Michael Watts

Michael is a corporate commercial lawyer with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, and corporate commercial matters in the health and cannabis industries. Michael is Chair of Osler’s Health Industry Group and Co-Chair of the Cannabis Group.

He advises clients in respect of a wide spectrum of matters, including purchase and sale transactions, healthcare corporate restructuring and integrations, corporate governance, shareholder agreements, commercial agreements, digital health regulatory opinions and structuring solutions, privacy and data security, clinical trials, public and private healthcare industry regulatory compliance and business structuring advice.

Michael also has extensive experience in providing complex regulatory opinions that ensure statutory compliance with federal and provincial health and cannabis statutes.


Representative Work

Health Industry

  • Retained by numerous clients in respect of acquisition and sale transactions relating to regulated businesses including cannabis, hospitals, long-term care facilities, licensed independent healthcare facilities, laboratories, pharmacies and private clinics
  • Providing complex regulatory opinions relating to the Canada Health Act, health insurance acts, and providers’ ability to offer health insurance and/or charge for enhanced non-insured medically required physician services
  • Advising on health-related grant/funding agreements, including the Government of Canada’s Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and corresponding agreements to recipients to conduct research for clinical trials
  • Retained by numerous clients to develop governance policies to assist boards in discharging their governance oversight and in particular the implementation of enterprise risk management systems to oversee fiscal, client, resident and workplace safety
  • Retained by eleven different provincially appointed Supervisors to assist them in addressing legal and governance issues relating to their mandates
  • Advising hospital boards, administrative and physician leaders in respect of hospital privileges matters
  • Retained by international healthcare organizations to provide regulatory advice in respect of planned Canadian health industry acquisitions and operations
  • Advising a client in establishing digital health care solutions
  • Advising clients on regulatory, privacy and data security compliance
  • Providing advice to clients in respect of complying with best practices with respect to procurement policies
  • Facilitating and implementing public healthcare restructurings, including hospital amalgamations and program transfers
  • Conducted governance reviews of healthcare organizations
  • Assisting international clients in acquiring Canadian assets and doing business in Canada

Cannabis Industry

  • Advising licensed producers in respect of the cannabis regulatory landscape in Canada and all provinces and territories across Canada, including in respect of licensing matters and ongoing compliance with statutory requirements, such as restrictions on promotion and advertising
  • Advising on cannabis supply and distribution agreements, including supply agreements between LPs in Canada and international joint venture arrangements which include import/export considerations, such as an agreement to develop, cultivate manufacture and export cannabis-based medicinal and consumer products for the Latin American and global markets
  • Advising clients in respect of retail supply, services agreements and licensing agreements in highly regulated industries such as cannabis, pharmacy and pharmaceuticals
  • Provided numerous regulatory opinions relating to compliance with the Cannabis Act and related provincial cannabis statues
  • Advising service and equipment suppliers to cannabis licensed producers

Latest Insights

  • Osler Update Jun 19, 2023

    Ontario Ministry releases draft regulation in connection with private surgical and diagnostic services

    On June 9, Ontario published a draft regulation as part of its plan to reduce wait times in the province. We look at the recently proposed regulatory ...

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    Ontario Ministry releases draft regulation in connection with private surgical and diagnostic services
  • Osler Update Feb 23, 2023

    Ontario proposes new legislation for private health facilities and surgical centres

    On February 21, 2023, the Ontario government tabled Bill 60, Your Health Act, 2023 (Bill 60), following its recent announcement of its plan to reduce ...

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    Ontario proposes new legislation for private health facilities and surgical centres
  • Osler Update Jan 11, 2023

    The evolving regulatory landscape of virtual care in Canada

    With several years of experience, including more than two years during the pandemic alone, virtual care is no longer considered a novel health service...

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    The evolving regulatory landscape of virtual care in Canada
  • Osler Update Dec 13, 2021

    The second year of COVID‑19: A rapidly changing health landscape

    Over the course of 2021, workplaces across all industries and sectors faced ongoing challenges when implementing and adapting their policies and proce...

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    The second year of COVID‑19: A rapidly changing health landscape
View all Insights

Awards and Recognition

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business: Band 1 in Healthcare: Corporate/Commercial & Regulatory
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Recognized in Healthcare Law; Cannabis Law

Speaking and Writing

Speaking Engagements

speaker 07/2/2017
HealthTech: The Future of Healthcare Technology
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speaker 02/2/2016
Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2016
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Published Work

  • Debunking the Myths: A Broader Perspective of the Canada Health Act, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, September 2013.
  • Bill 168 Requires Hospital Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies, Osler Update, April 22, 2009.
  • Mounting Health Care Costs Drive Outsourcing Initiatives, Osler Outlook, Fall 2008.
  • Hospital Service Accountability Agreements: Recommendations for the Negotiating Process, Osler Update, March 24, 2008.
  • The DuPont Inquest: Hospital Obligations to Protect Patient and Workplace Safety, Osler Update, February 5, 2008.
  • $3 Million Damages Awarded to Physician in Privileges Dispute, Osler Update, September 2007.

Credentials

Education

  • Rotman School of Management, ICD.D.
  • Harvard University, ADR
  • University of British Columbia, Juris Doctor
  • Bishops University, B.B.A.

Languages

  • English

Professional Affiliations

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association