Canada's best aviation lawyers

Here are the best aviation lawyers in Canada based on the results of our extensive yearly peer review

Here are the best aviation lawyers in Canada based on the results of our extensive yearly peer review. The full list of the country’s most recommended lawyers and law firms in the field can be accessed on our practice area rankings.

In our survey aviation law covers two areas – regulatory work and liability work.

Regulatory work involves aircraft safety standards, certification, licensing and regulation, interpretation and application of Canadian bilateral air transport agreements and multilateral international aviation conventions and agreements, slot allocation schemes and other airport infrastructure restrictions. The practice also involves international air route allocation, domestic and international aspects of aircraft accident investigation and relations with the International Civil Aviation Organization and its member states.

Liability work, meanwhile, includes representing plaintiffs, airlines, product manufacturers, product designers and aviation insurers in civil litigation arising from air crashes and incidents. It also involves representing airlines, governments and other parties before commissions of inquiry and coroner’s inquests into aircraft accidents.

Consistently recommended aviation lawyers

Patrick J. Brennan

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1985

City: Calgary, AB

Patrick J. Brennan is a partner and the chair of Bennett Jones LLP’s banking and financial services group. He also heads the firm’s air finance practice group and serves as partner in the corporate commercial department. Brennan is an expert in asset-based financing and leasing, banking and debt financing, personal property security, debt restructuring, aircraft acquisition and disposition, inventory financing, commercial transactions and aviation law. He primarily acts for airlines, aircraft lessors and financiers, oilfield service companies, oil and gas companies, manufacturers, borrowers, banks and other financial institutions.

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Donald G. Gray

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1984

City: Toronto, ON

Donald G. Gray is a partner and the chair of the aviation and aerospace group at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He advises aircraft and engine lessors, financiers, manufacturers, and domestic and international airlines on aircraft finance and aviation commercial and regulatory law matters. Gray has considerable airline industry experience, including as vice-president and general counsel of an international charter airline, Air Canada regional connector and international cargo carrier. He also served as vice-president of maintenance and engineering for an airline group. Gray is an active aircraft owner and instrument flight rules (IFR) rated pilot. He holds Canadian, US and South African aviation documents. Gray was a Canadian delegate to the UNIDROIT/ICAO sessions that prepared the Cape Town Convention. He is also a member of the legal affairs committee of the Air Transport Association of Canada, section on business law and aircraft financing subcommittee and forum on air and space law, and aircraft finance and contracts division of the American Bar Association, national air and space section of the Canadian Bar Association, aeronautical law section of the International Bar Association and Ontario Bar Association. He is also a member of the International Society of Transport Aircraft Trading.

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Darryl G. Pankratz

Law firm: Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1994

City: Vancouver, BC

Darryl G. Pankratz is a partner and member of the aviation and insurance practices at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP. His practice is primarily litigation-based with an emphasis on issues relating to the aviation industry. Pankratz provides counsel to regional, national and international airlines and their insurers on complex litigation and regulatory matters, including responding to aircraft accidents involving passenger, cargo and product liability claims. He represents and advises airport authorities, aircraft manufacturers, approved maintenance organizations and airport security organizations. Pankratz has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia and conducts litigation across Canada, including Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Repeatedly recommended aviation lawyers

Louis Charette

Law firm: Lavery, de Billy, L.L.P.


Year called to the Bar: 1995 (QC); 1998 (ON)

City: Montréal, QC

Louis Charette is a partner at Lavery, de Billy, L.L.P. He devotes his practice to civil, professional and product liability and aviation, transportation and infrastructure law. In his product liability practice, Charette defends manufacturers, distributors and vendors. He also advises manufacturers in the implementation and management of recalls and provides counsel on strategic and risk management issues. He has also lectured on civil procedure at McGill University’s Faculty of Law. Charette was inducted as a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2017.

Michael A. Dery

Law firm: Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP


Year called to the Bar: 2002 (BC); 2007 (ON); 2018 (AB)

City: Vancouver, BC

Michael A. Dery is a partner and the group leader of the aviation practice at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP. He represents aviation insurers, airlines, operators, flight schools, UAV operators, approved maintenance organizations and fixed-based operators in complex litigation and regulatory matters. Dery also provides counsel and advice to clients on litigation arising out of aircraft accidents, aviation-related product liability litigation, airline claims handling, human rights matters and various other transportation-related issues. He has appeared for clients before the courts of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Federal Court of Canada. Dery has also represented clients before the Canadian Transportation Agency, Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada and Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Daniel G. Fetterly

Law firm: Edwards, Kenny & Bray LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1992

City: Vancouver, BC

Daniel G. Fetterly is an associate counsel at Edwards, Kenny & Bray LLP. He acts as defence counsel on aviation-related litigation, where he has practised since being called to the bar. Fetterly has represented manufacturers of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft in numerous litigation matters arising from aviation accidents. He joined the firm as associate counsel in 2014 after serving as a partner in two different litigation boutique firms in Vancouver. Fetterly is a member of the Aviation Insurance Association.

Karl E. Gustafson

Law firm: McMillan LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1976

City: Vancouver, BC

Karl E. Gustafson is a partner at McMillan LLP’s Vancouver office. He is a registered trademark agent in Canada and the US. Gustafson regularly advises clients on intellectual property law, information systems integration and outsourcing, licensing agreements, technology procurement, development, security and transfer. He has acted as lead counsel in a variety of large mergers and acquisitions involving technology companies and public and private projects. Gustafson advises clients on all facets from preparing and responding to requests for proposals, procurement, joint ventures and partnerships, contracting, service and supply agreements and financing. He was appointed as a fellow and governor of the British Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2004.

