Education

  • Osgoode Certificate in Privacy Law and Cybersecurity, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2021 
  • Osgoode Certificate in Negotiating and Drafting IT Agreements, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2020 
  • Osgoode Certificate in Blockchains, Smart Contracts and the Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, 2020 
  • Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, In-Depth Tax Course (Parts I, II, and III), 2017 
  • Canadian Bar Association Tax Law for Lawyers Course, 2014 
  • Admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar, 2012 
  • Bachelor of Laws (with Distinction), University of Saskatchewan, 2011 
  • Bachelor of Business Administration, Finance Major (with Distinction), University of Regina, 2009 

Preferred Service Areas

Professional Involvement

  • Board Member, Ideas Inc 
  • Board Member, Creative Saskatchewan 
  • Board Member and Second Vice-Chair, Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce 
  • Member, SaskTech 
  • Member, CAN-TECH 
  • Member, Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association 
  • Member, Canadian Tax Foundation 

Joseph A. Gill

Partner

 

Joseph (Joe) is a partner in the Saskatoon office.  

Joe is a technology, capital raising, and tax partner with a particular focus on high growth technology startups, IT contracting for companies managing digital transformation, and tax structuring for private enterprises and professionals. 

Joe is Saskatchewan’s technology and startup lawyer, having assisted hundreds of prairie technology, innovation, and scientific startups through their critical formation stage and beyond. He works with founders throughout the startup life cycle, from the very early ideation stage, through concept development and formation, to growth, scale, and exit. His belief is that founders need the right legal setup to attract investment and proactively defuse legal bombs so they can focus on building and scaling their startups. Joe actively seeks out thoughtful founders who understand that the right advice from Day 1 will accelerate their startup towards investment and growth. 

Joe provides “cradle to grave” business planning focused on the stages of building, growing, scaling and exiting a business. He brings a unique business sense to his advice having co-founded a legal technology start-up that was a participant in Saskatchewan’s first pre-seed business accelerator program. He is counsel to dozens of start-ups in the software, technology, blockchain, and medical industries. Joe also serves as the lawyer-in-residence for Co.Labs (a technology incubator in Saskatoon), the lawyer-in-residence for Cultivator (a technology incubator in Regina), and a legal coach for Opus (a technology incubator operated by the University of Saskatchewan). He is the Founder and Chair of the firm’s Technology and High Growth Startups Practice Group. He regularly presents to groups in the start-up ecosystem on legal issues such as formation, tax matters, employee incentive planning, privacy and cybersecurity, securing government funding, and raising capital (angels, venture capital, and private equity). He also provides ongoing advice to investment funds and regular investors active in the startup space. 

Joe is also a trusted advisor to many small and large businesses for managing their digital transformation projects. Whether the business is evaluating new software, integrating its’ systems with another party, or building a new digital strategy, Joe brings a common sense business approach to these deployments. He works intimately with business teams to ensure these projects deliver on the value they promise, while managing key risks for his clients. 

Joe is also a published tax lawyer, having written extensively on tax matters for organizations such as the Canadian Tax Foundation, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Law Society of Saskatchewan. He has completed the CPA Canada In-Depth Tax Course and was formerly an instructor for that course. In addition, he was formerly a sessional lecturer for a tax-focused class at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. Joe advises several corporations and professionals (accountants, engineers, pharmacists, dentists) on tax matters and more general wealth planning. 

Joe is also a firm believer in taking an innovative and scaleable approach to legal services. He regulatory tweets (@prairietechlaw) about legal innovation and is a current member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan’s Cloud Computing Task Force. His commitment to innovative legal solutions includes provision of a fixed-fee startup legal package to founders, drafting of template contracts for repeatable business use, and offering of flexible billing arrangements such as fixed-fee or success-fee arrangements. 

