J.J. Burnell


Winnipeg / Services provided by J J Burnell Law Corporation

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Education & Qualifications

  • Manitoba Bar (1996)
  • LLB (Manitoba, 1995)
  • B.Sc. (Manitoba, 1992)

J.J. practises in the area of corporate recovery and insolvency law, as well as in pension and benefits law.

In the area of corporate recovery and insolvency law, J.J. provides advice regarding corporate recovery strategies, debt restructuring, arrangements, proposals, loans, loan recovery and enforcement, shareholder, director and employee issues, lender liability, bankruptcy and receivership generally. She advises corporations, banks, secondary lenders, venture capital firms, shareholders, creditors and debtors.

In the area of pension and benefits law, J.J. advises on and assists in a wide variety of matters involving pension and benefit plans, including winding-up or amendment of plans, plan creation and implementation, plan mergers, executive compensation, trust agreements and agreements for administrative services, asset transfers, surplus and distribution issues and due diligence matters.

Prominent counsel roles in recent major Manitoba and extra-provincial insolvencies, including:


  • Restructuring counsel to New Flyer Industries Limited, North America’s largest transit bus manufacturer
  • Premier Peterbilt (BIA proposal counsel to debtor)
  • Winnipeg Motor Express Group (CCAA counsel to debtor group)


  • 5274398 Manitoba Ltd. (BIA proposal – counsel to debtor)
  • Braman Furniture International Ltd. (counsel to lender/receiver)
  • DeFehr Furniture Group (CCAA counsel to debtor group)
  • Gemini Fashions of Canada Inc. (counsel to lender)
  • Isobord Enterprises Inc. (counsel to court-appointed receiver)
  • Shamray Group of Companies (counsel to debtor interests)
  • The Tanbridge Group (counsel to lender/receiver)
  • Wilson Auto Electric Group (CCAA counsel to debtor group)


  • Corner Equipment (BIA proposal – counsel to operating lender)
  • Taylor Bros. Farm Ltd. and Edwin Potato Growers Ltd. (counsel to court-appointed liquidator)
  • The Puratone Corporation (CCAA counsel to senior lender)
  • Centec Genetics Inc. (counsel to lender)
  • Nutri-Health Group (counsel to lender)
  • Pembina Pork Ltd. (counsel to lender)
  • Ridley (counsel to lender)
  • Smith Spur Farms Inc. (counsel to lender)
  • Turtle Mountain (counsel to lender)


  • Denny’s franchisee (counsel to trustee)
  • Intertan Group (counsel to supplier)
  • Premier Pizza Inc. (counsel to lender)
  • Warehouse One Ltd. (counsel to receiver/trustee)


  • Carillion Canada Holdings Inc. et al (CCAA – counsel to Manitoba Hydro)
  • 390 Assiniboine Ave. Inc. (counsel to court-appointed receiver)
  • Bissett Gold Mine (counsel to lender)
  • Minds Eye Entertainment Ltd. (counsel to investor/lender)
  • PCM International Inc. (counsel to major creditor)
  • Counsel to various corporate debtors in private restructuring activities


