Environment in Canada
Bennett Jones LLP
Bennett Jones LLP’s first-class environmental law group is recognized for its experience in environmental impact assessments related to major infrastructure projects, particularly in the areas of energy and natural resources, which lines up nicely with its firm-wide strength. The team is also routinely engaged to advise on contaminated site issues, dangerous goods, spills and the defence of environmental prosecutions. Leonard Griffiths in Toronto is highly recommended, and Calgary-based Brad Gilmour, who heads the regulatory department, is noted for his expertise in environmental, energy, regulatory and Aboriginal law. Other names to note include Vancouver office managing partner Radha Curpen, who is qualified in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and New York, Calgary-based energy expert Shawn Munro and Toronto-based counsel Sarah Gilbert.
Other key lawyers:
‘Bennett Jones’ environment team is incredibly responsive and has the ability to focus on practical risks. It has an understanding of the law, and how it applies that is both wide and deep, and it also has the capacity to fit its knowledge base to your industry-specific needs.’
‘Sarah Gilbert is one of my most valuable resources. She always has ideas about which avenues to pursue, which regimes might apply, what questions need to be answered, and how to address issues that arise – or before they arise. Sarah is whip-smart with a vast and precise knowledge of environmental law. ’
Federal Review Panel (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency)
Vancouver Airport Fuel Facility Corporation
Canadian Natural Resources Limited
Capital Regional District
ATCO Electric Ltd.
Pacific Traverse Energy
- Appointed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to be counsel to the Federal Review Panel in the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act review of the Taseko New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine Project, including in the subsequent judicial review.
- Advised the Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation on the five-year harmonized federal and provincial environmental assessment and First Nations community relations related to the Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project.
- Advised ATCO Electric on a detailed impact assessment related to the Jasper Interconnection Project.
- Advised Pacific Traverse Energy on all aspects of the development of its liquid petroleum gas export project in Kitimat British Columbia, including regulatory approvals, environmental assessment requirements and indigenous community relations.
Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP distinguishes itself in part through its expansive national platform, which benefits from strong footholds in each of Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario and Quebec. The firm’s geographically diverse service offering is matched by an equally broad environmental focus that covers all industries and all environmental law issues. The group is best known for its strong track record in advising on the permitting, environmental assessment and project approval processes of significant mining, energy and infrastructure projects. It also handles site assessments, audits and transactional support matters. Toronto-based Jonathan Kahn heads the group and has varied expertise across regulatory, contentious and transactional matters. Charles Kazaz, who splits his time between Toronto and Montreal, has a strong emphasis on the mining industry, while Calgary-based Terri-Lee Oleniuk specializes in project-related issues. Sandy Carpenter recently left to establish his own firm.
Trans-Northern Pipelines Inc.
Bentall Kennedy (Canada) Ltd.
A&W Food Services of Canada
CRH Canada Group Inc.
Carillion Canada Group
Wynnchurch Capital, LLC
Renewable Energy Systems Canada Inc.
Nutrien Ltd. (formerly Agrium)
- Acted for Carillion Canada, and certain other members of the Carillion Canada Group, on the going concern sale of the roads business to Emcon Services, including environmental issues.
- Advised Wynnchurch Capital on the allocation of environmental liabilities connected to its C$62.4m acquisition of the North American assets of Uponor Infra Oy.
- Advised A&W Food Services of Canada on actual and potential environmental liabilities at numerous leased properties throughout Canada.
- Advised CRH Canada Group in proceedings related to the proposed redevelopment of Toronto’s Port Lands.
McCarthy Tétrault’s diverse environmental law practice handles a relatively even balance of contentious and non-contentious work. On the non-contentious front, the group leverages the wider firm’s top-tier infrastructure and corporate offerings to provide comprehensive service in project development and transactional support matters. The department also excels in environmental litigation, with strong skill sets in contaminated sites, transportation of dangerous goods and permit appeals. Vancouver-based Paul Cassidy advises on the full scope of regulatory, litigation, policy and project development matters, and Cindy Vaillancourt Montreal is recommended for her expertise in environmental and climate change law.
Other key lawyers:
Wood Canada Limited
Neptune Terminals Ltd.
Shell Canada / LNG Canada
Vale Canada Limited
Railway Association of Canada
- Advised Shell Canada on environmental and electricity regulation matters relating to LNG Canada’s plans for a gas liquefaction and marine terminal in Kitimat.
