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David Estrin
Counsel

Speaks: English

Year of Call: 1980 - Alberta

Year of Call: 1971 - Ontario

Primary Office: Toronto

David Estrin

David Estrin is counsel in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. He is recognized as Canada’s senior environmental law practitioner and one of the country's most experienced environmental law specialists. For more than 30 years he has advised government agencies, corporations and financial institutions, Aboriginal Peoples and ratepayers, as well as law firms in Canada and the U.S., in all facets of environmental law.

David is also a highly experienced Aboriginal lawyer. He has advised and represented First Nations and Inuit people, as well as private sector proponents and is head of Gowling WLG's Toronto Aboriginal Law Practice Group.

David is highly sought-after for his environmental counsel. He has appeared as counsel before virtually every level of court in Ontario, Alberta and at the federal level, at various times representing federal and provincial departments and agencies, Crown corporations, municipalities, the private sector, Aboriginal Peoples and environmental groups. He is also recognized as a leading environmental counsel before Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Board, the Ontario Municipal Board, the Environmental Review Tribunal and Joint Boards. His cases before the courts and tribunals have established leading precedents in the environmental, aboriginal, land use planning and resources law areas.

David's cases before the Federal Court Trial Division and Federal Court of Appeal have established leading precedents regarding the proper scope of environmental assessment for major infrastructure projects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

David's in-depth involvement in various aspects of environmental assessment, includes:

  • Policy development and drafting of environmental assessment legislation;
  • Advisor to the Ontario Minister of the Environment regarding EA reform;
  • Advising consultants and clients regarding necessary components for an acceptable environmental assessment study;
  • Litigating fundamental legal issues as to what constitutes a proper and acceptable environmental assessment document and environmental assessment procedural issues before environmental assessment boards, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Federal Court of Canada.

In 2006, the Canadian Bar Association honoured David's achievements in the development of Canadian environmental law practice by establishing the David Estrin Prize for the best scholarly essay in environmental, energy or resources law by a Canadian law student.

In 2011-12, he served as senior vice-chair of the International Bar Association Environment, Health and Safety Committee.

David is recognized in Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2014 for Environmental Law.


December2015

Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2015

November2015

Legal 500 Canada 2016

November2015

Who’s Who Legal: Environment 2015

September2015

The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2015

July2015

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2015

Featured insights & resources

Memberships

Career & Recognition

2015

December 2015

Who’s Who Legal: Canada 2015

2015

November 2015

Who’s Who Legal: Environment 2015

2015

November 2015

Legal 500 Canada 2016

2015

September 2015

The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2015

2015

July 2015

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2015

2015

April 2015

Chambers Global 2015

2015

February 2015

Legal 500 Canada 2015

2014

December 2014

Lexpert lists Gowlings as the top environmental law firm in Toronto

2014

October 2014

Lexpert ’s Guide to Canada’s Leading Infrastructure Lawyers 2014

2014

October 2014

Who's Who Legal: Canada 2014

2014

September 2014

The Best Lawyers in Canada 2015

2014

September 2014

Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2014

2014

July 2014

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014

2014

April 2014

Chambers Global 2014

2013

December 2013

The Legal 500 Canada 2014

2013

November 2013

Who's Who Legal: Canada 2013

2013

October 2013

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Environment Lawyers 2013

2013

October 2013

Lexpert — Canada’s Leading Infrastructure Lawyers 2013

2013

September 2013

The Best Lawyers in Canada 2014

2013

July 2013

Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2013

2013

July 2013

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2013

2013

April 2013

Chambers Global 2013

2013

February 2013

The Best Lawyers in Canada 2013

2012

December 2012

Who's Who Legal: Canada 2012

2012

October 2012

Lexpert Canada’s Leading Infrastructure Lawyers 2012

2012

July 2012

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2012

2012

July 2012

Who’s Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers 2012

2012

April 2012

Chambers Global 2012

2012

February 2012

The Best Lawyers in Canada 2012

2011

December 2011

Who’s Who Legal 2011

2011

March 2011

PLC Which Lawyer? 2011

2011

February 2011

The Best Lawyers in Canada® 2011

2011

February 2011

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2011

2011

2011

Lexpert/ American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, 2011

2011

2011

Who’s Who Legal - The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, 2011

2010

February 2010

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, 2010

2010

February 2010

Lexpert American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada, 2010

2010

February 2010

PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook, 2010

2010

February 2010

The Best Lawyers in Canada® 2010

1980

1980

Year of Call, Alberta

1971

1971

Year of Call, Ontario

Best Lawyers in Canada©, 2006-2009

Ranked among the world's leaders in Environmental Law in surveys conducted by the U.K.-based Guide to the World's Leading Environmental Lawyers (Euromoney)

Recognized by Who's Who Legal in the area of Environment

University of Alberta, LLB

David Estrin
Profile highlights

#
David Estrin

David Estrin is counsel in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. He is recognized as Canada’s senior e...

