skip to main content

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.

News

October 25, 2018

Exploring Careers as a Geoscience Grad

More
October 16, 2018

Middlesex Law Association - Semi-Annual Real Estate Luncheon

More
October 16, 2018

CBA NEERLS & Department of Justice - 29th Annual Meeting

More
October 16, 2018

Niagara Construction Association - Managing Excess Soil

More
October 02, 2018

Aon Reciprocal and Captive Conference - Environmental Liability Management

More
September 24, 2018

OBA Civil Litigation Law Program - Succeeding in Motions and Applications

More
September 12, 2018

Middlesex Law Association - 14th Annual Business Breakfast

More
September 10, 2018

Environmental Risk and Liability Transfer Seminar

More
September 10, 2018

Canadian Fabricare Association (CFA) Conference - Diversify & Grow

More
June 13, 2018

Ontario Bar Association - Environmental Law Section: Advanced Environmental Law Practitioner Roundtable

More
June 12, 2018

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soil

More
June 12, 2018

Canadian Brownfields Network National Brownfields Summit: Charting the Future

More
May 31, 2018

Eco Canada - Environmental Professionals Networking Event

More
May 31, 2018

Contaminated and Hazardous Waste Site Management Course

More
May 16, 2018

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference 2018: Roundtable Discussions

More
May 12, 2018

AESAC - Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Certification Training Course - Presentation

More
April 26, 2018

The Law Society of Ontario: The Six-Minute Municipal Lawyer 2018

More
April 19, 2018

Maxxam Spring 2018 Science Summit

More
March 16, 2018

EnviroTech 2018

More
March 16, 2018

Nunavut Mining Symposium 2018

More
March 01, 2018

Eco-Canada Webinar - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities

More
January 30, 2018

OBA Institute - Hot Topics for Infrastructure and Development Projects: Avoiding Environmental Pitfalls and Mitigating Risks

More
December 06, 2017

SMART Remediation 2018 (Toronto) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
December 06, 2017

SMART Remediation 2018 (Ottawa) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
September 19, 2017

OBA - Young Lawyers Division: Mastering Due Diligence

More
May 11, 2017

CCLA - 23rd Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

More
March 17, 2017

CANECT 2017 - Managing Indoor Environmental Quality

More
March 17, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables

More
March 16, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

More
March 16, 2017

Licensed Engineering Practitioners' Liability Under the New EASR

More
January 31, 2017

OSSGA Conference and Annual General Meeting

More
January 31, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

Environmental Law Forum: Proving Environmental Health Impacts

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
November 21, 2016

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soils

More
November 02, 2016

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

More
September 15, 2016

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

More
August 23, 2016

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
February 18, 2016

The Commons Institute: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
February 04, 2016

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
February 01, 2016

SMART Remediation Vancouver Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
January 25, 2016

Environmental Law Forum: Cross Country Check Up

More
January 12, 2016

SMART Remediation Ottawa Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
January 07, 2016

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

More
January 07, 2016

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

More
November 11, 2015

University of Toronto Environmental Law Club Career Panel

More
October 23, 2015

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

More
October 02, 2015

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

More
September 21, 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"

More
September 21, 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

More
July 06, 2015

INEF 2015 Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
June 02, 2015

The Ontario Fabricare Association Conference

More
January 27, 2015

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

More
January 19, 2015

Using Expert Witnesses in Environmental Litigation

More
August 27, 2014

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

More
May 06, 2014

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

More
May 06, 2014

OBA: Developments in D&O Liability for Environmental Contamination

More

Article

October 25, 2018

Exploring Careers as a Geoscience Grad

More
October 16, 2018

Middlesex Law Association - Semi-Annual Real Estate Luncheon

More
October 16, 2018

CBA NEERLS & Department of Justice - 29th Annual Meeting

More
October 16, 2018

Niagara Construction Association - Managing Excess Soil

More
October 02, 2018

Aon Reciprocal and Captive Conference - Environmental Liability Management

More
September 24, 2018

OBA Civil Litigation Law Program - Succeeding in Motions and Applications

More
September 12, 2018

Middlesex Law Association - 14th Annual Business Breakfast

More
September 10, 2018

Environmental Risk and Liability Transfer Seminar

More
September 10, 2018

Canadian Fabricare Association (CFA) Conference - Diversify & Grow

More
June 13, 2018

Ontario Bar Association - Environmental Law Section: Advanced Environmental Law Practitioner Roundtable

