Sonia Bjorkquist

Sonia is Chair of the firm’s National Disputes Department and Past President of the Advocates’ Society. Sonia has extensive experience defending companies in class actions, commercial arbitration and other complex litigation, including advising clients on strategies for managing risks and cross-border issues in multi-jurisdictional cases.

She defends complex product liability claims across many industries. She also litigates business-critical issues related to commercial agreements, banking, construction and infrastructure, data and privacy, directors' duties and shareholder rights and remedies.

An “extremely dedicated” and “tireless advocate” and trial lawyer, Sonia is ranked among Canada’s top litigators in Chambers Global (Dispute Resolution: Class Action Defence, and Litigation: Product Liability and General Commercial), Lexpert/ALM 500, Lexpert (Class Actions, Product Liability Litigation, Corporate-Commercial Litigation, and Commercial Arbitration), Best Lawyers (Class Action Litigation and Product Liability Law), and a Benchmark Litigation Star. Best Lawyers named Sonia as “Lawyer of the Year” for Product Liability Law, Toronto (2019). She is named as a leader in class actions in the Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada. Sonia is rated AV Preeminent in Martindale Hubbell’s Peer Review Ratings. She is a frequent speaker and author on class action and commercial arbitration issues.

Sonia was selected by the Government of Canada as a delegate to the CUSMA Advisory Committee on Private Commercial Disputes under USMCA Article 31.22, and served on the predecessor NAFTA 2022 Advisory Committee. The CUSMA Advisory Committee promotes the use of arbitration, mediation and ODR for the prevention and resolution of international commercial disputes between private parties in the North American free trade area.

Prior to joining Osler as a lawyer, Sonia clerked for the Court of Appeal for Ontario.


Representative Work

  • Representing a leading international construction services company in disputes resulting from the design-build-finance of numerous projects connected to a major Ontario infrastructure project
  • Defending a leading multinational pharmaceutical company in product liability class actions and individual actions in several jurisdictions
  • Defending a leading medical device company in product liability class actions and individual actions in several jurisdictions
  • Defending a multinational auto manufacturer in regulatory investigations regarding diesel emissions
  • Defending a leading engineering consulting firm in private arbitration regarding shareholder claims
  • Representing an international consortium in private arbitration regarding royalties from an offshore project
  • Representing a major real estate developer in disputes arising from co-tenancy agreements
  • Defending a Canadian oil company in proceedings arising from the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster
  • Representing a leading data company in private commercial arbitration over a long-term supply agreement
  • Representing a leading manufacturer of automotive parts in a long private arbitration involving a long-term supply agreement
  • Defending a leading environmental technology company defending against product liability claims regarding the design and engineering of waste treatment equipment
  • Defending a refinery in a long Ontario trial defending environmental contamination claims
  • Representing a multinational dairy company in litigation with an ingredient supplier following a national Class I recall
  • Representing the Receivers of Stanford International Bank in proceedings regarding the forfeiture of funds related to an international fraud and ponzi scheme
  • Defending a major chartered bank against allegations of negligence and misrepresentation in individual and proposed class proceedings in three jurisdictions
  • Defending the directors and officers of a bankrupt company in a New Brunswick class action involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty in respect of the administration of company pension plans
  • Defending a manufacturer of power transmission and distribution equipment in a long New Brunswick trial involving complex breach of warranty and negligence, including successfully defending an appeal taken to the Court of Appeal
  • Defending a technology company in a long Ontario trial involving claims by a former senior executive for lost stock options
  • Defending a leading financial processing services company in a long trial defending claims by a former chief executive officer
  • Defending a private investment company in a long Ontario trial arising from a breached share purchase transaction, and successfully defending appeals taken to the Ontario Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Canada
  • Representing public and private sector organizations as respondents and affected third parties in access to information, investigations and hearings

Latest Insights

  • Blog Mar 12, 2024

    Just in: IBA updates 2024 Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration

    The International Bar Association has updated its Guidelines on Conflict of Interest in International Arbitration following broad cons...