Presentations and Publications 

  • “Applications of Artificial Intelligence in Business: More Than Meets the AI” (Industry West Magazine, November 2022), an article examining current legal issues with artificial intelligence 
  • “Startup Legal Issues” (University of Saskatchewan College of Engineering, May 2022), a presentation covering startup legal issues applicable to founders 
  • “The Digital Transformation Playbook” (CBA Business Law North, May 2022), a presentation covering the contract lifecycle of managing significant IT projects 
  • “Technology on Trial” (CBA Midwinter Meeting, January 2022), a panel and presentation on the use of technology in the legal profession 
  • “Legal at Scale – Key Issues for Tech Startups” (Cultivator Tech Incubator, March 9, 2021), a presentation itemizing key legal issues for tech startups through the ideation, pre-seed, seed, series A, and exit stages 
  • “Legal Best Practices for Cloud Service Arrangements” (Canadian Bar Association, March 17, 2021), a presentation discussing cloud service providers, legal diligence, and best practices for lawyers and clients 
  • “Legal Issues for Video Game Startups” (Saskatchewan Interactive, November 12, 2020), a presentation discussing corporate, IP, and general legal considerations for video game developers and social media influencers 
  • “Blockchain Legal Issues” (Runnymede Society, March 11, 2020) which provides an overview of the application of securities law, tax law, and anti-money laundering laws to blockchain and cryptocurrency ventures, as well as provides an overview of smart contract legal issues. 
  • “Taxing the Digital Economy” (Paul Hill School of Business, Government Finance Class, September 25, 2019) which examines government efforts to tax digital goods and services and international compliance implications for digital service providers 
  • “First Nations Tax Issues with a Business Focus” (Canadian Tax Foundation, 2018 Prairie Provinces Tax Conference) which provides an overview of business and tax structuring for First Nations looking to undertake economic development 
  • “Cryptocurrency v Taxation: An Unstoppable Force meets an Immovable Object” (Canadian Bar Association, Saskatchewan BarNotes Publication, May 2018) an article which discusses the tax implications of cyptocurrency buying and selling as well as mining 
  • “Crowdfunding: Raising Capital in the Digital Age” (Law Society of Saskatchewan, Corporate and Commercial Hot Topic Seminar, October 6, 2017) a presentation discussing the regulation of rewards-based, donation, and equity crowdfunding in Canada and its impact on the raising of private capital. 
  • Saskatchewan Joins the Patent Box Party: New Tax Incentives for R&D” an article in the Fall 2017 Global Ventures magazine for Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership discussing issues regarding the new Saskatchewan Commercial Innovation Incentive which provides a reduction in corporate tax for businesses engaged in certain IP development. 
  • “Backdoor Amendment of the Elected Amount in Rollovers” which comments on the Tax Court Decision in R & S Industries (2017 TCC 75) concerning the ability of a taxpayer to amend (or potentially disregard) a previously-filed tax rollover election form containing erroneous information which was inconsistent with the economic and legal realities of the underlying transaction. Download from the Canadian Tax Foundation website
  • “Business Structures: Choosing your (Client’s) Adventure” (Canadian Bar Association, Saskatchewan Branch, Midwinter Meeting, February 2, 2017) a presentation discussing various forms of business entities such as corporations, partnerships, joint ventures, non-profits, co-operations, and trusts, and the corporate law, tax law, and securities law advantages and disadvantages of each. 
  • Equity Crowdfunding:  Bridging the Gap in Start-Up Financing” (Raj Manek Mentorship Program, December 2016) a presentation discussing equity crowdfunding in Canada. 
  • “Bonuses to Owner-Manager Not Exempt Under Indian Act” (Canadian Tax Focus, Volume 6, No. 4, November 2016) which comments on the Tax Court of Canada decision in Bell v. The Queen (2016 TCC 175) concerning whether bonuses paid to a status Indian performing management and administrative functions on-reserve qualify for the general exemption from tax in the Indian Act (Canada). Download from the Canadian Tax Foundation website
  • Starting a Business on the Right Foot” an article in Fall 2016 Global Ventures magazine for Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership discussing issues regarding entrepreneurs and start-ups in Saskatchewan. 
  • Tax Haven: The Fight Club of the Tax Industry” (Canadian International Council, May 25, 2016), a presentation discussing the panama papers information leak, international tax planning as it concerns tax haven countries, and government actions to combat international tax evasion. 
  • “Income Tax Issues in the Purchase and Sale of Business” (Law Society of Saskatchewan, Tax Law for Corporate and Commercial Lawyers Seminar, November 2015) a presentation discussing common tax issues associated with both asset and share sale transactions. 
  • “The Rise of Investment Crowdfunding: What You Need to Know in 2015 and Beyond LIVE Webcast” (The Knowledge Group/The Knowledge Congress Live Webcast Series, September 21, 2015) a presentation discussing both the U.S. and Canadian regulatory landscape for equity crowdfunding and cross-border issues for raising capital. 
  • Funding Hi-Tech: The New Frontier of Equity Crowdfunding” an article in Fall 2015 Global Ventures magazine for Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership discussing issues regarding crowdfunding in the hi-tech industry. 
  • “The Top 10 Hot Button Tax Issues for Lawyers Advising Businesses and their Clients” (Canadian Bar Association, Saskatchewan Branch, Midwinter Meeting, February 5, 2015) a presentation discussing 10 relevant small business tax issues for lawyers and their clients. 
  • “What to do when clients raise money online” (Advisor’s Edge, September 12, 2014) which comments on the tax implications of raising funds from a crowdfunding campaign.  Download from the Advisor’s Edge website
  • “ What to do with Digital Currency” (Advisor’s Edge, October 14, 2014) which comments on the tax treatment of bitcoins.  Download from the Advisor’s Edge website
  • “CRA: Crowdfunding Receipts are Taxable” (Canadian Tax Focus, Volume 3, No. 4, November 2013) which comments on the Canada Revenue Agency’s position that funds derived from a crowdfunding campaign are generally taxable as business income.  Download from the Canadian Tax Foundation website
  • “Financing Canadian Films Through Crowdfunding” (Canadian Tax Focus, Volume 3, No. 1, February 2013) which explores the interaction between the Canadian Film and Video Production Tax Credit and the growing use of crowdfunding as a financing means for Canadian film and video productions. Download from the Canadian Tax Foundation website

