Tommy Gelbman

Tommy litigates complex, high-stakes corporate disputes, predominantly in the natural resources, petrochemical and financial services industries. He has extensive experience in judicial review and appeals of government decision making, civil fraud, class action defence, tax dispute resolution, and disputes arising from M&A transactions, joint ventures and other complex commercial arrangements.

He is a trusted advisor to several significant natural resource development clients in managing their potential dispute risks arising from transactions, joint ventures, government decision-making, regulatory proceedings, and industrial incidents.

Tommy has a proven track record of understanding and advancing clients’ corporate interests with a strategic and persistent focus on achieving their objectives, whether in the courts or by way of negotiated resolution. He always manages files with a view to ensuring efficient and cost-effective resolutions to disputes, often under alternative fee arrangements. He skillfully assembles integrated lawyer teams, often drawing from across Osler’s offices, to ensure that the proper resources are dedicated to the dispute.

Tommy regularly argues cases in jurisdictions across Canada, in both the provincial superior courts and the federal courts system. Highlights of his most recent work include: representing Primerica in a dispute arising from defamation and breaches of the Competition Act by a third party, representing BBB Industries in a complex civil fraud perpetrated by former employees and others,  successfully representing TikTok in the defence of two privacy class proceedings, successfully representing Imperial Oil in a price fixing class proceeding related to gasoline pricing in British Columbia, representing CNOOC Petroleum in a contractual dispute, and representing NaturEner in a post-closing transaction related to windfarms in southern Alberta.

Tommy supports Osler’s community involvement activities by sitting as a member of Osler’s Pro Bono Committee, taking on regular pro bono files, and volunteering as Civil Claims Duty Counsel at the Calgary Provincial Court.

Representative Work

Arbitration and Arbitration Enforcement

  • Represented a Canadian oil and gas development corporation in a confidential international arbitration with an Egyptian counterparty
  • Represented a major oil sands developer in two confidential arbitrations relating to multi-million-dollar construction disputes on site, and insurance claims arising from same
  • Represented a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a contractual dispute with a renewable energy client
  • Represented a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a unanimous shareholders agreement
  • Represented a large, U.S.-based privately held exploration and production company in an arbitration proceeding against a major Canadian oil and gas producer in a post-closing dispute arising from a $500 million purchase and sale transaction
  • Represented PetroKazakhstan in a long running dispute with Russian energy giant, Lukoil, concerning their joint ownership of JSC Turgai Petroleum, which holds significant energy assets in Kazakhstan. Osler also advised in the arbitral enforcement dispute and ultimate settlement of the Turgai ownership dispute
  • Successfully defended Niska Gas Storage US, LLC, a natural gas storage operator owned by Riverstone Holdings, LLC, in an application for leave to appeal an arbitral award arising from a $1.5 billion purchase and sale transaction. Reported Decision: Alenco Inc. v. Niska Gas Storage US, LLC, 2009 ABQB 192


Tax Litigation

  • Representing Wheaton Precious Metals in its pending transfer pricing appeal in the Tax Court of Canada
  • Representing Murphy Oil in respect of a judicial review and statutory appeal of decisions taken by the Minister of Finance under the Offshore Area Corporate Income Tax Act
  • Successfully Represented the Toronto Dominion Bank in a judicial review and statutory appeal of decisions taken by the British Columbia Commissioner of Income Tax and the Minister of Finance in respect of an annual corporate tax return. Reported Decision: TD Bank v. British Columbia (Commissioner of Income Tax) 2017 BCCA 159

