Michael H. Lubetsky

Partner

Michael H. Lubetsky

Michael H. Lubetsky

Partner

Bar Admissions
  • Ontario, 2012
    Québec, 2009

Michael’s diverse practice focuses on tax litigation. He acts regularly in complex commercial disputes and cases raising novel questions of constitutional and comparative law.

Clients in a wide range of sectors, including large and medium-sized corporations, high-net-worth individuals and charities, turn to Michael to present substantial amounts of legal and factual information in a manner that is clear and insightful. He has successfully represented clients at all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michael brings a unique understanding of international business to his clients’ matters. Prior to joining us, he worked 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.

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 contributed to a number of textbooks on the art of debate.

Michael H. Lubetsky

Partner

Michael’s diverse practice focuses on tax litigation. He acts regularly in complex commercial disputes and cases raising novel questions of constitutional and comparative law.

Clients in a wide range of sectors, including large and medium-sized corporations, high-net-worth individuals and charities, turn to Michael to present substantial amounts of legal and factual information in a manner that is clear and insightful. He has successfully represented clients at all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michael brings a unique understanding of international business to his clients’ matters. Prior to joining us, he worked 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.

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 contributed to a number of textbooks on the art of debate.

Wärtsilä Canada Inc.

Acted for Wärtsilä Canada Inc., a Finnish based engineering firm, before the Supreme Court of Canada in connection with a product liability litigation arising out of the manufacture and supply of marine engines and associated equipment.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Acted successfully on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in favour of Wal-Mart before the Supreme Court of Canada in an appeal concerning the scope of the employer's right to cease operations, even where the alleged reason for the business closure was the employer's unwillingness to deal with a union that had recently obtained certification of the workplace.

Liquor Control Board of Ontario

Acted for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in defending claims asserted against it for approximately $1.5 billion in antitrust class action proceedings pending in the Ontario Superior Court against the LCBO, Brewers Retail Inc. and a number of major brewers. In March 2018, Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court granted summary judgment dismissing all claims asserted against the LCBO and the other defendants, and awarded substantial costs of almost $800,000. The decision of Justice Perell granting summary judgment in favour of the LCBO was affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in April 2019.

Glen French

Successfully acted for Glen French before the Federal Court of Appeal in a case involving charitable donations, and specifically how the Québec civil law informs the meaning of the word "gift" in the Income Tax Act across Canada. The case is serving as a representative case (either officially or de facto) for over 300 other appeals before the Tax Court of Canada concerning leveraged donations.

George Markou et al.

Acting for George Markou and a group of over 250 taxpayers before the Federal Court of Appeal and the Tax Court of Canada in a matter relating to charitable donations made between 2001 and 2003 to the John McKellar Charitable Foundation, for which donation tax credits have been denied by the Canada Revenue Agency. The case has generated a number of derivative and interlocutory actions before the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court.

Aldo Group

Successfully acted for the Aldo Group before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario-Commercial List in proceedings against Mastercard to recover disputed amounts, defending against multiple motions by Mastercard to stay proceedings and to strike claims.

Cirvek Fund I

Successfully acted for Cirvek Fund I before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Quebec Superior Court in an action seeking damages against its liability insurer for breach of its duty to defend.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Successfully acted for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in a judicial review application brought by the City of Niagara and the Region of Niagara Falls concerning the selection process for an operator of the Niagara gaming bundle.

Michael Rosenberg

Successfully acted for Michael Rosenberg before the Federal Court of Canada in a judicial review application to enforce a settlement agreement entered into with the Canada Revenue Agency at the conclusion of an extensive audit, and to terminate further audit action.

Exiros Canada Inc.

Successfully acted for Exiros Canada in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada involving transfer pricing.

Mireille Steinberg

Successfully acted for Mireille Steinberg in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada in a dispute involving the application of section 94.1 of the Income Tax Act.

1324286 Alberta Ltd. et al

Successfully acted for 1324286 Alberta Ltd. and related taxpayers in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada involving the valuation of a biotech company.

Confidential Client

Successfully acted for a large public corporation in dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency involving the application of subsection 95(6) of the Income Tax Act, resolved at the objection stage.

Confidential Client

Acted successfully on behalf of a Toronto-region home builder in contesting, at the audit stage, a proposed double-tax assessment based on section 246 of the Income Tax Act.

