Iris Fischer
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2408

Iris has a broad-based litigation practice, with experience ranging from complex commercial disputes to white-collar crime, class actions, constitutional, competition and regulatory matters. She also has extensive experience in the areas of media, defamation, privacy and access to information.

Media organizations, such as the Toronto Star, frequently rely on Iris’s expertise in free expression and court openness matters, including defending libel claims, opposing publication bans and getting access to court documents. She often speaks and writes on openness issues.

Iris regularly advises clients in relation to the Competition Act, including investigations and related class actions. She also advises clients in a range of industries on domestic and international anti-corruption legislation. Her expertise includes conducting internal investigations, advising on compliance programs and assisting clients with anti-corruption due diligence for commercial transactions.  

Iris has appeared as counsel at all levels of courts in Ontario, the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Canada, as well as before administrative tribunals, arbitration panels and inquests.

SELECT EXPERIENCE
  • Conducting regulatory or international anti-corruption investigations for multinational clients

  • Represented coalition of major Canadian media in application to unseal search warrant material in the police investigations that led to charges against Bruce McArthur
  • Represented an access-to-information applicant at the Ontario Court of Appeal, where the court affirmed the right to access names of doctors billing the public health-care plan

  • Represented a media applicant in a successful constitutional challenge to laws restricting access to tribunal records

  • Co-counsel in class action defence involving several prescription medicines

  • Represented a coalition of U.S.-based media organizations and non-profits in Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., where the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a worldwide injunction requiring Google Inc. to globally de-index certain websites

  • Represented the Toronto Star in John v. Ballingall, where the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that an online newspaper is still a “newspaper” for the purposes of the notice and limitation provisions in the Libel and Slander Act

  • Counsel on a current constitutional challenge relating to federalism/aboriginal rights
  • Acted as lead counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, A.B. v. Bragg Communications, involving social media, open courts and privacy rights

AWARDS & RECOGNITION

Iris has been recognized as a leading lawyer in the following publications:

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2020 (Defamation and Media Law)

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory - 2018-2019 (Repeatedly Recommended in Litigation - Defamation & Media)

  • Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List, Future Star – Canada, 2019

  • Benchmark 40 & Under Hot List – Canada, 2018

  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys - 2018 Edition (Future Litigation Star - Litigation & Dispute Resolution)

PUBLICATIONS
Show Past:
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Co-author: Canada Chapter
Corporate Investigations 2019, 3rd Edition, International Comparative Legal Guides (ICLG), January 2019.
Co-author: Haaretz & Equustek: Reconciling approaches to jurisdiction and freedom of expression in the online landscape
Presented at The Advocates’ Society’s 2018 Fall Convention, Laguna Beach, November 8-10, 2018.
Co-author: Corporate Crime, Fraud and Corruption: Overview
Thompson Reuters Online, October 31, 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, August 13, 2018.
Co-author: Corporate and Financial Crimes – Criminal Law 101
Canadian Corporate Counsel, Vol. 27, No. 5, June/July 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, February 8, 2018.
Co-author: The So-called "Right to be Forgotten" - A Selection of Case Summaries
Ontario Bar Association's Institute, Toronto, Ontario, February 7, 2018.
Co-author: Canada Chapter
Corporate Investigations 2018, 2nd Edition, International Comparative Legal Guides (ICLG), January 2018.
Blakes Bulletin on Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance , December 5, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, October 30, 2017.
Blakes Bulletin on Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, July 13, 2017.
Co-author: Canada Chapter
International Comparative Legal Guide to Corporate Investigations, Global Legal Group, March 2017.
Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, Blakes Business Class, December 6, 2016.
Blakes Bulletin on Litigation & Dispute Resolution, November 28, 2016
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PROFESSIONAL APPEARANCES
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Panellist: International Communication and Law and Policy Divisions - Law, Policy and International Reporting: Issues of Jurisdiction
The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), Toronto, Ontario, August 8, 2019.
Speaker: Privacy Interests in Administration Adjudication After Toronto Star
IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium 2019, Toronto, Ontario, May 24, 2019.
Speaker: Defences to Defamation: Where we are at in 2019
Defamation Law 2019: Current Issues + Emerging Trends, Osgoode Professional Development, Toronto, Ontario, April 29, 2019.
Speaker: On Demand Primer: Anatomy of a Defamation Case
Osgoode Professional Development, March 18, 2019.
Speaker: Managing Environmental Enterprise Risk
Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, November 14, 2018.
Moderator: The Cutting Edge of Compliance
Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, November 15, 2018.
Speaker: Defamation Law: Updates and Jurisdictional Challenges
The Advocates’ Society Fall Convention, Laguna Beach, November 9, 2018.
Speaker: Openness of Administrative Tribunals
Ad IDEM/Canadian Media Lawyers Association, Montreal, November 2, 2018.
Moderator and Speaker: Anti-Corruption Worldwide Update: Review of Regimes and Enforcement trends in Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany and Mexico
Lex Mundi Live Webinar, June 19, 2018.
Speaker: Managing Litigation Risk in Foreign Acquisitions: What Every Buyer Should Know
Blakes Seminar, Toronto, Ontario, March 7, 2018.
Speaker: Resolving Defamation Disputes Without Resorting to Litigation
Ontario Bar Association's Institute, Toronto, Ontario, February 7, 2018.
Speaker: Cybersecurity for Directors, Officers and Transactional Lawyers
Blakes Business Class Seminar, Toronto, October 27, 2017.
Speaker: Dealing with Corruption and Regulatory Risks and Enforcement
Benchmark Women in Litigation conference, Toronto, October 18, 2017.
Speaker: Yes Santa, there is Anti-Corruption Enforcement in Canada
Compliance and Ethics Committee Webinar, Association of Corporate Counsel, December 20, 2016.
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MEDIA APPEARANCES
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Quoted: Driver remains nameless two days after fatal hit and run
Article by Galen Simmons, The Beacon Herald, Stratford, Ontario, May 14, 2019.
Quoted: Project Houston officers investigated murders years before Bruce McArthur arrest: documents
Article by Sumran Bhan and Rachael D'Amore, CP24.com, Toronto, Ontario, September 28, 2018.
Quoted: Ontario’s tribunals ‘fundamentally different’ from courts, province argues
Article by Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, April 5, 2018.
Quoted: Ontario Court of Appeal to decide if names of top-billing doctors will be made public
Article by Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, November 8, 2017.
Interviewed: Pull Quotes Podcast – Episode 1: Free Press?
Ryerson Review of Journalism, October 3, 2017.
Quoted: Doctors propose plan to reveal top OHIP billers
Article by Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, August 15, 2017.
Quoted: Ontario doctors plan to appeal court decision to identify top-billers
Article by Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, July 6, 2017.
Quoted: Doctors urge court not to allow 'naming and shaming' of top OHIP billers
Article by Theresa Boyle, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, June 21, 2017.
Quoted: Publication bans too often 'a bit of a guessing game'
Article by Alyshah Hasham, Toronto Star, Toronto, Ontario, January 2, 2017.
Quoted: Canada SC sets a higher bar for enforcement agencies to overcome privilege claims
Global Investigations Review, Article by Euan Conley, December 9, 2016.
Interviewed: Publication bans on victims, new challenge for court reporting
Global News, Toronto, Ontario, December 5, 2016.
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