Administrative and Constitutional Litigation, and Regulatory Appeals

  • Successfully represented Shell Canada Limited in the defence of a statutory appeal by O’Chiese First Nation of regulatory permitting natural resource projects granted by the Alberta Energy Regulatory. Reported Decision: O’Chiese First Nation v Alberta Energy Regulator, 2015 ABCA 348 (leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada denied)
  • Successfully defended NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. before the Federal Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of  Canada  with respect to two motions for leave to judicially review a decision of the Governor in Council taken under section 52 of the National Energy Board Act approving the North Montney Mainline pipeline project
  • Represented Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. and Trans Mountain Canada, in the defence of multiple challenges to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion at the Federal Court, Federal Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of British Columbia, and British Columbia Court of Appeal.
  • Successfully defended Nalcor Energy in multiple challenges to the proposed Lower Churchill River hydro-electric Project in Newfoundland and Labrador, at the Federal Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Supreme Court of Canada
  • Successfully defended Shell Canada Limited in respect of challenges to Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine expansion at the Alberta Court of Appeal and the Federal Court of Canada. Reported Decisions: Métis Nation of Alberta Region 1 v. Joint Review Panel, 2012 ABCA 352 (leave to appeal to SCC denied); and Adam v. Canada (Environment), 2014 FC 1185.
  • Represented Chieftain Metals in an indigenous and administrative challenge to the environmental assessment certificate granted by the B.C. Environmental Assessment office to permit operation of its mineral proportion in British Columbia. Reported Decision: Taku River Tlingit First Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Environment) 2014 BCSC 1278
  • Represented a privately-held oil and gas exploration and development company in a royalty dispute under the Indian Oil and Gas Act
  • Represented Talisman, Shell Canada, TAQA North, Mancal, ConocoPhillips, and Encana in a dispute with the Sunchild First Nation over duties of consultation and the cumulative effects of energy developments


Transactional and Securities Litigation

  • Representing Aspenleaf Energy in the defence of a claim by Coral Hill Energy following the termination of an Arrangement Agreement. Representing Culligan in defence of a claim following the termination of an asset purchase transaction
  • Representing a public insurer in a B.C. Securities Commission investigation
  • Represented former corporate directors and officers in respect of a dispute arising from a securities subscription agreement for Mongolia Minerals Corporation
  • Represented Laricina Energy in a dispute with a former executive
  • Represented both purchaser and vendor in both contested and uncontested Plan of Arrangement applications under the Alberta and British Columbia Business Corporations Acts, including NOVA Chemicals Corporation, AQM Copper, Mart Resources, Calvalley Petroleum, Teleflex, CanElson Drilling and PrairieSky

Latest Insights

  • Report May 7, 2024

    Privacy Jurisprudence Review

    Osler’s semi-annual Privacy Jurisprudence Review is intended to help busy in-house counsel, Chief Privacy Officers and compliance professionals ...

    Read more
    Privacy Jurisprudence Review
  • Osler Update Nov 27, 2023

    Court rules federal cabinet acted outside their authority by broadly designating plastic manufactured items as toxic

    The Federal Court recently ruled that the federal cabinet acted outside their authority when they issued an order adding “Plastic Manufactured Items” ...

    Read more
    Court rules federal cabinet acted outside their authority by broadly designating plastic manufactured items as toxic
  • Osler Update Aug 10, 2022

    Legal writing: The B.C. Court of Appeal provides guidance on the drafting of factums

    The importance of conciseness in legal writing and a summary of key first principles on factum drafting was emphasized in a recent Court decision.

    Read more
  • Osler Update Mar 14, 2022

    Supreme Court of British Columbia grants summary dismissal of fuel price class action

    An analysis of the Supreme Court of British Columbia decision in Pantusa v. Parkland Fuel Corporation is provided by Osler lawyers.

    Read more
View all Insights

Awards and Recognition

  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: Recognized in Franchise Law – Franchisor
  • Benchmark Litigation Canada: Recognized in Construction; Dispute Resolution; Securities; Environmental; Commercial; Oil and Gas; Energy (Litigation Star)
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Recognized in Appellate Practice

Media Mentions

  • Osler News Jan 27, 2020

    29 Osler lawyers recognized in Benchmark Litigation 2020

    Osler is proud to announce that 29 of our litigation lawyers appear in Benchmark Litigation’s 2020 issue of Benchmark Canada, their annual publication...

