Ralph May
Joanne M. Westman
LL.B., University of British Columbia, 1972
B.Comm., University of British Columbia

Ralph is widely acknowledged as one of the most experienced farm lawyers in British Columbia. His family has very deep roots in Vancouver and Richmond, dating back to the 1870s and 1875, respectively. His roots are also of an agricultural type in that he has owned a successful farm since 1978.

He brings his love of farming and the Richmond/Vancouver region to his law practice and has worked with generations of families for more than 35 years. Ralph is uniquely qualified to advise on agricultural issues and understands the unique challenges of the farming business. His family has four generations of farmers in Richmond and Delta, and elsewhere in Canada, where his family first started farming in 1735.

Ralph is a partner and president in a 300-acre cranberry farm located in Delta, B.C. Since 1975 he has worked in farm law involving different types of farms including dairy, berries and other field crops, poultry, greenhouse, and ranchers, located in the lower Fraser Valley and other parts of BC, including some remote locations.

He is particularly well-versed to assist clients with intergenerational planning. Ralph is sensitive to the high demands of a family farming business and matters of estate planning for the next generation. Practical issues such as the absence of capital gains tax, buying and selling of businesses, and dealing with the expropriation of property including the proposed installation of power lines, gas lines, freeways, roads and other encroachments are all handled with a high degree of expertise.

When necessary, Ralph counsels farmers in financial difficulties and helps them establishes loans and navigate credit and bankruptcy matters. His other areas of experience include product liability, supply contracts, and real estate issues including Agricultural Land Commission applications and subdivisions. He has also appeared before the Canada Farm Debt Review Board, the Farm Industry Review Board and several marketing boards.

On the corporate side of his practice, Ralph acts for Farm Credit Canada, a bank set up specifically for farmers. He’s also worked on large deals involving the sale of businesses and their assets. Ralph has worked on deals valued in the multi-millions and also advises small and mid-sized business with the same level of care and detail.

Ralph is married with three children and a lifelong resident of Richmond.

Representative Work

With extensive hands-on experience and over 30 years of practice dealing with business and farm law in British Columbia, Ralph regularly handles the following matters:

  • Assisting in transferring farms to the next generation
  • Advising lenders and borrowers on lending transactions and the security taken
  • Assisting farmers and entrepreneurs who are affected by expropriations for highways and utilities.
  • Advising small businesses on various matters including reorganizations and purchases and sales.
Professional Affiliations
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Law Society of British Columbia

Governor General Generals Award for significant contributions to compatriots, community, and to Canada, 1992.

Publications & Presentations
Community Involvement

Founding Director and Chairman of Richmond Community Foundation.