A leading lawyer in his field and a strategic partner to clients on high-profile international matters, John is recognized for his long track record of work on trade disputes, arbitrations and Indigenous consultation.
John’s civil litigation practice focuses on public, business and international trade and investment law. He regularly advises corporations and federal, provincial and municipal governments on NAFTA and WTO matters, and has represented major Canadian and multinational corporations in respect of investor-state arbitrations under Chapter 11 of the NAFTA.
John also has a significant practice in Indigenous matters, with extensive experience advising project developers and lenders on issues respecting the duty to consult with Indigenous communities and representing parties and negotiating in disputes regarding Indigenous issues, often on high-stakes or sensitive matters. He also routinely provides guidance to natural resource and energy companies on corporate social responsibility issues.
John has appeared as counsel at all levels of court in Ontario, at the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, before the Supreme Court of Canada, in commercial and investment arbitrations and before a variety of administrative tribunals.
Sources commend his knowledge of the ‘complicated intersection of law, business and geopolitics.’
—Chambers Global, 2021
Recognition and Awards
Chambers Canada—Leading lawyer in dispute resolution: arbitration and international trade/WTO
Chambers Global—Leading lawyer in arbitration and international trade/WTO
Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys—Litigation Star (arbitration)
Best Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in Aboriginal law and international arbitration
Best Lawyers in Canada—international arbitration lawyer of the year (Toronto)
The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in commercial arbitration, Aboriginal law and litigation: regulatory and public law
Who’s Who Legal—Leading Canadian lawyer in arbitration
Lexpert/Thomson Reuters’ Guide to the Leading U.S./Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada—Most frequently recommended in dispute resolution
Lexpert/American Lawyer’s Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in arbitration
Lexpert’s Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-border Litigation Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in international commercial arbitration
Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Commercial Arbitration
Before joining Torys, John worked as a constitutional lawyer with the Ontario government and senior policy adviser with the Ontario Cabinet Office. He also spent two years teaching international trade law, international commercial arbitration and international human rights law at Otago University in New Zealand. Further, he served as a clerk to Mr. Justice Cory of the Supreme Court of Canada, and to the judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal.
John teaches International Commercial and Investor-State Arbitration and Public International Law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law as an Adjunct Professor, and teaches advocacy with the Foundation for International Arbitration advocacy in Geneva. He has also taught public law in the Bar Admission Course and participates as a judge and faculty member for trial advocacy courses and various competitive moots, including the Niagara International Moot and Vis Moot in Vienna.
He is the co-author of three books: Creditors' Remedies in Ontario; Interlocutory Proceedings: Strategy and Practice; and The Emotional Consequences of Personal Injury: A Handbook for Psychiatrists and Lawyers. He has also written numerous other articles and delivered speeches, primarily on international law and constitutional issues.
John is the director for the Canada-EU Mining Council and for Outward Bound Canada. He is also a founding member of Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights and he sits on the advisory board for the Canada-United States Law Institute of the University of Western Ontario. In addition, he is a member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration roster for Canada.