Bob Thornton

Robert I. Thornton



Robert is a widely-recognized and highly sought-after lawyer, noted as one of the foremost insolvency practitioners in Canada. Bob is a founding partner of Thornton Grout Finnigan (TGF) and works on some of the firm’s most high-priority and complex insolvency matters. His breadth and depth of experience is unparalleled in the industry and has resulted in Bob enjoying a well-earned reputation as a pillar in the legal profession.

Known for his creativity, energy, and collaborative approach, Bob is frequently noted for his articulate client service and legal advice. He brings an intelligent, well-rounded, and affable presence to each mandate, ensuring clients are supported throughout what are often the country’s largest and most pressing legal situations.

A natural leader and mentor, Bob is active within the insolvency law industry and is committed to the development of the practice of law. Bob is the only lawyer in full-time practice to hold fellowships with both the Insolvency Institute of Canada and the American College of Bankruptcy. Among his recent leadership roles, Bob is the Past President of the Insolvency Institute of Canada, and he invests his time in mentoring the next generation of insolvency leaders, both within TGF as part of its student and associate development programs and more broadly in the industry. 

Among his many industry recognitions, Bob is widely acknowledged as one of the foremost insolvency practitioners in Canada.  Bob is recognized as a Band 1 Leading Individual in Restructuring/Insolvency by both Chambers Global and Chambers Canada in 2023 and prior and has been lauded as "a leading light" and "the most innovative in the field." Bob is recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers in Canada as a leading lawyer in Insolvency and Financial Restructuring Law and has been repeatedly recognized as a leader in the industry by Best Lawyers, Lexpert, and Who’s Who Legal.

Representative mandates:

  • Lead counsel to JTI-Macdonald Corp., one of the largest tobacco companies in Canada, in its proceedings under the CCAA with a goal to achieve a global resolution of the myriad of litigation claims against it exceeding $700 billion. The two other largest tobacco companies have also filed for CCAA protection resulting in unprecedented industry-wide proceedings.
  • Counsel to the monitor in the ongoing restructuring of the Carillion Group in Canada.
  • Counsel to FTI Consulting Canada Inc. as court-appointed monitor of the Just Energy Group pursuant to the CCAA, a successful cross-border restructuring under the CCAA and Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code.
  • Counsel to the largest creditor in the second restructuring of Stelco Inc., Canada’s largest integrated steel manufacturer.
  • Counsel to Ernst & Young Inc. in its role as the court-appointed monitor of Performance Sports Group Ltd. and its subsidiaries, which debtors filed dual plenary cross-border restructurings under both the CCAA and Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Bob is a 2018 recipient of the Turnaround Management Association’s Large Transaction Award in respect of this mandate.
  • Counsel to PricewaterhouseCoopers Inc. in its role as the court-appointed monitor of Pacific Exploration & Production Corporation and its subsidiaries, which debtors successfully completed a cross-border restructuring under the CCAA, Chapter 15 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and a foreign recognition under Law 116 of 2006 in Colombia. Bob also received a 2017 Turnaround and Transaction of the Year Award in the International Company category by the Turnaround Management Association in respect of this mandate.
  • Represented the court-appointed monitor Ernst & Young in the first restructuring of Stelco, one of the most complex CCAA restructurings in Canadian history.
  • Counsel to Coopers & Lybrand Chartered Accountants in their novel and complicated CCAA restructuring that implicated more than 400 partners and former partners.
  • Counsel to Ernst & Young, court-appointed monitor in the restructuring of the Canadian AbitibiBowater entities, one of the world’s largest publicly-traded pulp and paper manufacturers.
  • Acting as lead restructuring counsel to Hollinger Inc. in the wind-up and resolution of Hollinger and its subsidiaries, with extensive involvement in the company’s pursuit of litigation claims.
  • Acting on behalf of a committee of contesting bondholders in the BCE reorganization, which involved the world’s then-largest leveraged buy-out with an enterprise value of $52 billion.


  • Canadian insolvency law
  • Cross-border (Canada-US) insolvency matters


  • Chair of the Nominating Committee of the IIC
  • Chair of the UNCITRAL Working Group V Support Committee of the IIC

Representative Mandates

JTI-Macdonald Corp.

TGF acts as counsel to the Applicant in its CCAA proceedings. JTIM’s CCAA proceedings are related to the CCAA filings of both Rothmans, Benso...

United States Steel

Contentious three-way battle between US Steel, employee and pensioner union and the Province of Ontario.

Hollinger: Hotly contested CCAA application resulting in a global settlement

The file involved a hotly contested CCAA application resulting in a global settlement amongst stakeholders followed by a creative harvesting of litigation assets by a litigation trustee all under and as part of a CCAA filing.



An unusual case involving the Federal Government and a pending lawsuit in respect to the government's actions. 

Coopers & Lybrand

Counsel to Coopers & Lybrand in connection with its restructuring proceedings, and litigation counsel in connection with the successful defence of claims against Coopers with a value of approximately $400M.

AbitibiBowater: Counsel to the Court-appointed Monitor

Counsel to Ernst & Young, court-appointed monitor in the successful cross-border restructuring of the AbitibiBowater entities, one of the world's largest publicly traded pulp and paper manufacturers

Performance Sports Group cross-border restructuring.

TGF represents the court-appointed monitor Ernst & Young in the cross-border restructuring of Performance Sports Group Ltd. and its subsidiaries. Performance Sports Group Ltd. and 17 of its subsidiaries entered into dual plenary cross-border proceedings

Farley WinDoor Ltd.: Debtor counsel in CCAA filing

Debtor counsel in CCAA filing.