  • Canadian Wheat Board (counsel to plan sponsor)
  • City of Winnipeg Pension Plan (counsel to retirees)
  • Dominion Bridge Inc. (counsel to trustee in bankruptcy)
  • Saan (counsel to plan trustees)
  • Chair, CBA Insolvency Law Section (2022-present)
  • Member, Insolvency Institute of Canada (present)
  • Secretary (2019-2020), Executive Member (2017-present), Insolvency Law Section, Canadian Bar Association
  • Member, International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) (2018-present)
  • Member, Advocacy and Government Relations Committee & Communications Committee, CBA Pensions and Benefits Law Section (2017-present)
  • Board of Directors, Director for Manitoba Region, Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute (2019)
  • Council Member, Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute of Manitoba (2018)
  • Member (1992-present); Council Member (2005-2009); Bankruptcy & Insolvency, Pension & Benefits and Civil Litigation Subsections; Mid-Winter Organizing Committee Member (2003-2008); Manitoba Bar Association
  • Member (1992-present); CBA Pension & Employee Benefits in Mergers and Acquisitions Organizing Committee Member (2008); CBA National Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Restructuring Section Executive Committee Member (2016); Canadian Bar Association
  • Member (1993-present), “OMG, They’re Insolvent” Organizing Committee (2015), The Law Society of Manitoba
  • Member (2001-present); Manitoba Regional Council member (2017-present); Annual National Conference Organizing Committee Member (2006-2007); Fundamentals Committee Member; Canadian Pension Benefits Institute
  • Board of Directors (2005-present), By-law Committee Member, The Westminster Housing Society
  • Board of Directors (2007-2016); Secretary of the Board; Chair, Child Health Advisory Committee, The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba
  • Board of Governors (2007-2016); Finance Committee Vice-chair (2007-2016); Secretary of the Board (2012-2013), St. John’s-Ravenscourt School
  • Board of Directors (1996-2000); Secretary (1996-1997), The Rainbow Society Inc.
  • Member, Auction Committee, Children’s Wish Foundation (1994-1996)
  • Member, Fundraising Committee, Faculty of Law (1994-1995)
  • Prairie Regional Council, Association of Canadian Pension Management (ACPM) (2012-2015)
  • Co-chair, Manitoba Young Insolvency Professionals (2009-2014)
  • Chair, Litigation Continuing Education Committee, Aikins, MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP (2004-2007)
  • Volunteer Student Lawyer, University of Manitoba Legal Aid Clinic (1993-1995)
  • Committee Member, Model Form Order
  • Member, Canadian Insolvency Foundation

Insolvency & Restructuring

  • “The Art of Marshalling: The Good, the Bad and the Potential,” Journal of the Insolvency Institute of Canada (2021)
  • “Zombie Companies Arise!” Annual Review of Insolvency Law (2021)
  • “What to do… What to do… Ethical Considerations in Insolvency Practice,” CBA Insolvency Law Conference (2019)
  • “Insolvency Cross-Country Update,” CBA Webinar (2019)
  • “Introduction to Proposal & Bankruptcy,” client presentation (2019)
  • “Introduction to Insolvency Law,” CBA Webinar (2018)
  • E-Filing, Manitoba Bar Association (2018)
  • CBA Pan-Canadian Insolvency & Restructuring Conference, National Model Orders (2017)
  • “Considerations When Facing the Insolvency of a Business,” MBA Mid-Winter Conference (2017)
  • “Insolvency, Restructuring & Your Practice” (2016)
  • The Law Society of Manitoba (2011, 2012, 2015)
  • CAIRP Insolvency and Restructuring Forum (2009, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017)
  • Pan-Canadian Insolvency & Restructuring Law Conference, CBA (2012)
  • Insolvency in the New Era, Law Society Isaac Pitblado Lectures (2011)
  • Bankruptcy & Insolvency Subsection, MBA (2003)

Pension & Benefits

  • “Hot Legal Topics in Pension and Benefit Administration,” Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute Fundamentals (2019)
  • “A cautionary tale: Litigation investigator appointed in Sears matter,” Pensions and Benefits Section, Canadian Bar Association (2018)
  • “The Future of Pension Plans in Canada,” CPBI (2018)
  • “Pensions & Benefits in Mergers & Acquisitions” (2018)
  • “Communicating with Employees & Plan Beneficiaries,” Manitoba Labour & Employment Seminar (2017)
  • International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (2015)
  • Canadian Pension & Benefits Institute (2008, 2010, 2012, 2014)
  • Aon (2011)
  • “Duty to Accommodate,” CPBI (February 2008)
  • “Changing or Terminating Benefits,” CBA (November 2008)
  • Pensions 101 in Insolvencies, MBA (November 2003)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers for Employee Benefits law (since 2021)
  • Leading Lawyer, Insolvency (Financial Restructuring), Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers for Insolvency and Financial Restructuring (since 2013)