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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

Joanna Vince


T: 416-862-4830  E:


Joanna Vince has significant expertise representing a wide range of clients with environmental issues, civil claims and prosecutions, orders and appeals. Joanna was admitted to the bar of Ontario in 2011.

Contaminated Land and Environmental Risk Management

Joanna provides advice about environmental aspects of the purchase, sale, remediation and development of contaminated land. She helps quantify and manage environmental risk, and provides solutions for environmental due diligence and compliance. Joanna also assists with negotiations with environmental regulators to prevent orders and prosecutions.

Environmental Approvals and Assessments

Joanna assists with regulatory process, environmental assessments and approvals for manufacturing and other industry, energy, mining, natural resource and infrastructure projects. She helps clients obtain approvals for air, noise, waste and sewage.

Environmental and Energy Litigation

Joanna represents plaintiffs and defendants in environmental civil litigation. She also defends individuals and companies against environmental regulatory prosecutions.

Joanna appears before administrative tribunals including the Environmental Review Tribunal, Ontario Municipal Board, National Energy Board and Ontario Energy Board to appeal or uphold regulatory orders and approvals. She advocates for client interests in energy and transmission projects and pipelines.

Northern and Aboriginal Law

Joanna advises First Nation and Inuit communities, resource proponents, and environmental boards and tribunals connected with natural resource development in Canada’s near and far north.

Prior Environmental Experience

Joanna has a B.Sc. (Hons., High Distinction) in biology and environmental science, and a Certificate in Environmental Studies.

Joanna’s knowledge of and commitment to environmental issues was recognized by the University of Toronto, which awarded her the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Fellowship and the Douglas Pimlott Scholarship.

Also at the University of Toronto, Joanna assisted with preparing academic papers and books as a research assistant on wind power, carbon taxes and climate change.


  • Industrial and manufacturing facilities
  • Financial institutions, lenders, insurers and insureds
  • Land developers, property owners, landlords, tenants
  • Construction companies
  • Municipalities
  • Conservation authorities
  • Transit authorities
  • Renewable energy proponents
  • Mining and exploration proponents
  • First Nation and Inuit communities
  • Universities and colleges
  • Individuals

Representative Work

Contaminated Land and Environmental Risk Assessment

  • Pre-purchase Environmental Due Diligence—Assisted a municipality with environmental due diligence on the purchase of a federal harbor with historical contamination, assessed potential environmental risks, liabilities and obligations and provided recommendations for environmental terms in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
  • Remediation at an Ongoing Operation—Assisted a chemical company with strategies to remediate contamination on its and neighbouring properties. Negotiated with the environmental regulator and prevented the regulator from requiring further work and/or issuing an order.  
  • Environmental Lease Terms—Reviewed environmental lease terms for properties owned by a real estate investment trust with Canadian and foreign properties, advised about the REIT’s environmental liabilities and responsibilities, environmental lease terms, and potential claims against tenants. 

Environmental Approvals and Assessments

  • Environmental Compliance Approval—Reviewed noise reports and noise mitigation measures for a transit authority as part of an Environmental Compliance Approval application, facilitated negotiations with the environmental regulator about noise mitigation measures, and ultimately saved the client over $10 million in noise mitigation costs.
  • Opposition to an Environmental Compliance Approval—Made submissions on behalf of a food manufacturer to oppose an application for an ECA by a proposed neighbouring facility.
  • Environmental Assessments—Reviewed prior unsuccessful provincial and federal Environmental Assessments for an aggregate producer, addressed issues raised by intervenors and the review panel, and provided advice about proceeding with a successful EA.

Environmental and Energy Litigation

  • Civil Litigation for Contaminant Migration—Represented property owners impacted by contaminant migration from a neighbouring gas station. The defendant agreed to pay for the cost to complete remedial work and the decrease in property value.
  • Intervention in Pipeline Hearing—Represented a conservation authority to intervene at the National Energy Board on an application to reverse and increase the flow of crude oil through a stretch of pipeline. The NEB adopted much of the client’s evidence, written arguments, and key issues raised.
  • Response to Appeal of an Environmental Compliance Approval—Represented a client before Ontario’s ERT on an appeal opposing the client’s Environmental Compliance Approval.

Northern and Aboriginal Law

Damage to Inuit Land by Mining Exploration—On behalf of an Inuit Association, engaged in negotiations with Environment Canada, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and a mining proponent about impairment of the client’s land and water.









