Lawyer Profile Detail

Adam Ship








University of Toronto


Ontario, 2008


Adam Ship is a partner in our Litigation Group in Toronto and Co-Chair of the firm’s National Franchise & Distribution Group. His practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and franchise-distribution law.

Mr. Ship is recognized as a leading franchise lawyer in Who’s Who: Canada, and as an up-and-coming franchise lawyer by Chambers Canada. He was also listed as one of the 2015 Lexpert Rising Stars: Leading Lawyers Under 40 in Canada.

Mr. Ship’s commercial litigation practice includes contract disputes, franchise-distribution litigation, competition litigation, class actions, and domestic and international arbitrations. He has appeared as counsel before all levels of court in Ontario, the B.C. Supreme Court, the Supreme Court of Canada and various arbitral panels, in trials, hearings, appeals, injunctions and applications.

Mr. Ship routinely advises domestic and international franchisors, manufacturers and master distributors in all areas of franchise-distribution law. He has extensive experience advising on strategic and risk management issues and also drafts and advises on franchise agreements and disclosure documents for clients across diverse industries. Mr. Ship is Adjunct Professor of franchise and distribution law at the University of Toronto and received the Ontario Bar Association's Award for Excellence in Franchise Law in 2012 and 2013 for his legal writing in this area.

Prior to joining McCarthy Tétrault, Mr. Ship clerked for several Justices at the Ontario Court of Appeal. Mr. Ship received an Honours BA (with high distinction) and a JD (with honours standing), both from the University of Toronto, in 2004 and 2007.


  • Representing MolsonCoors in a multiparty competition class action relating to the distribution of beer in Ontario
  • Assisting an international franchisor in an arbitration against its Canadian master franchisee to enforce non-competition and confidentiality covenants
  • Ongoing advice and representation to Bell Mobility with its national dealer network, including current representation in multi-dealer system change litigation
  • Advising Suzuki Canada in the discontinuation of its automotive dealer network in Canada and representation in related litigation and an arbitration commenced by the majority of its dealers
  • Representation of TD Bank before the Competition Tribunal, and ongoing representation in class action proceedings, related to licensing arrangements with Visa and MasterCard (Commissioner of Competition v. Visa Canada et al, 2013 CACT 1)
  • Representing MolsonCoors in litigation to enforce certain master distribution and licensing rights in Canada (Molson Canada v. Miller Brewing Company, 2013 ONSC 2758)
  • Ongoing assistance to a U.S. franchisor to "Canadianize" and update its franchise agreements and national disclosure documents for its three home services brands.
  • Negotiating a master franchise agreement for a client acquiring the Canadian rights to a U.S. restaurant brand; drafting the standard unit franchise agreement for Canada.
  • Labatt Brewing Co. v. NHL Enterprises Canada (2011), 86 B.L.R. (4th) 190, ONCA 511, 282 O.A.C. 151, 106 O.R. (3d) 677, ONSC 5652 (successful appeal and rehearing in multiparty dispute under long-term performance contract)


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