Ross F. Earnshaw Partner

Speaks:  English

Year of Call: 1979 - Ontario

Primary phone: +1 519-575-7525

Fax: +1 519-571-5025


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Primary office:  Waterloo Region

Secondary office:  Hamilton

Ross F. Earnshaw

Ross Earnshaw is a partner in the Waterloo Region and Hamilton offices of Gowling WLG, and is widely recognized as one of Ontario’s leading litigators. Acting for a diverse clientele, Ross brings extensive litigation expertise in a range of areas, including real estate, construction, insurance, employment, banking, estates, mortgage enforcement, priorities, collections and legal malpractice defence.

Each year since 2015, Ross has been featured in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as one of Canada’s top corporate commercial litigators. He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of corporate and commercial litigation, bet-the-company litigation and legal malpractice law, and was named Best Lawyers’ 2018 “Lawyer of the Year” for Corporate and Commercial Litigation in Hamilton Region.

Beyond the courtroom, Ross has been involved in legislation and policy development issues. He assisted with the development of the Ontario Petroleum Price Freezelegislation during the OPEC crisis, and worked with the Ontario Ministry of Energy during the establishment of the Ontario Energy Corporation.

Ross has served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada since 2012, and is a member of several committees and groups, chairing the Real Estate Liaison Group as well as the Task Force on Compliance-Based Entity Regulation. He also serves on the board of LibraryCo, which oversees the Ontario county courthouse library system, and recently completed a three-year term on the board of the Law Foundation of Ontario, a non-profit organization that improves access to justice for people across the province. In November 2016, Ross was appointed by the Law Society of Upper Canada as the Ontario representative to the Council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, becoming a member of the Executive Committee in November 2017 and president in November 2018.

Ross has actively served on various community boards and committees, including the Glen Morris Friends of the Library, the Glen Morris United Church, the Cambridge Public Library Board and the First United Church.

He has been a long-time trustee for the Waterloo Law Association, holding the office of president for a two-year term, which ended in March 2005.

Career & Recognition

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Representative Work

  • Represented a mutual life insurance company in the defence of a class action in which the representative plaintiff alleged that the insurer was responsible for inappropriate market conduct of its agents, successfully defeating the motion for certification of the class and upholding the decision to the point of dismissal of an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
  • Represented securities dealers in several separate actions brought against them on the basis that they are vicariously liable for losses sustained by investors due to negligent or unlawful advice provided by investment advisors associated with the dealers, defending such actions at trial and at the Ontario Court of Appeal.
  • Representing banks and financial institutions as, for example, in the successful defence of a $20,000,000.00 claim based on allegations of breach of fiduciary obligation in the administration of an estate trust, upholding the trial decision at the Ontario Court of Appeal and obtaining from the Supreme Court of Canada an Order dismissing the application for leave to appeal.