Canada: International Arbitration Should Continue To Grow As It Did In 2006

Last Updated: March 21 2007
Article by Barry Leon

Originally published in The Lawyers Weekly, February 9, 2007.

The momentum from the considerable attention focused on international arbitration in Canada in 2006 is continuing in 2007.

Canada hosted two major international conferences in mid-2006 that highlighted the arbitration world’s focus on Canada: the 17th Congress of the International Council for Commercial Arbitration (ICCA), in Montreal, and the International Law Association’s 72nd Biennial Conference, ILA 2006, in Toronto (which had a significant arbitration component). Both conferences were terrific successes.

Added to this unprecedented international arbitration programming in Canada were a London Court of International Commercial Arbitration (LCIA) Symposium and a Young Arbitration Practitioners (YAP) event that drew young practitioners from around the world to Montreal.

These conferences gave Canada the opportunity to reinforce Canada’s strengths in international arbitration: the impressive body of Canadian arbitrators; talented arbitration counsel with advocacy skills well-suited to international arbitration; and the benefits that Canada offers as a place for international arbitration.

With the significant growth in both international and domestic commercial arbitration, it’s now common to hear Canadian litigation counsel say that they are involved in arbitrations, whereas that was rare not so long ago. Canadian transactional lawyers are also now more commonly including arbitration clauses in their contracts, laying the foundation for the continuing growth of arbitration to resolve business disputes.

Canadian businesses, and their lawyers, are becoming increasingly conscious of the role that commercial arbitration can serve in resolving business disputes in timely and cost-effective ways.

Canada Negotiates and Signs Treaties

Late in 2006, Canada signed the 1966 Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States, which has been signed by 156 countries and ratified by 143. Canada’s absence from the convention has been a concern for those interested in protections for international investors. Canada’s ratification of the convention, which it is hoped will occur soon (the needed provincial/territorial concurrence is not complete), will provide full access to the World Bank-sponsored International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. ICSID provides facilities for the conciliation and arbitration of disputes between member countries and investors who qualify as nationals of other member countries. ICSID contracting states are required to recognize and enforce ICSID arbitral awards.

Canada signed a bilateral investment treaty with Peru in November, bringing the number of Canada’s bilateral investment treaties to 22. Even so, Canada has considerably fewer investment treaties than many of its trading partners.

Canada continues to pursue bilateral investment treaties with countries in which Canadians are active investors, including India and China.

Arbitral Institutions’ Focus on Canada

Leading arbitral institutions, in particular the American Arbitration Association’s International Center for Dispute Resolution (ICDR) and the ICC International Court of Arbitration, have recognized the opportunities that Canada, its business community and its arbitration practitioners offer, and these institutions are expanding their presence here. In addition to the presence of the major arbitral institutions at the ICCA Congress, the ICC and ICDR, with their senior leadership, were prominent at ILA 2006 and are likely to be involved in significant program initiatives in Canada in 2007.

The Canadian National Committee of the ICC has become a committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, thus strengthening ties with the Canadian business community. The ICDR has a Canadian Advisory Committee, and its panel of distinguished neutrals includes Canadian members. The LCIA will have two Canadians on its North American Users Council (Henri Alvarez and John Judge).

Canadian Teams in Arbitration Moots

Over the past few years, Canadian law school arbitration mooting teams have demonstrated terrific advocacy strength in the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot in Vienna. In 2006, among the 156 universities from 49 countries that competed were five Canadian law schools. After Ottawa and Osgoode competed in the round of 16, Ottawa went on to the round of 8. Oralist prizes are awarded to only about 35 students out of about 600; the best oral advocate award went to Osgoode, second place to Ottawa and students from Osgoode, McGill and Queen’s received honourable mentions. Ottawa placed third and Laval received an honourable mention for their claimant’s memoranda, and McGill placed third for its respondent’s memorandum.

The same Canadian universities will compete in the 2007 Vis Moot and for the first time in 2007, Canada will have a team (Victoria) in the Vis Moot (East) in Hong Kong.

These moots provide an incomparable experience for student mooters. The outstanding performance of Canadian teams and the buzz that they create boost Canada’s profile in the world of international commercial arbitration.

Canadian Providers of Arbitration Services

With the growth of commercial arbitration in Canada, the number of well-qualified providers of arbitration services continues to grow. The ADR Institute of Canada has been expanding its activities and raising awareness of arbitration across Canada. ADR Chambers, a leading provider of arbitration services, continues to offer services with a panel of experienced retired judges and senior lawyers. Recently, two prominent commercial lawyers, Bill Horton and Claude Thomson, relocated to its offices. The Osler ADR Centre continues to be busy, and Cherniak McDougall Arbitration Services, a venture of Earl Cherniak and J.L. McDougall, is arbitrating an increasing number of cases.

In 2006, other prominent lawyers, such as leading Canadian arbitrator Marc Lalonde, moved into their own arbitrator practices. Canada now offers considerably more options for those appointing Canadians as arbitrators. Increasingly, leading counsel in Canadian law firms are serving as arbitrators, and a number of senior lawyers, some with specialized backgrounds, are offering arbitration services. Brian Williams, for example, recently brought his insurance and reinsurance expertise to Dispute Resolution Services.

Canadians have been among the world’s leading arbitrators for many years. In 2006, The International Who’s Who of Commercial Arbitration named Yves Fortier one of the world’s leading arbitrators.

Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners

An important development for the future of international arbitration in Canada was the formation of the Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP). It promotes international arbitration among lawyers aged 40 or younger, and provides them with professional development and networking opportunities. YCAP already includes some 65 members in Canada and elsewhere (particularly New York, Geneva, Paris and London).

Arbitration Roundtable of Toronto

The Arbitration Roundtable of Toronto (of which I am a member) was formed by a group of Toronto commercial litigators and academics experienced in commercial arbitration and sharing an interest in promoting the use of commercial arbitration and Toronto as a place of arbitration. The roundtable promoted Canadian arbitration at the recent conferences, in particular with a dinner for the arbitration speakers at the ILA conference. In 2006, it presented a seminar on commercial arbitration for corporate counsel, and it began 2007 by hosting a dinner, with ADR Chambers’ support, for members of the Toronto commercial arbitration community. The topic discussed was "What can we do to make Toronto a major centre for international and domestic arbitration?"

Following an important year for Canada on the world stage in international arbitration, 2007 should see continued growth in both commercial arbitration in Canada and the prominence of Canada in international arbitration.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions