Melissa Cattini



Winnipeg / Services provided by M I Cattini Law Corporation

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Education & Qualifications

  • Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) Candidate (2024-2025)
  • Manitoba Bar (2015)
  • JD (Manitoba, 2014)
  • BA with honours (Winnipeg, 2010)

Melissa is a business lawyer whose practice is primarily in the areas of corporate and commercial law, including mergers and acquisitions and related transitional matters, private equity buy-outs, corporate commercial transactions, business combinations, owner-operated enterprises, buy-sell agreements and transactions, shareholder agreements, commercial leasing, commercial financing, corporate governance and certain regulatory compliance matters, with a focus on buying, selling, carrying on or operating a business in Manitoba. 

As a lead and founder of the MLT Aikins Franchise Law Practice Group, Melissa has significant experience reviewing and providing advice in connection with the development, ongoing compliance and operation of Franchise Systems, including preparation and updating of Franchise Agreements, Master Franchise Agreements, Area-Development Agreements, Sub-Franchise Agreements and Franchise Disclosure Documents as well as counseling both established and emerging franchisor, master franchisee and multi-unit franchisee clients across a broad range of industries for compliance with Manitoba’s franchise and applicable regulatory framework.

Melissa understands the value of tailored and practical legal advice. She prioritizes working with her clients to develop and understand their business. which enables her to provide sensible advice that is suited to her client’s specific legal and business needs.

Melissa believes strongly in the value of education and mentorship. She frequently speaks on topics relating to corporate and commercial law, M&A, franchise law, legal negotiations, private practice, and personal practice management at events for students, practitioners, entrepreneurs, and investors alike.

Melissa has significant experience in the preparation and review of a wide array of contracts and agreements, particularly relating to the purchase and sale of businesses in a variety of structures and business combinations, including providing advice to both purchasers, sellers, borrowers and lenders  in connection with share purchase transactions, asset purchase transactions, hybrid transactions, mergers and other business combinations and related transitional matters. Her work extends to incorporation, corporate organization, structural and corporate governance matters, including unanimous shareholder agreements, buy-sell agreements, and similar arrangements, in all cases tailored to the needs of her clients.

  • Regularly represents clients in merger and acquisition transactions involving local, national and international businesses
  • Has constructed and updated franchise systems for multiple emerging and/or evolving businesses (including preparation of disclosure documentation, franchise agreements, lease and security documentation and other operational agreements) for local franchisors, master franchisees and area developers, including on behalf of international franchisors entering the western Canadian market
  • Regularly provides assistance to both lender and borrower clients with commercial financing transactions, including corporate debt-financing, secured and unsecured financing, and cross-border financing transactions
  • Regularly advises and negotiates on behalf of both landlord (including landlord groups) and tenant/investor clients in respect of commercial lease and real estate transactions, including in connection with broader transactions
  • Regularly provides advice to national and international businesses, private companies, public companies, franchisors and other operations entering the Manitoba market with respect to consumer protection and general regulatory compliance matters, including assisting with the expansion and liaising with local regulators on behalf of an international retailer in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Consulted on a leading Manitoba case with respect to interpretation of The Franchises Act, C.C.S.M. c. F156 (Diduck v Simpson, 2018 MBQB 76)
  • Seminar Leader, Legal Negotiations Workshop, Robson Hall (Manitoba, 2015-present)
  • Member, Manitoba Bar Association (2015-present)
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association (2015-present)
  • Guest Lecturer, Instructor, Voluntary Judge and Advocacy Coach, Advanced Criminal Law Course, Criminal Justice (Honours) Program (Winnipeg, 2012-2017)
  • Executive Vice President, Manitoba Law Students Association (2013-2014)
  • Chair, Community Outreach Committee, Manitoba Law Students Association (Manitoba, 2012-2013)
  • Member, Pro Bono Students Canada, Robson Hall (2011-2013)
  • Speaker, “Understanding the Franchise Disclosure Document, The National Franchise Show, Winnipeg Franchise Expo (February 2024)
  • Panellist, “10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Franchise?”  Bank of Montreal and FranNet (March 2020) and Royal Bank of Canada and FranNet (November 2022) 
  • Co-author, “Manitoba Optometrists Operating Through Professional Corporations” (March 2021)
  • Co-author, “A Quantitative Study of a Drug Treatment Court in a Western Canadian City: Post-Sentencing and Reoffence Outcomes,” Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 61(4) 45-68 (2019)
  • Co-author, “Retention and Classification in Drug Treatment Court,” Annual Interdisciplinary Review of Criminal Justice (2018)
  • Co-author, “Accessing Diversion from Custody: Retention and Classification in a Drug Treatment Court,” The Annual Review of Interdisciplinary Justice Research Vol. 7 (2018)
  • Co-presenter with Pamela Hilderman, “Restrictive Covenants in a Corporate Transaction and Employment Context: An Overview and Discussion of Emerging Developments,” CCCA Section, Manitoba Bar Association (February 2018)
  • Co-author with R. Reis Pagtakhan “Hiring Temporary Foreign Workers: The McDonald’s Case Study (Portillo v Canada)” (October 2014)
  • Impact Evaluation of the Winnipeg Drug Treatment Court (and SASSI-III) with Dr. M. Weinrath, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba (Winnipeg, 2010)
  • Impact Evaluation of the Spotlight At-Risk Youth Program with Dr. M. Weinrath, G. Donatelli and M. Murchison, Manitoba Corrections (Winnipeg, 2009)
  • Presenter, “Due Process as a Disclaimer: A Critical Discussion of Drug Treatment Courts in Canada,” Practising Justice Conference (Winnipeg, May 2010)
  • Co-presenter with R. Reis Pagtakhan, “Boxing with Kid Gloves: Why Temporary Foreign Workers Must Be Treated Differently than Canadian Employees, ” HR and Leadership Conference, Human Resource Management Association of Manitoba (October 2014)
  • Co-author with Todd W. Thomson and Bradley D. G. Zander, “Significant Amendments to National Instrument 45-106 Exemptions Announced” (March 2015)
  • Co-author with Todd W. Thomson and Bradley D. G. Zander “The Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit Program in Manitoba – Are you Eligible?” (April 2015)
  • A. Montague Israels, Q.C. Prize Winner (2015)
  • Honourable Archibald S. Dewar Prize, Advocacy (2014)
  • McIntyre Cup Western Regional Moot Trial Competition Finallist (2014)
  • Solomon Greenberg Trial Advocacy Competition with 1st Place (2013)
  • American Bar Association Regional Negotiation Competition Finallist (2013)
  • Robson Hall Negotiation Competition with 2nd Place (2013)
  • Neil James McDonald Memorial Prize for highest standing, Criminal Law (2012)
  • D.A. Thompson, Q.C. Prize for highest standing, Constitutional Law (2011-2012)
  • D.A. Thompson, Q.C. Prize for highest standing, Property Law (2011-2012)
  • Max & Manly Isaacs Prize for highest standing, Legal Methods (2011-2012)
  • Dean’s Honour List, Faculty of Law (2011-2012)