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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

Charles Birchall

Partner
Certified Environmental Law Specialist

T: 613-761-2424  E: cbirchall@willmsshier.com

Bio

Charles (Chuck) Birchall has over 25 years’ experience devoted exclusively to environmental law and the intersection of environmental law with Aboriginal law, consultation and economic development. Chuck has particular expertise with environmental assessment and compliance, contaminated lands and energy law.  Chuck is called to the bar in Ontario, Nunavut and Northwest Territories.

Rankings and Awards

  • Certified Environmental Law Specialist, Law Society of Upper Canada, since 2015
  • Named Best Lawyers® 2013 “Lawyer of the Year”—Toronto Environmental Law
  • Peer selected annually to The Best Lawyers in Canada©—Environmental Law
  • Named annually to Who’s Who Legal—Canada© for Environment and the international Who’s Who Legal—Environment©

Environmental Assessment

Chuck advises clients across Canada including the northern territories about environmental assessment issues raised by mining, oil and gas and energy and infrastructure projects. He has acted and continues to act for Joint Review Panels conducting environmental assessments of oil sands projects in northern Alberta.

Environmental Compliance

Chuck has extensive experience advising clients about environmental compliance respecting contamination issues, remediation and approvals requirements. He also provides advice about environmental aspects of corporate/commercial negotiations and transactions.

Environmental Prosecutions and Orders

Chuck defends clients being investigated or prosecuted for breaches of environmental laws and Orders.

Northern and Aboriginal

Chuck advises a variety of clients including northern environmental boards and tribunals respecting natural resource development in Canada’s northern territories. Chuck also advises clients about Aboriginal law and consultation in the mining, infrastructure and energy sectors.

Environmental Legislation, Policies & Agreements

Chuck advises clients and has appeared before Parliamentary Committees in the Senate and House of Commons on proposed environmental legislation.

Clients

  • Industrial companies
  • Municipalities
  • Land developers, property owners, landlords, tenants
  • Construction companies
  • Mining, exploration and other resource companies
  • Environmental assessment panels
  • Northern boards and tribunals
  • Northern governments
  • Aboriginal communities and businesses
  • Inuit and Inuvialuit organizations

Representative Work

Environmental Assessment

  • Counsel to Joint Review Panels Conducting Oil Sands Environmental Assessments in Alberta—Acted for Joint Review Panels conducting environmental assessments (EA) of the Joslyn North Mine and the Jackpine Mine Expansion Project, and current counsel to the Joint Review Panel conducting an EA of the Pierre River Mine.

Environmental Compliance

  • Negotiations for Contaminated Site Clean-Up—Acted for the developer of an industrial site about a former tenant’s clean-up of contamination at the site. Negotiated with the tenant’s legal counsel to ensure that clean-up met all required environmental standards for industrial/commercial properties.
  • Environmental Aspects of Sale of Mining Business—Acted for a producer, processor and developer of rare earth metals in the successful sale of the business to a mining company for approximately $1 billion. Environmental law services included environmental due diligence, and reviewing environmental components of the Sale and Purchase agreement.

Environmental Prosecutions and Orders

  • Construction Company Defence for Discharge of Sediment into Water—Defended a major construction company against violations of the Ontario Water Resources Act respecting the discharge of sediment into a water body.
  • Regulatory Investigation of Hazardous Waste Removal Company—Acted for a hazardous waste removal company concerning an investigation of an alleged breach of its Certificate of Approval, resulting in charges not being laid against the client.

Northern

  • Water Law Advice to a Northern Board—Advised the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board about developing a Water/Effluent Quality Management Policy, including conducting a comparative analysis of water law regimes in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
  • Advice to Federal Government About Land Claims—Advised the federal government regarding Comprehensive Land Claims and Implementation Agreements.

Environmental Legislation, Policies & Agreements

  • Appeared before Parliamentary Committees on the Species at Risk Act, Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act, Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and other environmental legislation.