More
June 12, 2018

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soil

More
June 12, 2018

Canadian Brownfields Network National Brownfields Summit: Charting the Future

More
May 31, 2018

Eco Canada - Environmental Professionals Networking Event

More
May 31, 2018

Contaminated and Hazardous Waste Site Management Course

More
May 16, 2018

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference 2018: Roundtable Discussions

More
May 12, 2018

AESAC - Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Certification Training Course - Presentation

More
April 26, 2018

The Law Society of Ontario: The Six-Minute Municipal Lawyer 2018

More
April 19, 2018

Maxxam Spring 2018 Science Summit

More
March 16, 2018

EnviroTech 2018

More
March 16, 2018

Nunavut Mining Symposium 2018

More
March 01, 2018

Eco-Canada Webinar - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities

More
January 30, 2018

OBA Institute - Hot Topics for Infrastructure and Development Projects: Avoiding Environmental Pitfalls and Mitigating Risks

More
December 06, 2017

SMART Remediation 2018 (Toronto) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
December 06, 2017

SMART Remediation 2018 (Ottawa) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
September 19, 2017

OBA - Young Lawyers Division: Mastering Due Diligence

More
May 11, 2017

CCLA - 23rd Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

More
March 17, 2017

CANECT 2017 - Managing Indoor Environmental Quality

More
March 17, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables

More
March 16, 2017

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

More
March 16, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

More
March 16, 2017

Licensed Engineering Practitioners' Liability Under the New EASR

More
January 31, 2017

OSSGA Conference and Annual General Meeting

More
January 31, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

Environmental Law Forum: Proving Environmental Health Impacts

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
January 09, 2017

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

More
November 21, 2016

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soils

More
November 02, 2016

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

More
September 15, 2016

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

More
August 23, 2016

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
February 18, 2016

The Commons Institute: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
February 04, 2016

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
February 01, 2016

SMART Remediation Vancouver Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
January 25, 2016

Environmental Law Forum: Cross Country Check Up

More
January 12, 2016

SMART Remediation Ottawa Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
January 07, 2016

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

More
January 07, 2016

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

More
November 11, 2015

University of Toronto Environmental Law Club Career Panel

More
October 23, 2015

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

More
October 02, 2015

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

More
September 21, 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"

More
September 21, 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

More
July 06, 2015

INEF 2015 Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
June 02, 2015

The Ontario Fabricare Association Conference

More
January 27, 2015

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

More
January 19, 2015

Using Expert Witnesses in Environmental Litigation

More
August 27, 2014

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

More
May 06, 2014

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

More
May 06, 2014

OBA: Developments in D&O Liability for Environmental Contamination

More

Speaking Engagements

Thursday, 08 November 2018

Exploring Careers as a Geoscience Grad

More
Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Middlesex Law Association - Semi-Annual Real Estate Luncheon

More
Friday, 09 November 2018

CBA NEERLS & Department of Justice - 29th Annual Meeting

More
Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Niagara Construction Association - Managing Excess Soil

More
Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Aon Reciprocal and Captive Conference - Environmental Liability Management

More
Monday, 01 October 2018

OBA Civil Litigation Law Program - Succeeding in Motions and Applications

More
Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Middlesex Law Association - 14th Annual Business Breakfast

