Environment in Canada
Bennett Jones LLP
Bennett Jones LLP's highly regarded environmental law team advises on the full range of environmental law, including on impact assessments associated with the regulatory approval of major infrastructure projects, an area where it has a particularly strong reputation. Other key areas of strength include judicial reviews and appeals, chemical and waste import and export requirements, dangerous goods and spills, and contaminated sites and the defence of environmental prosecutions. The firm can also offer clients additional advice regarding regulatory and Aboriginal issues arising out of significant infrastructure projects. Toronto-based Leonard Griffiths jointly leads the practice alongside regulatory head Brad Gilmour in Calgary, and Vancouver managing partner Radha Curpen. Also recommended are Shawn Munro and Sarah Gilbert.
BC LNG Alliance
Business Council of British Columbia
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Capital Regional District
Conuma Coal Resources Limited
Global Container Terminals
Mining Association of British Columbia
Pacific Traverse Energy
Polaris LNG Ltd.
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facility Corporation
- Supported Global Container Terminals (GCT) on all aspects of development of its port terminal expansion.
- Supported Conuma Coal Resources Limited on all aspects of its mining operations located in British Columbia.
- Acted as counsel to Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation on the five-year harmonized federal/provincial environmental assessment and First Nations community relations related to the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project (marine terminal, tank farm, and pipeline) in the Lower Mainland.
Boasting a strong presence across Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is regularly involved in large-scale business transactions, development projects and real estate mandates demanding specialized environmental law advice. The practice group stands out for a number of reasons, including its experience in core industry sectors and its capabilities to directly represent clients in disputes before tribunals and at all levels of Canadian courts. Jonathan Kahn heads up the department in Toronto and advises on domestic and cross-border acquisition transactions; Vancouver-based Tony Crossman has experience of regulation, corporate compliance and due diligence; Charles Kazaz splits his time between Montréal and Toronto and specializes in matters involving the mining sector; and Terri-Lee Oleniuk in Calgary acts for a variety of companies in environmental assessments and regulatory proceedings.
Other key lawyers:
Suncor Energy Inc.
Imperial Oil Limited
CRH Canada Group Inc.
Carillion Canada Group
Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
TransCanada Pipelines Limited
Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc.
- Representing CRH Canada Group Inc. in proceedings related to the proposed redevelopment of Toronto’s Port Lands, historic port lands into a multi-use, recreation and environmental feature.
- Representing Tundra Oil & Gas through its insurer in a civil claim involving an oil spill that followed the construction of a pipeline crossing.
- Providing various wind and solar projects environmental and regulatory advice for the applications and amendment applications to the Alberta Utilities Commission, as well as advising on precedent-setting contestations on novel environmental issues.
McCarthy Tétrault balances its practice between contentious and non-contentious work across a wide range of sectors including manufacturing, transportation, clean tech, waste management, energy generation and transmission and mining. On the litigious side, the firm supports both environmental litigation and mediation, while on the non-contentious front it advises on the environmental aspects of corporate transactions, project development and day-to-day business operations. Regulatory work also makes up a key part of the department's work, with strong experience assisting clients in navigating provincial, territorial, federal and international laws. Paul Cassidy heads the national environmental practice from Vancouver and his sought after for his corporate, regulatory, litigation and project development expertise. Cindy Vaillancourt also comes recommended for her advice on environmental and climate change law and is based in Montreal. Co-heads Gord Nettleton and Pierre Renaud are key contacts in Calgary and Montréal respectively. Peter Brady took a general counsel position in November 2020.
Other key lawyers:
Rayonier Advanced Materials
Canadian National Railway Company
Business Council of British Columbia
The City of Medicine Hat
Suncor Energy Inc.
- Environmental counsel on the $8.4bn acquisition by Brookfield Infrastructure and GIC (the Singapore sovereign wealth fund) of Genesee & Wyoming Inc., US freight railroad owner and operator.
- Acting for Wood Canada Limited to bring to resolution the settlement of civil claims arising out of the Mount Polley tailings dam disaster.
- Represented the Railway Association of Canada in the BC reference to the BC Court of Appeal (sometimes referred to as the TransMountain Reference) in relation to proposed legislation targeted at federal pipelines and federal railways.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP's environmental practice works closely with the firm's highly regarded transactions team, providing 'concise and pragmatic' advice on environmental liabilities in financing transactions, public offerings, mergers and insolvencies. Based primarily out of Toronto with growing capabilities in Montréal, the department has a significant focus on the energy sector, with strong experience in renewable projects. Key figures in the team include Sarah Powell, Marie-Claude Bellemare in Montréal, and Alexandria Pike, who is rated for her 'excellent legal advice'.
