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Sean Sutherland

Sean Sutherland

Associate, Litigation


Contact Information

ssutherland@osler.com

tel: 403.355.7458

Office

Calgary

Bar Admission

Alberta, 2014

British Columbia, 2017

Education
  • University of Victoria, J.D.
  • University of Calgary, B.A. (Political Science) (with Distinction)
Language(s)
English

Sean’s national litigation practice focuses on business-critical disputes. He acts for corporate clients in complex oil and gas litigation, environmental matters, regulatory investigations, class action defence and product liability actions.

Additionally, Sean has considerable experience representing major resource project proponents, corporate taxpayers, regulated industries and government in constitutional challenges, appeals and judicial review of ministerial and tribunal decisions. These cases often involve stay or injunction applications, the duty to consult Indigenous peoples, and novel legal issues.

Sean regularly appears in courts across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, the Alberta Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, the British Columbia Court of Appeal, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, the British Columbia Supreme Court and the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench.

In addition to his corporate and commercial practice, Sean is active in pro bono, public interest advocacy.

When not in court, Sean works with clients proactively to identify and mitigate risks to their business.

Sean clerked at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and has otherwise spent his entire legal career at Osler, joining as a summer student in 2011.  

    • Representing Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC in challenges to the federal and provincial approvals of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the “Project”), including appeals, judicial reviews, and injunctions at the Federal Court of Appeal,British Columbia Supreme Court, British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Representation to date also includes successful constitutional motions at the National Energy Board (“NEB”) regarding City of Burnaby municipal permits and a constitutional reference proceeding at the BCCA .
    • Represented Encana Corporation in relation to court and arbitration proceedings related to a $500 million investment by Toyota Tsusho Wheatland Inc. in Alberta gas properties.
    • Represented Murphy Oil in respect of a judicial review and statutory appeal of decisions taken by the Newfoundland and Labrador Minister of Finance under the Offshore Area Corporate Income Tax Act..
    • Representing a major multinational pharmaceutical company​ in respect of a product liability class action commenced in British Columbia.
    • Successfully represented TC Energy in various applications for a stay, injunctions and motions for leave to appeal in the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench and the Federal Court of Appeal, with respect to pipelines and facilities
    • Successfully defended NOVA Gas Transmission Ltd. before the Federal Court of Appeal 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.
    • Acted for Shell Canada Limited before the Alberta Court of Appeal and in leave to appeal proceedings to the Supreme Court of Canada in the successful defence of a statutory appeal by O’Chiese First Nation of regulatory permitting of natural resource projects granted by the Alberta Energy Regulator.
    • Successfully represented the Toronto Dominion Bank before the British Columbia Court of Appeal 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.
    • Represented TransAlta Corporation with respect to its defence in the first contested enforcement proceeding brought by the Market Surveillance Administrator of Alberta, which included an oral hearing before the Alberta Utilities Commission.
    • Represented a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a unanimous shareholders agreement.

  • Law Foundation/David Strong Leadership in Legal Studies Award
  • Professor Jim Ellis Memorial Prize in International Law
  • Jim Ellis International Law Mooting Award
  • Arthur Close, QC Prize in Advanced Legal Research

Sean maintains an active pro bono and community law practice with an emphasis on appellate litigation, including:

  • Successfully representing the Appellant at the Supreme Court of Canada in Pintea v. Johns, 2017 SCC 23
  • Representing an Intervenor at the Supreme Court of Canada in Frank v. Canada (Attorney General), 2019 SCC 1
  • Working with counsel for the Intervenor Canadian Civil Liberties Association at the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Pridgen v. University of Calgary, 2012 ABCA 139

  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Law Society of British Columbia
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Calgary Bar Association
  • The Advocates’ Society
  • Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners

Presentations:

  • “Recent Developments and Cases to Watch in 2019”, Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) – Environmental Law Section, Calgary, Alberta, March 4, 2019 (co-presenter with Maureen Killoran, QC)
  • “Injunctions and Blockades in relation to Resource Projects”, Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) – Aboriginal Law Section, Calgary, Alberta, February 13, 2019 (co-presenter with Maureen Killoran, QC and Shaun Parker)
  • “Indigenous Rights in Regulatory Decision-Making”, Canadian Bar Association, National Webinar, October 16, 2018 (co-presenter with Robert Janes, QC, Maureen Killoran, QC and Sara Mainville)
  • “The limits of provincial jurisdiction for federal pipelines”, Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) – Natural Resources Law Section, Calgary, Alberta, May 9, 2018 (co-presenter with Maureen Killoran, QC)
  • “The Duty to Act Honestly: Considerations for Business”, Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) – Business Law Section, Calgary, Alberta, January 22, 2015
     

Publications:

  •  “Resource projects and Indigenous consultation – What is best practice after a year of uncertainty?”, Osler Legal Year in Review, December 18, 2018 (with Shawn Denstedt, QC, Maureen Killoran, QC and Brad Wall)
  • “Supreme Court creates uncertainty in finding no duty to consult during the law-making process”, Osler Update, October 11, 2018 (co-author with Maureen Killoran, QC, Tommy Gelbman and Carson Wetter)
  • “Divided Supreme Court suggests standard of review framework is unsettled”, Osler Update, July 21, 2018 (co-author with Tommy Gelbman and Devin Aman)
  • “Federal Court of Appeal upholds Canada’s post-Northern Gateway consultation process”, Osler Update, May 16, 2018 (co-author with Maureen Killoran, QC and Olivia Dixon)
  • “First Nation denied injunction based on prejudice to corporate respondent”, Osler Update, May 2, 2018 (co-author with Maureen Killoran, QC, Tommy Gelbman and Komal Jatoi)
  • “Appellate Court Splits On Evidentiary Threshold For Certification”, Canadian Class Action Defence Blog, October 6, 2016 (co-author with Tristram Mallett)
  • “Consumer Protection And Misrepresentation: Hurdles For In-Store Sales”, Canadian Class Action Defence Blog, June 25, 2015 (co-author with Tristram Mallett and Kelly Osaka)
  • “Appeal Court Overturns Order That Province Pay Damages to Timber Company over Aboriginal Road Blockade”, Osler Update, May 9, 2015 (co-author with Tommy Gelbman and Thomas Isaac)