Ahab Abdel-Aziz Partner Global Director, Nuclear Power Generation


Speaks:  English, Arabic

Year of Call: 1991 - Ontario

Primary phone: +1 416-814-5608

Fax: +1 416-862-7661

Email: ahab.abdelaziz@gowlingwlg.com

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Primary office:  Toronto



Ahab Abdel-Aziz

Ahab Abdel-Aziz is a partner and the Global Director of Nuclear Power Generation at Gowling WLG. He has been a leader in the global nuclear sector for over 25 years.

Ahab has advised leading members of the Canadian and international nuclear energy sector and government agencies in policy and legislative development, nuclear project development and finance, licensing and compliance, and dispute resolution. He has also advised clients in the petroleum and petrochemicals sectors, mining and forestry, manufacturing, and project developers on regulatory approvals, environmental assessment and risk management.

An accomplished litigator, Ahab has represented clients in technically complex civil and regulatory disputes, including recent multi-billion dollar nuclear project arbitration.

He is recognized as one of Canada's top energy lawyers by Legal 500 Canada, Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Report on Business/Lexpert Special Edition: Canada's Leading Energy Lawyers, Who's Who Legal: Canada and Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Energy Lawyers. In the 2017 edition of Legal 500 Canada, Ahab is noted as being a part of an energy team that is "responsive and personally involved" and "takes the time to understand the client's business."

Prior to joining Gowling WLG, Ahab was a partner in the nuclear energy practice of a large Canadian law firm. He also served as a clerk to the Honourable Mr. Justice Arthur J. Stone of the Federal Court of Appeal, and worked on secondment as in-house counsel in charge of environmental matters for a major integrated oil company. While acting in that capacity, he advised on environmental regulatory compliance, civil disputes, criminal prosecution and the environmental law implications of transactions.

Ahab is the president of the Canadian Nuclear Law Organization (Canada) and a member of the Board of the International Nuclear Law Association (INLA). He is also chair of INLA's Working Group 3 (Nuclear New Build) and a member of INLA's Working Group 1 (Regulatory Affairs). He was a founding executive member and director of the National Brownfield Association and a past member of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy's (NRTEE) National Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy Task Force.

He was also the principal author of its national policy recommendation, titled Facilitating a Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy for Canada, prepared at the request of the prime minister of Canada at the time. He is past Vice Chair of the Environmental Crimes and Enforcement Committee of the American Bar Association (ABA), as well as a member of the ABA's International Environmental Law Committee and Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section. He has previously served as an executive member of the Ontario Bar Association Environmental Law Section, and as a trustee of the Metropolitan Toronto Lawyers Association.

He is co-author and co-editor of the Canadian Brownfields Manual (LexisNexis Butterworths, 2004-2013).

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2018

  • 2017

  • 2016

  • 2015

    • Rankings & Awards
      December 2015
      Who's Who Legal: Canada 2015
    • Rankings & Awards
      December 2015
      Lexpert's Leading Lawyers in Energy 2015
    • Rankings & Awards
      September 2015
      Who's Who Legal: Energy 2015
    • Rankings & Awards
      September 2015
      The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2015
    • Rankings & Awards
      July 2015
      Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2015
  • 2014

    • Rankings & Awards
      December 2014
      Lexpert lists Gowlings as the top environmental law firm in Toronto
    • Rankings & Awards
      November 2014
      Lexpert's Leading Lawyers in Energy 2014
    • Rankings & Awards
      October 2014
      Who's Who Legal: Canada 2014
    • Rankings & Awards
      September 2014
      Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Business Lawyers 2014
    • Rankings & Awards
      July 2014
      Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014
  • 2013

    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Lexpert's guide to Canada's Leading Energy Lawyers
    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Lexpert's guide to Canada's Leading Energy Lawyers
    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Who's Who Legal: Canada
    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Who's Who Legal: Canada
    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Energy Lawyers
    • Rankings & Awards
       2013
      Who's Who Legal: The International Who's Who of Energy Lawyers
  • 1991

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
       1991
      Year of Call, Ontario
  • 1989

