While franchising is an increasingly attractive business model for many businesses, franchise legislation in various Canadian jurisdictions imposes comprehensive disclosure obligations on franchisors. As a result, franchisors need counsel with in-depth knowledge of the province-specific requirements in each jurisdiction. Given the multidisciplinary nature of franchising, franchisors require counsel with expertise in many different areas, including business, tax, competition, real estate, intellectual property and dispute resolution. Blakes has expertise in each of these areas, enabling us to apply our legal skills and regulatory acumen to provide comprehensive, cost-effective service.
Clients benefit from our unmatched skills in preparing cost-effective disclosure documents and identifying disclosure exemptions, as applicable. They also benefit from our deep and broad-based industry knowledge gleaned from representing diverse industry sectors, including hotels, restaurants (including quick-service restaurants), retail financial, automotive, security, furniture and home furnishings, corporate training, educational and other business, household, and personal services.
Relying on our expertise, franchisors and master franchisees across industries engage us to advise them on the establishment, operation, expansion, acquisition, post-acquisition restructuring and integration, disposition and termination of franchises. They also retain us to prepare franchise agreements, including related documentation and to provide strategic advice on protecting, enhancing and exploiting their valuable portfolios of trade-marks and other proprietary indicia in Canada. In addition, we regularly assist foreign companies with regulatory compliance and customizing their franchise agreements and disclosure documentation for use in Canada.
Blakes Franchising lawyers are knowledgeable about current and proposed Canadian franchise legislation, current case law and other developments impacting franchising in Canada. Blakes regularly advises clients on the application and implications of Ontario’s franchise legislation, as well as the franchise legislation enacted in Alberta, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Manitoba (effective October 1, 2012).
Lawyers in our group are members of two of Canada’s foremost franchise panels, the Ontario Bar Association’s Franchise Law Section Executive and the Canadian Franchise Association’s Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee. Our participation in these groups keeps us apprised of the latest issues, legal developments and strategies to assist franchisors. Blakes lawyers are also members of the American Bar Association's Forum on Franchising, and lecture and write regularly on franchise matters.
Representing clients in all forms of dispute resolution, including class actions and other litigation, arbitration and mediation, Blakes litigators have enforced franchisor rights against former franchisees and infringers, as well as defended franchisors in actions brought by current and former franchisees.
- Advised a Canadian master franchisee on its acquisition of franchise rights from a large U.S. restaurant franchisor.
- Served as counsel to numerous U.S. and internationally based franchisors on the sale of franchises to Canadian and internationally based purchasers, securing trade-mark rights in Canada, and resolving disputes with current and former franchisees.
- Represented a large international franchisor of business services in the renegotiation of its Canadian master franchise arrangements.
- Advised Belron, owners of the Apple Auto Glass® and Speedy Glass® franchise systems, and other franchised businesses in Canada and internationally, providing general corporate advice and assistance relating to the positioning of franchise systems and franchise locations, regulatory compliance and the preparation of franchise documentation.
- Counselled Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in respect of two franchise cases involving the Country Style Donuts franchise. Both cases involve allegations of breaches of the duty of good faith owed under the Arthur Wishart Act.
- Advised Timothy’s Coffees of the World Inc. on various franchise-related matters, including the defence of a suit brought by a franchisee after termination of a franchise agreement in connection with amounts allegedly overpaid by the franchisee.
- Counselled a large U.S. hospitality franchisor on its acquisition of Canadian franchise rights.
- Advised a U.S. purchaser on its acquisition of a Canadian franchisor of weight-loss centres.
- Represented Maple Leaf Foods Inc. in its purchase of the Country Style Donuts franchise division and Canbrands International businesses.
- Advised a Canadian entertainment group on developing its corporate store and franchise network throughout North America and overseas.