The food, beverage and agribusiness (FBA) sector is one of growing importance to national and international communities. It encompasses a wide range of activities that contribute to the world supply of food and natural fibres, ranging from research and development to marketing strategies and retail sales. In order to succeed, this dynamic business must respond to technological advances, major changes in trade and policy, and a consumer-driven marketplace. Businesses operating in the FBA sector face complex legal issues that require innovative, practical and effective solutions from legal advisers who understand the industry.
Blakes has one of the most active FBA teams in the country and represents a wide variety of the players in the sector. We are internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading law firms for FBA merger and acquisition deals and regularly act for both domestic and international investors in the sector, including private equity and venture capital firms, pension funds and major strategics. In addition to M&A, lawyers in our FBA group advise on a wide range of legal matters affecting the sector, including corporate/commercial, technology, intellectual property, banking, labour and employment, pension and employee benefits, class action defence, consumer product safety, administrative and regulatory processes, and real estate. Our Financial Services lawyers also assist our lender clients who are active in this industry.
Well-known consumer brands in the FBA industry regularly retain Blakes to assist with regulatory compliance matters, advertising and marketing of food and beverage products, including structuring promotions, offers and campaigns, as well as the negotiation of advertising agreements and managing supply chains. We frequently assist with product claim substantiation and advise on labelling issues; product recalls; the acquisition, licensing, transfer and litigation of patent, trademark, copyright and industrial design rights; and regulatory classification issues (food versus natural health product versus drug).
Representing clients in a wide variety of civil, administrative and quasi-criminal proceedings, our litigators and regulatory lawyers regularly resolve disputes between companies and regulatory officials involving interpreting legislation as well as administrative and policy matters. We have resolved numerous agency disputes and complaints with Advertising Standards Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and Health Canada; merger reviews before the Competition Bureau and abuse of dominance cases; and international trade rights and disputes, including subsidies, tariffs, food and health regulations impacting market access, and import controls.
Blakes Environmental lawyers often advise on matters such as spills, wastewater, noise and odour emissions, as well as offer regulatory guidance on fertilizer, nutrient management, toxic substances and pesticide issues.
Clients appreciate our cross-disciplinary approach that allows us to represent them efficiently and cost-effectively in business dealings, regulatory challenges and in litigation.