  • Ontario Bar Association—Vice-Chair, Natural Resources and Energy Section Executive Committee; member, Environmental Law Section; Executive Program Coordinator, Young Lawyers Division (2007-)
  • Canadian Bar Association—member
  • Young Women in Law—member (2011-)
  • Young Professionals in Energy—member (2010-)
  • Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters—member, Environment Policy Committee (2014-)
  • Ontario Sustainable Energy Association—member, Policy Committee (2011-)
  • Ontario Environment Industry Association—member, Advocacy Committee (2014-)
  • Canadian  Brownfields Network—member


Speaking Engagements

May 14, 2020

CANECT 2020 - Air Quality and Climate Change

May 10, 2018

CANECT 2018 - Implementing a GHG Reduction and Energy Efficiency Program

May 09, 2018

CANECT 2018 - Managing Industrial Air Emissions

April 10, 2018

Nunavut Mining Symposium 2018

May 03, 2017

CANECT 2017 - Waste Management, Diversion & Stewardship

May 02, 2017

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

March 29, 2017

Licensed Engineering Practitioners' Liability Under the New EASR

April 26, 2016

CANECT 2016 - Air, NOD & GHGs: Emissions Regulations & Compliance

December 02, 2015

Envirogate 2015: Managing Air and GHG Emissions - The New Essentials

April 29, 2015

CANECT 2015 - Waste Management, Reduction, Diversion & Stewardship

November 25, 2014

Envirogate 2014: Dealing with Air, Noise, Odour and GHG Emissions

November 05, 2014

OBA: Cold Truths: Infrastructure Development in the Ring of Fire

April 30, 2014

OBA: Developments in D&O Liability for Environmental Contamination

April 28, 2014

CANECT 2014: What is Waste? What Should be Waste?

April 29, 2014

CANECT 2014: Air Emissions

February 07, 2014

OBA Institute 2014 Young Lawyers Division: Charting a Career Path

October 03, 2013

Practice Tips and Tools for Environmental Lawyers, Ontario Bar Association

June 20, 2013 to June 21, 2013

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

May 28, 2013

Fundamentals of Natural Resources and Energy Practice, Ontario Bar Association

April 29, 2013 to May 01, 2013

21st Annual CANECT 2013

April 09, 2013

Environmental Liability Seminar, EcoLog Events

April 04, 2013

Real Estate Transactions & Contaminated Land, Toronto Lawyers Association

April 02, 2013

Wastewater Legislation, Ontario Bar Association Passport Series

January 28, 2013 to January 30, 2013

Understanding Environmental Regulations, Educational Program Innovations (EPIC)

December 05, 2012

Envirogate – Dealing with Air, Noise, Odour and GHG Emissions



November 29, 2019

A Changing Climate around Reporting: Canadian Securities Regulator Provides Guidance on Reporting Climate Change-Related Risks

March 11, 2019

Ontario’s Proposal to Address Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Industrial Emission Performance Standards

March 16, 2018

Cumulative Effects Assessment: Ontario forges new policy to protect local air quality

February 14, 2018

Ontario Clarifies Administrative Penalty Regime Under Climate Change Legislation

February 12, 2018

Majority of Northern Environmental Prosecutions Resulting in Fines are Under Fisheries Act

February 08, 2018

International Comparative Legal Guide to: Environment & Climate Change Law 2018

January 31, 2018

Ontario Sets the Stage for Greenhouse Gas Offset Credits

September 20, 2017

Oil Spill Liability - Kawartha Lakes Continues

August 23, 2017

GNWT Seeks Feedback on Development of New “made-in-North” Mineral Resources Act

November 15, 2016

Municipalities and Contamination: What are you going to do when homeowners come for you?

November 11, 2016

Proposed Amendments to Environmental Legislation: Streamlined Approvals and Other Updates

November 11, 2016

Burden Reduction Act to Streamline Environmental Approvals and Compliance Checks

November 11, 2016

Making Environmental Approvals EAS(ie)R?

March 21, 2016

Ontario’s Cap and Trade Update

March 10, 2016

The Dirt On Excess Soil: Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Releases Framework For the Regulation and Oversight of Excess Soil

November 21, 2014

Ring of Fire Secretariat Provides Update on Infrastructure Development

November 19, 2014

Health Canada’s Preliminary Results Indicate Wind Turbine Noise Exposure is Annoying, But Not Linked to Self-Reported Illnesses and Conditions

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.

January 09, 2013

Another Big Budget Bill, More Big Changes

This summer we wrote about changes to Canada’s environmental legal landscape introduced by the first budget bill (Bill C-38), and their significance to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the Fisheries Act.

October 15, 2012

When Odour Issues Cause Headaches: Understanding the Legal Implications of a Smelly Operation

Odour complaints can result in a variety of legal or regulatory actions against the owners and operators of a facility.

June 01, 2012

Gutting the Fisheries Act and Other Federal Environmental Legislation

At least at the federal level, it appears that the environmental law landscape in Canada is changing. With the announcement of the federal budget, it was clear that there would be wide and sweeping changes to both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the Fisheries Act.