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  • Osler News Apr 17, 2018

    25 Osler lawyers recognized in Benchmark Litigation 2018

    Osler is proud to announce that 25 of its lawyers appear in Benchmark Litigation’s 2018 issue of Benchmark Canada, their annual publication recognizin...

    Read more
  • Osler News Feb 27, 2017

    Benchmark Canada recognizes Osler’s Class Action expertise

    Benchmark Canada recently presented its 2017 awards at a gala ceremony in Toronto. We are proud to announce Osler partner Maureen Killoran Q.C. won En...

    Read more

Community Involvement

  • Member of Osler’s Pro Bono Committee
  • Civil Claims Duty Counsel, regular volunteer to assist individuals with limited means with civil litigation matters.
  • Represented an individual in a dispute with Alberta Health Services regarding the inappropriate use of personal medical information. Represented the Canadian Civil Liberties Association as an intervenor in the appeal of Pridgen v. University of Calgary. Pridgen v. University of Calgary, 2012 ABCA 139.
  • Represented an individual in his capacity as Administrator Ad Litem of his deceased daughter’s estate in a leave to appeal application to the Supreme Court of Canada arising from a breach of fiduciary duty claim.

Speaking and Writing

Published Work

  • Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upholds constitutionality of federal carbon pricing regime, Osler Update, May 7, 2019 (co-authored with Jan Nitslawski)
  • Alberta Court of Appeal finds Alberta local beer preferences unconstitutional, Osler Update, December 12, 2019 (co-authored with Colin Feasby and Daniel Downie)
  • Supreme Court Majority alters framework for judicial reviews and statutory appeals, Osler Update, December 20, 2019 (co-authored with Maureen Killoran, QC, W. David Rankin and Sean Sutherland)
  • Ontario Court of Appeal upholds constitutionality of federal carbon pricing regime, Osler Update, July 15, 2019 (co-authored with Richard J. King, Jennifer Fairfax)
  • Divided Supreme Court suggests standard of review framework is unsettled, Osler Update, June 21, 2018 (co-authored with Sean Sutherland and Devin Aman).
  • First Nation denied injunction based on prejudice to corporate respondent, Osler Update, May 2, 2018 (co-authored with Maureen Killoran, QC, Sean Sutherland and Komal Jatoi).
  • Notable decisions in Alberta and British Columbia, Osler Update, April 19, 2018 (co-authored with Catherine Hamill).
  • Murky Waters: Emerging Trends in Aboriginal Consultation and Project Approval, CELF 2014 Jasper Research Seminar, June 12, 2014. Published in the Alberta Law Review Vol 52, No. 2 (December 2014) page 207.
  • Recent Developments in the Law of Set-off, Annual Review of Insolvency Law, 2009 (co-authored with A. Robert Anderson, Q.C. and Benjamin Pullen).
  • U.N. Panel Release Mitigation of Climate Change Report, Osler Update, May 16, 2007 (co-authored with Shawn Denstedt, Dan Kirby and Matthew Keen).
  • Supreme Court Upholds Aboriginal Logging Rights, Osler Update, December 11, 2007 (co-authored with Shawn Denstedt, JoAnn Jamieson and Matthew Keen).
  • Alberta’s New Rules of Court: Podcast, November 1, 2010.
  • Canada’s Clean Air Act Represents Shift in Addressing Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, Osler Update, October 25, 2006 (co-authored with Dan Kirby, Shawn Denstedt, Jacob Sadikman and Ryan Rodier).



  • University of Ottawa, LL.L.
  • University of Ottawa, LL.B.
  • Trinity College, Dublin, M. Phil.
  • University of Western Ontario, B.A.


  • English

Professional Affiliations

  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Law Society of British Columbia
  • Law Society of Ontario
  • Canadian Bar Association