Daniel Urbas is an experienced litigator, arbitrator and mediator with over 25 years of dispute resolution experience. He has earned a variety of repeat, annual peer recognitions including “Leading Lawyer” in “Commercial Arbitration” in the 2019 edition of the Lexpert ® / American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, “Most Frequently Recommended” in the 2019 edition of The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for Commercial Arbitration, “Thought Leader” in 2019 edition of Who’s Who Legal – Litigation and AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Daniel focuses exclusively on serving as an arbitrator and mediator. As arbitrator, Daniel serves as a sole arbitrator, as chair or as party-nominated member of three (3) member arbitration tribunals. His appointments have been made by individual parties, by the parties jointly on consent, by court orders and by various administering institutions including ICC, CCAC and IATA.
A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (“CIArb”) based in London, UK, as well as a founding Director of the CIArb’s Canada Branch, Daniel is listed on various rosters including general commercial rosters organized by the ICDR, CIETAC and BCICAC and on more specialized, industry/activity specific rosters such as the Canada Transport Agency’s roster.
Daniel’s dispute resolution experience spans a variety of commercial and civil matters, intellectual property (including anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting litigation) and information technologies, energy (wind, bio), natural resources (mining, forestry, fishing), shareholder disputes, real estate and lease disputes, product liability, construction, distribution and franchise, Aboriginal law matters including treaty and land claims litigation and dispute resolution of agreements relating to governance and natural resource development on native peoples’ territories.
He handled trial and appellate advocacy, as well as urgent and extraordinary applications. He has appeared before the provincial and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as before arbitration tribunals and various administrative tribunals. Fluently bilingual in both English and French with degrees in both Common Law and Civil Law, Daniel is an active member of the Barreau du Québec, the Law Society of Ontario and the Law Society of British Columbia. At his former national law firm, up until June 2017, Daniel served as Regional Leader of the International Trade Litigation and Arbitration group and Regional Leader of the Intellectual Property Litigation group. Formerly, Daniel was also Regional Leader of the Commercial Litigation group and National Leader of the Intellectual Property Litigation group.
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Canada – Enforcing Award’s Remedy Excludes Substituting Court’s Own Remedy
In Abittan v. Wilcox, Justice Frederick L. Myers reiterated the “consequences” of agreeing to submit disputes to arbitration. Myers J. explained that Arbitration Act, 1991 did not authorize him to change the remedy ordered in an award as this would be substituting the court’s award for that of the arbitrator.
Canada – For those SCC Justices Willing to Consider it, Vavilov Applies to Private Commercial Arbitration where Legislation Provides for Appeal
In Greater Vancouver Sewerage & Drainage District v. Wastech Services Ltd., the Canadian Supreme Court was presented with an opportunity to consider the effect of Canada v. Vavilov, on the standard of review principles applicable to appeals of commercial arbitration awards.
Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 5
In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about maintaining privacy and safety in online arbitration (OArb), especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canada – Commercial Dispute “Foundationally Different” from Investor-State Claim
In Lululemon Athletica Canada inc. v. Industrial Color Productions Inc., Justice Gordon S. Funt determined that a standard of reasonableness applied to the court’s review of jurisdictional challenges in consensual arbitration.
Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 4
In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about executing an arbitration hearing, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
2020 Canadian Arbitration Year in Review
From January to December 2020, Daniel Urbas shared one hundred and fifty-five notes on recent Canadian court decisions, highlighting the most current reasoning and practical applications of arbitral rules and principles, which touch upon the fundamental aspects of arbitration common to many jurisdictions.
Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 3
In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about obtaining discovery in arbitration, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 2
In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about planning and executing a preliminary arbitration hearing, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canada – Mediator Appointed as Arbitrator for Disputes Involving Settlement Negotiated During Later Arbitration
In the Corporation of the Township of South Stormont v. The Kraft Heinz Company following an unsuccessful mediation phase regarding disputes under a 2011 agreement, the parties engaged in arbitration during which they negotiated a 2017 settlement and agreed to arbitrate disputes before the mediator.
Canada – Trial Judge and Appeal Court Rely on Litigants’ Agreement to Repurpose Arbitral Award Findings of Fact
The Court of Appeal in Sky Clean Energy Ltd. v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company noted that the litigants had agreed that findings of fact made in an arbitration award would bind the trial judge and dismissed the appellant’s claims alleging interpretative error in an insurance contract.
