Brent Olthuis

Over 20 years at the bar, Brent has built a rich and varied dispute-resolution practice. He is regarded for his advice and advocacy in numerous areas of law, encompassing civil disputes, class actions and complex regulatory and administrative law matters.

Contact

bolthuis@ovcounsel.com
236-330-2666

Bar admissions

Ontario (2001-14),
British Columbia (2005-present)

Education

BComm (UBC), LLB (McGill), LLM (UVic)

Languages

English, French

Pronouns

he/him

Brent’s practice spans an extensive range of matters, and many dispute-resolution forums.

He has acted for clients in corporate governance disputes and cases alleging theft of corporate opportunity. He has handled claims of fraud or deceit, breach of privacy, breach of fiduciary duty and product liability. Brent also regularly acts for regulated professions and their member professionals, as well as for other public bodies. As part of this practice, Brent has prosecuted a large number of contempt of court cases.

Brent’s practice has taken him before all levels of court in British Columbia and Ontario, including 10 appeals before the Supreme Court of Canada and over 45 before the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. He has also conducted hearings before the trial courts in Alberta and Yukon Territory, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, the Tax Court of Canada, various administrative tribunals and commercial arbitration panels.

Huang v Li, 2021 BCSC 1727, 61 ETR (4th) 165: Successfully defended claims in deceit (fraud) in the context of a lawyer’s providing gifts to his client’s family members in China.

British Columbia (Director of Civil Forfeiture) v Angel Acres Recreation and Festival Property Ltd, 2020 BCCA 290, 41 BCLR (6th) 405: Obtained a stay of proceedings concerning the trial judge’s declaration of constitutional invalidity.

College of Midwives of British Columbia v MaryMoon, 2020 BCCA 224, 451 DLR (4th) 100 (Co-counsel with Trevor Bant): Intervened on behalf of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC in a case concerning the constitutionality of “reserved titles” legislation.

Cowichan Tribes v Canada (AG), 2020 BCSC 1146, 41 BCLR (6th) 150 (Co-counsel with Trevor Bant): In-trial application regarding the admissibility of historical and ethnographic documents upon which a plaintiffs’ expert relied.

Cowichan Tribes v Canada (AG), 2020 BCSC 165, 33 BCLR (6th) 397: Resisted the admission of a prior draft of an expert’s report in a lengthy Aboriginal title action over lands in Richmond on the south arm of the Fraser River.

Angel Acres Recreation and Festival Property Ltd v British Columbia (AG), 2019 BCSC 1421, 443 CRR (2d) 110: Acted for the Attorney General and Director of Civil Forfeiture as respondents to a petition seeking to dismiss the Director’s action against three properties that serve as clubhouses for local chapters of an international motorcycle club. The court rejected the various statutory and constitutional arguments and dismissed the petition.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Ezzati, 2019 BCCA 306, 28 BCLR (6th) 92 (Co-counsel with Trevor Bant): Enlarged a finding of contempt on appeal, with the Court of Appeal agreeing that the respondent’s having explained the risks and benefits of botulinum toxin (Botox) and dermal filler injections for the purposes of obtaining clients’ informed consent amounted to the practice of medicine and was in breach of the terms of an interim injunction.

Cowichan Tribes v Canada (AG), 2019 BCSC 1243: Resisted the admission of two out-of-court statements as trial evidence in a lengthy Aboriginal title action concerning lands in Richmond on the South Arm of the Fraser River.

Li v Rao, 2019 BCCA 264, 26 BCLR (6th) 219 (With Aubin Calvert): Successfully defended a Supreme Court order enjoining Rao from proceeding with an arbitration before the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) until the BC courts ruled on various applications. The appeal is a leading authority on “anti-arbitration injunctions” in the Canadian context.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Khahk, 2019 BCSC 1604: Successfully prosecuted a “second offence” contempt of court against the unlicensed respondent. The court found that the respondent had injected a client with botulinum toxin (Botox) shortly after having been found in contempt for the first time. By way of penalty, the court lifted the suspension on the initial custodial sentence and ordered the respondent to spend an additional 30 days incarcerated. It also ordered the respondent to pay a fine of $7,500.