- Represented Bruce Power on the environmental risk assessments related to the refurbishment of six of their eight nuclear reactors.
- Represented Railway Association of Canada, Canadian National Railway Company and Canadian Pacific Railway Company on two related constitutional law matters dealing with the ability of the Province of British Columbia to single out and regulate federally regulated railways in respect of the transportation of dangerous goods.
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP
Leveraging a premier Toronto platform while continuing to grow its Montreal presence, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP is strengthening its reputation across Canada. The well-balanced group is a popular choice to advise on transactional support matters, but remains active across a wide range of environmental and social impact assessments, environmental approvals, contaminated sites issues and contentious matters. In Toronto, Sarah Powell and Alexandria Pike are widely considered leaders in the field, while Montreal-based Marie-Claude Bellemare is developing a strong reputation for environmental work.
‘The firm has demonstrated the ability to offer great practical support to get matters resolved. The advice is always framed in a very business-friendly practical context to support decision-making whilst recognising uncertainties and risks.’
‘Sarah Powell, like all lawyers at Davies, provides exactly what we need in terms of advice and she has an excellent touch which helps navigate a complex regulatory environment.’
‘I have worked extensively with Alexandria Pike on environmental legal matters. Her advice is always based on rigorous analysis but also practical; she is able to balance the ideal with the real world when considering technical and legal issues.’
‘Marie-Claude Bellemare has an exceptional grasp on the law, is very well organized and always on top of every detail.’
Barrick Gold Corporation
New Gold Inc.
Northleaf Capital Partners
Pattern Energy Group Inc.
Resolute Forest Products Inc.
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company
The Public Sector Pension Investment Board
Toromont Industries Ltd.
- Acted for Axium Infrastructure and Manulife on their joint C$922m acquisition of a 35% interest in three hydroelectric projects from AltaGas, including environmental issues.
- Acted for Agnico Eagle Mines on its $325m acquisition of all of the exploration assets of Canadian Malartic Corporation, including the Kirkland Lake and Hammond Reef projects.
- Advised Fengate Capital Management on its acquisition of the Heartland Petrochemical Complex’s Central Utility Block 102 MW cogeneration facility from Inter Pipeline.
In addition to its strengths in key areas such as contaminated sites, transactional support and permitting, Fasken’s comprehensive practice group advises on complex environmental assessments, environmental defence work and carbon markets. The team is best known for its experience in major energy infrastructure projects, where it often teams up with its indigenous law and energy practices to provide seamless regulatory advice. Most notably, the team is advising TransCanada PipeLines on its mammoth Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project; energy and environmental specialist Paul Wilson is leading a cross-departmental team on that matter. Names to note in Toronto include Rosalind Cooper, who is noted for her strong litigation expertise. Montreal-based Pierre-Olivier Charlebois, who heads the environmental, energy and climate change group for the Quebec region, is a notable up-and-comer.
‘Fasken’s group demonstrates excellent knowledge, excellent responsiveness, great efficiency and fair billing.’
‘Rosalind Cooper is extremely knowledgeable and always “hits the ground running.” She responds immediately and uses her time, and the client’s time, very efficiently. When a short response will do, she provides one, rather than making an unnecessary big deal out of something small.’
FortisBC Energy Inc.
TransCanada PipeLines Limited
BC Hydro and Power Authority
Hexion Canada Inc.
- Successfully defended CP Rail in a prosecution under the Environmental Protection Act in relation to an alleged failure to report a spill.
- Advised TransCanada PipeLines on the environmental assessment and project permitting for its C$6bn Prince Rupert Gas Transmission pipeline project.
- Advised Canadian Pacific Railway Company on environmental issues nationwide.
Gowling WLG’s sizeable national practice, which leans on partners in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, is particularly well versed in environmental litigation, where it is especially active for municipal clients. The group also advises on environmental assessments, regulatory matters and corporate support issues. Toronto-based Rodney Northey chairs the practice and has a focus on regulatory approvals and environmental strategy. Also in Toronto, Harry Dahme is considered among the leading environmental lawyers in Canada and brings to bear specialist expertise in waste management, water facilities and contaminated sites. In Vancouver, Wally Braul is noted for his environmental litigation practice. Up-and-coming partner Jennifer Danahy is another Toronto-based contact.
