Mike Schafler co-leads Dentons Canada’s Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. He is also a Global Practice Leader for the global Litigation and Dispute Resolution group. His practice focuses on sophisticated commercial litigation and arbitration, emphasizing securities litigation, including class actions, auditor's liability, regulatory and appellate energy cases and insider trading and proxy contests.
Mike has experience in a number of industry segments, notably financial services, energy, mining, transportation and forestry. Mike has appeared in all levels of the Ontario courts, the Supreme Court of Canada, a number of public regulatory tribunals and numerous private arbitration tribunals.
Mike spearheaded Dentons' commitment to become the first law firm to partner with the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council (TRIEC) Mentorship Program. This, in part, led to Dentons being named one of Canada’s Best Employers for New Canadians for 2011. He is widely recognized for his dispute resolution expertise by a number of directories including Chambers Global, Best Lawyers in Canada and The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.
Michael enjoyed a stellar career as a Canadian Naval Officer from 1983-1992.
- Canadian Chartered Bank: Counsel to the Administrative Agent and the Lenders in connection with the CA$215 million project financing for the development, construction, ownership and operation of the 58.32 MW Bow Lake wind power project. The Bow Lake wind power project is owned by a limited partnership with the Batchewana First Nation and BluEarth Renewables as limited partners and currently represents the largest economic partnership between a First Nation and a wind energy developer in Canada.
- PwC: Acting as counsel in secondary market liability proposed class action (current).
- Deloitte: Acting as counsel in pending CA$1 billion class action (current).
- Energy firm: Acting as counsel in commercial dispute (current).
- Chinese investors: Acting as counsel in private placement dispute (current).
- Chinese investors: Acting as counsel in dispute over immigration business (current).
- Acting as counsel in connection with Ontario Securities Commission enforcement matter (current).
- Major forest product company: Acting as counsel in a CA$5 million arbitration (2013).
- Producer of global performance materials: Acting as counsel in an ICC Arbitration (2012).
- Ontario Energy Board: Acting as counsel in connection with an appeal to the Divisional Court in relation to a wind farm project (2012).
- Acting as counsel in connection with an Ontario Securities Commission insider case (2012).
- Deloitte: Acting as counsel in upholding an earlier dismissal of a proposed US$100 million securities class action against, among others, Deloitte, in connection with a public offering of shares in the failed waste management company, Philip Services Corp. (Coulson v. Citigroup Global Markets Canada Inc. 2012 ONCA 108) (2012).
- US Gold Corporation: Acting as counsel on its acquisition by plan of arrangement of Minera Andes Inc. with a transaction value at the time of closing of approximately CA$1.4 billion for the combined company, which was renamed McEwen Mining Inc. (2012).
- Confidential client: Acting as counsel to a corporation in a domestic arbitration involving a CA$30 million joint venture energy dispute (2011-2012).
- Lexam Explorations Inc.: Acting as counsel in respect of its combination with VG Gold Corp. to form Lexam VG Gold Inc. through a plan of arrangement (2011).
- UK Company: Acting as counsel in an international arbitration relating to a distributorship agreement (2011).
- Confidential client: Acting as counsel to corporation in an international commercial arbitration involving an IP dispute (commercial) (2011).
- Lenders: Acting as counsel regarding the 393MW York Energy Centre natural gas-fired electricity generating facility for northern York Region, Ontario (2010).
- Confidential client: Acting as counsel to a corporation in an international arbitration relating to the correct calculation of a mining royalty (2010).
- Augen Capital Corp.: Acting as counsel to certain shareholders in relation to a proxy battle which resulted in a successful court application (Mason v. Augen Capital Corp. 2010 ONSC 5319) (2010).
- Morgan Stanley Canada Limited: Acting as counsel in connection with a high profile plan of arrangement transaction involving Magna International Inc. (2010).
- Confidential client: Acting as counsel to corporation in precedent setting proxy fight case (Polar Star Mining Corporation v. Willock (2009) 96 O.R. (3d) 668 (S.C.)).
