Skip To Content
Thomas D.  Gelbman

Thomas D. Gelbman

Partner, Litigation


Contact Information

tgelbman@osler.com

tel: 403.260.7073

Office

Calgary

Bar Admission

Alberta, 2007

British Columbia, 2015

Education
  • University of Ottawa, LL.L. (summa cum laude)
  • University of Ottawa, LL.B.
  • Trinity College, Dublin, M. Phil.
  • University of Western Ontario, B.A., Dean’s List
Language(s)
English

Tommy’s practice includes arbitration and litigation of complex commercial disputes within the energy and petrochemical industries (including disputes arising from joint ventures, royalties, tort, and environmental claims), disputes arising from infrastructure and construction projects, constitutional and administrative litigation, aboriginal litigation, transactional and post-closing litigation, franchising disputes, tax, and other regulatory litigation. He also has significant experience in bankruptcies and proceedings pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

Tommy has argued cases at provincial courts in Alberta, British Columbia & Newfoundland & Labrador, at the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, and various provincial and federal tribunals. Tommy has practiced with the firm since 2006.

  • Benchmark Litigation Canada 2015: Future Star
  • Benchmark Canada 2014: Future Star

  • Editorial Board member of the Canadian Arbitration and Mediation Journal.
  • Civil Claims Duty Counsel, volunteer.
  • Representing 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.

  • Law Society of Alberta and British Columbia
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Alberta Arbitration & Mediation Society
  • Calgary Bar Association

Administrative, Regulatory, and Aboriginal Litigation

  • Acting for Nalcor Energy in the successful defence of multiple challenges to the proposed Lower Churchill River hydro-electric Project in Newfoundland and Labrador (the “Project”), at the Federal Court of Canada (“FCC”), Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”), Supreme Court of Newfoundland & Labrador, Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”), including:

    • Sierra Club, Grand River Keeper et al v. Nalcor Energy, Government of Canada et al.,: successful defence of the judicial review of the Report of the Joint Review Panel in relation to the environmental assessment of the Project Reported Decision: Grand Riverkeeper, Labrador Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2012 FC 1520.

    • Conseil des Innus de Ekuanitshit v. Nalcor Energy, Government of Canada et al: the successful defence at the FCC, FCA and SCC of the: (i) judicial review of the Federal Government Response to the Report of the Joint Review Panel and ultimate approval of the Project; and (ii) claim that the Crown had failed to consult/accommodate in relation to the Project. Reported Decisions: Conseil des innus de Ekuanitshit c. Canada (Procureur general), 2013 FC 418; Council of the Innu of Ekuanitshit v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 FCA 189; Conseil des Innus de Ekuanitshit v. Attorney General of Canada, in his capacity of legal member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, et al., 2015 CanLII 10578.

    • Nunatsiavut Government v. Her Majesty in Right of Newfoundland and Labrador: successful defence of Nalcor Energy before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in the: (i) judicial review of a provincial permit under the Water Resources Act in relation to the Project; and, (ii) claim that the Crown failed to fulfil its duty to consult and accommodate. Reported Decision: Nunatsiavut v. Newfoundland and Labrador (Department of Environment and Conservation), 2015 NLTD(G) 1.

    • Nunatsiavut Government v. Attorney General of Canada: successful defence of a judicial review of a federal Fisheries Act authorization in relation to the Project and claim that the Crown failed to fulfil its duty to consult and accommodate. Reported Decision: Nunatsiavut v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 FC 492.

    • NunatuKavut Community Council Inc. v. Attorney General of Canada: the judicial review of a federal Fisheries Act authorization in relation to the Project and the claim that the Crown failed to fulfil its duty to consult and accommodate.  FCC Decision Pending.

    • Nalcor Energy v. NunatuKavut Community Council et al: represented Nalcor Energy before the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in its injunction motion to enjoin protestors from their illegal blockade of a work site and interference with Nalcor’s lawfully permitted work in relation to its Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Generation Project. Reported Decisions: Nalcor Energy v. NunatuKavut Community Council Inc., 2012 NLTD(G) 175 and NunatuKavut Community Council Inc. v. Nalcor Energy, 2014 NLCA 46.

    • NunatuKavut Community Council Inc. et al v. Nalcor Energy et al: successful defence of an injunction motion brought by the Nuntukavut Community Council to enjoin a regulatory process. Reported Decision: Nunatukavut Community Council Inc. v. Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro-Electric Corporation (Nalcor Energy), 2011 NLTD (G) 44.