Aulakh v Nahal, 2019 BCCA 57, 22 BCLR (6th) 71: Acted for the appellant in a challenge to the trial judge’s assessment of “uniqueness” for the purposes of analyzing the suitability of specific performance as a remedy for breach of a contract of purchase and sale of residential real estate.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Khahk, 2019 BCSC 501: Obtained an order finding the unlicensed respondent guilty of contempt of court for having injected persons with dermal fillers, contrary to a consent injunction. In the result, the respondent was given a suspended sentence of 30 days and two years’ probation. She was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Ezzati, 2018 BCSC 2006 (Co-counsel with Trevor Bant): Obtained an order finding the respondent, who is not licensed to practice medicine in BC, guilty of contempt of court for having held herself out as being qualified to practise medicine on her website and Instagram profile, and for having referred to herself as “doctor”, all in breach of an interim injunction.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Li, 2018 BCSC 923 (Co-counsel with Trevor Bant): Obtained an order finding the non-registrant Li guilty of contempt of court for having breached an injunction by performing “East Asian blepharoplasty” (double eyelid surgery) on a client.

H(M) v Legal Services Society, 2018 BCSC 195: Represented the Legal Services Society’s in a successful defence of a funding decision made in respect of the petitioner’s application for legal aid representation.

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v Tan, 2017 BCSC 2233: Obtained an injunction for the petitioner Health College, preventing the respondent and her company from providing mole-removal services while not licensed as a medical professional.

Democracy Watch v British Columbia (Conflict of Interest Commissioner), 2017 BCCA 366: Acted for the respondent Conflict of Interest Commissioner in proceedings seeking to challenge his opinion concerning certain activities of the then-Premier. The proceedings were dismissed with no impact on the Commissioner’s opinion.

Tracey v. Gokturk, 2017 BCSC 1813: Successfully represented a director of a technology company in a dispute arising out of a board deadlock over a proposed transaction.

Cowichan Tribes v. Canada (Attorney General), 2017 BCSC 1575, 1 BCLR (6th) 214: Represented the City of Richmond in an important application in a First Nations land claim, concerning the plaintiffs’ obligation to notify private landowners of their claim.

Aulakh v. Nahal, 2017 BCSC 1000: Represented the purchaser of residential real estate in Richmond, arguing successfully that the vendor had breached the contract of purchase and sale on the designated closing date.

Great Canadian Gaming Corp. v. British Columbia Lottery Corp., 2017 BCSC 574 (co-counsel with Mike Stephens): Represented the defendant in successful opposition to the plaintiff’s application to convert a conventional action to a class proceeding.

Brito v. Terry L. Napora Law Corp, 2016 BCSC 1476: Represented the Law Society to oppose the plaintiff’s application for a “Norwich Pharmacal order” to obtain discovery of the defendant lawyer’s client information.

Mann v. British Columbia (Insurance Council), 2015-FIA-002(a): Represented a licensed insurance agent in a disciplinary appeal that reduced the length of suspension by a factor of 6.

Google Inc. v. Mutual, 2016 BCSC 1169: Represented VideoShare LLC (plaintiff in Delaware proceedings against Google and others) in petition concerning deposition of a witness in British Columbia.

MM v. United States of America, 2015 SCC 62, [2015] 3 SCR 973: Intervened on behalf of the BC Civil Liberties Association in a case concerning the “double-criminality” requirement under the Extradition Act

British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, 2015 BCSC 1713: Represented Imperial Tobacco in successful application for production of documents from the federal government

Harrison v. Law Society of British Columbia, 2015 BCCA 258: Applied successfully to have an appeal dismissed as an abuse of process

College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia v. Fofie, 2015 BCSC 907: Obtained order for College of Physicians granting search and seizure powers in respect of a clinic offering aesthetic treatments

Sun West Financial Ltd. v. 0800978 BC Ltd, 2014 BCSC 2167: Applied successfully to have a foreclosure petition converted from summary proceedings into a trial

