Mark Firman

Partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP at International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans


  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans




International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Mark draws on his unique blend of in-depth knowledge and perspective to provide tailored solutions that meet clients’ needs.

Known as an outside-the-box thinker, Mark advises on all aspects of pensions, employment and executive compensation law, with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, insolvencies and reorganizations, pension fund investments, equity incentive plans and fund governance. Mark’s deep familiarity and experience on both sides of public pension funds have earned him the trust of this growing group of international dealmakers. Employers, plan administrators, boards, service providers and governments rely on Mark’s incisive counsel to help them navigate complex compliance requirements and best practices.

Mark is a member of the International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association Steering Committee, editor of Taxation of Executive Compensation and Retirement and past chair of the Ontario Bar Association's Pension & Benefits Law Section executive.

Prior to joining Davies, Mark was director and legal counsel at the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and partner at a Canadian law firm.

Representative Work

Acted for Digital Colony in connection with the additional $148.5 million of bank financing raised to recapitalize Beanfield Technologies Inc. and the related tuck-in acquisition by Beanfield of the fibre business of Aptum Technologies.

Seikagaku Corporation

Acted for Seikagaku Corporation, a Tokyo-based public company in its acquisition of all the outstanding shares of Dalton Chemicals Laboratories, Inc., a leading North American pharmaceutical organization providing integrated drug discovery, development, and manufacturing services.

DIF Capital Partners

Acted for DIF Capital Partners, through its DIF Core Infrastructure Fund II (DIF CIF II), in its majority investment in Valley Fiber Ltd., a Manitoba-based telecommunications infrastructure company.

Square, Inc.

Acted as Canadian counsel to Square, Inc. in its acquisition of Dessa, a Toronto-based company building machine learning applications that address significant real-world challenges for all types of businesses.

Alstom S.A.

Acting as Canadian counsel to Alstom S.A. in its US$8.2-billion strategic acquisition of Bombardier Transportation.

Brand Industrial Services, Inc.

Acting for BrandSafway, a global leader providing a broad range of solutions to the industrial, commercial and infrastructure markets, in its acquisition of AGF Access Group, Inc.

Apotex Inc.

Acted as lead transaction and tax counsel to Apotex Inc. and ApoPharma USA Inc. on the sale of the ApoPharma business, including the global rights to Deferiprone, an iron chelator used to treat iron overload conditions resulting from blood transfusions, to Chiesi Farmaceutici S.p.A.

Hostess Brands, Inc.

Acted as Canadian counsel to Hostess Brands Inc. in its $425-million acquisition of Voortman Cookies Limited from Swander Pace Capital.

FCF Co. Ltd.

Acted as Canadian counsel for FCF Co., Ltd. in its US$928-million acquisition of all the assets of Clover Leaf Foods and Bumble Bee Foods, North America's largest branded shelf-stable seafood companies, under a sale proceeding conducted under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Driven Brands Inc.

Acted for Roark Capital-backed Driven Brands Inc. in its acquisition of Clairus Canada Group, a major automotive parts, windshield repair and claims management business based in Québec.

Trivest Partners L.P.

Acted for Trivest Partners L.P., a U.S. private equity firm focused exclusively on mid-market founder- and family-owned businesses, in its add-on acquisition of Total Power Limited, a Canadian provider of generators and climate control systems operating in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. The purchase was financed through various arrangements, including equity contributions and an increase in Trivest's senior secured facility with its bank syndicate.

Digital Colony

Acted for Digital Colony, the global digital infrastructure investment platform of Colony Capital, Inc., in its acquisition (and related bank financing) of Beanfield Technologies Inc., an independent bandwidth infrastructure provider serving the enterprise, carrier and multi-dwelling unit markets in Toronto and Montréal over its owned fibre network.

Barrick Gold Corporation

Acted for Barrick Gold Corporation in its historic joint venture with Newmont Goldcorp Corporation, which combined their respective mining operations, assets, reserves and talent in Nevada to create the world's largest gold complex.


ARTICLE When DB Investments Go Bad. The U.S. Supreme Court Offers Comforting Lessons for Canadian Sponsors and Administrators June 26, 2020 - The Observer, Issue 2 (The Association of Canadian Pension Management) Read the article.

BULLETIN Work in Progress: Government Relaxes the Criteria for the 75% Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Apr. 09, 2020 - Last week, we provided an update on the federal government’s Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), which will cover up to 75% of wages for qualifying employers. The CEWS is retroactive to March 15, 2020, and slated to continue to June 6, 2020. On April 8, 2020, the federal government announced...

BULLETIN COVID-19: Details on the Federal Wage Subsidy for All Businesses, Charities and Non-Profit Organizations Apr. 02, 2020 - Businesses, regardless of size, charities and non-profit organizations whose revenues have decreased by at least 30% because of the COVID-19 pandemic are now eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The subsidy is retroactive to March 15, 2020 and covers up to 75% of wages (up to an...

BULLETIN How to Work When Nothing Is Working: Canadian Employment Law and COVID-19 Mar. 23, 2020 - As with the rest of the world, Canadian employers are confronting unprecedented challenges in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Employers are now tasked with navigating a mix of existing laws (designed for what used to be the status quo), and new, quickly enacted emergency measures, with...

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT Instructor, The Osgoode Certificate in Pension Law, “Pension Governance & Risk Management: The Current World of Single Employer, Multi-Employer and Jointly Governed Target Benefit Plans, and the New World of PRPPs”; Toronto, ON Mar. 04, 2020

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Institute for Apprenticeship Training and Education Programs, “Dealing With Behavioural Issues – The Legal and HR Issues”; Rancho Mirage, CA Jan. 22, 2020

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Institute for Apprenticeship Training and Education Programs, “Fit for Duty”; Rancho Mirage, CA Jan. 21, 2020

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT Instructor, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, Advanced Trust Management Standards Program (Legal); San Francisco, CA; November 23 & 24, 2019 Nov. 23, 2019

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT Moderator, 2019 Annual ACPM National Conference, “Pension Coverage is Falling. Is There a Retirement Crisis Rising?”; Vancouver, BC Sept. 11, 2019

SPEAKING ENGAGEMENT 17th Biennial IPEBLA Conference, “Deferred Compensation Arrangements (Fifteen Years of Code Section 409A in the US)”; Lisbon, Portugal May 20, 2019

Education & Affiliationssite

BAR ADMISSIONS Ontario, 2009


  • University of Toronto, JD (Honours), 2008
  • Queen’s University, BA (Hons) (Gold Medallist), 2005


  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association


  • The Association of Canadian Pension Management, National Policy Committee and Ontario Regional Council
  • International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association, secretary
  • Canadian Bar Association, National Pensions & Benefits Law Section, Advocacy and Government Relations Committee
  • Ontario Bar Association, Pensions & Benefits Law Section Executive, past chair
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, instructor
  • Thomson Reuters, Taxation of Executive Compensation and Retirement, editor

Courses Taught

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