- IAMGOLD Corporation: Acting as counsel on the CA$275 million acquisition of Orezone Resources Inc. (2009).
- Gold Eagle Mines Ltd.: Acting as counsel in the CA$1.5 billion friendly acquisition by Goldcorp Inc. (2008).
- Major forest products company: Acting as counsel in a domestic arbitration with respect to a share valuation dispute (2008).
- Major forest products company: Acting as counsel in a domestic arbitration concerning a contractual dispute (2007).
- Enbridge: Acting as counsel on the ground breaking incentive rates case (2007).
- Major wood forest products company: Acting as counsel in products liability case (2006).
- Enbridge: Acting as intervener in the landmark Supreme Court of Canada case ATCO Gas & Pipelines Ltd. v. Alberta (Energy and Utilities Board), 2006 SCC 4. (2006).
- PowerStream: Acting as counsel on a number of rates applications and related motions (2005-2008).
- Enbridge: Acting as counsel on the appeal in relation to the OEB’s decision on the Gas Distribution Access Rule (GDAR) (Enbridge for Distribution Inc. v. Ontario Energy Board) (2005), 74 O.R. (3d) 147 (C.A.).
- Acting as counsel to the successful bidder in a take-over fight before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (Commercial List), the OSC and the Court of Appeal for Ontario which resulted in a change to the bid financing rules under the Ontario Securities Act (2005).
- Enbridge: Acting as counsel on the appeal in relation to the OEB’s “prudence” decision (Enbridge Gas Distribution Inc. v. Ontario Energy Board) (2005), 75 O.R. (3d) 72 (Div. ct.); rev’d (2005), 41 Admin. L.R. (4th) 69; 2006 CanLII 10734 (C.A.) (2005).
- Qantas: Acting as counsel in the Anton Piller case (2005).
- Deloitte: Acting as counsel in the successful defence of a motion to certify a proposed shareholder class action for common law negligent misrepresentation and under s. 130 of the Ontario Securities Act (Menegon v. Philip Services Corp. 2001 Can LI 28396 (ON S.C); aff'd 2003 Can LII 36468 (ON, C.A.); leave to appeal ref'd 2003 29644 SCC.).
- Acting as counsel on several “Poison Pill” or Shareholder Rights Plan cases.
- Recognized by Chambers Global as a leading lawyer in the areas of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (2012 - 2015) and Dispute Resolution: Ontario (2013 - 2015)
- Recognized by Legal 500 Canada 2015 in the area of Dispute Resolution
- Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada 2015 as one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the area of Corporate and Commercial Litigation
- Repeatedly recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2012, 2014) as one of Canada's leading lawyers in the area of Litigation - Securities
- 2009 TRIEC Special Achievement Award
In the Media
- Quoted in the article “Evolution, Not Revolution”, by Julius Melnitzer, Lexpert Magazine, March 2013
- Guest commentator, Shareholder Activism on the Rise?, Business News Network (BNN), May 23, 2012
- Quoted in the article "Ackman’s Canadian Pacific Proxy Challenge Pivots on Rival Ex-CEO," published by Bloomberg Businessweek on January 10, 2012
- Quoted in the article "Activist investors seize on economic uncertainty to press for change," published by Canadian Business and Winnipeg Free Press on November 6, 2011
- Quoted in the article "Arbitration becomes more like litigation," published by Law Times on October 3, 2011
- Quoted in the article "Shareholders make their presence known in takeover battles", published by The Financial Post on September 22, 2011
- Quoted in the article "Quality of the Shareholder Vote," published by The Financial Post on February 16, 2011
- Quoted in the article "Best Employers for New Canadians Law firm offers a hand up," published by The Star on April 2, 2009
- Quoted in TRIEC E-Lert Newsletter on Mentoring Partnership, April 2009
- Quoted in an article by Robert Todd that appeared on December 29, 2008 in Law Times about Dentons' leadership role in mentoring skilled immigrants
