As counsel to public sector entities across Canada and internationally, as well as to private businesses that are active in a wide range of industries, Heenan Blaikie has extensive expertise in combining the strengths and skills of the public and private sectors in a long-term, performance-based relationship. Through our experience in these relationships, we are able to offer our clients the right focus on the sensitive political and public policy dynamics at play in high-profile projects.
We provide government relations advice in connection with:
- Government procurement issues – structure the bidding or co-bidding process; assess the potential of capital projects and service contracts; analyze applicable federal, provincial and local procurement forms, legislation and requirements; provide the market intelligence and relationships needed to help clients obtain government contracts
- Communications – design strategies for all forms of media (ex.: print, television, radio, Internet); represent clients before regulatory boards such as the CRTC or the Copyright Board of Canada and before federal and provincial courts; keep abreast of legislative and regulatory changes that may affect client businesses
- Arbitration and dispute resolution – arbitration and mediation agreements; analysis of legislative approaches to dispute resolution; review of court cases involving government departments, boards and agencies; examination of arbitration and dispute resolution provisions entrenched in the legislation
- Infrastructure and public-private partnerships – federal-provincial agreements on major infrastructure projects; cross-border infrastructure developments; provide access to key decision-makers to help establish mutually beneficial relationships between public and private stakeholders; structure, coordinate and implement public-private partnerships (PPPs); ensure the success of PPPs in various sectors, including real estate projects in the areas of education (schools) and health law (hospitals)
- Municipal law – representation of municipalities in intergovernmental relations with other levels of government; drafting and analyzing municipal orders, decrees and bylaws; negotiating a wide range of agreements, such as land use, water and sewer, zoning and site plan agreements
- Litigation – government contract disputes, procurement litigation, directors’ and officers’ liability, fiduciary litigation, intergovernmental disputes, white collar litigation, regulatory litigation, constitutional disputes, domestic and international trade disputes
- Trade – bilateral and multilateral trade issues, including NAFTA, Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement and WTO; interprovincial trade matters; compliance with domestic and international trade laws; strategic planning and lobbying to initiate, modify or prevent trade legislation or regulations
- Environment-related issues – develop efficient strategies to align compliance with environmental laws and regulations to business needs; environmental due diligence requirements; appearing on behalf of clients before regulatory boards and review panels; government investigations
- Privacy and information management – compliance with federal privacy laws (Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) as well as applicable provincial legislation; public access to government information
- Regulatory law – compliance with municipal, provincial and federal election finance laws; preparation of sound strategies regarding government procurement statutes and regulations; participation in regulatory administrative proceedings and hearings; legal documentation supporting or opposing legislative and regulatory initiatives on behalf of clients
- Corporate and commercial issues – corporate governance, liaison between business clients and policy-makers (elected officials and their staff as well as civil servants), corporate positioning and relationship building
- Aboriginal relations – land claim settlements, self-government negotiations, government services to Aboriginal peoples, tax issues, consultations over mining and forestry agreements
- Energy – environmental permitting, public utility regulations, sale of generation facilities, analysis of policies that impact the energy sector (climate change, GHG emissions, foreign investment, among others), deregulation and restructuring of energy sectors such as electricity
- Representing insurance clients in a vast array of industries, including health care, transportation, oil and gas, and construction
Our Government Relations group includes several former senior government officials and politicians who collaborate with all levels of government to further the interests of our clients. In addition, our lawyers have extensive knowledge of the parliamentary process, including numerous appearances on behalf of clients before parliamentary committees and royal commissions. Our experience in dealing with the media enables us to tailor communications strategies that not only take into account narrow legal considerations but wider political implications as well. We also have proven crisis communications expertise.
The background and experience of our team have attracted interest for advisory services from the three main levels of authority in Canada (federal, provincial and municipal) and numerous foreign governments. In addition, private-sector clients seek out our team to represent them in a broad range of matters involving the leadership of foreign governments, such as international treaties and conventions.