 

 

Recognition

  • Named Best Lawyers® 2013 “Lawyer of the Year”—Toronto Environmental Law
  • Peer selected annually to The Best Lawyers in Canada©—Environmental Law
  • Named annually to Who’s Who Legal—Canada© for Environment and the international Who’s Who Legal—Environment©

Organizations

  • Canadian Bar Association—National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Section (Executive Committee member (2005-) and Chair (2012-2013)
  • Ontario Bar Association—Environmental Law Section member (1989-); Natural Resources & Energy Law Section member (2000-); Aboriginal Law Section member (2006-)
  • Mining Association of Canada—member
  • Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada—member
  • Ontario Association for Impact Assessment—Director
  • Northwest Territories & Nunavut Chamber of Mines
  • Air and Waste Management Association—Ottawa Valley Chapter
  • Ottawa Construction Association
  • County of Carleton Law Association—member (2015-)
  • Canadian Arctic Resources Committee—past Chair (2001-2012)
  • Canadian Council on Social Development—past Chair (1996-1999); Board Member (1990-1999)
  • Ontario Red-Tape Review Commission—Advisory Committee member (1996-1997)
  • Conference Board of Canada—Business and Environmental Research Program, Advisory Committee member (1990-1994)

 

Speaking Engagements

April 27, 2017 to April 28, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

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November 23, 2016

Infonex Conference: Recent Developments in Environmental Law with Land Use Planning Implications

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November 03, 2016 to November 04, 2016

Canadian Bar Association: 27th Annual NEERLS & Department of Justice Meeting

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October 20, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2016

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June 10, 2016

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

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June 02, 2016 to June 03, 2016

CBA National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Summit

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April 05, 2016

2016 Nunavut Mining Symposium: Double Bonding - A Continuing Barrier to Development?

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November 24, 2015 to November 26, 2015

The 43rd Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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October 27, 2015

Air & Waste Management Association-OVC: Legal Viewpoint of Air Quality and Climate Change Issues in the North

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September 29, 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

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May 07, 2015

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Sector

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November 25, 2014 to November 27, 2014

The 42nd Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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November 06, 2014 to November 07, 2014

CBA: 26th Annual NEERLS & Department of Justice Meeting

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November 03, 2014 to November 04, 2014

Aboriginal Law Forum

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October 22, 2014

LSUC: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2014

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September 30, 2014

41st Aquatic Toxicity Workshop, Ottawa

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September 23, 2014

CBA Seminar: Conflicts Between Insolvency Law and Environmental Law and Resulting Directors' Liability Fallout

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June 10, 2014

OWMA: Maneuvering Through Troubling Times for Directors and Officers

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March 11, 2014

OWMA: Soils Management in Ontario – the ‘new’ MOE Excess Soils Guidelines

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February 22, 2014

CAELS 2014: Making Waves

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February 12, 2014

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law - Pitfalls, Perils & Risk Management

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January 17, 2014

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

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November 07, 2013

Impact of New Federal Environmental Legislation on Aboriginal Relations

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November 07, 2013 to November 08, 2013

Canadian Bar Association and Justice Canada: National Environment, Energy and Resources Law Section

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June 20, 2013 to June 21, 2013

Canadian Bar Association’s 2013 Annual National Environmental, Energy and Resources Law Summit

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May 29, 2013 to May 31, 2013

Aboriginal Lands and Natural Resources Forum, Insight

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April 23, 2013

Federal Aspects of Environmental and Energy Regulation in Canada: A Practical Webinar Series Presentation

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February 23, 2013

Arctic Perspectives on Environmental Law, Canadian Association of Environmental Law Societies (CAELS)

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Articles

April 06, 2017

Expert Panel Releases Its Report: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada

Upon being sworn in as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Hon. Catherine McKenna, received her mandate letter from the Prime Minister ...

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February 22, 2017

Is There a Duty to Consult on Legislation? SCC May Decide

This week the SCC received an application to hear an appeal of the Federal Court of Appeal ("FCA") decision in Canada (Governor General In Council)...

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December 01, 2016

Aboriginal Consultation and Administrative Proceedings: Two Cases Heard by the SCC in November

For Indigenous law watchers, November 30, 2016 was a notable day. The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in a day long sitting heard Hamlet of Clyde Riv...

