Barbara McIsaac is counsel in the Ottawa office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, where she is a senior litigator. She advises private sector clients, governments and government agencies on issues relating to trade and procurement law, Charter and Human Rights issues, legislative mandates, jurisdiction and the conduct of investigations. Barbara has appeared before all levels of courts in the Province of Ontario and the Federal Courts, including a number of appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada. She also appears before administrative tribunals including acting as counsel before the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board.
Barbara is one of the leading experts in Canada in privacy and access to information law and co-author of The Law of Privacy in Canada (Carswell, 2000). She served as senior counsel to the Somalia Inquiry and senior counsel for the Government of Canada for the Arar Inquiry. She was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1989.
•Acted as counsel in such varied cases as Pioneer Hi-Bred in which the Supreme Court of Canada decided that the Patent Act does not permit the patenting of life forms, and Mossop v. The Attorney General of Canada in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on the interpretation of the term family status in the Canadian Human Rights Act.
•Acted as counsel in Southam v. The Queen in which the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the provisions of the Young Offenders Act prohibiting the publication of the names of the victims or offenders did not violate the Charter.
•Acted as counsel in Haig v. The Queen in which the court ruled that the federal Human Rights Act violated the Charter by failing to include sexual orientation as a proscribed ground of discrimination.
•Represented the House of Commons in cases involving the interpretation of Parliamentary Privilege.
•Represented the Chief Electoral Officer in cases involving the application and interpretation of the Canada Elections Act.
•Appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Canadian Constitution Foundation in the Kingstreet Investments case in which the court found there is a right to the return of illegally paid taxes.
•Appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Commissioner of Official Languages in the Lavigne case in which the court had to reconcile the obligations of the Commissioner with respect to confidentiality with the disclosure requirements of the Privacy Act.
•Appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in the Ruby case, on behalf of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service with respect to the interpretation and application of the Privacy Act.
•Represents systems integrators, telecommunications companies, software manufacturers, and military and aerospace manufacturing companies in diverse commercial litigation matters both as plaintiff and defendant.
•Represents private clients and the Federal Government in cases involving contract disputes, environmental matters, product liability, tort claims, professional liability and employment matters.
Publications & Presentations
Barbara is a frequent blogger on the “The Law of Privacy in Canada Blog”. This Blog is intended to be of value to those interested in matters relating to current privacy issues, including breach reporting, anti-spam and class action issues.
•Author, The Law of Privacy in Canada, Carswell, 2000.
•Panellist, “Practicing at the Top: preparing for the Supreme Court of Canada” Agents of Parliament Professional Development Workshop, January 2013.
•Panellist, “Why Can't We be Friends? Social Media and Biometrics meet Employee Privacy and Professional Responsibility,” Canadian Bar Association 13th Annual Administrative Law, Labour and Employment Law Conference, November 2012.
•Speaker, “Organizational Transformation - Shared Services, Privacy and Emerging Challenges,” Council of Chief information Officers, May 2012.
•Speaker, “Recent Developments in the World of Privacy,” IAPP Canada Privacy Symposium, May 2012.
•Speaker, “Effective Bidding Models,” Federated Press 3rd Bidding and Tendering in the Public Sector Course. April 2012.
•Panellist, The Advocates' Society Court House Series, Ottawa, February 2012.
•Speaker, “Enforcing Canada's Online Protection Legislation,” IT.CAN, January 2011.
•Speaker, “New Technologies and the Protection of Privacy,” Association of Labor Relations Agencies, July 2010.
•Speaker, “Five Court Cases that Changed Public-Sector Privacy,” International Association of Privacy Professionals, May 26-28, 2010.
•Panel Participant, “Defining the Scope of Tribunals' Privacy Obligations,” Advanced Administrative Law and Practice, The Canadian Institute, October 28-29, 2009.
•Author/Speaker, “Understanding How Privacy Issues can Emerge in the Conduct of Litigation,” The Canadian Institute, May 2009.
Rankings & Recognitions
•Selected by peers for inclusion in the 2015 edition (and since 2006) of The Best Lawyers in Canada (Administrative and Public Law, Public Procurement).
•Recognized in the 2014 and 2013 editions of Chambers Global - The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Public Procurement).
•Recognized in the 2013 editions of The International Who's Who of Public Procurement Lawyers and The Canadian Legal LexpertDirectory (Litigation - Public Law).
•Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent 5 out of 5, including recognition by the Bar Register of Pre-eminent Women Lawyers (2011).
•Recognized by The Best Lawyers in Canada as the 2010 Ottawa Administrative and Public Lawyer of the Year.
•Advocates' Society Honoree, Ottawa, 2013.
•Recognized in the 2014 and 2013 editions of Who's Who Legal: Canada (Public Procurement).
•Recognized in the 2014 edition of The Canadian Legal LexpertDirectory (Litigation, Public Law).