 

Representative Experience

Tax Experience 

  • Personal and corporate tax advice (income tax, goods and service tax, and Saskatchewan provincial sales tax) as part of ongoing wealth planning as well as mergers and acquisitions 
  • Disputes with Canada Revenue Agency (Notices of Objection) 
  • Assisting non-residents with sales of Canadian property 
  • Cross border tax advice in context of a $30 million acquisition of a Canadian natural gas operator by a U.S. acquirer 
  • Acted for a private agri-business company valued at approximately $47 million dollars in structuring a tax-efficient reorganization to accomplish the exit of one of two founding shareholders 
  • Counsel for a private holding corporation of a publicly-traded entity in structuring a divisive (butterfly) reorganization of publicly-traded securities 

Technology Experience 

  • Drafting and negotiation of various software and technology agreements in the consumer (B2C), business (B2C), and enterprise spaces, including terms of service, end user license agreements, privacy policies, software-as-a-service (SaaS) agreements, software license agreements, intellectual property licensing agreements and cloud storage agreements 
  • Drafting and negotiation of social media agreements including social media marketing agreements, referral agreements, and influencer agreements 
  • Assistance with crafting and implementing privacy policies for SaaS and traditional businesses concerning collection and use of client data 
  • Counsel to shareholders in the technology sector (minority and majority) concerning both external acquisition transactions as well as internal buy-out transactions 
  • Assistance with vetting of potential cloud services providers 
  • Business advisor to early stage technology companies 
  • Counsel to several Saskatchewan-based insurers managing their ongoing digital transformation projects 
  • Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Experience 
  • Assisting firms with determining securities law compliance obligations for currency tokens, utility tokens, and investment/asset tokens, including navigation of regulatory sandboxes established by securities commissions 
  • Assisting firms with money services business compliance with FINTRAC 
  • Assisting firms and investors with tax law determinations respecting the buying and selling of cryptocurrency (both income tax and goods and services tax considerations) 
  • General corporate and tax law planning concerning operating entities, intellectual property holding corporations, and management corporations 
  • White Paper and Offering Memorandum reviews 

Privacy and Cybersecurity 

  • Drafting privacy policies and assistance with integration of privacy by design considerations into software applications 
  • Corporate local counsel assistance to cybersecurity breach counsel 
  • Privacy impact assessments 
  • Review of security protocols and considerations when retaining cloud service providers 

Awards & Recognition

Joe was recently selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers™ in Canada 2024 in the field of Information Technology Law for Saskatoon. 2024 is the first year he has been listed in Best Lawyers®. 

Joe has also been recently listed as a ‘Leading Lawyer to Watch’ in the area of Computer and IT Law in the 2024 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory.

 

Our Insights

Want to learn more? Subscribe for updates.