‘Very sound legal advice provided in clear and practical manner. Uncertainties are clearly identified and discussed.‘
‘Very experienced in environmental aspects of transactions and associated indemnification agreements. The advice is very concise and pragmatic.‘
‘Alexandria Pike and her team provide guidance on environmental matters for most all of our acquisitions. The team is prompt and diligent in their reporting to us. They also recognise that for some projects the timing and/or costs required to attain all environmental information can sometimes not align with transaction timing. In this case they are instrumental in helping us evaluate probable downside risk.‘
‘Alex Pike provides excellent and timely legal advice for and has a solid technical understanding of the science, engineering and regulatory frame-work which makes the advice she provides all the more useful.‘
Axium Infrastructure Inc.
Barrick Gold Corporation
Canadian Malartic GP
Hostess Brands LLC
Northleaf Capital Partners
Patten Energy Group Inc.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board
- Retained by Public Sector Pension Investment Board to advise on obligations of investment board and its subsidiaries under the new, federal Impact Assessment Act.
- Retained by TransAlta Corporation, an Alberta-based power generation company, to advise on the complex federal and provincial regulatory environment regarding carbon emissions reductions, particularly the various Supreme Court reference cases underway.
- Advising Michelin Group on post-closing environmental issues in numerous jurisdictions.
Fasken's full-service environmental team has key strengths in contaminated sites and permitting, with additional expertise in environmental impact assessments, climate change issues and disputes. In particular, the team is especially active in matters relating to major infrastructure projects, where it works closely alongside the firm's leading Indigenous peoples practice group. Senior environmental partner Rosalind Cooper co-heads the group from Toronto, and is sought out for her experience defending companies in environmental disputes and litigating contaminated land cases. Joint practice head Pierre-Olivier Charlebois is a contact in Montréal.
‘Rosalind Cooper is very experienced and knowledgeable in environmental law, is very responsive and efficient, is well-liked and well-respected by our client group, and has excellent judgement. She does not over-work a file.‘
- Representing Manitoba Hydro as lead counsel before the National Energy Board in its application for a new 500 kV international power line from Winnipeg to the Manitoba-Minnesota border, where it will connect to Minnesota Power’s Great Northern Transmission Line.
- Advising Gazoduq on regulatory, environmental and Indigenous issues in the context of ongoing complex assessment and permitting processes with respect to the Gazoduq Project.
- Successfully defended CP Rail in a prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act in relation to an alleged failure to report a spill.
Environmental litigation is a core strength for the team at Gowling WLG, which has expertise in all three major branches of contentious work: criminal, civil and administrative. Over the past year, the team has shown its worth in consequential regulatory appeals, environmental assessments and major civil litigation. Contacts in the Toronto office include regulatory approval specialist Rodney Northey, who chairs the practice group, and Harry Dahme, who specializes in waste management issues and contaminated sites. Litigator Wally Braul is a name to note in Vancouver.
Other key lawyers:
‘Strong expertise and knowledge in environmental matters relating to the renewable energy industry.‘
‘Gowling WLG Canada LLP has a strong team that provides excellent legal support in regards to negotiations and environmental assessments.‘
Government of Nunavut
Regional Municipality of Halton
Northland Power Inc.
Kirby Offshore Marine LLC
University of British Columbia
City of Mississauga
Government of Alberta
Corporation of the City of Burlington
Romandale Farms Limited
Hamilton Beach Brands Canada, Inc.
Marten Falls First Nation
- Played a lead role in triggering federal environmental assessment and a panel review to support Halton.
- Representing the Government of Alberta in a multi-faceted dispute regarding a site outside of Edmonton, Alberta, contaminated by a former wood treatment processing facility.
- Representing Kirby Offshore Marine LLC in relation to a marine oil spill that took place off the coast of British Columbia.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP provides environmental law support on all aspects of major project developments, including environmental assessments, approvals and permits, advice on contaminated lands issues, and general environmental compliance. The group is also experienced in environmental litigation and class actions, and administrative hearings. Shawn Denstedt QC and Jennifer Fairfax are names to note for environmental law disputes, and group co-chairs Martin Ignasiak and Richard King are contacts for regulatory and compliance work.
The team at Torys is recognized by clients for its 'breadth of expertise'. Headed by Toronto-based Dennis Mahony, the environmental practice has strengths across a range of contentious and non-contentious matters, though it is perhaps best known for its contentious work, defending clients in major disputes in administrative, civil and regulatory proceedings across Canada. On the non-contentious front, the group is regularly instructed to advise on regulatory matters including climate change, and to obtain approvals on large scale infrastructure projects. Tyson Dyck and Michael Fortier are further key contacts in the team.
