About Karen

Karen Gardiner is a corporate and commercial lawyer in our Halifax office. The emphasis of her practice is on banking and financial services, specializing in all aspects of secured lending.

Karen has significant experience in debt financing matters, including the negotiation and drafting of commitment letters, loan agreements and security documentation, and has represented lenders and borrowers in financing transactions involving a broad range of credit facilities and asset securitizations. She is also involved in the financing of commercial real property on behalf of lenders and borrowers.

Karen regularly acts as agent counsel for Canadian and international law firms and their clients in jurisdictions outside of Nova Scotia with respect to the securitization of assets of Canadian or international companies carrying on business in Nova Scotia and in mergers and acquisitions involving the use of Nova Scotia unlimited liability companies. Karen is ranked in The 2019 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for banking law, as well as Best Lawyers in Canada in the areas of banking and finance and corporate law.

Recognized for her knowledge and experience, Karen has repeatedly participated as a co-speaker for both the 2016 and 2019 Canadian Bar Association’s Skilled Lawyer Series, Financing the Deal: Secured Loan Transactions. Advising clients such as Clearwater Seafoods, Ally Credit Canada (formerly GMAC Canada) and Canada’s Wonderland, she has been Nova Scotia counsel on several significant secured lending transactions. These transactions included a C$12 billion secured credit facility and a US$11.4 billion secured facility as part of a global refinancing transaction. Karen has also acted as lender’s counsel on C$78 million structured credit facilities for a Nova Scotia university.

Prior to joining McInnes Cooper, Karen was legal counsel and corporate secretary for a Halifax real estate development company. She is a member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and the Canadian Bar Association, having served as vice chair of the Securities Law section of the Nova Scotia branch.

A strong advocate for sport, Karen is actively involved with the athletic community. She sat on the board of the YMCA Greater Halifax/Dartmouth, chairing its Governance committee and the Audit committee. She is also on the board of the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame and serves on their Governance and Induction Night Committees. In 2014 and 2015, she co-chaired the StFX Kehoe Dinner & Auction in Halifax and is currently the chair of the StFX Women of X-cellence. Early in 2016, Karen received the StFX Athletics ‘X-ceptional’ award. Karen is a member of the Board of Governors for St. Francis Xavier University and of the Board of Directors for JA (Junior Achievement) Nova Scotia.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Repeatedly Recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for Banking & Financial Institutions (2023)

Appointments & Community Involvement

  • Board of Governors at the St Francis Xavier University (2020-2026)
  • Board Member of the Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia
  • Board Member of Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame
  • Former Board Member of the YMCA of Greater Halifax/Dartmouth, 2015-2021
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers™ in Canada for her practice in Corporate Law (since 2014)


  • LL.B., University of New Brunswick (1996)
  • B.B.A., St. Francis Xavier University ()

Bar Admissions

  • Nova Scotia (1997)


  • English