Regional Municipality of Halton
Kirby Offshore Marine LLC
University of British Columbia
City of Mississauga
Government of Alberta
Corporation of the Town of Oakville
Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay
Marten Falls First Nation
Nunavut Resources Corporation
Gwich’in Council International
Regional Municipalities of Durham and York
- Advised Kirby Offshore Marine LLC, a large operator of coastal tank barges and towing vessels, with regards to a marine oil spill that took place off the coast of British Columbia.
- Represented the University of British Columbia in an environmental prosecution brought by the federal Crown pursuant to the Fisheries Act.
- Represents the Government of Alberta in a multi-faceted dispute regarding a site outside of Edmonton contaminated by a former wood treatment processing facility.
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP
Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP’s environmental law practice sits as part of its national regulatory, environmental, Aboriginal and land group, which is particularly rated for its ability to provide integrated regulatory and environmental advice on large scale industrial projects. Other areas of focus include environmental compliance, contaminated lands, transactional support and litigation. Calgary-based regulatory expert Shawn Denstedt QC is highly recommended, as are environmental litigator Jennifer Fairfax and talented associate Patrick Welsh, both of whom are based in Toronto. Other key contacts include Martin Ignasiak and Richard King, who jointly chair the practice from Calgary and Toronto respectively.
Rowbry Holdings Limited
Sears Canada Inc.
Algoma Steel Inc.
BC Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan
De Beers Canada
Teck Resources Limited
Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
Blackstone Property Partners
- Represented Rowbry Holdings in a C$10m contaminated lands claim.
- Represented Sears Canada in its CCAA proceedings, including advising on the company’s environmental liabilities relating to contaminated sites.
- Advised De Beers on all environmental permitting issues associated with the new Gahcho Kue diamond mine in the Northwest Territories.
Torys LLP houses a sophisticated environmental law group, with discrete offerings in deal support, litigation, project permitting, and regulatory and compliance matters. The firm’s top-tier electricity practice marks it as a popular choice for matters relating to the power and utilities spheres, though the team has proved its ability to act in any sector, with its recent experience also spanning the rail, mining, forestry and oil and gas industries. Dennis Mahony heads the group and has complementary expertise in health and safety, climate change and emissions trading. Also recommended are Tyson Dyck, who is noted for his leading climate change practice, and Michael Fortier, who focuses on environmental and indigenous law matters.
‘The team has a deep understanding of the Ontario power market and provides valued, practical advice regarding project development. The team is able to assist in all stages of project development and help find creative solutions to tough problems.’
‘Tyson Dyck is a great lawyer who provides valued, practical advice to our company regarding all matters of power project development in Ontario.’
Ontario Power Generation Inc.
Canadian National Railway
Canadian Tire Corporation
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp
Morguard Investments Limited and Morguard Real Estate Investment Trust
Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP
Boutique firm Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP stands out for its broad coverage of environmental and Aboriginal law matters, benefiting from specialist platforms in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, and Yellowknife. The firm handles the full spread of advisory, transactional and contentious matters, including prosecution defence, brownfield strategy, and environmental assessment and approvals. Senior partner Marc McAree is highly regarded for his top-level litigation expertise, while Donna Shier is recognized as an expert in contaminated land matters. Also recommended is John Georgakopoulos, who developed significant regulatory experience as a former environmental scientist with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change. Named lawyers are based in Toronto.
Other key lawyers:
ControlChem Canada Limited
The Regional Municipality of Peel
Town of Collingwood / County of Simcoe
- Successfully defended ControlChem Canada in an environmental case.
- Represented The Regional Municipality of Peel in a case relating to illegally deposited waste.
- Successfully represented the Town of Collingwood and the County of Simcoe in its appeal against Renewable Energy Approval for a wind farm project.
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s first-class shipping expertise secured several significant environmental engagements over the past year, including a grounding and associated fuel spill. Rick Williams, who is based in Vancouver, advises on commercial, regulatory and contentious issues, particularly in relation to project development, and energy and natural resource matters.
‘The environmental team is very knowledgeable and responsive on short timelines.’
‘Rick Williams and Dino Rossi are both excellent.’
Pavilion Energy Corp.
Primavera Resources Corp
Region of Peel
City of Vaughan
Markel International Ltd.
Sun-Canadian Pipeline Company Limited
Canada Color and Chemicals
Leucrotta Exploration Inc.