Egale Canada Human Rights Trust Inc.

Acted for Egale Canada, Canada's only national non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, in an action before the Superior Court of Québec (Court) to invalidate eleven provisions of the Civil Code of Québec that discriminate against trans and intersex individuals and their children. In a major victory for human rights, the Court released its decision on January 28, 2021, declaring six provisions unconstitutional.

EDF Renewables Canada Inc.

Acting for EDF Renewables Canada Inc. in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada to determine if three wind-farm facilities in Québec constitute inventory or capital property for tax purposes.

Skatteforvaltningen (The Tax and Customs Agency of the Kingdom of Denmark)

Acting for the Tax and Customs Agency of the Kingdom of Denmark against three Canadian pension plans to recover tax refunds that were discovered to be part of a world-wide fraudulent tax refund scheme involving over 12.7 billion DKK paid out between 2012 and 2015 under false pretences.

CGC Inc.

Acting for CGC Inc. in its appeal regarding the fair market value of gypsum to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Glencore Canada Corporation

Acted for Glencore Canada Corporation in multiple appeals under the Mining Tax Act, RSO, 1990, c M. 15, before the Superior Court of Justice.

McKesson Corporation and McKesson Canada Corporation

Acting for McKesson Corporation and McKesson Canada Corporation to defend a high-profile proposed class action brought by the Province of British Columbia on behalf of all Canadian provincial governments, as well as the Federal government, against manufacturers and distributors of opioids seeking to recover health care costs related to the opioid crisis.

Leading Gas Retailer

Acting for a leading gas retailer in two class actions alleging a conspiracy to fix gasoline prices in 14 different cities and regions in Québec.

Rogers Communications Inc.

Acting for Rogers Communications Inc. in connection with numerous multi-billion dollar class action proceedings across Canada to recover "system access fees" charged to consumers by wireless service providers in Canada in the period since 1987. These are some of the largest class actions in Canadian history and have given rise to numerous trial level and appellate decisions in favour of Rogers in various provinces in Canada, including Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Montréal Expos

Acted for The Montréal Expos in their challenge of Québec tax assessments for employer contributions to the Québec Health Services Fund (before the Court of Québec).

Speaking Engagement

Bar of Montréal, Salon Visez Droit, “The État civil and gender: a revolution ?”; Webcast

Mar. 29, 2021

In the News

Michael Lubetsky Comments on Historic Win for Trans Rights in Canadian Lawyer

Feb. 04, 2021 - In a major victory for trans, non-binary and intersex people, the Québec Superior Court last week declared six provisions of the province’s Civil Code unconstitutional. Canadian Lawyer spoke to Davies partner Michael Lubetsky, who led the Davies team that represented intervener...

Article

Interest Relief on Income Tax Debts: Canada Versus the United States

Dec. 15, 2020 - Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Canadian Tax Foundation)

Speaking Engagement

Ontario Bar Association, Litigating Gender and Gender Identity in the Courts, “OBA Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law, With the Support of the Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law, and Entertainment, Media and Communications Law Program”; Toronto, ON

Dec. 04, 2019

Speaking Engagement

Canadian Bar Association, Les Nouvelles Tendances du milieu juridique, “Droits fondamentaux des personnes transgenres, intersexes et non-binaires au Québec”; Montréal, QC

Oct. 31, 2019

Article

Income Tax Disputes Involving Loss Years: Pitfalls, Foibles, and Possible Reforms

Oct. 08, 2019 - Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 67, No. 3 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Article

Stewart: CRA Audit Project Gone Awry, co-author

Apr. 01, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Article

SCC on Suing Tax Advisers

Jan. 18, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Canadian Tax Foundation—Douglas J. Sherbaniuk Distinguished Writing Award (2020)

Benchmark Canada Impact Case of the Year Award (2020)—Recipient

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 2012
Québec, 2009

Education

McGill University, MBA (Finance Concentration) (Dean’s Medal for Great Distinction), 2008
McGill University, LLB/BCL (with Great Distinction, Elizabeth Torrance Gold Medal), 2008
Princeton University, AB (Religion) (Cum Laude), 1993

Professional Affiliations

Canadian Bar Association
Canadian Tax Foundation
Ontario Bar Association

Community Involvement

American Contract Bridge League, Bronze Life Master
Canadian Bar Association, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee
Donald GH Bowman National Tax Moot, McGill team coach

Teaching Engagements

Michael has taught advanced commercial law (legal writing in English) and the Introduction to Western Legal Systems course at Université de Montréal.