More
Monday, 17 September 2018

Environmental Risk and Liability Transfer Seminar

More
Saturday, 13 October 2018

Canadian Fabricare Association (CFA) Conference - Diversify & Grow

More
Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Ontario Bar Association - Environmental Law Section: Advanced Environmental Law Practitioner Roundtable

More
Thursday, 21 June 2018

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soil

More
Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Canadian Brownfields Network National Brownfields Summit: Charting the Future

More
Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Eco Canada - Environmental Professionals Networking Event

More
Friday, 08 June 2018

Contaminated and Hazardous Waste Site Management Course

More
Monday, 30 April 2018 to May 01, 2018

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference 2018: Roundtable Discussions

More
Thursday, 03 May 2018

AESAC - Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Certification Training Course - Presentation

More
Monday, 07 May 2018

The Law Society of Ontario: The Six-Minute Municipal Lawyer 2018

More
Friday, 27 April 2018

Maxxam Spring 2018 Science Summit

More
Tuesday, 03 April 2018 to April 05, 2018

EnviroTech 2018

More
Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Nunavut Mining Symposium 2018

More
Thursday, 22 March 2018

Eco-Canada Webinar - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities

More
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

OBA Institute - Hot Topics for Infrastructure and Development Projects: Avoiding Environmental Pitfalls and Mitigating Risks

More
Thursday, 25 January 2018

SMART Remediation 2018 (Toronto) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
Thursday, 15 February 2018

SMART Remediation 2018 (Ottawa) - Mitigating Environmental Risks and Liabilities for Consultants and Contractors

More
Thursday, 28 September 2017

OBA - Young Lawyers Division: Mastering Due Diligence

More
Saturday, 27 May 2017

CCLA - 23rd Annual East Region Solicitors Conference

More
Monday, 01 May 2017

CANECT 2017 - Managing Indoor Environmental Quality

More
Tuesday, 02 May 2017

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

More
Tuesday, 21 March 2017

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

More
Friday, 28 April 2017

ICSC Canadian Shopping Centre Law Conference: Breakfast Roundtables

More
Tuesday, 28 March 2017

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

More
Thursday, 27 April 2017 to April 28, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

More
Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Licensed Engineering Practitioners' Liability Under the New EASR

More
Wednesday, 15 February 2017

OSSGA Conference and Annual General Meeting

More
Wednesday, 08 February 2017

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

More
Thursday, 02 March 2017

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

More
Thursday, 19 January 2017

Environmental Law Forum: Proving Environmental Health Impacts

More
Thursday, 16 February 2017

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

More
Thursday, 26 January 2017

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

More
Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Hamilton-Halton Construction Association: Managing Excess Soils

More
Thursday, 03 November 2016 to November 04, 2016

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

More
Thursday, 20 October 2016

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

More
Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Toronto Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
Tuesday, 23 February 2016

The Commons Institute: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
Friday, 26 February 2016

Ottawa Construction Association: Environmental Law for the Construction Industry

More
Thursday, 11 February 2016

SMART Remediation Vancouver Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
Wednesday, 27 January 2016 to January 29, 2016

Environmental Law Forum: Cross Country Check Up

More
Thursday, 04 February 2016

SMART Remediation Ottawa Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
Tuesday, 19 January 2016

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

More
Thursday, 28 January 2016

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

More
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

University of Toronto Environmental Law Club Career Panel

More
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

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

More
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

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

More
Monday, 28 September 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"

More
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

More
Wednesday, 05 August 2015

INEF 2015 Conference: Experts in Environmental Litigation

More
Saturday, 06 June 2015

The Ontario Fabricare Association Conference

More
Saturday, 11 April 2015

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

More
Thursday, 22 January 2015 to February 28, 2015

Using Expert Witnesses in Environmental Litigation

More
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

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

More
Tuesday, 10 June 2014

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

More
Wednesday, 30 April 2014

OBA: Developments in D&O Liability for Environmental Contamination

More

Recent Publications

Our Services