Canadian franchisors are governed by different provincial franchise legislation as well as the Civil Code in Québec. Our Canadian franchising team falls within our global consumer markets group and is well placed to offer the right advice on franchise related issues from our offices in each of Alberta, Ontario and Québec. We provide strategic national advice on franchising, licensing, reseller, agency and other distribution options, with province specific analysis in certain Canadian jurisdictions. We also extend our reach globally to take advantage of lawyers with brand licensing and franchise experience who are members of our global consumer markets and franchise groups.
- Extensive commercial expertise – Our team has experience in helping to establish and develop a number of leading franchise systems, including drafting relevant franchise agreements and disclosure documentation. We regularly provide advice on the development and implementation of franchising programs for retailers and distributors, as well as related advice in relation to product warranties, consumer protection legislation, trademark and other intellectual property issues.
- Extensive disputes experience – We have advised franchisors on compliance issues, enforcement of franchise contracts, non-competition agreements, construction and lease disputes, brand protection issues and disputes over disclosure. We hope that our client’s experience in Canada will be smooth through pro-active advice we provide up front, but our team has the experience to deal with roadblocks that may arise and ensure that our franchise clients’ brands are protected in Canada.
- Multidisciplinary approach – Our full service practice enables us to provide all-encompassing legal solutions to our clients. We draw on our colleagues in related legal service areas to offer a multi-disciplinary approach and creative solution to your legal franchising needs. From competition to consumer protection, tax to immigration and almost anything in between, our multi-disciplinary approach ensures that our franchise clients have access to the best legal talent in a variety of legal disciplines.
- Strategic guidance beyond routine franchise law – A key strength that differentiates Norton Rose Fulbright from many local and boutique firms offering franchise legal services is our ability to provide broad strategic advice beyond that of routine franchise agreements and corporate transactions. Our multi-disciplinary approach and deep knowledge of the franchise model allows us to take a holistic view of your business to help coach you through the entire franchise process, ensuring compliance from the initial phases through to maturity.
- Efficiency and economy – We ensure the most efficient and economic level of expertise is assigned to each task within a mandate in order to avoid situations that can escalate legal costs. Within this model, we ensure that the lawyers with the highest level of experience are directly handling key aspects of your mandate in order to achieve the best outcome.
Scope of services
Our franchise team often advises on the following:
- Purchase of franchise system and franchises
- Advice with respect to franchisees and competitors including enforcement of franchise agreements
- Trademark and intellectual property brand protection strategies
- Trademark and copyright disputes
- Strategy enforcement and anti-counterfeiting
- Disputes relating to unpaid royalties, advertising fees and disclosure documents
- Rescission and improper disclosure claims
- Employment and labour litigation and advice
- Supplier and sourcing agreements
- Advice on local and global franchising matters, including relevant legislation
- Preparing template franchise agreements
- Developing disclosure documents
- Employment contracts and labour relations matters
- Contest and advertising advice and review
- Contentious matters at all levels of courts and administrative tribunals
- Lease disputes
- Class actions
- Franchise terminations
Select client work
Providing franchise and general corporate advice to specialty esthetics retailer and boutiques.
Advising various franchise systems, including RONA (hardware stores), Evangelista Sports Inc. (clothing), Kiddie Kobbler Ltd. (shoes), Buck or Two (dollar store), Carls Jr. (fast food) and Patagonia (clothing) in relation to their franchise systems, including negotiating with prospective franchisees and on-going compliance with franchisee disclosure regulations.
Advising Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership (Canadian real estate franchisor) and Centum Financial Group Inc. (Canadian mortgage broker franchisor) in relation to their franchise agreements and enforcing the franchise contract in respect of franchisees and competitors.
Managing the trade-mark portfolio and franchise issues of Silcorp (previous owner of Mac’s Milk and Beckers), the largest franchisor in Canada at the time (over 1,000 convenience stores), prior to their acquisition by Couche-Tard.