Columbia wineries at the Supreme Court of Canada in the landmark case determining for the first time in modern Canadian history the meaning of s. 121 of the Constitution Act, 1867 (Canada's free-trade provision).

Director of Employment Standards and Sun, Huigang, Besco International Investment Co Ltd., Wiston Building Materials Ltd., Viceroy Houses (2015) Ltd., et. al., ER #186-

  • 601: Successfully defending a group of companies in an unusually complex employment standards matter arising from numerous complaints filed following an asset acquisition within a complex bankruptcy and insolvency proceeding.
  • British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v. Johnson, 2016 BCSC 1570: Advising the Director of Civil Forfeiture in an important case applying the Charter to civil forfeiture proceedings. Successful on all major Charter breach issues.
  • Goodwin v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2015 SCC 46: Advising as lead counsel for the drivers arguing BC's administrative roadside prohibition impaired driving law violated section 8 of the Charter.
  • ATL Trucking LTD. et al v. Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, 2015 FC 520: Advising as co-counsel in a successful judicial review of decisions by Port Metro Vancouver to deny licenses to almost 30 companies representing hundreds of trucks for access to the Port to conduct local shipping and drayage.
  • Provincial Court Judges' Association v. British Columbia (Attorney General), 2015 BCCA 136: Advising as co-counsel for the government of British Columbia on an appeal of the constitutional petition by the Provincial Court Judges’ Association challenging the Province’s decision on Provincial Judges compensation.
  • Provincial Court Judges’ Association of British Columbia v. Attorney General of British Columbia, 2014 BCSC 336: Advising as co-counsel for the government of British Columbia in the constitutional petition by the Provincial Court Judges’ Association challenging the Province’s decision on Provincial Judges compensation.
  • 18320 Holdings Inc. v. Thibeau, 2014 BCCA 494: Advising as co-counsel on the leading case in British Columbia on tribunal standing to make submissions in judicial review and on costs awards against tribunals.
  • Sivia, Goodwin et al. v. British Columbia (Superintendent of Motor Vehicles), 2014 BCCA 79: Advising as co-counsel on the constitutional challenge to British Columbia’s administrative impaired driving regime. This case was ultimately heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • 18320 Holdings Inc. v. Thibeau et al, 2013 BCSC 539 and 2013 BCSC 1677: Advising as co-counsel on a successful judicial review of Student Aid British Columbia’s decision to prohibit some private post-secondary institutions from enrolling students with government student loans.
  • IAT Air Cargo Facilities Income Fund v. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc., 2010 BCSC 1965 and 2011 BCCA 226: Advising as co-counsel in contract dispute involving unjust enrichment claim for improperly paid commission for financial services. Was successful at trial and upheld on appeal.
May 20, 2020
Litigating During COVID-19: Still Possible

Litigation Bulletin

April 18, 2020
Combatting Civil Fraud Against Businesses in the Age of COVID-19

Employment and Advocacy; Business Law; and White Collar Bulletin