Gordon McKee
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3884

Gord is a senior partner in the Blakes litigation department, with over 25 years’ experience defending class action law suits and serious product liability claims, many of which include cross-border issues. His current cases include acting as lead counsel in Ontario and managing litigation nationally for some of the world's largest manufacturers of prescription and over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, consumer goods and transportation/construction vehicles. Gord has led the defence of class action common issues trials in Ontario. He employs a collaborative approach when working with in-house and external lawyers from the US and other countries. Because of his experience and approach, he is often sought out to lead and manage multijurisdictional litigation files in Ontario and across Canada.

Gord is Certified by The Law Society of Upper Canada as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. He is recognized locally and internationally as a leader in class action and product liability/ life sciences defence in Canada. He has also been involved in bench and bar committees, and organizations interested in improving the civil justice system. Most recently, he has been a member of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Defense Counsel, and chair of its Canadian Class Action Project Task Force. He has also been a member of the Canadian Bar Association's National Class Action Task Force, which developed judicial protocols to manage overlapping, multi-province class actions in Canada.

Gord's broad expertise extends to cross-border and multi-jurisdictional issues and cases that involve complex scientific, medical and technical evidence. He provides proactive advice to corporations on product warnings and recalls, litigation-related media issues and strategies designed to avoid litigation and class action suits.


Gord's most recent experience includes:

  • Co-counsel for a leading manufacturer of appliances (front-loading washing machines) in the successful opposition of a multi-province consumer class action before all levels of the Ontario courts, and on a leave application to the Supreme Court of Canada

  • Lead trial counsel in the first medical products class action/common issues trial tried to verdict in Canada (146 trial days), successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of life-saving cardiac devices in a national class action claiming more than a billion dollars in damages (awarded 2013 Canadian Product Liability Impact Case of the Year by LMG Life Sciences)

  • Lead trial counsel successfully defending one of the world's leading manufacturers of fire protection systems in some 20 claims and cross-claims resulting from a large factory fire, including a product liability/environmental class action claiming C$80-million in damages

  • Lead counsel representing multinational pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in class actions involving a wide variety of medicines and devices

  • Representing consumer goods manufacturers in national negligence, warranty and consumer protection class actions


Gord is recognized as a leading Canadian lawyer in many Canadian and international publications including:

  • Who's Who Legal: Thought Leaders - Global Elite 2019 (Life Science)

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2019 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) and Litigation - Products Liability) - Gord is described in the products liability section as “unquestionably a leader in this field” and “highly acclaimed in the defence of multi-jurisdictional class action claims”. In the 2018 guide, he was described as a "very good leader and trial lawyer" and, in the product liability area, as "a phenomenal lawyer whose expertise is second to none".

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2019 (Class Action Litigation and Product Liability Law) - Recipient of the "Lawyer of the Year" award: 2018 and 2016 Toronto Class Action Litigation and 2015 Toronto Product Liability Law.

  • Acritas Stars 2018: Independently Rated Lawyer (Nominated as a stand-out lawyer by senior in-house counsel)

  • Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences 2018 (Product Liability) - One of six lawyers listed as "Thought Leaders" for the Americas. Who’s Who Legal Analysis states “Sources describe Gordon McKee as a ‘standout trial lawyer’, adding that he is ‘one of the very top Canadian product liability defence lawyers.’ He is the top-rated Canadian practitioner in this Chapter this year.”

  • Who’s Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2018 - Marketplace Analysis says “Gord ‘is one of the very best’, according to our sources who cite him as ‘dean of the product liability bar in Canada’

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2018 Edition (Litigation Star in Class Action and Product Liability). In February 2018, Gord was awarded "Product Liability Litigator of the Year" for the fourth time.

  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2018 (Class Actions and Litigation - Product Liability)

  • The Canadian Lexpert Legal Directory 2018 ("Most Frequently Recommended" in both Class Actions and Litigation - Product Liability)

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2017 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) - Canada - "The "stellar" Gordon McKee has a proven track record defending clients in class actions across the country."

  • Who's Who Legal Analysis: Canada 2017 (Life Sciences); second on the list of "Most Highly Regarded". "Gordon McKee enjoys “a phenomenal reputation” in the market as “a leading litigator”. He is highly sought after by clients for his “extensive experience in the life sciences area” as well as his “great knowledge” in relation to class action cases."

  • Who's Who Legal Analysis: Canada 2017 (Product Liability Defence); first on the list of "Most Highly Regarded". "The “excellent” Gordon McKee is renowned for providing exceptional legal services to clients in a range of industry sectors. He focuses his practice on defending class action lawsuits and dealing with large-scale product liability claims."

  • Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2017 - One of 10 "Thought Leaders" for North America; Marketplace analysis says: "Leading Canadian firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon emerges as one of the country's standout practices.... Gordon McKee is regarded as "the undisputed leader of the Canadian product liability defence bar" by a number of sources. He enjoys an excellent reputation on the international stage thanks to his "deep and wide-ranging practice" and "tactical aptitude."

  • The Lexpert Guide to Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada 2017 (Class Actions and Product Liability)

  • Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2016 (Band 1 - Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) - Canada) - "Gordon McKee is very well regarded for his work on pharmaceutical product liability cases…. Clients say: 'He is a really talented legal mind. He is very clear, patient, calm under pressure and thinks fast on his feet.'" In the 2015 edition, a client commented that Gord “is at the top of his game; he’s really good in trial and great at cross-examination. We rely on him for the biggest cases – he’s a positive thinker who will work towards the best solution for the company”.

  • LMG Life Sciences Awards 2015 - "Canadian Product Liability Attorney of the Year," for the second consecutive year

  • Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent - Peer Rated For Highest Level of Professional Excellence)

Show Past:
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Co-author: Submissions to the Law Commission of Ontario Regarding its Class Action Project: Objectives, Experiences and Reform
International Association of Defense Counsel, Submitted May 22, 2018.
Who's Who Legal: Product Liability Defence 2017, Law Business Reserach, pp. 12-13, London, United Kingdom, June 2017.
Co-author: Generic Drugs and Biosimilars: Innovator Liability in Canada
In-House Defence Quarterly, Defense Research Institute, Spring 2017.
Co-author: Causation in Canada Revisited: Material Contribution to Risk and the Impact of Clements (Litigation Guardian of) v. Clements
IADC Defense Counsel Journal, October 2016.
Co-author: Innovator Liability in Canada
IADC Drug, Device and Biotechnology Committee Newsletter, July 2016.
Co-author: Class Action Reform: The Law Commission of Ontario Review of the Class Proceedings Act
Defense Counsel Journal, Volume 83, No. 1, pp 32-44, January 2016.
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Panel Speaker: Through the Binoculars: Global Problems, Universal Solutions
18th Annual Legal Reform Summit, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Washington, DC, October 25, 2017.
Panel Speaker: A Comparative Discussion of Who Pays for Document Discovery in Australia, Canada, Guernsey (Channel Islands) and Singapore
Vanderbilt Law Review Symposium on The Future of Discovery, Vanderbilt Law School, Nashville, Tennessee, October 13, 2017.
Panel Speaker: Christian Perspectives on Tort Law
Toronto Chapter CPD Luncheon, Christian Legal Fellowship, Toronto, Ontario, August 30, 2017.
Moderator: Motions for Summary Judgment and Summary Trial Cross Country
14th National Symposium on Class Actions, Osgoode Professional Development, Toronto, Ontario, April 6, 2017.
Panellist: Mock Juries: Not Just for Trial Outcomes
Midyear Meeting, International Association of Defense Counsel, Scottsdale, Arizona, February 22, 2017.
Panel Speaker: Hot Topics: Experts & Creative Settlements
Class Actions Advocacy Seminar, The Advocates Society, Toronto, Ontario, February 14, 2017.
Co-chair: Electronic Trials Program
The Advocates' Society, Toronto, Ontario, June 23, 2016.
Panellist: Conduct of Electronic Trials and Appeals
The Advocate Matters: Spring Symposium 2016, The American College of Trial Lawyers and The Advocates' Society, Toronto, Ontario, April 27, 2016.
Panel Speaker: The Magna Carta, 800 Years Later - Rule of Law or Rule of Lawyers?
16th Annual Legal Reform Summit 2015: A Liability Odyssey, U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform, Washington, D.C., October 27, 2015.
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Quoted: International Association of Defense Counsel pushes for class action reform in Ontario
The Lawyer’s Daily, July 17, 2018.
Mentioned: IADC Calls for Class Action Reforms in Ontario, Canada
General Counsel News, July 7, 2018.
Mentioned: Multi-jurisdictional Mess
Canadian Lawyer Magazine, February 20, 2018.
Quoted: Inconsistent, Inefficient
Article by Sandra Rubin, The Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada, November 18, 2016.
Mentioned: Civil Justice: The World Tour
Civil Justice Playbook, Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, July/August 2016.
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