- Co-author, "Theratechnologies inc. v. 12185 Canada inc: Supreme Court of Canada raises the bar for obtaining leave to bring secondary market securities class actions", Canadian Securities Litigation, June 30, 2015
- Co-author, "The OSC’s proposed Whistleblower Program", Dentons Insight, February 18, 2015
- Coauthored with Holly Cunliffe “Assumed Jurisdiction in Canada: What Next?” IBA High-Stakes Conference, Atlanta December 4, 2014
- Michael D. Schafler & Ara Basmadjian, “Litigation and Enforcement in Canada: Overview,” Dispute Resolution Multi-Jurisdictional Guide (July 1, 2014), online: Practical Law Company
- Michael D. Schafler & Ara Basmadjian, “When Does a Confidentiality Clause Displace the Exception to Settlement Privilege?” Case Comment on Union Carbide Canada Inc. v Bombardier Inc., International Law Office (June 24, 2014)
- "Jurisdiction over dispute where defendant has no connection to province", International Law Office, April 8, 2014
- "Class Action vs. Arbitration: A Cross-Jurisdictional Overview of Consumer Protection Legislation in Canada", Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal, Fall/Winter 2013
- "Recent Decisions on Arbitral Jurisdiction: Stay and Appeal Issues", GAR Arbitration Review of the Americas 2014, October 2013
- Co-author, "Enforceable non-compete clauses in business sales: the analytical framework", International Law Office, October 2013
- Co-author, "Canada" in James H Carter, ed, The International Arbitration Review, 4th ed (London: Law Business Research Ltd., 2013)
- "Canada", Practical Law Multi-Jurisdictional Guide 2012/13 Dispute Resolution, Volume 1, Practical Law Company, October 2012
- "Secondary Market Liability in Canada: Securities Class Actions", Practical Law Multi-Jurisdictional Guide 2012/13 Dispute Resolution, Volume 1, Practical Law Company, October 2012
- "Arbitral Jurisdiction in Canada: Recent Decisions", GAR Arbitration Review of the Americas 2013, November 2012
- "Supreme Court of Canada Simplifies the Assumed Jurisdiction Test", Focus on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, April 2012
- "Settlements With Ontario Securities Commission Do Not Preclude Class Action Claims", International Law Office, March 2012
- "Fully Appreciating the New Ontario Summary Judgment Regime", International Law Office, January 2012
- "The New ICC Arbitration Rules – What You Need to Know", Focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution, January 2012
- "Litigation and Dispute Resolution - Annual Review", Financier Worldwide, December 2011
- "Commercial Arbitration and the Canadian Justice System: Recent Decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada", GAR Arbitration Review of the Americas 2012, November 2011
- "Appeal Court Decides Standard of Review Arising from NAFTA Arbitral Awards", International Law Office, October 2011
- Consumer Arbitration Clauses And Class Actions – The Latest From The Supreme Court, July 2011
Dispute Resolution Handbook/Arbitration Handbook 2011-2012 - Canada, PLC (Practical Law Company), June 2011
- "Supreme Court Rules on Arbitration of Consumer Claims: Reality or Myth?", International Law Office, May 2011
- "Liability for Secondary Market Misrepresentation in Canada", International Law Office (April 2011)
- "Arbitration trends in Canada: Deferring to Arbitration with Arbitrators in the Driver’s Seat", Arbitration News, Vol. 16, No. 1, March 2011
- "Comment: Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Subject to Local Limitation Periods - Supreme Court of Canada", World Arbitration and Mediation Review, Institute for Transnational Arbitration, December 2010
- "The Scope of Discovery of Experts", International Law Office (December 2010)
- "Ontario Courts Approve Magna Plan of Arrangement", Focus on Securities | Corporate Finance, November 2010
- "New UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules", Focus on Alternative Dispute Resolution, November 2010
