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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

Litigation

Overview

Marc McAree leads our firm’s Environmental Litigation practice.

Our team of environmental litigators and litigation law clerks bring depth, breadth and strategy to our practice that addresses all aspects of environmental litigation, whether as plaintiff, defendant, appellant or applicant.  We litigate in a number of forums.

Our environmental litigators confront contamination issues that range from odour and noise nuisances to landfill litigation to Brownfield remediation and redevelopment of industrial, commercial, residential and municipal properties to professional negligence.

Our team has particular expertise in claims involving petroleum hydrocarbon and chlorinated solvent impacts on property. 

We prosecute and defend civil actions involving private and public nuisance, negligence, strict liability, statutory liability, riparian rights, trespass and actions for harm to public resources under the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights. 

We seek remedies including injunctions, awards of damages and other compensation.  We appeal and judicially review government decisions. 

We appear before many environmental and land use related administrative tribunals. 

We defend environmental prosecutions initiated by municipal and provincial governmental authorities.

Our environmental litigators appear before

  • Courts  Superior Court of Ontario, Ontario’s Divisional Court, Ontario Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada
  • Boards and Tribunals  Ontario Municipal Board, Ontario Energy Board, Mining and Lands Commissioner, Drainage Tribunal, Environmental Review Tribunal, Federal Competition Tribunal
  • Provincial Cabinet

Selected Willms & Shier litigation case studies

Plaintiff Litigation – Petroleum Hydrocarbon Contamination:  A number of years ago our client brought a lawsuit against an oil company for contamination of their property.  Our client settled the lawsuit and as part of the settlement obtained a commitment from the oil company to clean up the property to the then MOE Standards.  A number of years later the oil company failed to clean up the property.  We were retained to commence a second lawsuit against the oil company.  The second lawsuit was about the amount of damages to be paid.  Liability was not an issue.  The oil company purchased the property for fair market value, paid our client’s costs and expenses to bring the second lawsuit and provided an indemnity. 

Defence Litigation –Professional Negligence in Contaminated Site Claims:  We have active files defending environmental consultants and lawyers from claims of professional negligence arising from contaminated land matters.  These files are in various stages of litigation or resolution.  In many of these cases we were retained by the professional liability insurance company for the defendant professionals.

Multi-Party Defence Litigation – Chlorinated Solvents Contamination:  Our industrial client carried on a manufacturing business at the same location for over 30 years.  Our client approached two neighbours on discovering that chlorinated solvents had migrated off site.  One neighbour sued our client for $22M, and that neighbour's mortgage company also sued for $12M.  We negotiated a complex settlement of these claims after discovery.  Settlement included a risk assessment-based clean-up and transfer of property that significantly reduced what would have been much higher monetary damages.  The result is an all-party release from future claims.

Regulatory Litigation – Appeal of MOE Orders:  The MOE ordered our client to forthwith remediate one of its major sewage treatment facilities.  The order was made without regard for the appropriateness of the timing, or considerations of the cost and the potential nuisance effects.  We were counsel on the appeal to the ERT whereby the terms of the order were changed to permit the remediation to take place in the winter when the odour impacts would be minimized, and where lower water levels allowed simpler remediation technology at a saving to the client of over $1M.  The agreement with the MOE allowed the client to carry on business with no interruption.

Defence of Prosecution – Provincial and Federal Statues, Municipal By-Laws:  Defended a municipal client successfully at the Ontario Court of Appeal.  As a result of the successful defence, the MOE changed the wording of the Environmental Protection Act.

Speaking Engagements

Saturday, May 27, 2017

CCLA - 23rd Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

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Monday, May 1, 2017

CANECT 2017 - Managing Indoor Environmental Quality

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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CANECT 2017 - Air, NOD & GHGs: Emissions Regulations & Compliance

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Thursday, April 27, 2017 to April 28, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

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Friday, April 28, 2017

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Licensed Engineering Practitioners' Liability Under the New EASR

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

OSSGA Conference and Annual General Meeting

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

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

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Environmental Law Forum: Proving Environmental Health Impacts

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

SMART Remediation Vancouver Conference: Making Out the Environmental Due Diligence Defence at Trial

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

SMART Remediation Ottawa Conference: Making Out the Environmental Due Diligence Defence at Trial

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

SMART Remediation Toronto Conference: Making Out the Environmental Due Diligence Defence at Trial

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soils

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Thursday, November 3, 2016 to November 04, 2016

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

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

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

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Commons Institute: Experts in Environmental Litigation

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

SMART Remediation Vancouver Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 to January 29, 2016

Environmental Law Forum: Cross Country Check Up

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

SMART Remediation Ottawa Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

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Thursday, January 28, 2016

SMART Remediation Toronto Conference: Managing Environmental Liabilities: Case Law Update and Case Studies

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Canadian Institute's 22nd Annual Advertising and Marketing Law Conference

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

University of Toronto Environmental Law Club Career Panel

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

LSUC: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2015 - Experts in Environmental Litigation

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The Law Society of Upper Canada: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2015

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

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Monday, September 28, 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

INEF 2015 Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

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Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Ontario Fabricare Association Conference

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

ABA - Cutting-Edge Scientific and Legal Trends in Toxic Torts and Environmental Law

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 to February 27, 2015

Using Expert Witnesses in Environmental Litigation

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

CBA NEERLS Webinar: Cross-Border and Inter-Provincial Environmental Disputes

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

OBA: Developments in D&O Liability for Environmental Contamination

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Articles

June 29, 2017

Don’t be Hung Out to Dry – Know Your Dry Cleaner Reporting Requirements!

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May 03, 2017

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

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April 06, 2017

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

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March 23, 2017

CCME Offers New Contaminated Site Characterization Guidance

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March 09, 2017

Dueling Environmental Experts: The Court Accepts the More Fact-Based, Reliable and Plausible Explanation

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December 06, 2016

Rubin v MOECC: Balancing Environmental Protection and Financial Hardship

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October 21, 2016

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

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June 17, 2016

Fabricare Canada Magazine Highlights Article by Jacquelyn Stevens titled Jail Time and Hefty Fines

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March 28, 2016

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

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January 27, 2016

Polluter Pays Doctrine Underscored: Section 99(2) of the EPA Applied: Some Thoughts on Midwest Properties Ltd. v. Thordarson, 2015 ONCA 819

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November 04, 2015

Continuing Nuisance Requires Proof of Additional Damage and Damages During the Prior Two Year Limitations Period, Court Confirms

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February 19, 2015

Company Fined $185,000 under the Fisheries Act for Discharge to Municipal Drain

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February 02, 2015

The Court of Appeal’s Decision in Moore v Getahun

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February 02, 2015

Experts in Environmental Litigation

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December 23, 2014

Rocha v Director, Ministry of the Environment—ERT Refuses Mortgagee’s Stay Pending Appeal

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December 23, 2014

2014 Environmental Case Law Year in Review

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August 20, 2014

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

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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

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July 16, 2014

Court Awards Ostrander Costs in Blanding’s Turtle Appeal

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July 08, 2014

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

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June 25, 2014

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

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June 24, 2014

First Nations Launch Drinking Water Lawsuit Against Federal Government

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June 23, 2014

Ottawa Summer Shuffle

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May 05, 2014

Castonguay Convicted Again: Ontario Courts Continue To Recognize Section 15(1) EPA “Duty to Report”

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February 05, 2013

When Complying with the Law in Your Own Backyard Is Not Enough: Cross-Border United States and Canada Environmental Litigation

American Bar Association, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Winter 2013.

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