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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

Matthew Gardner


T: 416-862-4825  E:


Matthew Gardner is an associate lawyer practicing environmental law and environmental litigation, with a focus on defending regulatory prosecutions, appealing environmental orders and litigating environmental claims. Matthew is called to the bar of Ontario.

Environmental Litigation

Matthew regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice, the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal and the Ontario Energy Board.

  • Environmental civil litigation
  • Defence of environmental regulatory prosecutions
  • Environmental administrative appeals and hearings

Matthew represents plaintiffs and defendants involved in environmental disputes and negotiates settlements before and in the early stages of litigation, where possible. Matthew also assists clients under inspection or investigation by federal and provincial environmental regulatory authorities, and defends charges brought by these authorities.

Environmental Law

Matthew provides advice and solutions to clients about environmental due diligence and compliance.

Energy and Natural Resources Law

Matthew represents intervenors before the Ontario Energy Board in natural gas and electricity matters.

Prior Environmental Experience

Matthew has a B.Sc. degree in marine and freshwater biology. Matthew also volunteered with the University of Calgary’s Environmental Law Society, coordinating field studies and organizing presentations to municipal councils in Alberta regarding the environmental impact of free trade agreements.


  • Industrial companies
  • Municipalities
  • Insurers and financial institutions
  • Land developers, property owners, landlords and tenants
  • Energy and renewable energy companies
  • Construction companies
  • Non-governmental associations
  • Individuals  

Representative Work

Environmental Law

  • Environmental Due Diligence and Contaminated Site Advice to Property Owner/Developer— Assisted an owner and developer of residential, commercial and light industrial properties with a due diligence review of over 50 properties. Advised about options for properties with soil and/or groundwater contamination. Guided the client through the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Risk Assessment process.
  • Environmental Coverage Opinion for Insurer—Drafted insurance coverage opinion for and represented an insurer in responding to a fuel loss at a service station that migrated into subsurface soils and groundwater.

Environmental Litigation

  • Release of Ammonia Gas by Food Processing Company—Defended a national food processing company against a charge laid by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change under Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act following the release of ammonia gas. The release occurred in an industrial/commercial setting, adjacent to a residential area and led to complaints from nearby businesses and residents.
  • Corporate Directors and Officers Ordered to Clean-Up Waste—Representing former directors and officers of a company ordered by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to clean up waste stored at a property that is no longer owned by the company.
  • Settlement of Civil Action About Contaminated Land—Assisted a commercial business to negotiate a complex settlement early in the litigation process relating to contamination of a nearby property.

Energy Advocacy

  • Represented a number of Intervenors before the Ontario Energy Board in natural gas and electricity matters, including electricity transmission and distribution projects, natural gas pipeline projects, electricity and natural gas policy reviews, and proceedings for both electricity conservation and demand management and natural gas demand side management programs.








  • Canadian Bar Association—member
  • Ontario Bar Association—member and editor of Environews
  • Hamilton-Halton Construction Association—Education Committee member
  • Canadian Oil Heat Association—member
  • Burlington Chamber of Commerce—member
  • Law Society Upper Canada—member
  • Law Society of Upper Canada Foundation—Lawyers Feed the Hungry Program—volunteer


Speaking Engagements

April 03, 2018 to April 05, 2018

EnviroTech 2018


October 04, 2017

The Law Society of Upper Canada: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2017


September 28, 2017

OBA - Young Lawyers Division: Mastering Due Diligence


April 27, 2017 to April 28, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit


March 28, 2017

Environmental Law: How Are You Impacted? (Kitchener Session)


March 21, 2017

Environmental Law: How Are You Impacted? (St. Catharines Session)


February 08, 2017

Ontario Bar Association's Institute - New Developments in Environmental Law


November 22, 2016

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soils


October 13, 2016

Connecting Climate Change to Brownfield Redevelopment, RemTech 2016


June 09, 2016

Cleaner Heat / COHA Annual Conference: Cleaner Heat Light Up The Future


April 21, 2016 to April 22, 2016

ICSC 2016 Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables


November 18, 2015

University of Toronto Environmental Law Club Career Panel


November 05, 2015

OBA Passport Series: Best Practices for Environmental Management Systems


October 14, 2015

Managing Environmental Liabilities: Brownfields Case Law Update, RemTech 2015


September 30, 2015

Canadian Oil Heat Association - Ontario Chapter - Annual General Meeting


September 28, 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"