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September 15, 2016

Reconciliation Update: A Look Beyond Resource Engagement

As we focus on fall activities for resource and infrastructure projects, some may pause to consider the Indigenous issues which are top of mind in ...

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July 13, 2016

Update: Wind Farms vs Blanding’s Turtles – ERT Decision Stands

The period for filing an appeal of the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) decision on the Ostrander Point Wind Farm has passed. ...

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July 08, 2016

Northern Gateway Pipeline Project on Hold Until Canada Adequately Fulfills Duty to Consult

Canadian resource industry, government leaders and Aboriginal communities will be adding the recent Federal Court of Appeal Northern Gateway decisi...

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June 30, 2016

Wind Farms vs Blanding’s Turtles – A Final Decision At Last?

On June 6, 2016 the Environmental Review Tribunal ("ERT") released its decision determining the appropriate statutory remedy respecting the Directo...

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June 22, 2016

Seeking to Restore Public Trust – The Federal Government Launches Review of Environmental & Regulatory Processes

On Monday, the federal government announced a comprehensive review of environmental and regulatory processes. The highlights of the announcement in...

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June 21, 2016

Legislative Changes Ahead? Commons Committee Calls for Overhaul of Federal Sustainable Development Legislation

In a detailed and hard-hitting report released June 17, 2016, the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, said the governmen...

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April 29, 2016

Métis and Non-status Indians: Out of the Jurisdictional Wasteland

On April 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Daniels v Canada (Indian Affairs and Northern Development).  In this l...

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March 28, 2016

2016 Federal Budget Increases Funding for Environmental and Aboriginal Issues in Canada

On March 22, 2016, Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced the Liberal Government’s first budget ("2016 Budget") since winning last year&rsq...

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January 28, 2016

Federal Government Releases New Interim Principles for Natural Resource Development Projects Currently Under Regulatory Review

The Government of Canada has announced five "interim" principles to guide the review of a number of major resource projects while it undertakes a b...

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December 17, 2015

Chronic Non-Compliance Earns Cement-Maker Substantial Environmental Fines

On December 4, 2015, Essroc Canada Inc. was fined a total of $200,000, plus a victim surcharge of $50,000, for discharging dust into the natural en...

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July 23, 2015

Yellowknives Dene First Nation v. Debogorski: Is the duty to consult changing?

On June 23, 2015, the Federal Court of Appeal (“FCA”) released Yellowknives Dene First Nation v. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and...

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May 12, 2015

BC Court of Appeal: First Nations can bring tort claims for harm to asserted rights

On April 15, 2015 the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) released Saik’uz First Nation v Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (&...

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April 28, 2015

Nunavut Homeowner Ordered to Pay $55,000 for Heating Oil Tank Spill

On April 13, 2015 a homeowner from Apex, Nunavut was ordered to pay the Government of Nunavut $55,000 in restitution for clean up expenditures resu...

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April 23, 2015

Endangered Blanding’s Turtle Fight Continues: Ontario’s Court of Appeal Sends Wind Farm Case Back to the Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT)

On April 20, 2015, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision restoring the ERT’s conclusion that a nine turbine wind energy project a...

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April 17, 2015

Ontario to join Quebec and California in Implementing Carbon Cap and Trade System to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On April 13, 2015, Ontario announced that it would join Quebec and California’s harmonized cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG...

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April 01, 2015

The Northwest Territories and Alberta Sign a Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement

On March 18, 2015, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Government of Alberta signed a Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Managem...

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March 27, 2015

Update: Canada files Notice of Appeal for the Injunction granted by the Northwest Territories Supreme Court to Delay Elimination of Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board

This is an update to our March 2, 2015 article entitled Northwest Territories Supreme Court Grants Tłįchǫ Government Injunction To Delay Eliminatio...

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March 02, 2015

Northwest Territories Supreme Court Grants Tłįchǫ Government Injunction To Delay Elimination of Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board

On February 27, 2015, the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories (NWTSC) released its interlocutory decision in Tłįchǫ Government v Canada (Att...

