Michael Woods is a member of the firm’s Trade and Competition group and has broad experience in international business with special expertise in all aspects of international trade litigation. He brings a special “problem-solving” approach to client matters, drawing on a wide range of skills and knowledge in cross-border transactions.
Mr. Woods began his career in trial and appellate litigation. In 1981, he left private practice to join Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) where he served as a trade lawyer, a trade negotiator as well as diplomat with the commercial sections of the Canadian embassies in Saudi Arabia, Algeria and Korea. After 21 years in government, he joined a well known international trade law boutique in Montreal that specialized in trade remedies and regulatory matters, where he worked on several high profile cases under the Special Import Measures Act (SIMA). He joined Heenan Blaikie’s Ottawa office as a partner in 2007.
Mr. Woods is able to draw on his wide range of knowledge and experience in international trade. While with the DFAIT, he was counsel on a series landmark NAFTA, WTO, FTA and GATT disputes on matters that ranged from market access to complex subsidy and anti-dumping issues. As a trade negotiator, Mr. Woods played a key role in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations. Since returning to the private sector, Mr. Woods has been lead counsel in two NAFTA Chapter 11 challenges, as well as in arbitrations under Canada’s Foreign Investment Protection Agency (FIPA). The WTO’s Advisory Centre on World Trade Law (ACWL) has recognized Mr. Woods as an expert in international dispute settlement.
He has appeared as counsel in anti-dumping, countervailing and subsidy cases before the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) and the Federal Court of Canada.
Mr. Woods has a global practice and “problem solves” on behalf of clients, both internationally and at all levels of government in Canada. He has played a lead role in putting together private trade missions and is particularly active in Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan and Brazil. His practice includes international trade and cross-border litigation, import and export controls, regulatory law, information technology and knowledge management, government procurement and contracting, and government relations. Mr. Woods is recognized as a leading practitioner in the area of International Trade/WTO in the 2010 and 2011 editions of Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business.
Actively involved in legal education, Mr. Woods served as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Group of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Information Studies (FIS) from 1998 to 2002. He was awarded the University’s Arbor Award in 2001 for his work on the Canada-U.S. Border Portal. Accredited with advanced ADR qualifications, he teaches negotiation and alternative dispute resolution courses. Mr. Woods also lectured at the American University in Washington D.C., HEC Montréal, Queen’s University, and the University of Western Ontario.
Mr. Woods is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canada-Arab Business Council (CABC), the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association (CERBA), and the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT).
- LL.B., University of Toronto, 1976
- B.A. (Honours), McMaster University, 1973
- Canadian Bar Association
- International Bar Association
- The Law Society of Upper Canada (Ontario)
- The Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers (PAFSO)
2001-2011: Lead Counsel in Re NAFTA Chapter Eleven/UNCITRAL Cattle Cases; UNCITRAL Arbitration, Ulemek v. Croatia, UNCITRAL Arbitration under the Canada-Croatia Investment Protection Treaty; Co-counsel, Marvin Gottlieb et al vs. Government of Canada, NAFTA Arbitration; Counsel to Canadian Vintners Association in Canada –Tax Exemption and Reductions for Wine and Beer (WT/DS354/1). Partner in charge in Bosh v. Ukraine, ICSID Arbitration; Counsel in Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) cases including Certain Copper Pipe Fittings Originating in or Exported from the United States of America, the Republic of Korea and the People's Republic of China (AD/1358 CVD/118); Certain Aluminum Extrusions Originating in or Exported from the People's Republic of China (AD/1379 CV/124); and Certain Carbon Steel Fasteners Originating in or Exported from the People’s Republic of China and Chinese Taipei (AD/1308 CV/103). Safeguard Inquiry into the Importation of Certain Steel Goods (GC-2001-001); Global Safeguard Inquiry into the Importation of Bicycles and Finished Painted Bicycle Frames (GS-2004-001 and GS-2004-002); Market Disruption Safeguard Inquiry into Barbeques Originating in the People’s Republic of China (CS-2005-001); and Safeguard Inquiry into Unmanufactured Bright Virginia Flue-Cured Tobacco (GS-2005-001). Federal Court appearances on trade-related issues at both trial and appellate level, including Dofasco Inc. v. Stelco Inc. (2003 FCA 130).
1988-2001 Counsel on WTO, GATT and NAFTA trade disputes - Canada Certain Measures Concerning Periodicals (WT/DS31/2) and (AB-1997-2); In the Matter of Tariffs Applied by Canada to Certain U.S.- Origin Agricultural Products, NAFTA Secretarial File CDA – 95-2008-01; United States - Measures Affecting Alcoholic and Malt Beverages (BISD 39S/206). Other cases included: Canada –Import, Distribution and Sales of Certain Alcoholic Drinks by Provincial Marketing Agencies (BISD 39S/27); Canada –Import, Distribution and Sale of Certain Alcoholic Drinks by Canadian Provincial Marketing Agencies (BISD 35S/37); Japan –Tariff on Imports of Spruce, Pine, Fir (SPF) Dimension Lumber (36S/167); Puerto Rico –Regulations on the Import, Distribution and Sale of U.H.T. Milk from Quebec (USA-93-1807-01); Beer from the United States of America (Injury) FTA Chapter 19 (CDA-91-1904).
1978-1981: Extensive courtroom experience with appearances before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Supreme Court of Ontario (jury and non-jury), the District Court of Ontario, and the Ontario Provincial Court. Counsel cases at appellate level included Connop v. Canadian Car Division Hawker Siddeley Ltd. (1980) 98 D.L.R. (3rd) 747 (Ont. CA). Assisted in preparation of cases for Supreme Court of Canada including Phillion v. The Queen  1 S.C.R. 18 (“landmark” case on the use of polygraph evidence) and the successful appeal in Canning v. C.F.M. Fuels  2 S.C.R. (207).