Michael’s diverse practice focuses on tax litigation. He acts regularly in complex commercial disputes and cases raising novel questions of constitutional and comparative law.

Clients in a wide range of sectors, including large and medium-sized corporations, high-net-worth individuals and charities, turn to Michael to present substantial amounts of legal and factual information in a manner that is clear and insightful. He has successfully represented clients at all levels of court across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Michael brings a unique understanding of international business to his clients’ matters. Prior to joining us, he worked 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.

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 contributed to a number of textbooks on the art of debate.

Wärtsilä Canada Inc.

Acted for Wärtsilä Canada Inc., a Finnish based engineering firm, before the Supreme Court of Canada in connection with a product liability litigation arising out of the manufacture and supply of marine engines and associated equipment.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Acted successfully on behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in favour of Wal-Mart before the Supreme Court of Canada in an appeal concerning the scope of the employer's right to cease operations, even where the alleged reason for the business closure was the employer's unwillingness to deal with a union that had recently obtained certification of the workplace.

Liquor Control Board of Ontario

Acted for the Liquor Control Board of Ontario in defending claims asserted against it for approximately $1.5 billion in antitrust class action proceedings pending in the Ontario Superior Court against the LCBO, Brewers Retail Inc. and a number of major brewers. In March 2018, Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court granted summary judgment dismissing all claims asserted against the LCBO and the other defendants, and awarded substantial costs of almost $800,000. The decision of Justice Perell granting summary judgment in favour of the LCBO was affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal in April 2019.

Glen French

Successfully acted for Glen French before the Federal Court of Appeal in a case involving charitable donations, and specifically how the Québec civil law informs the meaning of the word "gift" in the Income Tax Act across Canada. The case is serving as a representative case (either officially or de facto) for over 300 other appeals before the Tax Court of Canada concerning leveraged donations.

George Markou et al.

Acting for George Markou and a group of over 250 taxpayers before the Federal Court of Appeal and the Tax Court of Canada in a matter relating to charitable donations made between 2001 and 2003 to the John McKellar Charitable Foundation, for which donation tax credits have been denied by the Canada Revenue Agency. The case has generated a number of derivative and interlocutory actions before the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court.

Aldo Group

Successfully acted for the Aldo Group before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario-Commercial List in proceedings against Mastercard to recover disputed amounts, defending against multiple motions by Mastercard to stay proceedings and to strike claims.

Cirvek Fund I

Successfully acted for Cirvek Fund I before the Supreme Court of Canada (defending against a leave application), the Quebec Court of Appeal and the Quebec Superior Court in an action seeking damages against its liability insurer for breach of its duty to defend.

Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation

Successfully acted for the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation in a judicial review application brought by the City of Niagara and the Region of Niagara Falls concerning the selection process for an operator of the Niagara gaming bundle.

Michael Rosenberg

Successfully acted for Michael Rosenberg before the Federal Court of Canada in a judicial review application to enforce a settlement agreement entered into with the Canada Revenue Agency at the conclusion of an extensive audit, and to terminate further audit action.

Exiros Canada Inc.

Successfully acted for Exiros Canada in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada involving transfer pricing.

Mireille Steinberg

Successfully acted for Mireille Steinberg in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada in a dispute involving the application of section 94.1 of the Income Tax Act.

1324286 Alberta Ltd. et al

Successfully acted for 1324286 Alberta Ltd. and related taxpayers in a dispute before the Tax Court of Canada involving the valuation of a biotech company.

Confidential Client

Successfully acted for a large public corporation in dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency involving the application of subsection 95(6) of the Income Tax Act, resolved at the objection stage.

Confidential Client

Acted successfully on behalf of a Toronto-region home builder in contesting, at the audit stage, a proposed double-tax assessment based on section 246 of the Income Tax Act.

Egale Canada Human Rights Trust Inc.

Acted for Egale Canada, Canada's only national non-profit organization devoted to the promotion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, in an action before the Superior Court of Québec (Court) to invalidate eleven provisions of the Civil Code of Québec that discriminate against trans and intersex individuals and their children. In a major victory for human rights, the Court released its decision on January 28, 2021, declaring six provisions unconstitutional.

EDF Renewables Canada Inc.