United Technologies Corporation
Ridley Terminals Inc.
- Represented Crew Energy in several appeals before the British Columbia Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal concerning the construction and operation of natural gas wells on Crown Land subject to an agricultural lease.
- Acted as Canadian legal counsel to Kirby Corporation in regulatory and civil proceedings arising from the grounding of a tugboat and subsequent fuel spill.
- Advised Ridley Terminals on the environmental issues related to the proposed expansion of its terminal in Prince Rupert.
Dentons’ environmental team regularly works alongside its signature oil and gas practice to advise on the environmental aspects of major pipeline projects, including recent mandates for PETRONAS and Syncrude Canada. It also has expertise in contaminated sites, and a wide variety of contentious issues and transactional support matters. Alex MacWilliam is a name to note.
‘Dentons continually strives to better understand every aspect of our business. Their stated motivation for this is so that they can better tailor their legal services to meet our specific needs, and to drive value for every dollar of external legal spend.’
‘The team are bright, pleasant to deal with, and are well regarded by regulators.’
‘Alex MacWilliam’s eye to detail and keen understanding of environmental issues have helped us through many environmental compliance and diligence matters. He has a high level of experience and expertise.’
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.
Progress Energy Canada Ltd. (now PETRONAS Canada)
Syncrude Canada Inc.
World Fuel Services
- Advised the Alberta Conservation Association on securing new conservation sites.
- Advised Petronas on all regulatory, environmental and Aboriginal law issues related to NOVA Gas Transmission’s 2021 System Expansion Project which includes approximately 350 kilometres of new pipeline, three compressor station additions, and associated facilities.
- Advised HOOPP, and its manager Morguard, on multi-year site remediation to remediate the client’s property, and adjoining properties, which are contaminated with hydrocarbon and deep chlorinated solvents.
Best known for its firm-wide expertise in mining-related issues, Lawson Lundell LLP’s environmental practice also houses specialist experience in the aquaculture, energy, transportation, and pulp and paper industries. Vancouver-based Brad Armstrong QC is highly regarded for project development work, regulatory approvals and contentious matters.
McLennan Ross LLP
Environmental law is a sweet spot at McLennan Ross LLP, which provides comprehensive service across Western Canada and beyond. Key pillars of activity include permitting, contaminated sites and the defence of regulatory prosecutions, where the team is also particularly prominent in the energy and utilities spheres. Edmonton-based litigator Ronald Kruhlak QC is nationally recognized for his expertise in energy and environmental regulation and litigation.
Norton Rose Fulbright
Norton Rose Fulbright provides coast-to-coast coverage of environmental law matters, with strengths across the full range of contentious proceedings, transactional support and regulatory issues. Toronto-based Janet Bobechko now heads the national department, following the departure of Montreal’s Jean Piette Ad E to BCF Business Law. Associate Michael Manhas ‘communicates effectively’ and is a lawyer to watch in the Vancouver office.
‘The team at Norton Rose is very knowledgeable and experienced. They are very responsive to questions and ensure they provide thoughtful and well-thought-out advice.’
‘Michael Manhas has been working on an environmental litigation matter for us and is an excellent lawyer. He is smart, communicates effectively and is also a pleasure to work with.’
Brookfield Asset Management Inc.
Canada Lands Company
Canadian National Railway
Crescent Point Energy Corp.
Enbridge Income Fund Holdings Inc.
Equicapita Income Trust
Municipalite de Sainte-Martre Sure-le-lac
Municipality Lac Beauport
Pepsico Foods and Beverages
Prince Rupert Port Authority
Pt. Ellice Properties
Quebec Port Authority
Réseau de transport de la Capitale
Rio Tinto Alcan
- Advised Brookfield Asset Management on the environmental and regulatory legal due diligence connected to its C$4.3bn acquisition of 19 natural gas processing plants and 3,550 km of gas pipelines in Alberta and British Columbia from Enbridge.
- Represented Rio Tinto in regulatory charges and investigations brought under federal and provincial environmental laws that apply to fisheries, waste management, hazardous wastes, and spills.
- Represented Nexen in an investigation by Alberta Environment and Parks, the Alberta Energy Regulator and Environment Canada and Climate Change into a pipeline leak at Nexen’s Long Lake oil sands facility in Northern Alberta.