March 01, 2012

Looking into the Future of Water: Technology, Energy, Rates and First Nations Rights

After learning that this issue’s theme is Cities of the Future, we decided to take the rare opportunity to rise above the current and pending legislation, regulations and policies and look more broadly into the future of the water industry in Canada.

January 01, 2012

Municipalities Can Benefit from Renewable Energy

The Green Energy and Green Economy Act (GEGEA) came into force two and a half years ago. The GEGEA created significant changes in Ontario’s approach to electricity procurement. Perhaps most controversial, however, was the removal of planning powers from local municipalities signalling the loss of the ability to control the siting of renewable energy projects “within their backyards”.

December 01, 2011

Planning for Asset Management: The Reports on Water Quality, The Wait for Regulation

Asset management and financial viability are concerns at some water and wastewater treatment plants across the province. Municipalities both large and small, as well as First Nations struggle to find adequate financial resources to treat water and wastewater.

October 01, 2011

How Fit is it? A Review of the Green Energy Act and the Feed-in Tariff Program for Water and Wastewater Projects

The Green Energy Act was enacted on May 14, 2009. Over the months that followed, a number of new regulations and amendments were drafted and declared in force. On October 1, 2009, the Ontario Power Authority began accepting applications under the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program.

August 01, 2011

Ottawa's Proposed National Standards for Municipal Wastewater Receive Mixed Reviews

On March 20,2010, the Minister of the Environment published the draft Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations, under the Fisheries Act with little fanfare.1 These regulations will create significant progress in addressing an important environmental issue – water pollution. The draft Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations will be the first major addition to the federal water pollution control standards in more than 20 years.

July 01, 2011

When the Past Won't Stay Buried: Liability for Historic Contamination in a Post-Berendsen World

You likely did it, even if you don’t remember. After all, it was the sixties: little was known about contaminants, the environment or adverse effects. There was no environmental movement, no Earth Day, and no environmental legislation.

June 01, 2011

The Other Half of the Green Energy Equation: Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency

In a world increasingly concerned with energy, the focus is often on thesource of energy. Discussions on energy are often framed by a debate about whether we should continue to use fossil fuels or move to renewable sources of energy such as wind and solar.

December 01, 2010

Protecting Lake Simcoe: When a Strategy Imposes Legal Limits

Outside of the Great Lakes, Lake Simcoe is the largest lake in southern Ontario. Eight municipalities obtain their drinking water from Lake Simcoe. The Lake Simcoe watershed contains numerous provincially significant wetlands, woodlands, and productive agricultural areas.

January 01, 2010

Municipalities and the Green Energy Act - Update

This article appeared in the January 2010 issue of Municipal World.

  • "Gutting the Fisheries Act and Other Federal Environmental Legislation", Influents, Summer 2012 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “Looking into the Future of Water: Technology, Energy, Rates, and First Nations’ Rights”, Influents, Spring 2012 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “Municipalities Can Benefit from Renewable Energy”, Municipal Lawyer, January 2012
  • “Planning For Asset Management: The Reports on Water Quality, The Wait for Regulation”, Influents, Winter 2011 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “How Fit Is It? A Review of the Green Energy Act and the Feed-in Tariff Program For Water and Wastewater Projects”, Influents, Fall 2011, [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • "When the Past Won't Stay Buried: Liability for Historic Contamination in a Post-Berendsen World", Municipal Lawyer, May/June 2011, [co-authored with Marc McAree]
  • “Ottawa’s Proposed National Standards for Municipal Wastewater Receive Mixed Reviews”, Influents, Summer 2011 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “The Other Half of the Green Energy Equation: Energy Conservation and Energy Efficiency”, Influents, Spring 2011 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “Protecting Lake Simcoe: When a Strategy Imposes Legal Limits”, Influents, Winter 2010 [co-authored with Juli Abouchar]
  • “Can Municipalities Regain Power Over Renewable Energy Projects?”, Municipal World, October 2010 [co-authored with Paul Manning]
  • “Municipalities and the Green Energy Act: Benefits, Burdens and Loss of Power”, Municipal World, January 2010 [co-authored with Paul Manning]

Books and Reports

Marc McAree and Joanna Vince Write Chapter in ABA’s Book on Brownfields

Marc McAree and Joanna Vince are co-authors of a chapter on Ontario developments for the Second Edition of Implementing Institutional Controls at Brownfields and other Contaminated Sites recently published by the American Bar Association (ABA).



  • Called to the Bars of Ontario (2011), Nunavut (2017), Northwest Territories (2017)
  • Certified as a Specialist in Environmental Law by the Law Society of Ontario (2019)
  • J.D., University of Toronto (2010)
  • Certificate in Environmental Studies, University of Toronto (2010)
  • B.Sc. (Hons.), Biology and Environmental Science, University of Toronto (2007)



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

Senior Litigation Counsel