- "The Grey Area of Proxies: Court Clarifies Voting Rights in Proxy Contests", Legal Post, October 2010
- "Court Rules Contractual Forum Clauses to be Enforced Absent 'Strong Cause'", International Law Office, September 2010
- "Ontario Court of Appeal: Regulated Utilities Must Balance Rights of Shareholders and Ratepayers", Focus on Energy, August 2010
- PLC Dispute Resolution Handbook/Arbitration Handbook 2010-2011 - Canada, June 2010
- "Ontario Court Requires Proper Evidentiary Basis for Enforcement of Letters Rogatory", International Law Office, May 2010
- "The 2010 Guide to Litigation, Arbitration and Dispute Resolution", Executive View Media Limited (March 2010)
- "Enforcement of Letters of Credit in Ontario", International Law Office, December 2009
- "Know Your Limits: Forum Selection Clauses Do Not Govern All Disputes", International Law Office, November 2009
- "The Right to Arbitrate – Only as Solid as the Language Used: When is a Dispute "Commercial" under the International Commercial Arbitration Act (Ontario)?", Journal d’Arbitrage et de Médiation Canadien, November 2009
- “Jurisdictional Issues Affecting Claims Against the Federal Government”, International Law Office, October 2009
- "Disqualifying Conflict Principles Apply to Expert Witnesses and Instructing Law Firms", International Law Office, September 2009
- "Ontario Court of Appeal Rules on Contribution and Indemnity Rights among Joint Tortfeasors" (one of Lexology's "most-read" articles for the week of September 9-15, 2009)
- "Court Approves Restructuring Plan For Failed Asset-Backed Commercial Paper", September 2008
- “No Contract? No Problem. Where Quantum Meruit Pays Off”, Canadian Corporate Counsel, August 2008
- "Court Approves Restructuring Plan for Failed Asset-Backed Commercial Paper", June 2008
- "Supreme Court of Canada Rewrites Law on Standard of Review in Administrative Law", April 2008
- "Judicial Willingness to Enforce Standstill Provisions", November 2007
- Speaker at Insight 4th Annual Commercial and Civil Litigation Series, "Letters Rogatory - Essential Strategies", June 2007
- "Takeover Battles: New Limits on Maximizing Shareholder Value?", May 2007
- "Letters of Request: Court Upholds Public Policy Limits on Enforcement", March 2007
- "Supreme Court Declares Foreign Non-monetary Judgments Enforceable", January 2007
- "Supreme Court Decision Distinguishes Types of Privilege", November 2006
- "Anton Piller Orders Must Protect Privileged Information", September 2006
- Country Q & A - PLC Global Dispute Resolution (Canada), July 2006
- "Letters of Request From a Private Arbitral Tribunal", April 2005
- Waxman v. Waxman - Auditor Liability for Economic Negligence Remains Limited; The End of "Foreign" Judgments? - The Effect of Beals v. Saldanha; Curing The Illegal Contract in Court - Transport North American Express Inc. v. New Solutions Financial Corp., October 2004
- "Interpretation and Enforcement: Arbitration Clauses, Expert Determination Clauses and Mediation Clauses: The Canadian Experience", January 2003
- "The Role of the Forensic Accountant in International Commercial Arbitration", September 2002
- "The Rule in Wabi Iron Works: Recent Developments", September 2002
Activities and Affiliations
- Law Society of Upper Canada
- Executive Member, ADR section, Canadian Bar Association
- Canadian Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- International Bar Association
- Advocates’ Society
- Toronto Lawyers Association
- Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society
- Former Naval Officer
Community Involvement and Pro Bono
- Mike was instrumental in Dentons becoming a corporate mentoring partner with TRIEC (Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council)
- Mentor, TRIEC
- Worked for parent of autistic child in their battle for equal government funding
- Mentor, Soccer coach, North Toronto
- Pro Bono work (appearing on Law Society discipline cases as duty counsel)
Past Firm Activities
