Michael Lubetsky leads McMillan’s national tax litigation practice and he acts in complex commercial disputes and cases raising novel questions of constitutional and comparative law. His intellect, insight, and clear presentation of information are a benefit to his clients, including large and medium-sized corporations, high-net-worth individuals, and charities.

Michael has appeared and argued successfully before all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Further, he has authored articles on a diverse range of legal subjects, some of which have been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal and Québec Courts of Appeal. He has also authored two textbooks on the art of debate.

Having held positions as a researcher with an investment company in Japan and later as an officer in the Canadian Foreign Service, serving in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and China, Michael brings a unique perspective and understanding of geopolitical situations to clients dealing with international business matters.



Representative Matters

Tax Matters

  • Acted for various members of the Ghermezian family before the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal in a case involving the scope of the Canada Revenue Agency’s audit powers
  • Acted for Glenn French before the Federal Court of Appeal in a case involving the bijural interpretation of the word “gift” in Income Tax Act
  • Acted for Glencore Canada Corporation in a tax appeal before the Ontario Superior Court (Commercial List) in a dispute involving Ontario mining tax
  • Acted for National Money Mart in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada involving the characterisation of “financial services” under the Excise Tax Act
  • Acted for a subsidiary of Target Corporation in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada involving application of the thin-capitalisation rules of the Income Tax Act
  • Acted for EDF Renewables Canada Inc. in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada involving the characterisation of its wind farms for tax purposes
  • Acted for the Tax and Customs Agency of the Kingdom of Denmark in the Ontario Superior Court (Commercial List) against three Canadian pension plans to recover tax refunds paid out over the course of a multi-billion-dollar fraudulent scheme
  • Acted for the owners of the Bell Campus in Montréal in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada in a case involving the application of the general anti-avoidance rule
  • Acted for Exiros Canada Inc. in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada in a case involving transfer-pricing
  • Acted for Michael Rosenberg before the Federal Court in a seminal case involving the enforcement of a settlement agreement against the CRA
  • Acted for Glenn Chamandy before the Federal Court in a case involving the enforcement of a compliance order
  • Acted for Picchio Pharma Inc. in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada in a case involving the valuation of a biotech company
  • Acted for a major property development group in a case involving contestation of late-filing penalties (successfully resolved at the objection phase with the Canada Revenue Agency)

Non-Tax Matters

  • Acted for Wärtsilä Canada Inc., before the Supreme Court of Canada in a constitutional case over the applicability of the Civil Code of Québec to a dispute governed by Canadian maritime law
  • Acted for Egale Canada in its intervention before the Québec Superior Court and the Québec Court of Appeal in a constitutional challenge to 11 provisions of the Civil Code of Québec concerning birth registrations and identity documents for trans, non-binary and intersex people)
  • Acted for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in its successful defence against a $1.4 billion-plus class action involving application of the regulated conduct defence
  • Acted for Kevric before the Québec Superior Court, Québec Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada in a case involving the interpretation of a rarely-litigated standard provision in liability insurance contracts
  • Acted for a group of littoral property owners before the Québec Superior Court, Québec Court of Appeal in what has become the leading case on Article 997 of the Civil Code of Québec
  • Acted for Aldo Group before the Ontario Superior Court (Commercial List), the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in a case involving the opposability of forum selection clauses to third parties
  • Acted for the guardians of a seven-year-old child before the Québec Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in a groundbreaking case with respect to assisted procreation

Pro Bono

  • Representing Egale Canada—Canada’s leading organization for 2SLGBTQI+ people and issues—in its intervention in the Center for Gender Advocacy v Québec trans rights litigation that was heard and decided by the Québec Superior Court (2021 QCCS 191) and is currently under appeal before the Québec Court of Appeal (Docket #500-09-029391-216; appeal heard in April 2022 and currently under advisement)
  • Acted for Egale Canada in making submissions to the Department of Finance in September 2022 concerning proposed reforms to the medical expense tax credit as it pertains to surrogacy and assisted reproduction arrangements (https://egale.ca/awareness/budget-2022-consultation-tax-credit-for-surrogacy-related-medical-expenses/)
  • Acted for the guardians of a seven-year-old child in a groundbreaking case with respect to assisted procreation (LB v. GN (Droit de la famille — 111729), 2011 QCCA 1180, leave to appeal to the SCC refused)

Speaking Engagements

University of Toronto Faculty of Law, Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop, “Perspectives on Tax Law & Policy: Collins Family Trust” (panelist) (Toronto)

January 11, 2023

McGill University Faculty of Law, “Comparative Judicial Procedure: Ontario, Québec & Elsewhere” (annual lecture to Judicial Institutions and Civil Procedure course) (Montréal/virtual)

2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Barreau de Montréal, Salon Visez Droit: « Le changement de nom et de désignation de sexe au Québec et ailleurs » (panelist) (virtual)

March 29, 2021

LGBTQ2S+ Firm Hop, “Centre for Gender Advocacy v Québec, 2021 QCCS 191” (virtual)

March 19, 2021

Tournée des cabinets LGBTQ2S+, « Centre for Gender Advocacy v Québec, 2021 QCCS 191 » (virtual)