‘One of the things that makes Torys practice unique is their breadth of experience. There is a history of knowledge and skill developed over that time that I would not trust to anyone else.‘
‘Michael Fortier has decades of experience in a variety of legal matters, but he has assisted our company with various types of transactions and knows the risk tolerances, preferences, corporate structures and level of diligence our company offers.‘
Canadian National Railway
Canadian Tire Corporation
Windlectric, an Algonquin Power & Utilities company
Nation Rise Wind Farm Limited Partnership, a subsidiary of EDP Renewables
Wataynikaneyap Power LP
Alberta Investment Management Corporation
Dowa Metals & Mining Co. Ltd.
BluEarth Renewables Inc.
Praxair Canada Inc.
- Acting for Quebec-based Canadian National Railway in the Federal Joint Panel Environmental Assessment of its Milton Logistics Hub, a major new rail facility proposed for Canada’s most populous region.
- Representing EDP Renewables – the world’s fourth largest wind energy producer – in its successful application for approval, and subsequent litigation challenges, for the Nation Rise Wind Farm in the Township of North Stormont, Ontario.
- Guided the Amherst project through all the stages of its development, from the approval application process, through the defence of multiple legal challenges, to a successful financing and construction.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP houses an environmental practice made up of transactional, regulatory and litigation specialists. On the contentious side the group is particularly experienced defending civil claims. Vancouver-based Rick Williams leads the team, advising clients on the commercial, regulatory and litigation aspects of project development, permitting and operations in the energy and natural resource sectors.
Dentons' environmental department is instrumental to the firm's ability to provide comprehensive service to clients in the areas of transportation, oil and gas, mining and property development. The practice group stands out in particular for its experience in major pipeline projects, but has built a reputation as a one-stop-shop for project planning and implementation, more broadly. In addition to handling due diligence, rick assessments and permitting, Calgary-based practice head Alex MacWilliam ('exceptional') also represents clients in regulatory proceedings relating to contaminated sites.
‘Alex MacWilliam is exceptional. He has a very calm manner and is not pompous like many of his competitors. His knowledge of environmental law is encyclopedic.‘
Alberta Conservation Association
Calgary Municipal Land Corporation
City of Edmonton
Ducks Unlimited Canada
Great West Life Realty Advisors
Groupe TNT Inc.
HOOPP (Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan)
Morguard Investments Limited
Noralta Lodge Ltd.
Syncrude Canada Inc.
World Fuel Services
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Rocky Mountain Equipment
- Providing ongoing advice on all aspects of DUC’s Alberta business, with a particular focus on habitat protection and wetland redevelopment.
- Acted for Syncrude in respect of all regulatory, environmental and Aboriginal law issues related to the Mildred Lake Extension Project.
- Advising on environment, health and safety matters relating to all aspects of the Wood Buffalo Municipality’s operations, including potable water system, wastewater treatment system and engineering operations.
Lawson Lundell LLP is particularly experienced in the mining sector, but also has a track record of acting for clients in the fields of oil and gas, pulp and paper, and forestry. The team has shown activity in commercial transactions and regulatory work, as well as in infrastructure and project development. Brad Armstrong QC in Vancouver is a contract.
Other key lawyers:
McLennan Ross LLP
McLennan Ross LLP is a standout firm in Alberta, where it has real 'expertise in the regional economy' and 'knowledge of local regulatory structures'. The team is noted in particular for its experience defending environmental actions and acting for clients in connection with environmental incidents. Moreover, the practice group is recognized for its ability to handle all environmental law aspects of major project developments and business transactions in several key industry sectors, including power and energy, and utilities. Sean Parker co-chairs the practice alongside JoAnn Jamieson. Ronald Kruhlak QC is rated for his work in environmental litigation and administrative proceedings.
‘Knowledge of local regulatory structures. Expertise with regional economy.‘
‘Ron Kruhlak – strong expert on Alberta environmental regulatory review; deep insights into proponent experience in environment review; values problem solving and issues resolution.‘
Government of Alberta – Transportation
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
KGL Constructors, a Partnership
City of Calgary
- Representing Alberta Transportation in an application for a dry reservoir project that will mitigate the risk of future flooding in the city of Calgary and surrounding flood plains.
- Representing TransAlta in ongoing litigation with First Nation over transmission infrastructure on reserve lands.
- Representing KGL in regulatory proceedings to gain approval for the southwest leg of the Calgary Ring Road.