Arbitration Tips-N-Tools (TNT): Round 1
In this round of Arbitration Tips-N-Tools, Professor Amy Schmitz asks some of the leading arbitration practitioners about filing arbitration claims, especially in a digital world and faced with the complexities of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Canada – Protracted Costly Litigation Highlights “Perils Of Not Having A Dispute Resolution Mechanism Built Into A Contract"
In North Pacific Properties Ltd v. Bethel United Churches, Justice Anna Loparco determined that the parties to an existing contract had not entered into a binding agreement to arbitrate disagreements and therefore had lost the opportunity to engage in less costly, less protracted dispute resolution.
Canada - Court Refers Parties to Arbitration But Grants Adjournment Permitting Parties to Agree on Arbitrator
In Proservin Inc. v. Investissements Toro Inc., Justice Stéphane Lacoste demonstrated the Québec courts’ ready support of arbitration and their practical approach to assisting parties to appoint their own arbitrators.
Canada - Parties can Agree to be Bound by Coin Flips, Ouija Boards and Bespoke Judicial Resolution Processes
In Keeder v. Al Gendy, Justice Jolaine Antonio denied leave to appeal consent orders issued from a binding judicial dispute resolution process by which the parties had agreed to either resolve the issue themselves or be bound by the determination of the judge presiding the process.
Virtual Practice Makes Virtually Perfect – Practical Considerations for Virtual Hearings Identified through Simulations with Experienced Counsel and Arbitrators
The authors undertook a series of simulated virtual evidentiary hearings to gain hands-on experience from them and concluded that video conferencing for arbitration hearings will be inevitable going forward, at least until the COVID-19 restrictions are eased and likely beyond.
Canada - Court Declines to Intervene Regarding Counsel’s Alleged Conflict of Interest in Investor-State Arbitration
In Geophysical Service Incorporated v. Canada, Justice Martine St-Louis declined to intervene in a decision by Canada’s legal representative refusing to remove a member from the legal team representing Canada in an Investor-State arbitration.
Canada – Evidentiary Rules for Adducing Videos/Video Stills Applicable also in Arbitration
In R. v. Brar, Alberta’s Court of Appeal analysed the Canada Evidence Act's application to bank records including videos captured at ATMs and, explored the reasoning behind the evidentiary rules applicable to records held by financial institutions.
Canada - Successful Offer In All-Or-Nothing Final Offer Arbitration Can Include Agreement to Arbitrate
In Canadian National Railway Company v. Gibraltar Mines Ltd., Justice Michael Manson held that in the final offer arbitration, the absence of reasons in a decision qualified the decision as reasonable and correct.
Canada – Resort to Arbitration Commercially Reasonable to Resolve Ambiguous Non-Compete Clause
In Way v. Schembri, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Canada set aside a decision granting summary judgment which, had held that it was “commercially unreasonable” to consider that arbitration was suitable to resolve disputes over an ambiguous non-competition clause.
Canada – Different Levels of Courts Urge the Parties Before Them to Mediate Instead of Litigate
This article discusses the cases of Iyad Al-Qishawi Professional Corporation v. Alexander C. Yeh Professional Corporation and Soloniuk Estate v. Huyghe before the Canadian Courts where the different groups of litigants were urged by the Courts themselves, to consider mediation as a form of dispute resolution, instead of continuing litigation.
Canada - Appointing Authority’s Breach of Appointment Provisions Raise No Reasonable Apprehension of Bias
In Grey v. Whitefish Lake First Nation, Justice Cecily Y. Strickland dismissed challenges to an arbitrator’s decision, applying correctness as the standard of review for questions of procedural fairness, including those which encompass issues of bias. Despite the appointing authority’s breach of the “clear and unambiguous” regulations for appointing the arbitrator, the breach was not raised on appeal and did not affect the procedural fairness of the arbitration.
Canada – Agreement Giving One Party Privileged Position to Designate Arbitrator Subject to “Blue-Pencil” Severance
In Caron v. 7834101 Canada Inc. (Triviom à Charlemagne), Justice Stéphane Lacoste severed a portion of an agreement to arbitrate which violated the rule against places one party in a privileged position with respect to the designation of the arbitrator. But rather than declare null the entire agreement to arbitrate, Lacoste J. struck the provision, likening the relief to the “blue-pencil” severance explained and applied in Shafron v. KRG Insurance Brokers (Western) Inc.