    Read more
    Just in: IBA updates 2024 Guidelines on Conflicts of Interest in International Arbitration
  • Osler Update Jul 19, 2022

    A delicate balancing act: certifying multi-jurisdictional class actions in British Columbia

    Osler lawyers provide their analysis of the B.C. Court of Appeal’s recent decision of an appeal of an order certifying a multi-jurisdictional class pr...

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    A delicate balancing act: certifying multi-jurisdictional class actions in British Columbia
  • Blog Sep 7, 2021

    Riding the wave: recent developments with class action waivers

    Class action waivers can help companies mitigate their risk, but their value in certain situations can be ambiguous. In their latest Update, Osler&rsq...

    Read more
    Riding the wave: recent developments with class action waivers
  • Osler Update Jul 19, 2021

    Sources of ethical obligations in international arbitration

    When participating in international arbitration cases, counsel can be subject to a multiplicity of ethical obligations.

    Read more
    Sources of ethical obligations in international arbitration
View all Insights

Awards and Recognition

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business: Recognized in Litigation: Products Liability (Nationwide); Dispute Resolution: Class Action (Defence) (Nationwide); Litigation: General Commercial (Ontario)
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: Recognized in Class Actions; Commercial Arbitration; Litigation – Corporate Commercial; Litigation – Product Liability
  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada: Recognized in Litigation – Product Liability
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Recognized in Class Action Litigation; Corporate and Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Law
  • Who’s Who Legal: Recognized in Product Liability Defence (Global; Canada); Life Sciences – Product Liability (Global); Life Sciences (Global; Canada); Litigation (Canada); Commercial Litigation (Global; Canada); Arbitration (Canada)
  • Benchmark Litigation Canada: Recognized in Arbitration; Class Actions; Dispute Resolution (Litigation Star)
  • Thomson Reuters: “Stand-out Lawyer”
  • Litigation Counsel of America: Fellow

Media Mentions

  • Osler News Jun 6, 2024

    Osler is the national presenting sponsor of The Art of Leadership for Women

    Osler is the national presenting sponsor of The Art Of Leadership for Women, a conference that brings together women and those who champion women for ...

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    Osler is the national presenting sponsor of The Art of Leadership for Women
  • Osler News Apr 22, 2024

    Six Osler lawyers recognized by Who’s Who Legal Life Sciences — Canada

    Osler congratulations the six members of the firm who have earned the “Recommended” rating from Who’s Who Legal (WWL) Life Sciences — Canada.

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    Six Osler lawyers recognized by Who’s Who Legal Life Sciences — Canada
  • Osler News Nov 23, 2023

    23 Osler lawyers recognized in Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation 2023

    23 Osler lawyers featured in the Lexpert Special Edition: Litigation 2023.

    Read more
  • Osler News Jun 29, 2023

    29 Osler lawyers recognized in Lexpert Special Edition: Technology and Health 2023

    Congratulations to 29 of our lawyers for their inclusion in the Lexpert Special Edition: Technology and Health 2023.

    Read more
View all

Community Involvement

Pro Bono

  • Osler Pro Bono Community Law, international human rights matters and Canadian civil liberties matter

Speaking and Writing

Speaking Engagements

  • Faculty, Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society (TCAS) Gold Standard Course in ArbitrationSpeaker, since 2016
  • FDCC Corporate Counsel SymposiumSpeaker, and Author, Current Developments in Class Action Litigation, Philadelphia, October 24, 2023
  • CanArbWeek, Private Dispute Resolution and the Canada-United States-Mexico (CUSMA) AgreementModerator, Toronto, October 18, 2023
  • Barreau du Québec National Conference on Class ActionsSpeaker, 2012-2019
  • IADC Trial Academy, Faculty, Stanford LawSpeaker, 2019
  • Global Investigations – The Importance of a Unified FrontSpeaker, Toronto , November 16, 2017
  • Litigating a Cross-Border Class Action in Canada, ALM Cross-Border Litigation ForumSpeaker, September 12, 2012
  • Ethical Challenges in Arbitration Advocacy, Advocates’ Society Arbitration AdvocacySpeaker, March 27, 2012

