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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 Ontario, 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

June 19, 2018

Eco Canada - Environmental Professionals Networking Event

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May 11, 2018

CCLA - 24th Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

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November 14, 2017 to November 16, 2017

45th Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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November 02, 2017 to November 03, 2017

CBA NEERLS & Department of Justice - 28th Annual Meeting

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November 22, 2017 to November 23, 2017

Canadian Aboriginal Law 2017 Conference

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June 06, 2017

6 Minute Environmental Lawyer CLE: Environmental Liabilities & Reform

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June 06, 2017

Infonex: Indigenous Communities Land Use & Resource Development

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May 27, 2017

CCLA - 23rd Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

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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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October 12, 2016

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

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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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May 04, 2016

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Sector

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April 05, 2016

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

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February 26, 2016

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

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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 03, 2014 to November 04, 2014

Aboriginal Law 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 14, 2014

OBA: Advancing Aboriginal Rights and Interests: Choosing the Right 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 to November 08, 2013

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

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November 07, 2013

Impact of New Federal Environmental Legislation on Aboriginal Relations

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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

July 11, 2018

Court of Appeal Rules on Latest Contaminated Lands Case: Huang v Fraser Hillary’s Limited

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February 13, 2018

Brace for Impact (Assessments) – Government of Canada Tables Omnibus Environmental Bill

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February 07, 2018

Scaling up Protections – Government of Canada Tables Fisheries Act Amendments

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December 22, 2017

Navigating Environmental Risk: When and How to Apply the Precautionary Principle

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December 08, 2017

Reconciliation Includes Respecting Land Claims Agreements and Co-Management Processes – Supreme Court of Canada Quashes Yukon’s Peel Watershed Land Use Plan

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November 10, 2017

Supreme Court Finds Development of Jumbo Valley Ski Resort Does Not Impair Ktunaxa Nation’s Freedom of Religion

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July 31, 2017

Heavy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown: SCC Delivers Clyde River and Chippewas Judgments

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July 17, 2017

BC Court Declines to Issue Injunction in Aboriginal Treaty Rights Case

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July 10, 2017

Federal Discussion Paper Released on Review of Environmental Regulatory Processes

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April 06, 2017

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

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February 22, 2017

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

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December 01, 2016

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

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September 15, 2016

Reconciliation Update: A Look Beyond Resource Engagement

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July 13, 2016

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

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July 08, 2016

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

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June 30, 2016

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

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June 22, 2016

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

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June 21, 2016

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

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April 29, 2016

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

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March 28, 2016

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

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January 28, 2016

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

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December 17, 2015

Chronic Non-Compliance Earns Cement-Maker Substantial Environmental Fines

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July 23, 2015

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

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May 12, 2015

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

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April 28, 2015

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

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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)

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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

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April 01, 2015

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

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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

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March 02, 2015

Northwest Territories Supreme Court Grants T??ch? Government Injunction To Delay Elimination of Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board

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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

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November 06, 2014

Positioning Ontario within Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs

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September 30, 2014

Climate Change Tops the Environmental Agenda

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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 23, 2014

Ottawa Summer Shuffle

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June 18, 2014

Federal Government Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline With Conditions

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May 08, 2014

TransCanada Files Eastern Mainline Pipeline Project Description with National Energy Board

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April 22, 2014

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

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March 05, 2014

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

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February 24, 2014

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

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December 13, 2013

Environment Minister Releases CEAA 2012 Decision Statement on Jackpine Mine Expansion

More
December 09, 2013

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

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November 15, 2013

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

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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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News

August 27, 2018

Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers Recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2019 Edition

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December 07, 2016

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

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August 26, 2015

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

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November 27, 2014

Charles Birchall Called to the Northwest Territories Bar

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August 25, 2014

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

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June 19, 2014

Willms & Shier Partners Called to the Nunavut Bar

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June 10, 2014

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

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March 04, 2014

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

More
February 24, 2014

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

More
February 06, 2014

Conference: CAELS 2014: Making Waves

More
December 13, 2013

Environment Minister Releases CEAA 2012 Decision Statement on Jackpine Mine Expansion

More
December 02, 2013

Conference: Ottawa Construction Association, January 17, 2014

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November 28, 2013

Conference: Toronto Construction Association, February 12, 2014

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November 15, 2013

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

More
November 11, 2013

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

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November 11, 2013

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

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November 01, 2013

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

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November 01, 2013

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

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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 Ontario (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

"Willms & Shier is a bluechip environmental law firm."

Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice