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Julie Lessard

Partner, Lawyer, Head of the Business Immigration Group

Julie Lessard



25th Floor
1100 René-Lévesque Blvd. West
Montreal, Quebec H3B 5C9
514 397-8500 514 397-8515

Partner and Head of the Business Immigration team, Julie Lessard heads one of the largest teams of business immigration professionals in Canada. She has over 20 years of experience in this complex field. She advises both multinationals and small- and medium-sized businesses on how to attract top global talent be it to innovate, to benefit from a global knowledge or to meet specialized workforce needs.

Julie develops immigration and/or global mobility strategies for several Fortune 500 companies. She has the skills, the expertise and the experience needed to implement immigration strategies that facilitate the global hiring of senior executives, skilled workers and professionals from all jurisdictions around the world. She frequently speaks at conferences in Quebec and internationally, particularly in the areas of immigration law and workforce mobility. She is also regularly invited by the media to provide expert commentary on these matters.

Julie was named one of Lexpert’s Leading Lawyers Under 40 in 2010. Her peers selected her as one of the best immigration lawyers in Canada in the Best Lawyers rankings, in which she has appeared since 2014. She generously donates her time to several social and humanitarian causes. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Quebec Chapter of the American Chamber of Commerce of Canada (AmCham) and a member of the Government Relations Committee of the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC).

  • Called to the Barreau du Québec (1995)
  • LL.B., Université de Sherbrooke (1994)
  • Best Lawyers (2014-2022) - Immigration Law
  • Who’s Who Legal (2018-2021) - Corporate Immigration
  • Lexpert (2010) - Rising Star: one of the Leading Lawyers Under 40
  • Young Chamber of Commerce of Montreal (2009) - ARISTA finalist : Young Quebec Professional category
  • “Temporary Foreign Worker Program: Priority to Certain Occupations Considered Essential”

    BCF, June 12, 2020

  • “Quebec’s Major Immigration Reform: What Impacts for Your Foreign Workers?”

    BCF, June 2, 2020

  • “COVID-19: Does the New U.S. Presidential Proclamation Have an Impact on Your Foreign Workers?”

    BCF, April 24, 2020

  • “COVID-19: Update on Travel Restrictions to Canada by Air and Land”

    BCF, March 23, 2020

  • “COVID-19: Clarifications on Land Border and Air Travel to Canada”

    BCF, March 19, 2020

  • “COVID-19: Impact on Travellers to Canada”

    BCF, March 17, 2020

  • “The Role of Immigration Policies in Attracting Foreign Investment to Canada”

    BCF, March 6, 2020

  • “Role of Foreign Workers at the Heart of Canada’s Strategic Innovation and Talent Plan”

    BCF, September 6, 2019

  • “5 questions pour des relations internationales impeccables”

    Article for Portail Artère, May 9, 2019

  • "Giving foreign workers their due"

    Canadian HR Reporter, May 29, 2017

  • "From technical to tactical: Changes to TFWP force employers to change immigration, mobility management practices"

    Canadian HR Reporter, November 16, 2015

  • "Forging a New England-Quebec Alliance"

    NECBC/AMCHAM, March 25, 2015

  • "Aéronautique : L’apport incontestable des travailleurs étrangers à Montréal"

    Action Canada-France, Vol. 23, No. 3, March, 2015

  • "Terminating an Expat: Commencing a Long Journey?"

    Canadian HR Reporter, May 2014

  • "Réussir en dehors des grands bureaux"

    Interview with Céline Gobert, Journal Les Affaires, May 17, 2014

  • "Vous avez des projets aux États-Unis? Votre premier défi : traverser la frontière canado-américaine..."

    Réseau juridique du Québec, Montreal, Update April 23, 2014

  • "Exporter notre savoir-faire en construction : pas si simple!"

    Savoir exporter, Développement économique Longueuil, October 2012

  • "Que savoir avant d’embaucher des étrangers"

    Les Affaires, Montréal, April 28 2012

  • "Étude de cas sur la mobilité des travailleurs"

    Perspective magazine, Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Fall 2011

  • "Vous avez des projets aux États-Unis? Votre premier défi : traverser la frontière canado-américaine..."

    Revue de la Corporation des Entrepreneurs généraux du Québec, Montreal, 2010

  • "Attirer des cerveaux"

    La Presse, Montreal, April 8, 2010

  • "Pour un Québec compétitif : de l’exode des cerveaux à la mobilité des pensées et des idées"

    La Presse, April 2010

  • "Trailing Spouses – Family Issues"

    Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Montréal, 2010

  • "Les développements récents en droit des affaires internationales - Le travail international,"

    Journal du Barreau du Québec, Montreal, 2009

  • "Capital Investments in the Province of Quebec: The Human Factor,"

    L'Expert CCCA/ACCJE, 2008/2009

  • "Immigration,"

    A chapter in the Guide Establishing Yourself in Canada, published by the French Commercial Representation Mission in Canada, 2008

  • "Montreal Law Firms Go A-Courting in India,"

    Interview with Kathryn Léger, The Montreal Gazette, 2008

  • "Socio-economic Point of view and the Impact of Immigration Legislation on Temporary and Permanent Workers on the Competitiveness of Our Businesses,"

    A White Paper, Quebec, 2008

  • "Impact of the Free Trade Agreement on Immigration Policy,"

    The Quebec Bar Association, 2008

  • "The Free Exchange of Workers in North America - Myth or Reality?"

    Action Canada-France, 2007

  • "La mobilité internationale des travailleurs : un vecteur de compétitivité pour nos entreprises"

    Les Affaires, 2007

  • "Demystifying Immigration,"

    Échanges Internationaux, 2007

  • "Temporary Expatriation to Quebec,"

    Classe Export, 2004

  • October 6, 2021

    Speaker: "Temporary Foreign Worker Program", Manufacturier & Exportateurs du Québec

  • September 14, 2021

    Speaker: "La pénurie de main d'œuvre chez les entreprises : plus néfaste que la pandémie", Event Les Affaires 2nd edition

  • May 26, 2021

    Speaker : “La nouvelle réalité du travail et ses enjeux : les mesures COVID-19, le télétravail et le recrutement international”, Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés (CRHA)

  • May 6, 2021

    Panelist: “Mythes et réalités de l’immigration économique ”, Conseil du patronat du Québec

  • December 9, 2020

    Panelist,“International recruitment, cross-border workers and business travel: what’s in store for 2021?”, BCF

  • November 12, 2020

    Moderator, “Understanding and Doing Business with the United States Today – New England Perspective”, Quebec Chapter in the American Chamber of Commerce of Canada (Amcham)

  • July 15, 2020

    Panelist, “What to Expect in 2020 for Your Cross-Border Workers and International Recruitment”, BCF

  • April 2019

    Facilitator, Journée Gouvernance Desjardins, “Transformer la pénurie de main-d'œuvre en opportunité de croissance”

  • April 2019

    Panellist, “Les nouvelles tendances en droit de l’immigration au Québec,” CERC Immigration Event

  • March 2019

    Panellist, “Panels - L'humain au coeur de la 4e révolution industrielle,” CRIQ avec Deloitte

  • March 2019

    “Pénurie de talents; Recrutement et fidélisation en mode solution,” Conférence Les Affaires

  • February 2019

    “La ‘DANSE’ des formalités en matière d'immigration,” Danse Transit

  • November 2018

    Panelliste, , Comprehensive Trade Agreements and the modernized NAFTA

  • November 2018

    Skilled foreign workers: the solution to overcoming the labour shortage in the railway industry? 5th Annual National Railway Day Conference

  • October 2018

    «Business Travelers, Foreign Workers and Employer Strategies to Step up your Game», ImmigCON 2018

  • October 2018

    «Immigration training session». Axium

  • September 2018

    «Activité de recrutement - Volet immigration». BDC

  • December 2017

    Le droit de l’immigration au cœur des stratégies d’affaires et des transactions, Conférence Barreau de Montréal

  • October 2017

    Immigration at the center of ALSTOM Transport’s expansion in Canada, Rochester, NY

  • September 2017

    La mobilité globale des employés: les professionnels RH au cœur des stratégies Congrès 2017 du CRHA

  • May 2017

    Mobilité transfrontalière– le futur de l’ALENA, présentation au CERC

  • Mars 2017

    Présentation : «Ce que les employeurs doivent savoir»

  • February 2017

    La “DANSE” des formalités en matière d’immigration, présentation chez Danse Transit

  • June 2016

    Guest expert, 12 heure Chrono de l'International, spécial USA, Investor Visa

  • June 16, 2016

    Web conference: "L'AECG entre le Canada et l'Union européenne : quelles opportunités pour les PME françaises ?", Chambre de commerce française au Canada

  • May 26, 2016

    Presenting the workshop "Prévoir le bon visa pour les États-Unis", Classe Export Tradeshow (Expansion Québec)

  • March 2016

    Course: International Tax System, Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF), Montreal

  • March 2016

    "Immigration et émigration des particuliers/éléments périphériques", Association de planification fiscale et financière (APFF), Montreal