Published Work

  • Developments in Product Liability Class Actions in Canada, FDCC, October 24, 2023
  • Sources of Ethical Obligations in International Arbitration, LexisNexis Canada Inc., May 2021 (co-authored).
  • Push and Pull in Class Proceeding Standards North of the Border: Re-Evaluating Preferable Procedure Requirements in Canadian Class Actions, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) Class Action and Multi-District Litigation Newsletter, March 2020 (co-authored).
  • International Commercial Dispute Resolution:  How it’s different and how understanding the differences can help your practice, FDCC Annual Meeting, Switzerland, 2017 (co-authored).
  •  

  • New Frontiers: The Oversight Role of Courts in Common Law Canada, Colloque National sur  l’action Collective, Barreau du Quebec, 2017 (co-authored).
  • Expect the Unexpected:  The Changing Landscape of Class Proceedings, Colloque National sur  l’action Collective, Barreau du Quebec, 2016 (co-authored).
  • The Oppression Remedy, Canada Law Book, loose leaf — updated annually since 2004 (co-authored with D. Morritt and A. Coleman).
  • Getting to the Merits: Developments in Class Action Procedure in Common Law Canada, 2014,Colloque National sur les Recours Collectifs, Barreau du Québec, March 2015 (co-authored).
  • Drafting Dispute Resolution Clauses (co-authored), June, 2015.
  • Is Canada ripe for a food label fight? The Lawyers Weekly, November 26, 2014 (co-authored).
  • Taking Stock of Product Liability Food Claims in Canada, Law360, August 7, 2014 (co-authored).
  • Class actions for exaggerated health claims on the rise: report, by David Dias, Legal Feeds (Blog of Canadian Lawyer and Law Time), August 7, 2014.
  • Just Enough:  Practical Boundaries of Certification, Colloque National sur les Recours Collectifs, Barreau du Québec, March 2014 (co-authored).
  • Class Action Waivers Different From Arbitration Agreements? Osler Canadian Class Action Defence Blog, November 22, 2013 (co-authored).
  • Interviewed in The Law Times, “Are Class Actions Going to Trial More Often?” by Julius Melnitzer, September 2, 2013.
  • The Class of 2012: Where Are We Now?, Colloque National sur les Recours Collectifs, Barreau du Québec, March, 2013 (co-authored).
  • Class Actions in Canada 2012, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, January 30, 2013 (co-authored).
  • Multi-Jurisdictional Classes: Does Van Breda Change Anything?, OBA Class Acts, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2012 (co-authored with M. Paterson).
  • Litigating a Cross-Border Class Action in Canada, ALM Cross-Border Litigation Forum, New York, September 12, 2012.
  • The New Emergency Arbitration Rules of the ICC, CBA National Section on International Law Newsletter, April 2012 (co-authored with E. Morgan).
  • Ethical Challenges in Arbitration Advocacy, Advocates’ Society Arbitration Advocacy, March 27, 2012 (Speaker).
  • Multi-jurisdictional Class Actions: Will the New CBA and ABA Protocols Solve all our Problems? Développements Récents en Recours Collectifs, Barreau du Québec, Vol. 345, March 2012 (co-authored with M. Eizenga and M. Paterson) (Speaker).

Credentials

Education

  • Queen’s University, LL.B.
  • University of Waterloo, B.A. (Hons.)

Languages

  • English

Professional Affiliations

  • CUSMA Article 31.22 Advisory Committee On Private Commercial Disputes, Delegate
  • The Advocates’ Society, Executive Committee (2014-2018), Past President (2017-2018)
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC), Elected Member, Vice Chair, Class Action Section
  • International Association of Defence Counsel (IADC), Member, Vice Chair Membership, Vice Chair Engagement and Retention
  • Defence Research Institute (DRI), Member
  • Institute for Transactional Arbitration, Advisory Board Member
  • Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society (TCAS), Member, Past Member of Executive Committee
  • Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP), Past Advisory Board, Past Vice-President and Past Member of Board of Directors
  • ADR Institute of Canada, Past Member of Board of Directors
  • International Bar Association, Member
  • Canadian Bar Association (Ontario), Member
  • American Bar Association, Member, Litigation Section
  • Toronto Lawyers Association, Member