March 1, 2021

Université de Montréal Faculté de droit, « Centre for Gender Advocacy c Québec, 2021 QCCS 191 » (co-presenter) (virtual)

February 11, 2021

McGill University Faculty of Law, "'Adding Epicycles: From McGill Property Law to the Osgoode Hall Law Review" (guest lecture to Property class) (virtual)

November 3, 2020

Canadian Maritime Law Association, Annual Seminar: “Transport Desgagnés v Wärtsilä: Where to now?” (co-presenter) (virtual)

June 12, 2020

Canadian Bar Association, Journée de formation annuelle de l'ABC-Québec et SOQUIJ, « Droits fondamentaux des personnes transgenres, intersexes et non-binaires au Québec » (panelist) (Montréal)

October 31, 2019

Ontario Bar Association, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Section, “Litigating Gender and Gender Identity in the Courts” (Toronto)

December 4, 2019

Continuing Education Presentation, « Plaidoyer avec fierté » (panelist) (Montréal)

August 14, 2019

Continuing Education Presentation, "Advocacy with Pride" (panelist) (Toronto)

June 12, 2019

Université de Montréal, “The Law of Charity” Conference, “Bijuralism and the Meaning of ‘Charitable’” (presented a paper followed by a debate with Professor Aline Grenon) (Montréal)

May 8, 2015

Jeune Barreau de Montréal, 70e Congrès annuel, « Naviguer les eaux troubles d’un litige fiscal: de la vérification jusqu’à la cour » (moderator of panel discussion including TCC Chief Justice Rossiter) (Montréal)

May 28, 2015

Association du Barreau Canadien, “50 Shades of Privilege” (panelist) (Montréal)

May 14, 2015

Universidad Anáhuac, “Negotiating a Contract in Canada” (Huixquilucan, Mexico) (guest lecture to Negociación de Contratos y Arbitraje Course)

November 4, 2014

National Judicial Institute: Presentation to judges of the Federal Court of Appeal and Tax Court of Canada on "Effective Advocacy: Different Perspectives of Bench and Bar" (with Guy Du Pont, Ad.E. and Deen C. Olsen)

Montréal, November 25, 2011
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Teaching Engagements

  • Advanced Commercial Law (Legal Writing in English), Université de Montréal, 2008-2011
  • Introduction to Western Legal Systems, Université de Montréal, 2010-2012

News


Media Mentions


Rankings & Recognitions

  • Recognized in the 2024 Benchmark Litigation: Canada Guide
  • Recognized in the 2024 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Consistently Recommended Lawyer in the area of Litigation – Corporate Tax
  • Recognized by Chambers Global (2024) as a leading lawyer in the area of Tax: Litigation
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada (2024) as a leading lawyer in the area of Tax: Litigation
  • Recognized in the 2023 Lexpert Special Edition on Canada’s Leading Litigation Lawyers as a Leading Litigation Lawyer
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada (2023) as a leading lawyer in the area of Tax: Litigation
  • Recognized in the 2023 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as a Consistently Recommended Lawyer in the area of Litigation: Corporate Tax
  • Recognized in the 2022 Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation (2022)
  • Recipient of the Benchmark Canada Impact Case of the Year Award (2020) for acting for the LCBO in obtaining summary judgment dismissing a $1.5 billion antitrust class action, which was later upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal
  • Recognized in Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys—Future Star in the Jurisdiction of Ontario (2021)
  • Awarded the Douglas J. Sherbaniuk Distinguished Writing Award (2020) by the Canadian Tax Foundation

Community Involvement

  • American Contract Bridge League, Bronze Life Master
  • Canadian Bar Association, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee Member
  • Donald GH Bowman National Tax Moot, McGill team coach
  • Corporate/Securities Moot: Judge (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023)

Directorships & Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Canadian Tax Foundation
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • The Advocates Society

Education & Admissions

2012
Called to the Ontario bar
2009
Called to the Québec bar
2008
MBA (Finance Concentration) (Dean’s Medal for Great Distinction)McGill University
2008
LLB/BCL (with Great Distinction, Elizabeth Torrance Gold Medal)McGill University
1993
AB Religion (Cum Laude)Princeton University

Publications

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications

Non-Peer Reviewed Publications in Tax-Related Newsletters and Journals

Debate-Related Publications

  • Contributor to “Dibeito-de Kangaeru Chikara-o Tsukeru,” (1999) (CD-ROM)
  • “Discover Debate—Debate for ESL Learners,” co-author with Charles Lebeau and David Harrington Language Solutions, (1999) (textbook)
  • “Make Your Point—Debate for EFL Students,” Tuttle ELT Publishing (1997) (textbook)
  • Weekly newspaper column with Shigeru Matsumoto “Soapbox: Debate Forum,” The Daily Yomiuri (1997)

Insights (1 Posts)View More

Featured Insight

CRA Audit Requirements: Can a Taxpayer Contest Unreasonable Deadlines?

When the CRA demands information or documents within an unreasonable period, what options are available? A recent decision of the FCA offers some guidance.

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Sep 18, 2023