Acting for EDF Renewables Canada Inc. in a tax appeal before the Tax Court of Canada to determine if three wind-farm facilities in Québec constitute inventory or capital property for tax purposes.

Skatteforvaltningen (The Tax and Customs Agency of the Kingdom of Denmark)

Acting for the Tax and Customs Agency of the Kingdom of Denmark against three Canadian pension plans to recover tax refunds that were discovered to be part of a world-wide fraudulent tax refund scheme involving over 12.7 billion DKK paid out between 2012 and 2015 under false pretences.

CGC Inc.

Acting for CGC Inc. in its appeal regarding the fair market value of gypsum to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

Glencore Canada Corporation

Acted for Glencore Canada Corporation in multiple appeals under the Mining Tax Act, RSO, 1990, c M. 15, before the Superior Court of Justice.

McKesson Corporation and McKesson Canada Corporation

Acting for McKesson Corporation and McKesson Canada Corporation to defend a high-profile proposed class action brought by the Province of British Columbia on behalf of all Canadian provincial governments, as well as the Federal government, against manufacturers and distributors of opioids seeking to recover health care costs related to the opioid crisis.

Leading Gas Retailer

Acting for a leading gas retailer in two class actions alleging a conspiracy to fix gasoline prices in 14 different cities and regions in Québec.

Rogers Communications Inc.

Acting for Rogers Communications Inc. in connection with numerous multi-billion dollar class action proceedings across Canada to recover "system access fees" charged to consumers by wireless service providers in Canada in the period since 1987. These are some of the largest class actions in Canadian history and have given rise to numerous trial level and appellate decisions in favour of Rogers in various provinces in Canada, including Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Québec, Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia.

The Montréal Expos

Acted for The Montréal Expos in their challenge of Québec tax assessments for employer contributions to the Québec Health Services Fund (before the Court of Québec).

Speaking Engagement

Bar of Montréal, Salon Visez Droit, “The État civil and gender: a revolution ?”; Webcast

Mar. 29, 2021

In the News

Michael Lubetsky Comments on Historic Win for Trans Rights in Canadian Lawyer

Feb. 04, 2021 - In a major victory for trans, non-binary and intersex people, the Québec Superior Court last week declared six provisions of the province’s Civil Code unconstitutional. Canadian Lawyer spoke to Davies partner Michael Lubetsky, who led the Davies team that represented intervener...

Article

Interest Relief on Income Tax Debts: Canada Versus the United States

Dec. 15, 2020 - Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Canadian Tax Foundation)

Speaking Engagement

Ontario Bar Association, Litigating Gender and Gender Identity in the Courts, “OBA Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Law, With the Support of the Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Law, and Entertainment, Media and Communications Law Program”; Toronto, ON

Dec. 04, 2019

Speaking Engagement

Canadian Bar Association, Les Nouvelles Tendances du milieu juridique, “Droits fondamentaux des personnes transgenres, intersexes et non-binaires au Québec”; Montréal, QC

Oct. 31, 2019

Article

Income Tax Disputes Involving Loss Years: Pitfalls, Foibles, and Possible Reforms

Oct. 08, 2019 - Canadian Tax Journal, Vol. 67, No. 3 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Article

Stewart: CRA Audit Project Gone Awry, co-author

Apr. 01, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 4 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Article

SCC on Suing Tax Advisers

Jan. 18, 2019 - Canadian Tax Highlights, Vol. 27, No. 1 (Canadian Tax Foundation)
Download this article.

Canadian Tax Foundation—Douglas J. Sherbaniuk Distinguished Writing Award (2020)

Benchmark Canada Impact Case of the Year Award (2020)—Recipient

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 2012
Québec, 2009

Education

McGill University, MBA (Finance Concentration) (Dean’s Medal for Great Distinction), 2008
McGill University, LLB/BCL (with Great Distinction, Elizabeth Torrance Gold Medal), 2008
Princeton University, AB (Religion) (Cum Laude), 1993

Professional Affiliations

Canadian Bar Association
Canadian Tax Foundation
Ontario Bar Association

Community Involvement

American Contract Bridge League, Bronze Life Master
Canadian Bar Association, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee
Donald GH Bowman National Tax Moot, McGill team coach

Teaching Engagements

Michael has taught advanced commercial law (legal writing in English) and the Introduction to Western Legal Systems course at Université de Montréal.