- From 2006 - 2009, Mike was Chair of Dentons' Toronto Student Committee which, among other things, was responsible for student recruitment
Osgoode Hall Intensive Trial Advocacy
Professional Development Program (Litigation Department)
Organizer and Instructor, Expert Witness Workshop (2004, 2006, 2008, 2011)
- Panelist, “Complex Multi-jurisdictional Litigation Issues” IBA High-Stakes Conference, Atlanta December 4, 2014
- Speaker, “Arbitration after Sattva” ADRIC 2014, The ADR Institute of Canada National Conference in Montreal, October 23-24, 2014
- Presenter, "Class Arbitration", ADRIC 2013 / ICC Canada 2013, October 25, 2013
- Presenter, "Year In Review: Ontario Class Actions 2012/2013", The Canadian Institute's 14th Annual National Forum on Class Actions, Toronto, September 24-25, 2013
- Planned speaker at Canadian Institute's 14th Annual Class Action Conference, Toronto, September 24-25, 2013
- Speaker, "A Year in Review: Ontario Class Actions 2011/2012", Continuing Professional Development Bootcamp, November 14, 2012
- Moderator, "Using ADR to Resolve Individual Issues in Class Actions", ADRIC 2012: Guiding Beacon to Best Practices in ADR, The Annual National ADR Conference, Halifax, October 25-26, 2012
- "Effective Tactics to Stop or Resolve Claims Early in Today's Class Actions Environment: Defence Panel Discussion", The Canadian Institute's 13th Annual National Forum on Class Actions Litigation, Toronto, September 2012
- Co-chair and speaker, Dentons – TD Waterhouse Joint Class Action Seminar, April 3, 2012
- Speaker, "Estate Mediation and the Family Business", ADRIC 2011: Break-through Strategies, Critical Insights for Achieving Peak Performance in ADR, Vancouver, October 27-28, 2011
- Speaker, "Year in Review: Ontario Class Actions 2010-2011", The Canadian Institute's 12th Annual National Forum on Class Actions Litigation, Toronto, September 21-22, 2011
- Panelist, "Cross Canada Class Actions Round-Up: Certification Statistics, New Areas of Litigation, Key Legislative and Case Law Developments", The Canadian Institute's 12th Annual National Forum on Class Actions Litigation, Toronto, September 21-22, 2011
- Co-chair and speaker, "Alternative Dispute Resolution and Proportionality", Canadian Bar Association Canadian Legal Conference & Expo, Halifax, August 14-16, 2011
- Speaker, "Proxy Fights", 10 Things You Need to Know About Confidentiality Agreements, Toronto, June 14, 2011
- Speaker, "Proxy Contests", Canadian Corporate Counsel Association 2011 National Spring Conference, Toronto, April 3-5, 2011
- Speaker, "ADR - Perceptions and Realities", Dentons Breakfast Seminar, February 10, 2011
- Speaker, "Proxy Fights in Canada: Activism North of the Border", The Activist Investor Conference, New York, January 27, 2011
- Speaker, 11th Annual Forum on Class Actions Litigation, Toronto, Ontario, September 28, 2010
- Co-host of a workshop dealing with the ways and means that employers can effectively integrate skilled immigrants into their workforce, ALLIES Learning Exchange Conference, Halifax, NS, May 6-7, 2010
- Speaker, "Facilitating Settlement: The Use of Settlement Counsel and Risk Analysis", Webcast, Canadian Bar Association Online Continuing Legal Education Program, January 26, 2010
- Speaker, “Auditing the Auditors - The Role of the IFA in Auditors’ Liability Cases”, CICA/IFA 2009 Investigative and Forensic Accounting Conference, Toronto, September 14, 2009
- Speaker, “Investing in Compliance - When the Regulators Come Knocking Will You Be Ready?” A Seminar relating to OSC and IIROC compliance matters, Co-presented by Dentons and Deloitte, May 26, 2009
- Speaker, “Letters Rogatory - Essential Strategies", Insight 4th Annual Commercial and Civil Litigation Series, June 13, 2007
- Panelist, Professional Roundtable re: Discussion of Networking and Business Development Strategies for Accountants and Lawyers at the Second Annual Commercial Litigation Seminar, A LexisNexis Seminar Series, February 4, 2005