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Public Sector Crisis & Compliance

The Blakes Public Sector Crisis & Compliance (PSCC) group helps clients navigate high-stakes legal issues and situations that arise where business meets government.

When businesses engage with the executive and legislative branches of government, they need to navigate a series of regulations that do not affect private-sector interactions. These include lobbying laws, gifting rules, conflict of interest regimes, access to information disclosures, election finance rules and more. These rules are constantly changing and differ in important ways among federal, provincial and municipal governments. Falling afoul of them can have serious reputational and legal impacts.

Engaging with governments also requires an understanding of how governments make decisions: who makes the decision, how long the decision takes and what the limits are on decision-making. The impact of government decisions on businesses across Canada has never been more significant. For those operating in highly regulated sectors such as energy, financial services and life sciences, the regulatory landscape has become extremely complex. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this, with organizations across all industry sectors having to keep up with a slew of new fast-moving legislation and regulation.

Our PSCC lawyers assist clients in their interactions with the public sector, ensuring that they stay compliant with emerging legislation and guiding them through any difficulties with practical insight and advice. This includes advising on the implications of dealing with the public sector, providing guidance on lobbying or electoral compliance, and seeking special dispensation. Navigating this complex system requires knowledge, experience, persistence, skill and finesse.

In addition to our extensive experience helping businesses navigate government, Blakes has represented current and former senior government officials, elected officials and government offices in navigating the many laws and regulations (electoral, conflict of interest and otherwise) that apply to them, as well as responding to and mitigating regulatory inquiries and investigations when they occur.

When crisis strikes at the intersection of government and business, you need counsel who has a deep understanding of not only the law, but also reputational risk, government process, the press and political dynamics. That’s where we thrive. Our team generally does not engage in traditional lobbying activities for clients. Our role is to partner with the right government relations and communications organizations to help clients navigate the legal and governmental landscape. When difficulties arise, we work with our clients to achieve the best outcome. We conduct internal investigations to respond to government and regulator inquiries, and represent clients in government investigations, including in connection with commissions or political committees. And when needed, our PSCC group includes leading public law and regulatory litigators.

Our team includes lawyers with significant government experience, including counsel who previously served as federal, provincial and municipal public officials in several jurisdictions. We fully grasp the complexities and subtle nuances of public and political law and are adept at obtaining judicial reviews, administrative and legislative resolutions, and alternative solutions. We offer an in-depth understanding of how government operates and can advise you on the best strategy to stay compliant with ever-changing regulations.

Given the sensitive nature of our work in this area, most of our experience is highly confidential. However, our extensive track record and expertise is widely recognized. We have an outstanding reputation for successfully steering major corporations, government ministers, ambassadors and other public figures through high-stakes and high-profile situations. Our team’s unparalleled public-sector insight, combined with our litigation, business crimes, investigations and crisis communication skills means that we are often the first port of call for clients when crises involving the public-sector arise.


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