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 primarily within the natural resources, petrochemicals, and financial services industries, constitutional and administrative litigation, aboriginal litigation, tax dispute resolution, and franchising disputes. He also has significant experience in bankruptcies and proceedings pursuant to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act.

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

  • Mart Resources, Inc.

    Mart Resources, Inc., in its Plan of Arrangement with Midwestern Oil & Gas Company Limited

  • Administrative, Regulatory, and Aboriginal Litigation

    • Representing 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.
    • Acting for 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 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.
      • 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.
    • Successfully defended Nalcor Energy in 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 accommodateReported DecisionNunatukavut Community Council Inc. v Canada (Attorney General), 2015 FC 981.
      • 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.
    • 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 and Securities Litgation

    • Representing Aspenleaf Energy in the defence of a claim by Coral Hill Energy following the termination of an Arrangement Agreement.
    • Representing a financial advisory services firm in a confidential arbitration arising from a unanimous shareholders agreement.
    • Representing former corporate directors and officers in respect of a dispute arising from a securities subscription agreement for Mongolia Minerals Corporation.
    • Representing Mart Resources Inc. in its contested application under the Alberta Business Corporations Act Plan of Arrangement.
    • Representing CanElson Drilling 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 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 quick service restaurant franchisor in multiple franchise disputes and terminations.
    • Represented a major international quick service restaurant franchise in multiple franchise disputes, arbitrations and terminations.
    • Representing two major Canadian quick service restaurant franchisors in a termination and franchisee disputes.

    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.
  • Find More

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

  • Civil Claims Duty Counsel, volunteer.
  • Represented an individual in a dispute with Alberta Health Services regarding the inappropriate use of his personal medical information.
  • 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
  • Calgary Bar Association

  • 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).