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December 10, 2014

The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v Yukon—Interpretation, Reconciliation and the Land Use Planning Process in Modern Treaties

On December 2, 2014, the Yukon Supreme Court released its much anticipated decision in The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v Yukon. The decision cen...

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November 06, 2014

Positioning Ontario within Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

Ontario’s recently announced aggressive new reduction targets are set within Canada’s patchwork of greenhouse gas emissions reduct...

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September 30, 2014

Climate Change Tops the Environmental Agenda

In response to last week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, Canada and Ontario announced progress in greenhouse gas reduction init...

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July 17, 2014

Supreme Court Clarifies Provincial Aboriginal Consultation Responsibilities When Issuing Resource Permits in Keewatin and Applies Tsilqot’in Infringement Test

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Grassy Narrows First Nation v Ontario (Natural Resources) (also known as “Keewatin&rdq...

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July 16, 2014

Court Awards Ostrander Costs in Blanding’s Turtle Appeal

The Ontario Divisional Court determined on April 4, 2014 that Prince Edward County Field Naturalists and the Alliance to Protect Prince Edward Coun...

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July 08, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada Grants Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title in William – Implications for Resource Development in Canada

The Supreme Court of Canada issued a ground-breaking declaration of Aboriginal title on June 26, 2014. The Court’s decision in Roger William ...

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June 25, 2014

Ontario Premier Wynne’s Post-Election Cabinet Shuffle Brings in New Environment and Natural Resources Ministers

On June 12, 2014, Ontario Premier Wynne won a majority government with 58 out of a possible 107 seats. In the post-election cabinet shuffle, Premie...

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June 23, 2014

Ottawa Summer Shuffle

On the eve of the Summer Solstice, Prime Minister Harper announced a few changes in the senior ranks of the federal bureaucracy, including posts at...

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June 18, 2014

Federal Government Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline With Conditions

The Federal Government approved the Northern Gateway pipeline on Tuesday June 17, 2014, adopting the 209 conditions recommended by the Joint Nation...

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May 08, 2014

TransCanada Files Eastern Mainline Pipeline Project Description with National Energy Board

TransCanada filed its Eastern Mainline Project Description with the National Energy Board (NEB) today. TransCanada proposes to construct ...

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April 22, 2014

2014 Nunavut Mining Symposium Stresses Investment, Patience and Diligence in Developing Mineral and Exploration Sector

With temperatures hovering around -20°C coupled with high winds and snow, the Nunavut Mining Symposium Society kicked off its annual two-day co...

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March 05, 2014

Ontario Court Overturns ERT Decision Revoking Ostrander’s Renewable Energy Wind Farm Approval

On February 20, 2014, the Ontario Divisional Court set aside the Environmental Review Tribunal’s (ERT) revocation of Ostrander Point GP&rsquo...

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February 24, 2014

Ottawa Acted Unlawfully in Failing To Address Backlog of Overdue Species-at-Risk Recovery Strategies

The Federal Court declared in a decision released February 14, 2014 that two federal departments acted unlawfully in failing to meet statutory...

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December 13, 2013

Environment Minister Releases CEAA 2012 Decision Statement on Jackpine Mine Expansion

The Federal Environment Minister issued a Decision Statement – the first made under the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA...

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December 09, 2013

Ottawa Finalizes EA Regulations and Shortens List of Activities Subject to Federal Assessment

Ottawa has finalized the list of physical activities subject to the revamped Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.  As anticipated, the...

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November 15, 2013

ERT ’s Bornish Wind Farm Decision Requires Sufficient Evidence of Serious and Irreversible Harm

To prove that a wind energy project will cause serious and irreversible environmental harm, you will need an expert and a scientifically solid case...

More

August 20, 2013

Joint Review Panel Releases Report & Decision on Oil Sands Jackpine Mine Expansion

The Joint Review Panel for the Jackpine Mine Expansion issued its lengthy report and decision on July 9, 2013. It addresses Shell Canada Energy’s application to increase bitumen production at the existing Jackpine Mine located 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray by 15,900 cubic metres per day.