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP
DLA Piper (Canada) LLP’s strength in the forestry sector is a significant driver of environmental work. Jointly led by Lana Finney in Toronto and Robert Seidel QC in Edmonton, the team also handles a significant volume of mandates in the energy, and pulp and paper sectors.
‘The DLA Piper team that we deal with has a depth of technical experience in the forest industry. They are excellent lawyers and understand the industry to a degree that no other law firm can match.’
‘DLA Piper is able to achieve the balance between advising appropriately but also recognizing that commercial needs sometimes require decisions to be reached more quickly and with considered risk.’
‘This team understands the public sector, and specifically, provincial government. Individuals are professional, available, and objective in their counsel; at the same time they understand our business and therefore bring informed and relevant counsel.’
‘Pragmatic and solution-oriented. Completely on top of all matters, there are no concerns about DLA Piper missing something. Lana Finney is a tremendous professional and a pleasure to work with.’
Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd.
Quantum Murray LP
Imperial Oil Limited
7-Eleven Canada, Inc.
Toronto Community Housing Corporation
Assured Automotive Inc.
Pinnacle Resources Ltd.
GFL Environmental Inc.
Emissions Reduction Alberta
Forest Resource Improvement Association of Alberta
- Represented Pinnacle, as a respondent, in an appeal to the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board of a permit amendment for a pellet plant.
- Acted for Imperial Oil in contaminated lands litigation relating to a former Imperial Oil bulk plant in Georgetown, Ontario.
Goodmans houses a multi-disciplinary environmental law practice, which is consistently engaged to advise on the environmental aspects of large transactions. The firm is also experienced in advising private and public sector clients on urban revitalization and infrastructure developments, and corporate governance issues. The team is led by Catherine Lyons, whose practice spans municipal and environmental law.
‘They have a very strong understanding of the full spectrum of client development needs; strong real estate, planning, and development knowledge helps them to fit the environmental challenges into the client’s overall business puzzle.’
‘A very responsive team which provides solid advice that we can relate to. Often, people in our industry get very convoluted advice and making a decision on the information provided becomes difficult. This is not the case with Goodmans.’
‘Catherine Kate Lyons has a strong background in planning, development and real estate law, combined with knowledge of how environmental concerns align with redevelopment needs. She gives great advice to clients on realistic expectations, challenges and potential legal liabilities.’
Newmont Mining Corp.
Cott Corporation (Aquaterra Corporation)
Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd.
HudBay Minerals Inc.
Acasta Enterprises Inc.
Amico Associates Inc.
Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.
- Advised Onex Corporation on its C$5bn acquisition of WestJet, which involved reviewing and assessing environmental-related issues and risks related to Westjet’s multiple properties and maintenance facilities across the country and airline-specific GHG emissions and carbon pricing considerations.
- Advised the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation on the revitalization of the Toronto waterfront.
Letcher Akelaitis LLP
Vancouver-based Letcher Akelaitis LLP is recognized for its leading contaminated sites practice. The environmental law boutique is also well versed in recycling and waste management issues, environmental assessment litigation and air contaminant matters. Key contacts include Andrea Akelaitis and Gary Letcher, who is considered by some as an authority in contaminated sites issues.
McInnes Cooper sets itself apart through its extensive Atlantic Canada network, which includes six offices across Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The group has built a strong regional reputation in the energy, aquaculture, real estate and agribusiness sectors. Saint John-based Matthew Hayes, who heads the construction and infrastructure practice, is the key contact in the practice group.
Made up of planning specialists, former regulators and litigators, Miller Thomson’s environmental law team advises on a broad spread of regulatory, transactional and contentious matters. Vaughan-based Bryan Buttigieg is recognized for his expertise in environmental and occupational health and safety matters.
Montreal-based boutique Sheahan LLP has developed a prominent reputation nationally due to strong showings in regulatory and contentious matters. The firm is widely considered a referral favourite by leading full-service firms, and has built up strong experience across all industry sectors. Names to note include Anne-Marie Sheahan, who focuses on environmental counselling, regulatory analysis and transactional support.
Stikeman Elliott LLP
Stikeman Elliott LLP's environmental law group routinely teams up with its M&A and finance teams to advise on environmental due diligence. With experts in the firm’s Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver offices, the practice group also advises on contaminated sites, property development and environmental assessments. Toronto-based transactional specialist Larry Cobb is a key figure in the practice group.