Bill Hearn is an experienced business lawyer with expertise in corporate and commercial law and in specific areas of regulatory law.
He acts for businesses, governments, Crown agencies, charities and trade associations. The main industry sectors in which he works are agricultural, automotive, chemical, consumer products, construction, energy and resources, defence, financial services, gaming, liquor, life sciences, marine, pharmaceutical, rail, retail and sports and entertainment.
A recognized leader in many fields, Bill is ranked highly in Best Lawyers in Canada, Chambers Canada, Lexpert, Martindale-Hubbell, and Who’s Who Legal. He is listed as a Regulatory lawyer in the Lexpert 2019 Guide to the Leading U.S./Canada Cross-Border Lawyers in Canada. Chambers recognizes Bill as a “quintessential advertising and marketing lawyer”, saying he does “phenomenal work” in consumer protection and regulatory compliance, and “is talented and got years under his belt advising clients in the advertising and marketing area. He is highly regarded for his expertise in the food and pharmaceutical sectors.” Chambers also says Bill is “well known in the community for his thought leadership” and “experienced working with private and public clients”. Who’s Who Legal recognizes Bill as one of Canada’s leading shipping and maritime lawyers saying he is “a gifted lawyer with a broad client base”.
As a corporate and commercial lawyer, Bill’s practice includes: private mergers and acquisitions (especially in highly regulated industries such as for-profit post-secondary education); corporate governance (for businesses as well as trade associations and charities); corporate reorganizations; and negotiating and drafting contracts (such as RFPs, tenders, licenses, co-promotion and services agreements).
As a regulatory lawyer, Bill’s practice includes: advertising and marketing (with an emphasis on consumer protection, personal information and data protection, and Canada’s anti-spam law (CASL) compliance and enforcement; competition (mainly deceptive marketing practices, unilateral conduct, pricing and distribution policies, and compliance programs and audits); international trade (i.e., sales and remedies); privacy (especially with respect to consumers in the marketing context); procurement (mainly hospital and defence); and transportation (with a focus on marine).
Bill is a frequent writer and presenter on topics relating to his specialized areas of practice.
International Business and Trade Law
International Relations & Economics
Ethics & Privacy Committee Member, 2004-present
Law Committee Member, 1999-2012
Leading Advertising & Marketing Lawyer
Most Frequently Recommended in the area of Advertising & Marketing Law
Advertising & Marketing Lawyer
Leading Advertising & Marketing Lawyer
Leading Shipping & Maritime Lawyer
High BV® Distinguished – Business Law
Advising a public institution in consultations with Industry Canada on an innovative way to raise funds from the private sector in order to establish a new research centre through a public-private consortium involving the institution, a Canadian private sector company, and a defence contractor as members all to leverage financial contributions to the centre through the use of the contractor’s credits under the IRB policy applicable to the Canadian Government’s defence procurement projects.
Advising a corporation’s governance committee in resolving a difficult corporate governance matter that included navigating complex issues of law, ethics, public policy, government relations and public relations.
Advised limited partner in a project financing for a planned wind farm in Ontario that successfully closed.
Drafting plain language re-write of complex master energy conservation agreement (and related program rules, guidelines and other documents) with Ontario’s many independent electricity distributors.
Leading teams of corporate, tax, finance, employment and regulatory counsel (involving approvals under the Competition Act, Investment Canada Act and provincial private career college laws), working across borders with US and other foreign lawyers and establishing out-of-province ULCs and/or Luxembourg SARLs, to negotiate, draft and close many private M&A transactions where Canadian private career colleges have been either bought or sold.
Drafting complex and tailored agreements and advising on various commercial, trade-marks, privacy, banking and other regulatory legal issues to launch a first-of-its-kind national debit card awards program co-branding a major Canadian bank and one of Canada’s leading retailers.
Over an initial 12-month period, negotiating with Transport Canada and drafting the letters patent, by-laws, resolutions and other organizational documents and related agreements to commercialize a nationally significant port and establish it as a Canada port authority under the Canada Marine Act. Thereafter, advising that CPA and other CPAs from coast-to-coast on a variety of issues including amalgamation, infrastructure renewal, government funding and P3s, corporate governance, and PILTs.
Conducting corporate governance review, drafting changes to constating and charitable registration documents, and preparing corporate governance manual for directors and officers.
Representing an independent Canadian drywall producer against several multinational companies (with operations in both Canada and the United States) in a major anti-dumping hearing before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal and lobbying the federal Minister of Finance on public interest issues following a federal Order-in-Council to review the CITT’s decision all to ensure the continued imposition of duties on dumped imports of US drywall into Western Canada so as to protect Canadian producers from injury due to unfairly traded goods.
Settling high profile CRTC enforcement action regarding alleged violations of CASL and assisting client enhance its CASL compliance program to fulfill undertaking with CRTC.
Updating code of practice for members and providing advice on training programs for members.
Providing health professions regulation, privacy and extra-provincial corporate registration advice for launch of employee benefit wellness coaching program across Canada.
Advising company in connection with Canada’s Commissioner of Competition’s litigation against Bell, Rogers, Telus and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association regarding alleged deceptive advertising of certain premium text messaging and rich content services.
Advising as a registered lobbyist on proposed changes to Canada’s direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising laws.
Advising as a registered lobbyist on marine port regulatory matters related to proposed major pipeline project in Canada.
Advising on range of advertising & marketing and sponsorship issues for promoting sports teams and other events, and helping it establish a CASL compliance program.
Advising on range of advertising & marketing issues (including contests and promotions) and intellectual property protection issues relating to studio’s new film releases.
Advising on range of corporate governance, competition law compliance, regulatory, public policy & government relations, and other matters including protection of proprietary interests in pesticides data and other intellectual property matters and working with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency.
Providing Canadian advertising & marketing, consumer protection, commercial, pricing, privacy, payment card, anti-money laundering and unclaimed property law advice to a leading international family entertainment and media enterprise regarding its industry-leading global suite of online virtual worlds for kids.
Lobbying the federal and Ontario governments to establish a new basis on which Canada port authorities would make payments in lieu of taxation (PILTs) to their neighbouring municipal governments.
Leading a multi-lawyer team in a three-pronged attack on dumped and subsidized US grain corn which included: launching anti-dumping and countervailing duty proceedings (culminating in an application for judicial review to the Federal Court in which there were 34 adverse parties including the United States Trade Representative), convincing Canada to launch a WTO complaint against certain US agricultural subsidies and lobbying federal and provincial governments for more robust risk management programs for Canadian corn farmers.