Memberships

David Estrin
Profile highlights

#
David Estrin

David Estrin is counsel in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. He is recognized as Canada’s senior e...

Insights & Resources

EXTERNAL PUBLICATIONS &
PAST SPEAKING ENGAGEMENTS

David is the founding editor of the Canadian Environmental Law Reports and author of several authoritative texts on Canadian environmental law, including Business Guide to Environmental Law (Carswell), which provides unique and continuously updated insights into Canadian (and comparative U.S.) environmental law developments affecting the business community.  His other books include:  Handle with Caution:  Liability in the Production and Disposal of Dangerous Substances (Carswell), and Environment on Trial – A Handbook of Ontario Environmental Law.

David has taught  and lectured about environmental law for 13 years (part-time) at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo as well as for five years at the Banff School of Management in a week-long course for senior government officials and corporate executives on “How to Prepare and Present Environmental Evidence”.

Client Work

Environmental Assessment Rep Work

  • TransCanada Pipelines and Exxon Mobile: Currently and since 2001 providing specialist environmental assessment counsel for the Alaska Gas Pipeline project, including EA requirements under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA); the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Act (also federal legislation); and under B.C. and Alberta environmental assessment laws.
  • Nalcor: In 2009 provided strategic legal analysis and advice on environmental assessment issues pertaining to the Generation and Island Link projects, including attending at Gull Island and Muskrat Falls generation sites and detailed review of the plans and previous EA approvals for these projects
  • City of Hamilton: Obtained EA clearance for a major freeway project; successfully litigated before the Federal Court Trial Division and Federal Court of Appeal that a CEAA Panel Review was illegal and could not be applied to this project, despite intense demands by project opponents for a Panel Review and the support for a Panel Review by the Federal Environment Minister and Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
  • Buffalo and Fort Erie Public  Bridge Authority: Advice regarding Canadian, Ontario and U.S. environmental assessment and environmental approval requirements for a new international bridge between Fort Erie and Buffalo, New York
  • City of Windsor: Counsel to the City regarding three private and public sector international bridge and tunnel proposals between Detroit and Windsor across and under the Detroit River; a nine year retainer which included advice regarding  a Bi-National Environmental Assessment (Canada and U.S. Federal governments), involvement in the  CEAA and the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act requirements (in some aspects working with U.S. environmental counsel) as well as intensive involvement with Ontario Environmental Assessment Act requirements
  • A major Canadian mining corporation – Environmental counsel regarding federal and provincial environmental assessment requirements for a large new mine in Labrador
  • Waste management and energy from waste environmental assessment approvals: Counsel for private and public sector proponents and in other cases for opponents of major new landfills and EFW projects subject to individual EA and multi-month to multi-year public hearing requirements under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act

Aboriginal Law Experience

  • Providing advice to the proponent on First Nation consultation issues regarding a major new interprovincial/international pipeline in Western Canada.
  • Counsel for the Union of Ontario Indians and the North Shore Tribal Council; advice and representation in Environmental Assessment Board hearings regarding Ontario Hydro’s 25-year future supply environmental assessment.
  • Counsel for the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Association, Baker Lake Inuit & Hamlet of Baker Lake, NWT (now Nunavut) – Civil action in the Federal Court successfully established that Inuit people are entitled to assert Aboriginal Rights; successfully obtained an interlocutory injunction putting a pause on uranium mining exploration activity alleged to interfere with caribou migration. See 1980 F.C. 518.
  • Counsel to the Inuit Taparitsat of Canada, advising on land claims issues, Federal Environmental Assessment  and resource conflict concerns including  proposed off-shore drilling and new radioactive waste disposal sites.
  • Counsel to the Northern Quebec Inuit Association.  Advised Inuit and worked with Grand Council of the Crees (separately represented) to co-author and negotiate the environmental and land use planning components of the original James Bay and Northern Quebec Hydro-Electric Power Project and James Bay Agreement.
  • Counsel for the City of Hamilton in negotiations with The Six Nations Confederacy regarding their attempts to stop completion of the Red Hill Creek Expressway. This involved significant work with archaeologists representing the City, the Ministry of Culture and The Six Nations to resolve claims about aboriginal villages and burial sites and led to the negotiation of various novel  agreements as to the involvement and accommodation of the Six Nations in works to complete the expressway.
  • Advice to B.C. First Nations regarding legal remedies to prevent interference from commercial fish farming operations with Aboriginal rights to continue wild Salmon fishing and harvesting practices.
  • Counsel to the Shibogama First Nations Council (northwestern Ontario) in a mediation arising from proposed mining activity. Authored and negotiated components of a development agreement establishing a  regime for First Nation direct involvement in planning and regulating future land uses and environmental protection.These negotiations allowed a new gold mine to be established.

David Estrin
Profile highlights

#
David Estrin

David Estrin is counsel in Gowling WLG's Toronto office. He is recognized as Canada’s senior e...

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