Norton Rose Fulbright advises on the full range of environmental matters, including civil disputes and criminal and administrative proceedings, business transactions, environmental governance and climate risk and sustainability issues. Janet Bobechko leads the department from Toronto; she specializes in climate change risk-related issues and disclosures. The team is also noted for its work on brownfield remediation projects, an area where Max Collett is a key contact. The practice group is fully integrated across the firm's offices in Québec, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver.
Brookfield Asset Management Inc. (NorthRiver Midstream)
Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners
Equicapita Investment Corp.
Crescent Point Energy Corp.
Lactalis Canada (previously Parmalat)
Prince Rupert Port Authority
Québec Port Authority
Réseau de transport de la Capitale – Ville de Quebec
Columbia Power Corporation
- Defending Rio Tinto (RT) in litigation brought by the Saik’uz First Nation and the Stellat’en First Nation in a claim against RT in nuisance and for interference with riparian rights based on aboriginal rights and title, in respect of RT’s Kenney Dam and Nechako Reservoir.
- Advising the Quebec City Réseau de transport de la Capitale (RTC) on the Québec City C$3bn public transit network, which is to include tramways, an electric trambus, and reserved bus lanes.
- Acting for Eaton Industries (Canada) Company (Eaton) in an ongoing, multi-party civil proceedings with respect to alleged environmental contamination of lands in London, Ontario.
Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP
Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP is a boutique environmental law outfit that advises clients on the full range of environmental, Aboriginal and energy law issues. Contacts in Toronto include Marc McAree, John Georgakopoulos and Donna Shier. The firm also has offices in Calgary, Ottawa and Yellowknife.
Other key lawyers:
Aird & Berlis LLP is has experience advising both public and private sector clients on environmental law and other related matters, including Aboriginal law, brownfield redevelopment, contaminated sites, climate change and environmental compliance. Toronto-based litigators Scott Stoll and Dennis O’Leary are key figures in the team.
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP's relationship with Imperial Oil generates a significant amount of work for its environmental practice, including litigation, Aboriginal issues and real estate transactions. Further afield, the team is also particularly experienced in the forestry and pulp and paper sectors. The practice is jointly led by Toronto-based Lara Finney, who specializes in environmental liabilities work, and Robert Seidel QC in Edmonton, the firm's managing partner in Canada.
‘Lana Finney is easy to work with, provides prompt advice and has a solid business practical approach to her responses.‘
7-Eleven Canada, Inc.
Assured Automotive (2017) Inc.
Emissions Reduction Alberta
Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta
GFL Environmental Inc.
Imperial Oil Limited
Pinnacle Resources Ltd.
Quantum Murray LP
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
- Acting for Imperial Oil Limited in contaminated lands litigation relating to a former Imperial retail fuel outlet.
- Acting on an ongoing basis for new entity Assured Automotive in its continuing acquisition of new collision repair locations.
- Representing the Canadian subsidiary of a world-wide chemical manufacturer in relation to environmental compliance issues at its southern Ontario facility
Goodmans LLP handles a range of environmental issues arising from commercial transactions, and also advises on regulatory concerns at federal and provincial levels. A multi-disciplinary team, the group has expertise in areas ranging from real estate to municipal law to litigation. Toronto-based Catherine Lyons heads up the practice.
Letcher Akelaitis LLP
Based in Vancouver, environmental boutique Letcher Akelaitis LLP is highly regarded for its contaminated sites practice, advising on environmental emergencies, recycling and waste management issues, as well as on environmental assessment litigation and air contaminant and odour issues. Gary Letcher and Andrea Akelaitis are key names in the practice.
McInnes Cooper provides comprehensive advice on environmental liabilities and contaminated sites, environmental assessments, compliance and environmental due diligence in the context of commercial transactions. Six offices in the region gives the firm a strong presence in Atlantic Canada. Saint John's-based litigator Alex Templeton is a contact in the practice group.
Other key lawyers:
Miller Thomson's environmental law group has shown its capabilities across a full range of transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. Bryan Buttigieg is a name to note in the practice group. He is based in the firm's Vaughan office.
Other key lawyers:
Boutique environmental law firm Sheahan LLP is sought out for its expertise is high-stakes regulatory and contentious matters. Senior partner Anne-Marie Sheahan is recommended for her work in environmental counselling and advice on the environmental aspects of commercial transactions. The firm is based in Montréal.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP has experience advising on environmental liabilities in the context of large-scale transactions in several core industry sectors, including real estate, manufacturing, mining, petrochemicals and waste management. The team also provides risk assessment services, and other standalone compliance and regulatory advice. Larry Cobb is a contact in the Toronto office.
Other key lawyers: