Legal departments seek silver linings and seize new opportunities to develop the business – Canadian Lawyer magazine

Paul Morassutti

Sep 30, 2021

Canada can expect to see increased growth opportunities in real estate and other areas of the economy once COVID is behind us, Osler’s Paul Morassutti, Partner, Real Estate, told reporter Lucy Saddleton in a recent interview in Canadian Lawyer magazine.

“Once we fully come out of COVID, Canada will get back to an upward trend in terms of population growth, and that will drive a whole lot of growth in urban areas,” says Paul. With 100,00 people estimated to immigrate to Toronto every year, he anticipates strong demand for housing, office, industrial and retail space.

With office space, Paul expects the return will be far higher than many people initially suspected. But challenges for retail remain. “I don’t think we’ve seen the end of retail carnage due to COVID,” says Paul. COVID has transformed the retail landscape amid prolonged closures and a boom in e-commerce in Canada, so the leasing market has suffered, but also opening up new opportunities. “COVID greatly accelerated what was already happening gradually,” he says.

A lack of materials and high costs have also resulted in significant challenges for some developers. But Paul offers some advice. “Start early and plan, plan, plan because everything is going to take a lot longer than you thought it was going to take, and it’s going to cost more,” says Paul. He suggests in-house counsel allow more time to meet deadlines in construction projects.

Read the full Canadian Lawyer magazine article by Lucy Saddleton posted on September 27, 2021