Haghdust v. British Columbia Lottery Corp., 2014 BCSC 1327: (co-counsel with Randy Kaardal and Shannon Ramsay): Defended, on behalf of the Lottery Corporation, a class action suit challenging its refusal to pay jackpots to self-excluded gamblers

John Doe v. Ontario (Finance), 2014 SCC 36, [2014] 2 SCR 3: Intervened on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association in a case concerning the “advice or recommendations of a public servant” exception to disclosure in access to information legislation

Reference re Senate Reform, 2014 SCC 32, [2014] 1 SCR 704: (co-counsel with John Hunter, Q.C., Claire Hunter and others): Represented amicus curiae in a proceeding concerning the process for amending the provisions in the Constitution concerning the Senate

College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia v. Shapoval, 2014 BCSC 505: Represented the College of Dental Surgeons in a successful prosecution for contempt of court, resulting in a penalty of 45 days’ imprisonment

Henry v. Canada (A.G.), 2014 BCCA 30, 53 BCLR (5th) 282: (co-counsel with Mark Oulton and Stephanie McHugh): Represented three clients in public-interest constitutional challenge to federal voter identification rules

Canada (A.G.) v. Bedford, 2013 SCC 72, [2013] 3 SCR 1101: Intervened on behalf of the BC Civil Liberties Association regarding the appropriate standard of causation in cases involving the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Insurance Corp. of British Columbia v. COPE, Local 378, 2012 BCSC 1244: Represented defendant in response to injunction application based on alleged breaches of ICBC’s intellectual property rights

Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2011 SCC 61, [2011] 3 SCR 654: Intervened on behalf of the BC Freedom of Information and Privacy Association in a case concerning the failure to comply with statutory time limits

Reference re Section 293 of the Criminal Code, 2011 BCSC 1588: Represented children’s rights advocacy groups in proceedings concerning the constitutionality of the provision criminalizing polygamy

Fuller v. Harper, 2010 BCCA 421, 9 BCLR (5th) 236: Successfully appealed from a trial order requiring client to transfer title to property in the Okanagan, based on an application of the presumption of resulting trust

R. v. Cunningham, 2010 SCC 10, [2010] 1 SCR 331: (co-counsel with John Hunter, Q.C.): Intervened on behalf of the Law Society of Yukon in a case concerning the ethical responsibilities of lawyers when determining whether to withdraw services

  • LL.M., University of Victoria Faculty of Law, 2006
  • Called to to British Columbia Bar, 2005
  • Law clerk to Justice Frank Iacobucci of the Supreme Court of Canada, 2001-02
  • Called to Ontario Bar, 2001 (maintained until 2014)
  • Law clerk to Chief Justice McMurtry, Justices Doherty and Sharpe of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, 2000-01
  • LL.B., McGill University Faculty of Law, 2000

“Can We Make It Any Clearer? BC’s Experience with Legislated Standards of Review”, prepared for and presented at the Ontario Bar Association administrative law conference “Ten Years Later: Coherence and Consistency In Administrative Practice Post-Dunsmuir”, Toronto, ON, 6 February 2018

“Shutting Down the Charlatan (or, Policing Unauthorized Practice)”, prepared for and presented at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s Self-Governing Professions conference, Vancouver, BC, 2 June 2017

“The ‘Outermost Reaches’ of Negligence: Gaming and the Duty to Protect” (2015) 8 Canadian Gaming Lawyer 4

“On the Front Cover: Jeremy Webber” (2014) 72 Advocate 179

“Meanwhile, On The West Coast…” (2012) 2(2) Class Act (Ontario Bar Association, Class Action Section)

“Criminal Investigators in Municipal Functionaries’ Clothing?: The Safety Standards Act and Controlled Substances Bylaws”, prepared for and presented at the Trial Lawyers’ Association of British Columbia’s Contemporary Criminal Law conference, Vancouver, BC, 23 September 2011

“Life, Liberty and Security of the Person as Generalized Human Rights: A Section 7 Redux”, prepared for and presented at the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s Human Rights Conference, Vancouver, BC, 25 November 2011