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Robert L. Love

Law firm: Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG)


Year called to the Bar: 1994

City: Toronto, ON

Robert L. Love is a senior partner at insurance and tort liability practice at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He also leads the firm’s national product liability, autonomous vehicles and automotive sector groups. Love defends clients against claims and resolving disputes. His expertise includes product liability, aviation, subrogation, insurance defence and municipal and professional liability. Love has also represented a wide array of clients – from insurers to small and global entities – and has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of the trial and appellate courts of Ontario. Love is active within the legal industry and the community. He is the former vice chair of the product liability committee for the International Association of Defense Attorneys and previously held the role of chair for the product liability committee at the Canadian Defence Lawyers’ Association. Love regularly speaks at conferences and has authored several articles and publications, most recently on the impact of autonomous vehicles.

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Jason MacIntyre

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP


Year called to the Bar: 2006 (ON); 2010 (England & Wales)

City: Toronto, ON

Jason MacIntyre is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He devotes his practice to secured lending and structured finance transactions, with a particular emphasis on aviation, project finance, infrastructure and defence. MacIntyre has represented aircraft lessors, manufacturers and financiers on aircraft finance and commercial aviation matters. He has also represented lenders and borrowers in domestic and international transactions, including asset-based lending, project finance, public-private partnerships and public and private debt and capital markets offerings.

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Auriol Marasco

Law firm: Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP


Year called to the Bar: 2009

City: Toronto, ON

Auriol Marasco is a partner at Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. She specializes in aircraft finance and aviation commercial and regulatory law matters. Marasco acts as trusted counsel to lessors and financiers on matters relating to aircraft finance, aviation mergers and acquisitions, operation and certification of remotely piloted aircraft systems (drones), airline restructuring and insolvency, aircraft repossession, airline and pilot licensing and conflict of laws issues. She also has considerable experience with regulatory issues relating to airport privatization. Marasco holds a degree in commercial aviation management and gained industry experience while working for a Canadian airline in the operations, contracts, marketing and maintenance departments. She also is the secretary at AWG Canada Group, director and secretary of Hope Air, executive member of the Canadian Bar Association air and space law section and active member of the International Aviation Womens Association. She is also a commercial multi-IFR pilot.

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Michael Parrish

Law firm: Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1999

City: Vancouver, BC

Michael Parrish is a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP’s product liability and insurance group. He boasts significant experience acting for manufacturers and their insurers in a wide variety of product liability, tort and commercial claims, including class action, mass-tort, multi-action and multi-jurisdictional litigation. Parrish also has extensive familiarity with automotive, aviation, marine, industrial, commercial, construction, technology, sports and recreation, food, medical and consumer products. Parrish specializes in the legal project management of large, complex claims. He also regularly advises manufacturers on aspects regarding the design, manufacture and sale of goods, including design risk analyses, manufacturing processes, quality control, document retention, product warnings, warranties, packaging and instructions, domestic and international regulatory compliance, field investigations, safety reviews, corrective actions and recalls, manufacturing and distribution agreements and sale of goods documents. Parrish has appeared before the courts of British Columbia, Alberta and the Federal Court of Canada and has significant courtroom, arbitration and mediation experience.

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Kenton G.C. Rein

Law firm: Bennett Jones LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1998 (AB); 2003 (ON)

City: Calgary, AB

Kenton G.C. Rein is a partner at Bennett Jones LLP. He devotes his practice to financial services, project finance, restructuring and mergers and acquisitions in several industries, including agriculture, oil and gas, mining and aviation. Rein acts for financial institutions and borrowers in cross-border financial services transactions and for purchasers and vendors in M&A transactions. He has been an adjunct professor in the MBA Program at the John Molson School of Business at Concordia University and Queen’s University Law School for Advanced Corporate Law.

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W. Sean Taylor

Law firm: Harper Grey LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1998

City: Vancouver, BC

W. Sean Taylor is a partner and the chair of Harper Grey LLP’s aviation law group. He specializes in aviation law, professional regulation and civil litigation. In his aviation practice, he acts on behalf of aviation insurers, airlines, aircraft owners, aircraft operators, airports and aircraft maintenance and repair facilities. Taylor also advises insurers and their insureds on a variety of issues, including liability and coverage disputes. His administrative law practice focuses on representation and defence of medical professionals. Taylor has argued cases in the British Columbia Supreme Court and Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada.

Carlo P. Vairo

Law firm: Dentons Canada LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1992

City: Toronto, ON

Carlo P. Vairo serves as counsel at Dentons Canada LLP. He specializes in all areas of asset finance and leasing, with a particular emphasis on aircraft transactions. Vairo advises lenders, lessors, manufacturers and operators of aircraft, rolling stock and other assets on all aspects of acquisition, sale, financing – including pre-delivery financing – and tax-based and operating leasing. He also provides advice on and has extensive experience in aviation commercial and regulatory law matters. Vairo is an accredited professional engineer in Ontario.

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Éric Vallières

Law firm: McMillan LLP


Year called to the Bar: 1992

City: Montréal, QC

Éric Vallières is a partner at McMillan LLP. He specializes in high-end sophisticated litigation. Vallières’ practice focuses on large commercial cases and class actions. His recent transactions include antitrust cases, product liability matters, bankruptcy cases and general commercial litigation. His competition law expertise includes cartel cases, dominance matters and cases involving disputed mergers. Vallières has been active in the aviation industry, telecommunications, banking and securities law and the automotive and biopharmaceutical industries. Vallières boasts more than 20 years of litigation experience gathered before all levels of commercial courts in Canada, including several times before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has also been involved in multiple international arbitrations and conciliations, mostly in Europe and in the Americas. These include ICC and CNUDCI arbitrations and ad hoc arbitrations. Vallières is a frequent speaker in Canada and abroad.