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Books

News

August 26, 2015

Willms & Shier Lawyers Are Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2016

Congratulations to Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP partners Donna Shier, Marc McAree, Julie Abouchar, Charles (Chu...

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December 07, 2016

Willms & Shier Lawyers Are Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2017

Congratulations to Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP partners Donna Shier, Marc McAree, Julie Abouchar and Char...

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November 27, 2014

Charles Birchall Called to the Northwest Territories Bar

Congratulations to Willms & Shier partner Charles (Chuck) Birchall for his call to the Northwest Territories bar this month...

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August 25, 2014

Willms & Shier Lawyers Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2015

Five Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP partners have been listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2015. Congratulations to Willms &am...

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June 19, 2014

Willms & Shier Partners Called to the Nunavut Bar

Congratulations to Willms & Shier partners Julie Abouchar and Charles (Chuck) Birchall for their calls to the Nunavut bar on June 18,...

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June 10, 2014

Willms & Shier Partners Selected Among World's Leading Environmental Lawyers by Who's Who Legal 2014

Congratulations to Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP partners Charles Birchall, Marc McAree and Donna Shier for being nam...

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March 04, 2014

Webinar: OWMA: Soils Management in Ontario – the ‘new’ MOE Excess Soils Guidelines

Charlesl J. Birchall will be presentating at Ontario Waste Management Association's March Webinar Series. To learn more about it and to register, c...

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February 24, 2014

Ottawa Acted Unlawfully in Failing To Address Backlog of Overdue Species-at-Risk Recovery Strategies

The Federal Court declared in a decision released February 14, 2014 that two federal departments acted unlawfully in failing to meet statutory...

More

February 06, 2014

Conference: CAELS 2014: Making Waves

Charles Birchall will present on Directors’ and Officers’ Environmental Liability the CAELS 2014 Conference in Ottawa. For more info...

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December 13, 2013

Environment Minister Releases CEAA 2012 Decision Statement on Jackpine Mine Expansion

The Federal Environment Minister issued a Decision Statement – the first made under the new Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA...

More

December 02, 2013

Conference: Ottawa Construction Association, January 17, 2014

Join Marc McAree and Charles Birchall at the Ottawa Construction Association's half-day seminar as they discuss today's most pressing environm...

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November 28, 2013

Conference: Toronto Construction Association, February 12, 2014

Join Marc McAree, Charles Birchall, Matt Gardner and Richard Butler at this half-day seminar as they discuss today's most pressing enviro...

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November 15, 2013

ERT ’s Bornish Wind Farm Decision Requires Sufficient Evidence of Serious and Irreversible Harm

To prove that a wind energy project will cause serious and irreversible environmental harm, you will need an expert and a scientifically solid case...

More

November 11, 2013

Willms & Shier Partners Listed in Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2013 Directory

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP is represented in the Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2013 directory by four practitioners.  S...

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November 11, 2013

Far-Reaching Fisheries Act Amendments Come into Force November 25, 2013

Long-awaited and far-reaching amendments to the federal Fisheries Act tabled in Bill C-38 come into effect on November 25, 2013.  If you recei...

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November 01, 2013

Conference: 25th Annual Meeting of NEERLS and Justice Canada, November 7-8, 2013

Join Charles Birchall and Donna Shier at the 25th Annual Meeting of NEERLS and Justice Canada in Ottawa on November 7-8, 2013. For m...

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November 01, 2013

Breakfast Seminar: Impact of New Federal Environmental Legislation on Aboriginal Relations, November 7, 2013

Julie Abouchar and Charles Birchall are hosting a complimentary breakfast seminar in Ottawa November 7th to discuss how amended...

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Education

  • Called to the bars of Ontario (1981), Nunavut (2014), Northwest Territories (2014)
  • Certified as a Specialist in Environmental Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada (2015)
  • LL.M., Common Law, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa (2006)
  • LL.B., Faculty of Law, Queen’s University (1979)
  • B.A. (Hons.), Political Science, University of Toronto (1976)
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Workshop, University of Windsor Law School (2000)

Expertise

"The firm is one of, if not the best enviro law firm in the country ..."

Senior Litigation Counsel