Robert L. Armstrong - Gowling WLG

Robert L. Armstrong

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2010

Robert Armstrong is a partner in the firm's Toronto office, practising in the area of advocacy, and is recognized as one of Canada’s leading counsel. His practice emphasizes complex commercial matters, class actions, international arbitration, banking/securities issues, competition law, product liability and multi-faceted corporate litigation. Robert has extensive experience both as a trial and appellate lawyer and as a strategist in complex, multi-party, multi-jurisdictional disputes, working closely with clients and other counsel in all Canadian provinces, the United States, Europe and Asia. Robert has appeared as counsel before all levels of provincial and federal courts in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and before numerous arbitral tribunals around the world.


  • Class Actions, including large primary and secondary market trading securities actions, pension surplus claims, large misrepresentation and contract actions, banking disputes, consumer product disputes and pharmaceutical claims.
  • Securities Litigation and Regulation, including issuer and investment dealer disclosure and liability, broker liability, proceedings before Canada’s securities regulators, insider trading and the defence of charges under the Securities Act.
  • Financial Services and Capital Markets Litigation, including twenty-eight years representing Canadian Chartered Banks, foreign banks, investment dealers and international accounting firms.
  • Directors’ and Officers’ Liability, including creditors’ claims, Securities Act proceedings and shareholders’ disputes.
  • National and International A.D.R., including court-ordered mediations and private commercial arbitrations around the world.
  • Corporate Commercial Litigation, including all matters relating to the breach of or disputes regarding commercial contracts, lender liability, the rights of debtors/creditors and multijurisdictional disputes involving cross-border matters and dealings with foreign corporations and counsel.

Recent Significant Briefs

  • Judicial Review – Lead counsel representing the manufacturer of Chobani Greek-style yogurt in a high-profile dispute regarding a test marketing permit that had been issued by the Minister of International Trade that allowed limited quantities of Chobani to be imported into Canada duty-free. The applicants contended that the import permit was unreasonable because the imports threatened Canada’s supply management system and sought to have the import permit struck down. The court dismissed the applications,  and also ruled that the applicants, all of whom were significant competitors, all lacked standing.
  • Competition Litigation – Lead counsel on behalf of Porter Airlines and Regco Holdings in respect of numerous lawsuits commenced against them by competitors Air Canada Jazz and Air Canada in both the Federal and Ontario Superior Courts alleging conspiracy and anti-competitive behaviour.
  • Consumer Product Class Action – Lead counsel on behalf of Magna Donnelly Corporation in the successful defence of a $1.4-billion dollar class action proceeding relating to the manufacture of door latches in Ford Motor Company vehicles.
  • Overtime Pay Class Action – Lead counsel for a Canadian bank in defence of a class action asserting entitlement to allegedly unpaid overtime by employees across Canada.
  • Pharmaceutical Class Actions – Lead counsel for GlaxoSmithKline in respect of multiple Canadian class action proceedings commenced in several provinces relating to the sale of Paxil in Canada.
  • International Arbitration – Successful lead counsel in a several hundred million dollar international arbitration, including lengthy arbitration hearings in Canada and Hong Kong.
  • Public Offering Class Action – Lead counsel on behalf of the Canadian Underwriter in respect of class action proceedings relating to Atlas Cold Storage and a series of public offerings made by that corporation in Canada.
  • Pet Food Class Actions – Lead counsel for a major USA manufacturer of pet foods in relation to all legal issues stemming from the class actions commenced in Canada.  
  • Take-over Disputes – Counsel for the Special Committee of Board of Directors of Sterling Centrecorp Inc., including all regulatory hearings at the Ontario Securities Commission relating to a contested take-over bid by a third party.
  • Mining/Securities Class Action – Lead counsel for a Canadian investment dealer defendant in the successful defence of the class proceedings in a $3-billion case in British Columbia and Ontario, including all regulatory matters and cross-border strategies.
  • Pension Class Action – Lead counsel in the successful defence of a class action brought against CN Rail with respect to alleged pension entitlements.
  • USA Manufacturer  – Lead counsel for a major American manufacturer of ceramic protective materials for the military in its legal claims against senior business executives involving alleged breaches of contract and other obligations.
  • Thimerosal Class Action  – Lead counsel for GlaxoSmithKline in respect of the successful defence of the Canadian class proceedings relating to the use of Thimerosal in childhood vaccines.
  • Financial Services Syndicate – Co-lead counsel for a bank syndicate in a $300-million claim against the officers and directors of a failed public corporation.
  • Foreign Exchange Class Action – Lead counsel on behalf of a Canadian investment dealer in respect of class action proceedings relating to the method of calculating Foreign Exchange rates.
  • Software/Systems Litigation – Lead counsel for the Government of Canada in a complex, commercial contract dispute involving hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and millions of documents. This matter involved a dispute with Accenture and required the creation of an innovative document storage and recall system. It involved parties in Canada, the United States and Europe.
  • Fidelity Claims – Lead counsel on behalf of several Charter Banks and investment dealers in respect of over 600 separate civil claims, all regulatory matters and all insurance negotiations involving five multi-million dollar fidelity claims in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta.

Wilfrid Laurier UniversityUniversity of Western Ontario LL.B 1979
Law Society of Upper CanadaThe Advocates' SocietyCanadian Bar AssociationInternational Bar AssociationAmerican Bar Association

Office Location

One First Canadian Place
100 King Street West
Suite 1600
Toronto, ON M5X 1G5

Practice Areas

Director and Officer Liability Practice

Other Information