  • Acting for Kinder Morgan Canada Inc., in the defence of multiple challenges to the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion (the “Project”) at the FCC and the FCA, including:

    • Coldwater Indian Band and Chief Harold Aljam et al v. Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. et al: the successful defence of a judicial review application and appeal at the FCC and FCA regarding a pipeline expropriation dispute. Kinder Morgan was also entirely successful in its cross-appeal at the FCA. Reported DecisionsColdwater First Nation v. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2013 FC 1138; Coldwater Indian Band v. Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development), 2014 FCA 277.

    • Coldwater Indian Band and Chief Lee Spahan et al v. Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. et al: defending against a judicial review of a decision of the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development relating to the pipeline right of way through reserve land.

    • Tsleil-Waututh Nation v. NEB, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC and Attorney General, defending an appeal of a National Energy Board decision before the FCA, based on alleged breaches of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult.

  • Acted for Shell Canada Limited, in the defence 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 aboriginal 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.

  • Representing a privately-held oil and gas exploration and development company in a royalty dispute under the Indian Oil and Gas Act.

  • 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.

Energy Litigation and Arbitration

  • Ernst v. Encana et al: Defending Encana in an $11 million tort claim for damages by a landowner for alleged damages sustained due to “fracking” in oil and gas operations.

  • Representing Delphi Energy Corp. in a patent claim regarding oil and gas extraction technology.

  • Representing NOVA Chemicals Corporation in a complex commercial dispute with Dow Chemical Company concerning the operation of a petrochemical facility in Alberta.

  • Represented Mertex Canada Inc. in a contractual dispute with a counter party regarding liability for customs and duties related to tubing and line pipe imports.

  • Crew Energy v. Cenovus: defended Cenovus in a commercial dispute pertaining to a farmout agreement and the expiry of oil and gas leases. Reported Decision: Crew Energy v. Cenovus Energy Inc., 2012 ABQB 462.

  • 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.

  • 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 $1 billion purchase and sale transaction.

  • Represented Encana Corporation in preliminary inquiry and scheduled seven week trial re: charges pursuant to the Canada Wildlife Act in relation to commercial activities in the Suffield National Wildlife Area.

Transactional

  • Representing CanElson Drilling Inc. in its application under the Alberta Business Corporations Act Plan of Arrangement.

  • Representing Aspenleaf Energy in the defence of a claim by Coral Hill Energy following the termination of an Arrangement Agreement.

  • Representing Mart Resources Inc. in its application under the Alberta Business Corporations Act Plan of Arrangement.

  • Represented Calvalley Petroleum in its application under the Canadian Business Corporations Act Plan of Arrangement.

  • Total E&P on the formation of a strategic oil sands alliance between Total E&P Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc. encompassing the Fort Hills mining project, the Joslyn mining project and the Voyageur upgrader project.

  • Represented two major Canadian corporations in relation to investigations by U.S. and Canadian securities regulators.

  • NOVA Chemicals Corporation in its business combination with International Petroleum Investment Company through a court-approved plan of arrangement.

Arbitrations

  • Representing a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a unanimous shareholders agreement.

  • Representing an oilsands development corporation in two confidential arbitrations arising from disputes in the context of construction and infrastructure projects.

  • Representing a major international franchisor in a confidential arbitration arising from a franchise conveyance transaction.

  • Represented a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a contractual dispute with a client.

    Franchise Litigation

  • Represented a major Canadian sandwich chain in multiple franchise disputes and terminations.

  • Represented a major international sandwich franchise in multiple franchise disputes, arbitrations and terminations.

  • Representing a major Canadian fast food franchise in a franchisor dispute.

Bankruptcy and Insolvency

  • Represented SemCAMS ULC, a midstream operator, in its insolvency proceedings, successfully disputing two significant set-off disputes. Reported Decisions: SemCanada Crude Company (Re), 2009 ABQA 252; Nexen Marketing v. SemCAMS ULC, 2009 ABCA 237; SemCanada Crude Company (Re), 2009 ABQB 397; Trilogy Energy LP v. SemCAMS ULC, 2009 ABCA 275.

  • Represented SemCanada Crude Company, a Canadian crude oil gathering, storage and marketing company, in its insolvency proceedings, successfully disputing a set-off dispute against an oil trading counterparty. Reported Decision: SemCanada Crude Company (Re), 2009 ABQB 715.