  • March 2016

    "Attirer le talent étranger et en faciliter l’intégration : considérations juridiques en immigration d’affaires et droit du travail", Convention Canada-France, Montreal

  • March 2016

    "Travailler au cœur des complexités du système économique d’immigration du Canada", presented to CERC, Montreal

  • March 2016

    "Doing Business in Quebec: Business Formation & Movement of People/Immigration", Manhattan Chamber of Commerce-AmCham-IQ Event, New York

  • February 2016

    "Les formalités en matière d'immigration pour les danseurs et artistes", presentation given at Danse Transit

  • October 21, 2015

    "The Treacherous Road to a Global Workforce: The Complex Intersection of Export Controls, Employment, Immigration and Data Privacy Laws", American Bar Association (ABA), co-speakers: Karla Haynes, Associate General Counsel for Facebook, Judy Polacheck, Legal Advisor for Polacheck HR Law LLC, João Luís Traça, Partner for Miranda Correia Amendoeira & Associados, Montreal

  • September 28, 2015

    "Managing the Complexities of Canada’s Immigration System", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Montreal

  • May 14, 2015

    "Navigating New Rules in Canada’s Immigration System", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Toronto

  • March 24, 2015

    "Le Programme des Travailleurs Étrangers Temporaires: Comment votre organisation fait-elle face aux changements récents apportés au Programme?", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Montreal

  • October 30, 2014

    "Legal Aspects of Interest to Foreign Investors in Canada and Québec", International Association of Lawyers, Florence

  • October 9, 2014

    "Bienvenue au Canada", French Chamber of Commerce Canada (FCCC), Montreal

  • October 8, 2014

    "L’impact des stratégies d’immigration, la responsabilité des employeurs et les risques fiscaux", Association de planification financière et fiscale (Quebec association of tax and financial planning), Montreal

  • September 22, 2014

    "The World of International Mobility : Business Immigration Management From Risk to Opportunity", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Whistler

  • May 29, 2014

    "Panel sur l’envoi de personnel à l’étranger et la relocalisation", Association de planification financière et fiscale (APFF), Montreal

  • May 21,2014

    "Créer une entreprise aux États-Unis", American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham), Montreal

  • February 25, 2014

    "Temporary Foreign Workers Program", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Montreal

  • January 14-15, 2014

    "Témoignages d’experts de l’étranger", 24H Chrono de l’International, TV5 Monde, Paris

  • February 2014

    "Je gambade à l’étranger", Centre de ressources et transition pour danseurs (CTRD)

  • November 2013

    "Je gambade à l’étranger", Conseil des arts de Montréal

  • February 2013

    "Je gambade à l’étranger", Centre de ressources et transition pour danseurs (CTRD)

  • August 27, 2013

    "Le programme des travailleurs étrangers temporaires et l’impact des réorganisations corporatives sur le statut des travailleurs étrangers"

  • June 19, 2013

    "Changements au programme des travailleurs étrangers temporaires", Canadian Employee Relocation Council, Montreal

  • May 2013

    "Immigration et émigration des particuliers/éléments périphériques", Revenu Québec, Montréal

  • June 6, 2012

    "Formation sur les visiteurs d’affaires (B-1) et les permis de travail pour professionnels sous l’ALENA (TN)"

  • March 14, 2012

    "S'implanter au Canada : les visas, les aspects juridiques, l'investissement…", 4th Mondissimo International Mobility Conference, Place de la Bourse Paris

  • March 14, 2012

    "Les travailleurs expatriés au Québec : Guide pratique pour une intégration juridique et économique réussie", 4th Mondissimo International Mobility Conference, Place de la Bourse Paris, with Elsa Agostinho

  • January 2012

    "Émigration et immigration des particuliers/éléments périphériques", APFF

  • Montreal, 2012

    "Comment attirer de nouveaux talents dans votre entreprise?", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), with Patrick Bonneau, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

  • November 20, 2012

    "Aspects juridiques et immigration", Chambre de commerce et d’industrie de Paris, Paris

  • September 20, 2012

    "Comment éviter les embûches du processus des travailleurs étrangers temporaires pour assurer les besoins en main-d’œuvre", Institut Canadien, Montréal

  • September 20, 2012

    "Démystifier le recours au statut d’EBT (Extended Business Traveler) et éviter les pièges", Institut Canadien, Montreal

  • September 27, 2011

    "Business Travelers Beware: The Pitfalls of Extended Business Travel", Link to the Future of Talent Mobility CERC 2011 Conference

  • January 2011

    "Intervention sur la ville d’Ottawa", 24H Chrono de l’International, TV5 Monde, Paris

  • 2011

    "La fiscalité américaine, taxes de vente et visas", Développement économique Longueuil, Longueuil

  • 2011

    "Management in Asia / Asia-Pacific Management", Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal

  • 2011

    "Managing the Immigration risks Involved with International Mobility", Rio Tinto à Montréal, with Elizabeth Latorre, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

  • 2010

    "Faire des affaires à l'international : Éviter les pièges juridiques", HEC, Montreal

  • 2010

    "Legal/Immigration Challenges - Focus on the Family," Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Montreal

  • 2010

    "La mobilité internationale des cadres, exécutifs et autres professionnels et spécialistes : une expertise ", Paris, France

  • 2010

    "La mobilité des travailleurs en Amérique du Nord", Fédération des clubs initiés du Québec (FCIQ)

  • 2010

    "Les travailleurs étrangers temporaires au sein des entreprises : du recrutement international à l'intégration", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC), Montréal

  • 2010

    "Les français à l’étranger", Pramex-Natexis, France

  • 2010

    "Politiques québécoises en matière d’immigration économique", University of Montreal, Montreal

  • 2010

    "Challenges of Mobility for Independent Contractors", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (webinar), Montreal

  • 2010

    "Untangling Immigration Rules for Contractors, Foreign Workers and Business Visitors", Canadian Employee Relocation Council (webinar), Montreal

  • 2009

    "Canned Knowledge – Non-compete Agreements and Labor Mobility of Highly Skilled Employees in Innovation Industries," McGill University, Montreal

  • 2009

    "Mobilité des personnes: portes ouvertes sur le monde", Consultation Contacts Monde (webinaire)

  • 2009

    "Capital humain – Envoi de personnel à l’étranger," APFF, Montreal

  • 2009

    "Développements récents en immigration en Amérique du Nord," CERC, Montreal

  • 2009

    "Mobilité des travailleurs en Arizona", Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain, Montreal

  • 2009

    "Bâtir sa main-d’œuvre dans une économie en mouvance", Conseil canadien de mutation d’employés (CERC), Montreal

  • 2009

    "Doing Business in Québec: Legal and Cultural Background," U.S. Commercial Service- U.S. Consulate General Montréal

  • 2009

    "Mobilité des personnes: portes ouvertes sur le monde," Ministère du Développement économique, Innovation et Exportation (MDEIE), Montréal

  • 2009

    "Business persons and Professionals’ Mobility in Trade NAFTA Zone," Barreau du Québec

  • 2008

    "La mobilité des travailleurs entre le Québec et la Pennsylvanie", Chambre de commerce du Montréal Métropolitain, Montreal

  • 2008

    "Canada and Quebec," Seminar, CCI-International Nord-Pas de Calais, Lille, France

  • 2008

    "Doing Business in the United States", The American Chamber of Commerce – section Québec, Quebec

  • 2008

    U.S. Immigration, Conference, HEC and the Délégation générale du Québec à New York, New York

  • 2008

    "Achieving Success in Canada : The Case for the French PME", Chambre de Commerce française, Paris

  • 2008

    "Cross-Border M&A: The Human Factor," The American-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Montréal

  • September 8, 2008

    "Canada’s Future Workforce: Implementing Solutions for a National Dilemma", Canadian Employee Relocation Council Montréal

  • 2007

    "Workforce Mobility under NAFTA – Myth or Reality?", NAFIC Forum, Montreal

  • 2007

    "Border Searches of Laptops and Other Electronic Storage Devices," in collaboration with BCF, the American Chamber of Commerce in Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency, Montreal

  • 2007

    "Faire du droit de l’immigration un outil au service des entreprises", interview for the Revue de la Communauté Française des Affaires Internationale

  • 2006

    Symposium on the Asia-Pacific region in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers and Groupe MI, Montreal

  • Quebec Bar Association
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Quebec Immigration Lawyers Association (AQAADI)
  • American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)
  • Canadian Employment Relocation Council (CERC)
  • French Chamber of Commerce in Canada
  • American Chamber of Commerce in Canada (Montreal Chapter) (AmCham)
  • Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce 
  • Quebec Alliance of Manufacturers and Exporters
  • Montreal Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
  • Co-Chair of the Quebec Chapter in the American Chamber of Commerce of Canada (Amcham);
  • Member of the Government Relations Committee for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC) 2012-2013-2014-2015;
  • BCF LLP, co-head of the Audit Committee 2010-2011;
  • BCF LLP, Administrative Council 2008-2009;
  • The Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers (AQAADI).