June 18, 2015

Cleaner Heat / COHA Annual Conference: Fuel Oil Industry Environmental Liability - Pitfalls, Perils & Risk Management


March 27, 2014

ICSC 2014 Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables


February 12, 2014

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


January 22, 2014

ALS Environmental Education Seminar: Reducing Risks - Improving Your Bottom Line


April 10, 2013

AON Property Owners' Roundtable - Environmental Risk Management


  • Gas and Service Station Law for Environmental Lawyers: Filling Up with Premium Information, Ontario Bar Association, October 6, 2011
  • Articles

    December 22, 2017

    Alberta Update: When Does a Plaintiff Lose the Right to Sue for Historic Contamination?

    In Alberta, there is an ultimate limitation period of 10 years from the date the claim arose regardless of when a plaintiff knew or ought to have k...


    May 03, 2017

    Tips for Homeowners – What to do if you Find an Underground Fuel Oil Tank in Your Backyard

    Fuel oil leaks from underground storage tanks (“USTs”) into the soil and groundwater can result in environmental damage and significant...


    December 06, 2016

    Rubin v MOECC: Balancing Environmental Protection and Financial Hardship

    When the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) orders businesses or individuals to complete work required to protect the e...


    October 21, 2016

    Robust Environmental Management System Serves to Fully Absolve Defendant: R v Control Chem Canada Ltd.

    On March 15, 2016, the Ontario Court of Justice ("OCJ") released its decision in R v Control Chem Canada Ltd.  The company was charg...


    July 26, 2016

    Alberta Provides Guidance on Use of Exposure Control to Manage Risks at Contaminated Sites

    Alberta Environment and Parks has published a new guidance document entitled Alberta Exposure Control Guide (the "Guide"). The Guide outlines ...


    April 27, 2016

    Alberta’s New Remediation Requirements In Effect On May 1, 2016

    On February 2, 2016, the Government of Alberta released its revised soil and groundwater remediation guidelines.  The Alberta Tier 1 Soil and ...


    April 27, 2016

    Alberta’s Environmental Site Assessment Standard – New Guidance For Consultants and Property Owners

    On March 1, 2016, the Government of Alberta published a guideline about the minimum requirements for environmental site assessments ("ESAs") in the...


    February 23, 2016

    Insurer off-the-hook for Release of Pollutants Caused by Fire

    On January 14, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied Precision Plating Ltd.’s ("Precision Plating") application for leave to appeal the Br...


    August 20, 2014

    Thornhill v Highland Fuels Reinforces Need for Tank Installers and Fuel Suppliers to Follow Statutory Requirements and Fuel Oil Code

    On May 15, 2014, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in Thornhill v Highland Fuels. Highland Fuels, the tank installer and ...


    April 02, 2014

    Ontario’s Proposed Invasive Species Act, 2014

    The Minister of Natural Resources introduced Bill 167, Ontario’s proposed Invasive Species Act, 2014 for First Reading on February 26, 2...


    January 13, 2012

    Turbine opponents whistling in the wind?

    Last summer, the Environmental Review Tribunal dismissed the first appeal of a renewable energy approval (REA) for a wind turbine project in its decision Erickson v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. The tribunal acknowledged the appellants presented evidence about the risk of wind turbines in general, but did not provide enough evidence about the risks posed by the project in question.




    December 23, 2013

    Conference: ALS Environmental Education Seminar: Reducing Risks - Improving Your Bottom Line

    Matthew Gardiner will be speaking on environmental liability at this exclusive half-day educational seminar. For more information, click here.  


    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...


    February 06, 2013

    Congratulations to Celina Chan (University of Alberta), the winner of CAELS’ 2013 Environmental Law Writing Competition!

    Willms & Shier, proud sponsor of The Canadian Association of Environmental Law Societies (CAELS)'s 2013 essay competition.



    • Called to the bars of Ontario (2010), Alberta (2016)
    • LL.B., Bachelor of Laws, University of Calgary (2009)
    • B.Sc. (Hons.), Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Guelph (2005)



    "Intelligent, detail oriented and organized people, a pleasure to work with."

    Shopping Centre, Property Manager/Owner