Canada-U.S. Platform

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Canada and the United States enjoy the world’s largest two-way trading relationship, with more than $1 trillion in goods, services, and investments traversing the border each year. Whether it’s automobiles, cans of chicken noodle soup, or digital transactions, Canada-U.S. trade includes goods and services that cross the border up to a dozen times during assembly and production.


Companies operating in this integrated market encounter separate legal and regulatory regimes at federal, state, provincial, and local levels. At Dickinson Wright, we take a whole-of-firm approach to these matters through our Canada-U.S. Platform (CUSP). As one of a few law firms with full-service offices  operating in both Canada and the United States, CUSP extends beyond having a traditional one-off Canada-U.S. practice by drawing all of our firm’s practice departments and client service teams into one cross-border team.  All that our clients need to do is plug-in.


Our lawyers do not just serve as foreign legal consultants; they are licensed to practice in their respective jurisdictions and have decades of experience in the issues confronting Canada-U.S. transactions. This unified representation provides our clients with a one-stop analysis where all their needs are met on both sides of the border.


Our Team


Our lawyers serve as leaders of the Canada-U.S. relationship including former elected government officials, regulatory officers, and in-house counsel. They are regularly cited for their experience by Chambers®, Super Lawyers®, Best Lawyers® and other leading evaluating organizations.


Our Canada-U.S. Platform is at the forefront of matters such as artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, life science, cannabis, and trade, helping to positively shape the future for businesses on both sides of the border. We closely monitor legislation and advocate for our clients’ interests, assisting them in understanding how new regulations impact their operations. Most recently, we worked closely with officials making key changes to NAFTA, and have played a role in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).


Our Services


As a full-service law firm, with offices located in key North American trade corridors, including Ontario, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arizona, Nevada, and Texas, our Canada-U.S. platform provides seamless legal services to meet the cross-border needs of our clients, their networks and suppliers.


  •  National Security & Defense
  • Direct Sellers

  • Taxation               
  • USMCA                           

Automotive: Leveraging our strong presence in the automotive industry from Detroit to Ontario and the South, as well as our experience in the software and information-technology industries, our team delivers superior legal advice to clients in the automotive industry. We counsel clients on changes in risk allocations occurring between traditional automotive and new technology companies. We also mitigate supply chain risks by developing proactive in-contract provisions that your company can implement in the event of distressed customers, supplier situations, and impending legal action.


Canada-U.S. Trade: In an increasingly global marketplace, international trade is an important part of business for many companies. Dickinson Wright draws on the resources of more than 40 practice areas to offer an integrated solution to our clients’ global business needs. We work with clients across industries, with specialized experience in the manufacturing, industrial, and technology sectors. We are highly experienced at helping clients with customs and international trade issues and meeting their compliance obligations while maximizing benefits and opportunities through international trade.


Regulatory Compliance: Whether expanding into or throughout Canada by way of acquisition, bricks and mortar, or e-commerce, we provide solutions to businesses facing the ever increasing complexity associated with regulatory compliance in advertising and promoting products and services, pre-market review and licensing of products, product safety, product liability and product recalls. We have the knowledge and experience to provide industry specific advice in many areas, such as:


  • Cannabis, Marijuana & Hemp

  • Hazardous Products

  • e-Cigarettes & Tobacco

  • Contests & Loyalty Programs

  •  Foods
  • Medical Devices

  • Natural Health Products

  • Pest Control Products

  •  Cosmetics
  • Pet Products

  •  Dietary Supplements
  •  Textiles
  • Direct Sellers

  • Jewelry & Precious Metals

  •  Drugs
  • Toys & Infant Products

  •  Consumer Products
  • Art & Craft Supplies


Franchising: Franchise businesses account for almost half of all retail sales in Canada and the United States. With extensive experience acting on behalf of clients in a wide-range of industries, we work with Canadian and American franchisors taking their systems across the border or overseas. We also assist foreign franchisors seeking to operate in Canada and the U.S. In either situation, we provide advice and assistance with all applicable legal issues. Our clients range from start-up systems, to regional franchisees, to vast franchise and distribution systems operating internationally. We are dedicated to obtaining positive results for our clients in a way that is cost effective and tailored to meet each of their particular needs.


Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Insolvency: Lawyers in Dickinson Wright’s Bankruptcy, Restructuring, and Insolvency practice have extensive experience in Canadian, U.S., and international insolvency matters. Using a team-based approach, we help our clients effectively address the wide array of challenges that arise when dealing with companies in financial distress by protecting our clients’ interests, enforcing our clients’ rights, and restructuring troubled businesses.


Litigation: Understanding that litigation is costly and time consuming and may damage the reputation of a business, we proactively address issues and assist our cross-border clients with establishing effective risk-avoidance strategies to avoid the courtroom. But, when action is necessary, our clients benefit from our creative and efficient approach to litigating disputes on both sides of the border.

 Representative Case Matters


Advised companies in Canadian and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, and sales, as well as in takeover bids, both on the target and the acquirer sides.


Advised clients on Canadian and cross-border public and private offerings of debt, equity, convertible, and hybrid securities, stock exchange listings and other matters for issuers.


Assisted clients with customs and international trade issues, including customs compliance, customs fines, penalties, seizure, and investigations, NAFTA and other preferential trade agreements, consumer product safety and a host of other issues. 


Counseled a vendor in the sale of Toronto-based, national private label education provider to an international purchaser operating in the same field.


Counseled a Canadian chartered bank in the establishment of a revolving credit line for a North American car rental company.


Provided Canadian counsel to a U.S. trailer manufacturer in the establishment of their credit facility with a U.S. Bulge Bracket Bank.


Represented some of the world's foremost franchises, providing legal services to Canadian and international clients on all aspects of Canadian franchise law.


Represented clients located in both Canada and the U.S. on both vertical and horizontal merger arrangements as part of strategic re-alignments.


Assisted with a Canadian company’s cross-border reverse takeover of a U.S. public company, structured as an exchangeable share transaction.


Provided counsel for the sale of a Canadian manufacturer of custom sauces, marinades, dips, and dressings for foodservice customers throughout the U.S. and Canada to a U.S. private investment firm targeting industrial technology and advanced manufacturing companies. 


Provided counsel in the acquisition of a Canadian distributor of sealing, fastener and hose products by a U.S. based global company that is a leading industrial distributor providing engineering, design and systems integration for industrial and fluid power applications, as well as customized mechanical, fabricated rubber and fluid power shop services.


Assisted clients with obtaining patents in Canada, the U.S., and elsewhere covering a wide range of technologies, including electronic payment and financial transaction systems, nanoparticle particle detection and identification, fuel treatments, telephone communications, vehicle monitoring and control.

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