Michael Rankin Photo
Michael Rankin Photo

Michael Rankin is an experienced litigator with a broad practice encompassing all aspects of corporate commercial litigation. He has particular expertise in public procurement, white-collar defence, fraud and investigations and is a leader of the firm’s Administrative & Public Law Group.

Appearing at trial and appellate levels of court as well as administrative tribunals, mediations and arbitrations, Michael acts for clients in a range of industries, including the manufacturing and payments/fintech sectors.

Michael’s vast experience includes procurement litigation, commercial and corporate and shareholder disputes, product liability, environmental contamination actions, defamation, tort actions, fraud and insolvency cases.

Michael uses his cross-disciplinary practice skills as a compliment in managing high net worth family law matters focusing on income attribution, valuation, tax and division of corporate assets, including where necessary by advancing or defending claims of corporate oppression or wind-up orders.

In addition to the diversity of his practice, he is known for creating innovative strategies that resolve disputes out of the courtroom. As a steadfast champion of his clients’ interests when cases do go to court, Michael is recognized for his considerable achievements in numerous highly contentious proceedings.

A mentor to students and associates, Michael is also sought out for his insights by other litigators of the firm acting in highly complex disputes.

Representative Matters

  • Lead counsel in complex tort, tax and pension litigation before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court of Appeal for Ontario, Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada involving claims pertaining to wrongful criminal charges and the impact of deregistration of a pension plan under the Income Tax Act
  • Lead counsel for Carleton University for many years on a wide array of litigation and advisory matters including procurement, construction law, commercial disputes, class action litigation, intellectual property protection, academic & fraud and discipline, gifts and advancement and governance issues
  • Lead counsel for an oil tank manufacturer in the defense of numerous actions across Ontario involving product liability and negligence claims
  • Lead counsel in complex insurance litigation involving claims pertaining to excess liability coverage and insurance broker negligence
  • Lead counsel in shareholder oppression and winding up action under the Ontario Business Corporations Act
  • Lead counsel for many years to the City of Ottawa and to other municipalities in a wide range of civil and commercial disputes, including procurement litigation, contract, personal injury, tort and libel and slander actions
  • Lead counsel for the City of Ottawa in the successful defense to the challenge to the Smoke Free Bylaws which banned smoking in public places and work places. This included the jurisdictional and constitutional challenge to the legality of the bylaws at both the trial and appeal level, injunction proceedings, and by law enforcement and prosecutions. The winning defence has led to Ottawa being used as a national and international model for the implementation of smoke free bylaws and legislation
  • Lead counsel for the City of Ottawa, on behalf of a member of City Council, in the successful defense of a libel and slander action brought by another member of City Council
  • Lead counsel in the successful defence to complex litigation involving a libel and slander claim against a Member of Parliament which included actions in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Federal Court of Canada (Trial Division)
  • Acted as defence counsel for professionals / members responding to complaints filed with the The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Professional Engineers Association of Ontario
  • Acted as Standing Agent for the Department of Justice from 1988 to 2000 conducting prosecutions under the Narcotics Control Act, Food and Drug Act, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Income Tax Act, Canada Labour Code, etc
  • Quasi-criminal practice involving both prosecution and defence of charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Liquor Licence Act, the Clean Water Act, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act and numerous other regulatory statutes and by-laws

Speaking Engagements

Buying Into Change: Updating Your Procurement Process for CETA/CFTA Compliance

October 2017

Buying Into Change: Updating Your Procurement Process for CETA/CFTA Compliance, Ontario University, Procurement Management Association

October 2017

Buying Into Change: Updating Your Procurement Process for CETA/CFTA Compliance Confidential Client (public sector)

June 2017

All Hands on Deck: Navigating the Tricky Waters of the Federal Government's New Integrity Regime of Public Procurement The Canadian Bar Association, Webinar

April 2017

Teaching Engagements

  • Guest Lecturer on “Advocacy,” a Bar Admission Course for the Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Guest Lecturer invited to address the Law Department at Carleton University
  • Acted as Articling Principle for many years in the supervision of students at Lang Michener and chaired the Student Committee. The committee provides processes for extensive teaching experience including internal seminars and mentoring

Media Mentions

  • Michael was interviewed for the article Take Control of your Procurement Process in Canadian Corporate Counsel Association, Spring 2017 edition and provided insight into procurement practices notably, the Government of Canada’s Procurement Integrity Regime.
  • Appeared weekly on an expert legal panel on CFRA’s Madely in the Morning. The panel discussed the Larry O’Brien (Ottawa Mayor) influence peddling trial. Michael also appeared on Ottawa’s A Channel as a legal analyst about the trial.
  • Michael appeared on CBC National News with reporter Leslie MacKinnon as a legal analyst on Brian Mulroney’s testimony at the Oliphant inquiry.
  • Michael was a featured source in an article titled “Canucks Paid $14.2 Million: Feds Spent $24 Million On Outside Legal Counsel” in a June 2009 edition of Law Times. In the article Michael discusses the complex construction litigation case that the firm had been working for the federal government in 2008.
  • Michael was a regular media spokesperson for the City of Ottawa pertaining to all of the complex litigation that he handled for the City over many years.

Rankings & Recognition

  • Received the Mayor’s Certificate of Recognition in 2005 in recognition of outstanding dedication and service in successfully representing the City of Ottawa in high profile legal actions
  • BV Distinguished rating by Martindale Hubble

Community Involvement

  • Minor hockey competitive coach at all levels from 1998 -2013

Directorships & Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • County of Carleton Law Association

Education & Admissions

Called to the Ontario bar
Certificate in Advanced Procurement Law and Practice: Major Projects and TenderingOsgoode Hall Law School
Certificate in Public Procurement Law and PracticeOsgoode Hall Law School
LLBMcGill University
BAConcordia University


  • “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Annotated,” Carswell (2000)

Insights (3 Posts)

Who ya gonna call (out)? Government of Canada introduces tip line to report federal contract fraud

Who ya gonna call (out)? Government of Canada introduces tip line to report federal contract fraud.

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Apr 20, 2017

In this Great Future, You Can’t Forget Your Past – Update to the Government of Canada’s Integrity Regime Provides Clarity, Includes General Anti-Avoidance Provisions

In this Great Future, You Cant Forget Your Past – Update to the Government of Canadas Integrity Regime Provides Clarity, Includes General Anti-Avoidance Provisions

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Apr 6, 2016
Featured Insight

Procurement complaints against the government: more than just bid challenges

Procurement complaints against the government: more than just bid challenges

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Feb 11, 2016