Over the years, Hillwatch principals have helped many clients achieve their government relations goals in the legislative, regulatory, procurement and trade areas. Hillwatch is also recognized as Canada's leading expert in organizing grassroots campaigns - an activity that now has an increasing online component.

Grassroots Achievements

  • Devised and managed a comprehensive multi-year public affairs strategy for a national industry association. The strategy was effective in raising the sector's credibility and gaining favourable policies.
  • Implemented a stakeholder consultation and outreach initiative for a national trade association, resulting in a new strategic vision for the industry involved.
  • As the coordinator for a forest industry sectoral group, brought together over 100 CEO's to produce a consensus strategy on competitiveness that became the basis for a joint government/industry work-plan. Also prepared a study of industry restructuring models in Sweden, Finland and the United States and their applicability to the Canadian industry. 
  • Conceived, designed and delivered apparel and textile duty remission programs for the Canadian apparel industry. These programs resulted in $60 million annual savings to the industry. That same campaign produced the most comprehensive review of textile tariff policy in over 50 years.
  • Supervised the conceptual development, nation-wide consultation and preparation of legislation of the economic deregulation of the National Transportation System.
  • Acting from the private sector, we were mandated to obtain federal, provincial and private sector consensus, for recommendations to modernize the Western Grain Transportation Act. Legislation embodying these recommendations was introduced in 1993.   
  • Developed and helped implement a strategy to help a marine industry sector and government jointly overcome a long festering and politically problematic labour conflict. 
  • Established a forum of shippers and carriers, at the CEO level, to promote coordinated government/private sector transportation policy development.
  • Developed and presented a series of workshops to help association members work more effectively with government. 
  • With two national associations, developed programs that effectively doubled membership and dues income. Created and staffed an international division of a national trade association.
  • Brought two divergent and conflicting provincial trade associations together to negotiate an acceptable regional solution to a national problem. 
  • Brought industry, customers, suppliers, municipal and provincial governments together in a common front against a major federal environmental initiative.

Legislative Achievements

  • Working with an association formed for this purpose, convinced a major Crown Corporation to divest one of its business lines.
  • For a direct marketing client, established a process to regularly monitor upcoming consumer protection legislation in the federal parliament and all 10 provincial legislatures.  
  • When a clause in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation was about to devastate a business sector's bottom line, a full-fledged government relations campaign was organized. The desired legal amendment was achieved within three months of identifying the risk.  
  • Developed strategy and implemented programs for the regulatory and legislative acceptance of new marketing practices for infant formula.  
  • For a financial sector client, provided a brief, talking points and contact program for a key parliamentary hearing.  Key issues were subsequently resolved in the regulatory consultation process.  
  • Oversaw the implementation of the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, including consultation with provinces, industry and municipalities to reach agreement on over 1,400 new regulations and their application on a shared, cooperative basis.  
  • Worked with four national industry Associations to create industry-specific caucus activities and achieve specific industry objectives.  
  • Worked with two provincial trade associations to mobilize regional caucus groups within the governing party.  
  • Developed and implemented a plan to promote the establishment of an industry-specific caucus.  
  • Mobilized government and opposition caucus members in support of industry objectives, including questions in the House, the development of industry-beneficial Private Member's Bills, Legislative Amendments at Committee stage and MP sponsored questions at national and regional caucus meetings.
Regulatory Achievements
  • In a difficult and protracted port divestiture, accelerated government and community negotiations, resulting in port sale to our client, and under acceptable terms and conditions.
  • Assisted in the privatization of Canada air traffic control system.
  • Assisted in the first successful environmental approval for a greenfield pulp mill investment.
  • Worked with a major Crown Corporation to form a strategic partnership and common business program with a Canadian financial services company.       
  • A foreign publishing client with an acquisition at risk due to a government ruling was able to have the investment accepted after an active advocacy campaign.
  • As lead government relations consultant, developed and coordinated a government relations strategy on successful telecommunications privatization.  
  • Worked with an international resource industry association to ensure that Canadian environmental regulations and processes (Canadian Environmental Protection Act) are consistent with industry interests.
Trade & Investment Achievements
  • Create a campaign to secure the high level support for a successful $30 million sale of capital equipment to the Russian Railways.
  • Secured acceptable softwood lumber quota limits for a large integrated forest products company. 
  • Argued and won over 10 Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) Textile Tariff cases.
  • Achieved an exemption from the GST and eased imposition of the Softwood Lumber Export Tax. 
  • A client corporation had entered into a contract with a U.S. company to undertake dredging on the St. Lawrence but faced a duty liability of $1 million on the importation of a U.S. flagged dredge. After careful case preparation and a targeted contact program, actual duty liability was reduced to a few thousand dollars. 
  • Advised the Senate of Canada, federal government departments, and foreign embassies on the following areas: Anti-dumping; Canada's merger laws; competition issues and the agendas of international trade organizations; the impact of GATT and NAFTA on internal trade barriers; and the macro-economic effects of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
  • Conducted a competitive site analysis spanning six Canadian provinces for an incoming international defence investor.
  • Helped reduce the level of government protectionism in a Canadian sector. 
  • Helped a client establishing a headquarters in Canada obtain financial assistance from federal and provincial government sources.    
  • Provided advice to a Fortune 500 company on successful acquisition prospects and strategies for the Canadian market. 
  • Secured duty remission and a flag waiver exemption for a major dredging project. 
  • Worked with U.S., Canadian and international corporations and associations to secure maximum advantage in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Specific areas of expertise are resource industries, agriculture, telecommunications and software.
    High Technology & Procurement Achievements
    • For a high tech client, identified key bottom-line electronic commerce issues and initiated a regular program to track and report.
    • Convinced the Government to make significant changes in the design of electronic service program to accommodate private sector industry users. 
    • For a government client, provided a web site service and product offering to accommodate small business clients. 
    • Convinced government to move from a paper to electronic process to reduces private sector transaction costs.
    • Provided hands-on assistance to help leading ERP vendor break into the federal government marketplace. Fifteen federal departments and agencies have since "gone live" with this software. 
    • Provided marketing strategies for a number of both large and small firms to help them enter the Ottawa government market or expand their presence in that market. This included identifying specific contract opportunities.
    • When bid requirements appeared to be skewed to favour a rival bid, convinced government to re-bid the contract. Our client won the re-bid.
    • Assisted a developer to implement the first-ever comprehensive private sector project to design, finance, build and operate a world-class terminal within a federal airport. 
    • Assisted a developer to implement the first-ever comprehensive private sector project to design, finance, build and operate a world-class terminal within a federal airport.
    • Developed and implemented a strategy to improve the construction of a principal vessel for an inter-provincial ferry service.    
    • Developed the concept, design and oversaw the production of an annual publication to track government procurement expenditures. 
    • For a major software company, successfully laid the groundwork for a close working relationship and partnership with a major department and Crown Agency.  
    • Developed successful government relations strategies for the $450 million Marine Coastal Vessel Defence Program and the $3 billion Canadian Patrol Frigate Program.        
    • Worked with major international software firm to forge common positions and partnerships with a federal agency's government-on-line management and its programs.
    • Worked with a major international telecommunications firm to seek modifications to and compliance with Canada's foreign ownership laws and regulations.

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