Canada – Court Denies Tenant Relief from Forfeiture where Tenant Disregards Arbitration
In Hunt’s Transport Limited v. Eagle Street Industrial GP Inc., Justice David A. Broad refused to exercise his discretion to grant a commercial tenant relief from forfeiture given the tenant’s refusal to abide by its obligation to continue performance during arbitration of its disputes with the landlord.
Canada – Court Acknowledges Commercial Interest in Arbitration as Alternative to Court Litigation
In Hannam v. Medicine Hat School District, Alberta’s Court of Appeal assessed the practical significance of its earlier five-judge panel decision in Weir-Jones Technical Services Incorporated v Purolator Courier Ltd, which considered the benefits of summary judgment. In doing so, the majority and dissent both commented on the promised benefits of arbitration in contrast to court litigation, and this article highlights the relevant passages to illustrate those contemporary comments.
Canada – Loss to Bar, Gain to Bench - Madam Justice Jasmin Ahmad, Q.C.
A big change in Canada's arbitration and litigation environment with yesterday’s nomination of Madam Justice Jasmin Ahmad to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Despite the loss to the arbitration and litigation bar, her nomination is a great gain to the bench.
Canada – Stay Application Lacks Evidence Required to Demonstrate Overlap/Status of Duplicative Proceedings
Justice Susan L. Bercov had to decide whether to exercise her discretion to stay duplicative proceedings involving administrative action taken in two Canadian provinces. Justice Bercov declined to exercise her discretion due to the applicant’s failure to meet his evidentiary burden to establish the overlap and status of the duplicative proceedings.
Canada - Exceptional Case Grants Appeal Court Jurisdiction Over Single Judge’s Decision Mistakenly Denying Leave to Appeal
This article discusses the case of McEwen (Re) (2020 ONCA 511), where Ontario’s Court of Appeal repurposed an exception, developed in its 1996 decision involving leave to appeal an arbitration award, which permitted a three-member panel to review the decision of a single judge denying leave to appeal.
Canada: Court Suspends Own Process, Requires Parties Take Arbitration-Related Steps Prior to Decision on Stay
This article discusses the case of Syndicat de la copropriété Clark et Fleury v. Généreux, where Justice Mark Phillips issued a sequence of orders requiring the parties’ to exhaust the steps related to each of their competing dispute resolution procedural approaches.
Canada – Anti-Suit Injunction Restrains Party Bound by Ontario Arbitration Award
This article discusses the case of Borschel v. Borschel where a civil court in Ontario, Canada, issued an anti-suit injunction restraining a party to arbitration awards and subject to Ontario law, from pursuing parallel proceedings in a jurisdiction within the United States.
Canada – Injunction and Increased Costs Ordered Where Arbitral Award Funds Were Core of Dispute
Arbitrator highlights the importance of Mareva injunctions as tools in civil litigation to address when a defendant utilizes the time lag between a claim being prosecuted and the judgment by the court to divest its assets which could be used to satisfy that judgment.
Canada – States’ Submissions Qualify as “Subsequent Practice” in Investor-State Arbitration
In the United Mexican States v. Burr, Madam Justice Bernadette Dietrich accepted that legal submissions by parties to the NAFTA can qualify as “subsequent practice” but that the facts fell short of meeting the standard of a “clear, well-understood, agreed common position”.
Canada – Parties can give court role to examine merits of settlement but not to examine merits of identical consent award
Arbitrator concludes that the homologation sought by Plaintiffs could not allow for debate on the merits despite agreement by the parties, noting that it would up to the judge at the merits hearing to decide, if necessary, whether to homologate an arbitral award which does not settle the existing dispute.
Canada: Interim Procedural Orders “Immune from Review” During Arbitration Even When Titled “Award”
A Canadian arbitrator’s use of one title instead of another – decision vs award vs interim procedural order – is not decisive of the status of the decision.
Canada: Refusal to Adjourn Hearing Respects Due Process if Recognition/Enforcement Conditions Present
Despite disagreement whether a party had counsel of record and that party's choice not to be 'present', the Court held that the party seeking adjournment suffered no prejudice because all the conditions in section 49 of the Arbitration Act were 'present' and 'there was no reason to think the outcome would have been different had an adjournment been granted'.