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Strategic Advisors

Doing business in Canada and abroad requires strategic guidance in addressing opportunities and challenges in an ever-changing legislative and geopolitical landscape. Consisting of some of Canada’s most esteemed public service leaders, our Strategic Advisors Group can help you navigate evolving policy and economic impacts to ensure you move your business and transactions forward.

Amid today’s dynamic business environment, organizations face a wide range of issues, from economic impacts brought on by domestic and international developments to geopolitical and cross-border challenges — all while balancing the need to thrive and grow.

McCarthy Tétrault's Strategic Advisors Group has a mission to assist clients with strategic problems that arise at the intersection of commercial mandates and government policy or regulations. We bring together experienced legal practitioners with seasoned professionals who have significant public service, political, and issues management experience at both the federal and provincial levels of government to ensure you receive holistic, pragmatic advice that will help you gain and maintain a competitive edge.

Leading strategic guidance for your domestic and international commercial needs

Our Strategic Advisors Group is uniquely attuned to the political and commercial realities facing your organization and will provide the guidance you need to navigate the evolving business, industry and public sector environments in which you operate. We offer:

  • Unmatched experience: Having served in important and influential public service roles, and with extensive experience working collaboratively with government and other public sector entities, our strategic advisors have the expertise needed to help private sector organizations with critical high-profile and high-stakes projects involving all levels of government. Combining their tactical experience with strategic regulatory and policy insights, our advisors will provide a roadmap for success aligned with your specific organizational goals.
  • Unique expertise: As expert negotiators adept at resolving challenges on both a national and global scale, our strategic advisors are known for their ability to deliver successful and collaborative solutions amid conflicting interests. With a detailed understanding of the key issues affecting your particular situation and governments who may stand in your way or who are key partners in moving your business forward, our advisors will help you navigate problems that can impede business, while effectively managing the political sensitivities at play.
  • Expert, collaborative approach: Using a one-firm approach, our strategic advisors work together with our lawyers across offices, industries, and practices, including foreign investment review, tax, energy, labour, environment, Indigenous, banking & financial services, regulatory, and real estate, to draw on best practices for projects and matters of all magnitudes. Together, our team members tackle issues by addressing the legal aspects of your mandate, the government context, and any considerations surrounding political drivers in decision-making. We deliver exceptional value by holistically addressing problems and all of the political, regulatory, and commercial aspects of your business needs, in supporting complex transactions, projects and domestic and international matters.

Our Strategic Advisors

  • Dave Nikolejsin is a Strategic Advisor located in British Columbia. He has held a number of government positions and possesses outstanding technical skills and strategic insights into and knowledge of the commercial and political realities facing Canada’s oil and gas, energy and mining sectors. He previously served the British Columbia government as Deputy Minister for seven years with responsibility for mining, BC Hydro, independent power producers, oil, natural gas and pipeline affairs. Dave was the Chief Information Officer for the British Columbia government, chaired the Broader Public Sector CIO Council and currently chairs the Digital Identity and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC).
  • Gaëtan Thomas is a Strategic Advisor with McCarthy Tétrault. He advises firm clients on the strategic issues surrounding their important infrastructure projects, including utility planning and leadership, major construction engineering, electrical energy generation, transmission and distribution, and government relations. Gaëtan is President and CEO of Conseil Économique of New Brunswick, representing more than 500 francophone businesses, and he was the former President and CEO of New Brunswick Power. During his 38-year career with NB Power, Gaëtan led the utility through significant construction projects including transmission projects.
  • The Honourable Wayne Wouters is a Strategic and Policy Advisor at McCarthy Tétrault and former Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada, Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service. He brings his extensive experience and keen insight to our firm clients developed during his distinguished 37-year career in public service, including five years serving as the Clerk of the Privy Council of Canada. As Clerk, he held the roles of Deputy Minister to the Prime Minister, Secretary to the Cabinet and Head of the Public Service, providing direct advice and support to the Prime Minister on all issues affecting and implicating the federal government.
  • Paul Zed is Counsel and a Strategic Advisor in our Toronto office, with a distinguished career in law, business and politics. Mr. Zed has provided strategic leadership advice in the technology and telecom industries, including serving as President’s Advisory Board Chair at Rogers Enterprise and Cisco Systems Canada, where the team led the largest tech investment in Canadian history. Having been elected and served almost 10 years as a Member of Parliament in the Canadian House of Commons he chaired some of the most important committees and authored numerous reports on ethics, banking, anti-terrorism and doing business with government. His collaborative, problem-solving, and public policy background is critical to client success.
  • Ross Langley is a strategic advisor with McCarthy Tétrault based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With decades of experience in federal and provincial government matters including procurement and contract negotiations, Ross helps clients quickly identify the critical facts and find effective, practical solutions. As a senior executive and General Counsel of a large group of diversified companies in defence, manufacturing, transportation, natural resources, construction and retail, Ross has helped shape and execute corporate strategies across multiple areas while managing the law, insurance/risk, pensions and benefits and other corporate functions.