Valerie Helbronner

Valerie Helbronner

Partner
Toronto: 416.865.7516
Fax 416.865.7380

Education

LLB, 1994
University of British Columbia
BA (Honours), 1990
Queen’s University

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 1996

Overview

Valerie is a recognized infrastructure project lawyer, with specific expertise in managing large, multi-faceted projects with numerous parties. She has led some of Canada’s most innovative, complex power projects spanning over several years and engaging numerous parties, including governmental authorities, Indigenous groups, lenders, project proponents, investors and contractors. One of Valerie’s core strengths is her ability to become a key member of a project team and manage relationships amongst numerous and often disparate project participants.

Valerie’s recent experience notably includes: (i) acting as lead project counsel to Wataynikaneyap Power, a partnership of 24 First Nations and Fortis, on all matters relating to the development and financing of the C$1.9 billion Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project in northwestern Ontario and (ii) working with the Honorable Frank Iacobucci in advising the Government of Canada in its re-initiated consultation process with Indigenous groups on the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.

Valerie has been at the forefront of the development and financing of renewable energy projects across Canada. She worked on some of the earliest and most innovative renewable projects, including Erie Shores Wind Farm, Grand Renewables Solar, Henvey Inlet Wind Farm, and PPAs in connection with Emera’s proposed Atlantic Link Project.

In her work involving Indigenous parties, Valerie is known to have an ability to seek to understand different parties’ perspectives and motivators and to build commonalities on complex and nuanced matters. She has been a trusted advisor to Indigenous and non-Indigenous project participants alike.

Valerie’s work as lead project counsel on the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project commenced in 2013 and is ongoing. Her contribution includes: negotiating the documentation when (i) Fortis joined the partnership in 2015 and (ii) for the two most recent First Nations (Mishkeegogamang and Saugeen) to join the partnership; negotiating the EPC Contract with Valard Construction; working with Canada on numerous section 28(2) permits; negotiating the C$1.6 billion funding agreement with Canada and Ontario; negotiating arrangements with and ensuring compliance with the duty to consult with the Métis and with neighboring First Nations not part of the project; acting as lead counsel on the complex debt financing comprising a C$1.34 billion loan from the Ontario government and a C$680 million loan from a syndicate of five Canadian Schedule I banks.

Valerie has held various industry appointments in the power sector including: current board member of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, past Chair of the Ontario Waterpower Association, and past member of the Independent Electricity System Operator Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Representative Work

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Recognition

Chambers Canada—Leading lawyer in energy: power (transactional) (2016-2020)

Chambers Global—Leading lawyer in energy: power (transactional) (2011-2019)

The Legal 500 Canada—Leading lawyer in energy and natural resources: power (2019-2020)

Best Lawyers in Canada—Leading lawyer in energy law, energy regulatory law (2012-2020)

Lexpert/American Lawyer’s Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada—Leading practitioner in energy (electricity) (2016-2019)

Euromoney’s Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Environment Lawyers—Leading lawyer (2017-2018)

The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory—Leading lawyer in energy - electricity (2010-2019); infrastructure law (2018-2019); project finance (2018)

Who’s Who Legal—Leading lawyer in energy (2016-2017)

Expert Guides’ Women in Business Law—Leading lawyer in energy and natural resources (2014, 2016)

Legal Media Group’s Guide to the World’s Leading Energy and Natural Resource Lawyers—Leading lawyer in Canada (2012-2013)

IFLR1000: The Guide to the World’s Leading Financial Law Firms—Leading Canadian lawyer in project finance (2011)

Real Time News’ LawDay—Leading lawyer in energy/corporate law (2009)

Insights

Media

Professional Involvement

Before joining Torys, Valerie was a partner at another major Toronto firm.

Directorships

Valerie is on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (2014-present). She was also on the Board of Directors for the Ontario Waterpower Association (2008-2017), where he also served as Chair (2010-2016) and currently serves as Vice-Chair (2016-present). Valerie is also an appointee to the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Independent Electricity System Operator and she was an Advisor for the Rift Valley Energy Advisory Committee (2013-2015).

Community

Valerie was on the Board of Directors for the Young People’s Theatre (2013-2016) and for the e.p.i.c. School (2009-2012).