“The Constitution’s Peoples: Approaching Community in the Context of Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982” (2009) 54 McGill L.J. 1

“Professional Conduct” in Dodek & Hoskins, eds., Canadian Legal Practice (formerly Barristers & Solicitors in Practice, 2d ed.) (Toronto: LexisNexis, 2009), c 3 [ongoing update to looseleaf publication]

“Civil Procedure: Court Rules” in Susan Munro et al, Annual Review of Law & Practice (Vancouver: Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia: 2008) 43 (with M Oulton, S McHugh, and S Ramsay)

“Disclosure of Electronic Information: R. v. Cassidy” Note (2004) 49 Crim LQ 287

“Defrosting Delgamuukw” (2001) 12 National Journal of Constitutional Law 385

Brent sits as a director and member-at-large on the executive committee of the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC. He is also the Vice-Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group of The Advocates’ Society (TAS), a national association headquartered in Toronto as the authoritative voice of advocates within the justice system. He completed TAS’ skills instructor training programme in 2015, and since then has been a regular faculty member and skills instructor in TAS workshops, both in Vancouver and Toronto.

In the past, Brent served on the board of the BC Law Institute, a not-for-profit law reform agency working to improve and modernize the law, and served a term as an elected Provincial Council representative for the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch – as well as two terms as co-chair of the CBABC’s Administrative Law Section. Brent was a member of the CBA national working group that produced the Review of Judicial Conduct Process of the Canadian Judicial Council in July 2014.

Brent has also been a generous contributor of pro bono legal services to the public, being twice recognized as Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year by BC’s leading pro bono services provider. In his community, he canvassed for many years as part of the Canadian Cancer Society’s “Daffodil Campaign” and was a volunteer coach with the North Shore Female Ice Hockey Association, North Vancouver Minor Hockey Association and North Vancouver Spring Flag Football League.

While at law school, Brent served as president of his third year LL.B. class at McGill, and as a Students’ Representative on the Graduate Studies Committee at UVic.

  • Fellow, International Society of Barristers
  • Member, The Advocates’ Society
  • Vice-Chair, The Advocates’ Society’s Commercial Litigation Practice Group
  • Director, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC
  • Member, Supreme Court Advocacy Institute
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association BC Branch
  • Member, Vancouver Bar Association

Brent was elected a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers in 2020, joining a select number of Canadian lawyers in the group.

He is recognized in a number of peer-reviewed and industry publications, including Martindale-Hubbell (from which he received the “AV/Preeminent” rating, indicating that a large number of his peers rank him at the highest level of professional excellence, for legal knowledge, communication skills and ethical standards), Chambers and Partners, Best Lawyers, Benchmark Canada, Who’s Who Legal and The Legal 500 Canada.

He was previously named a “Rising Star” by Lexpert Magazine, as one of the leading lawyers in Canada under the age of 40, and received Access Pro Bono’s “Lawyer of the Year, Judicial Review Roster programme” and “Lawyer of the Year” awards in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

While a law student, Brent received multiple scholarships and awards, and made the Dean’s Honour List in each year of studies. He graduated at the top of his class at McGill Law before commencing clerkships at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and Supreme Court of Canada.

Recognition graphic for International Society of Barristers

Recognition graphic from AV Preeminent

Recognition graphic from Chambers 2018Recognition graphic from Chambers 2020Recognition graphic from Chambers 2021Recognition graphic from Chambers 2022

Recognition graphic from Lexpert 2020

Recognition graphic from Best Lawyers 2019Recognition graphic from Best Lawyers 2020Recognition graphic from Best Lawyers 2021Recognition graphic from Best Lawyers 2022

Recognition graphic from Legal 500 – Next Generation Lawyer 2019Recognition graphic from Legal 500 – Recommended Lawyer 2019Recognition graphic from Legal 500 – Recommended Lawyer 2020

Recognition graphic from Benchmark Canada 2017Recognition graphic from Benchmark Litigation Canada 2020

Recognition graphic from Who’s Who Legal 2018Recognition graphic from Who’s Who Legal 2019Recognition graphic from Who’s Who Legal 2020