Consisting of expert lawyers drawn from practice areas across the firm, Osler’s AgriBusiness team provides technical legal advice and practical business guidance on the multi-faceted AgriBusiness, AgInputs and AgTech sectors, which include everything from primary production and aggregation; to plants, processing and equipment; to transportation and international trade, with technological innovation at every step of the process.
As AgriBusiness continues to be shaped by growth in population worldwide, ongoing technological developments and ever-shifting consumer wants and needs, Osler can provide timely advice and strategic insight for succeeding in this dynamic Canadian and international set of industries. We offer guidance through every stage of the business cycle for clients engaged in agricultural-related activities, whether cross-border or local.
We have the breadth of knowledge and experience to understand the wide-ranging issues that participants face. We can assist with:
- Establishing new enterprises and assisting with capital-raising for their ongoing growth and development
- Addressing the full range of supply chain issues, including contractual arrangements and disputes
- Dealing with matters related to the facilities and plants that are vital to operations in the AgriBusiness sector.
Our AgriBusiness team includes Osler Special Advisor, Brad Wall, the former Premier of Saskatchewan. Mr. Wall offers Osler clients his strategic insight and invaluable guidance, particularly in relation to the agri-food and energy industries.
Companies in AgriBusiness industries are facing a host of new challenges in an era of heightened consumer awareness and increased demand for safety and accountability. Just as consumers are insisting on complete and accurate information about the foods they eat, legislators are imposing increasingly strict regulatory regimes and granting progressively broad powers to inspection agencies. Emerging trends south of the border suggest that food products are quickly becoming the next big target in product liability litigation. Consumers are challenging claims such as “all natural” and “organic” and demanding meaningful disclosure of ingredients and processes. Plaintiffs are also commencing claims in respect of ingredients that scientific studies have identified as posing potential health risks.
Our multidisciplinary team – comprising members of Osler’s Class Action, Product Liability, Food and Drug Regulation, Corporate and Competition/Antitrust groups – develops procedures to reduce risk and exposure, engage with regulators and vigorously defend claims in an increasingly litigious consumer market. Whether relating to agri-food facilities, chemical plants, the regulation and marketing of fertilizers, food ingredients and additives, or environmental matters generally, our team will guide you on product liability and food safety and other regulatory matters.
We structure supplier contracts and other commercial agreements (including research, raw material procurement, private label manufacturing, licensing and distribution arrangements) to minimize exposure if issues arise. We advise on the development of best practices and protocols for testing, incident reporting and monitoring procedures, effective compliance training programs, physical and electronic document-retention policies and litigation readiness.
In addition to analyzing and advising on the impact of regulatory changes, we also develop protocols for responding to regulatory investigations and inspections. Our lawyers interface with regulators, including Health Canada, the Health Products and Food Branch and its directorates, the Health Products and Food Branch Inspectorate, as well as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and the Department of Agriculture and Agri-food.
SmartAg automation and robotics. Data integration and analytics. Remote monitoring and drone management. The rapid application and integration of these – and other – technological innovations are fuelling AgTech’s growth and securing its importance in the Canadian economy. Having access to strategic and experienced counsel is crucial to protecting the commercialization of new products and services while navigating this exciting direction in agriculture.
Osler’s leading national Emerging and High Growth Companies (EHG) Practice is fully integrated in the EHG ecosystem. Relationships with venture capital funds, angel groups, universities, incubator and accelerator programs across the country that support such businesses (including our support of Creative Destruction Labs across Canada, The Next Big Thing, Uniting the Prairies and many more) help us understand and navigate these developing industries and connect our EHG clients with sources of capital and other key resources.
To find out more about how our team can help you with your diverse AgriBusiness needs, contact us today.