    • Education
       1989
      Dalhousie University, LLB

Speaking Engagements and Presentations

  • "The Conduct of Complex Arbitration," ADR Institute of Canada and the International Chamber of Commerce Canada 2013 Conference on "Gold Standard ADR" (October 24-25, 2013 - Toronto, Canada)
  • "The Independence of the Nuclear Regulator," International Nuclear Law Association, Nuclear Inter Jura Congress (October 8-11, 2012 - Manchester, U.K.) (Oral presentation delivered by alternate)
  • Keynote Speaker, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, "International Nuclear Law Essentials," (June 4-8, 2012 - Paris, France)
  • "The Organization of the Nuclear Sector in Emerging Economies," Meeting of INLA Working Group N°1 on Safety and Regulation (April 6, 2011 - Prague, Czech Republic)
  • "The Impact of Regulatory Standards on Nuclear Power Development in Emerging Economies." Federal Authority For Nuclear Regulation (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, May 2011)
  • Keynote Speaker, OED Nuclear Energy Agency, 11th Session of the International School of Nuclear Law (September 2011 - Paris, France)
  • Speaker (by Video) "Nuclear Power Generation in Emerging Economies, Challenges and Solutions," the League of Arab States (Cairo, Egypt on January 12, 2011).
  • Moderator, Ontario Long Term Energy Plan, Energy Council of Canada, "Canadian Energy Forums 2010 Toronto Forum" (December 8, 2010 - Toronto, Canada)
  • "Nuclear Power Generation in Emerging Economies - Challenges and Solutions," League of Arab State and the Arab Atomic Energy Agency, "The First Arab Conference on the Prospects of Nuclear Power for Electricity Generation and Seawater Desalination" (June 23-25, 2010 - Hammamet, Tunisia)
  • "The Independence of the Regulatory Body," Meeting of INLA Working Group N°1 on Safety and Regulation (February 11, 2010 - Cordoba, Spain)
  • "Prospects for Change in Regulatory Framework," INLA Nuclear Inter Jura Congress (October 5-9, 2009 - Toronto, Canada)
  • Panellist, "Nuclear Power and the Environment," The Canadian Bar Association, The 2008 National Environment, Energy and Resources Law Summit - Climate Change and Air Quality - Cross Border Issues (May 15-16, 2008 - Ottawa, Canada)
  • "National Brownfields Strategy," Imperial Oil, Winter 2003
  • "Brownfields 2003 Conference," US Environmental Protection Agency, Portland, Oregon, Fall 2003
  • Conference Chair, Kyoto Protocol, The Canadian Institute, Summer 2003
  • "National Brownfields Strategy," Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Summer 2003
  • "Globalization in Environmental Regulation: The View from the United States and Canada," American Corporate Counsel Association Conference Proceedings, June 24, 2003
  • "Recent Developments in Environmental Law," Devon Estates, Spring 2003
  • "Globalization in Environmental Regulation: The View from the United States and Canada," American Corporate Counsel Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, Fall 2002
  • "Contaminated Lands Management," Irving Oil Limited, Summer 2002
  • "Recent International Developments in Environmental Law," The Canadian Institute, October 10, 2001
  • "Facilitating a Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy for Canada," Background discussion paper for the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, September 1, 2001
  • "Due diligence for the Nuclear Industry," Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, August 2001
  • "Contaminated Sites and Brownfields Redevelopment," Law Seminars International, Calgary, Alberta, May 2001
  • "Environmental Class Actions and Public Interest Litigation," Nova Corporation, 1999-2000
  • "Pit Falls to Avoid in Managing Contaminated Lands Problems," Imperial Oil, British Columbia Property Managers and Environmental Engineers, May 1999
  • "Contaminated Lands Civil Litigation in Canada," Imperial Oil, Environmental Engineers, April 1999
  • " Recent Developments in Contaminated Lands Case Law," Devon Estates/Imperial Oil, June 1997

Publications

  • The Canadian Brownfields Manual (2nd edition), LexisNexis Butterworths, 2003-2005
  • "Courts Base Contamination Decision on Inadmissible Evidence," Environmental Law, Federated Press, Vol. 5, No. 3, January 18, 2002
  • "An Attempted Line between Inspections and Investigations?" Environmental Crimesand Enforcement Committee Newsletter, Vol. 3, No. 1, December 2001
  • "Excluding 'Junk Science' from Environmental Cases," The Lawyers Weekly, December 1, 2001
  • "The Canadian Brownfields Redevelopment Agenda Moves Along," Municipal Lawyer (U.S. Publication), October 11, 2001
  • "The Greening of Brownfields," Building Magazine, September/October 2001
  • "Obstacles to Brownfield Redevelopment," Hazardous Materials Management Magazine, June/July 2001
  • "The Challenge of Brownfield Redevelopment," Environmental Law Journal, Volume IV, No. 2, June 23, 2001
  • "Proposed 'brownfields' law aimed at revitalizing lands," The Lawyers Weekly, June 2001
  • "U.S. is ahead of us in 'Brownfield' redevelopment," The Lawyers Weekly, May 2001

Nuclear

I. Regulatory

1. Licensing

  • ACR licensing. Advice and representation with respect to the licensing of the Advanced CANDU Reactor.
  • Chalk River licensing. Advice and representation with respect to the licensing of the Chalk River Laboratories Facilities.
  • Maple 1 & 2 Reactors licensing. Advice and representation with respect to numerous licensing issues for the MAPLE facilities.
  • NRU Shutdown by CNSC. Advice and representation with respect to the decision by the CNSC to shut down the operation of the NRU reactor as a result of alleged regulatory and license violations.
  • Alberta Energy New Build Licence. Advice and representation with respect to the license application for the Alberta Energy proposed CANDU project.
  • Export of Nuclear Information and Technology. Advice to several clients with respect to the proposed transmission to clients abroad of nuclear information and or materials.
  • Nuclear Fuel Waste Storage Facility. Advice to a proponent with respect to a proposal to establish a nuclear fuel waste storage facility in eastern Canada.
  • Radioactive Waste Management (Storage) in Operating Facility. Advice with respect to regulatory compliance, licensing and environmental impact assessment for several existing and proposed radioactive waste storage facilities at nuclear facilities.
  • Project Interruption. Advice and representation with respect to the proposed imposition by CNSC of new approvals requirements on a nuclear project already underway under an approvals process MOU.

2. Compliance

  • CNSC Interactions. Representation and advice to nuclear industry members with respect to numerous regulatory compliance and licensing issues arising at nuclear facilities under the former Atomic Energy Control Act and the current Nuclear Safety and Control Act.
  • Management of Legacy Liabilities at Nuclear Facility. Extensive review of the state of compliance of certain nuclear facilities with regulatory obligations and advice with respect to compliance, regulatory due diligence, and long term liability management issues.
  • Nuclear Fuel Waste. Advice to client with respect to the impact of the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act on contractual relations.
  • Operating License Interpretation. Advice to a crown agent on numerous matters arising with respect to the compliance of facilities and activities at federal nuclear facilities with the requirements of CNSC licenses and the regulations.

3. Nuclear Project and Facility Environmental Compliance

  • CANDU Proposal in Turkey. Advice on the impact of Canadian legislation on the bid to construct two CANDU reactors in Turkey.
  • Application of CEAA to Numerous Nuclear Projects. Advice and representation with respect to the conduct of environmental assessment of proposed nuclear new build projects in Canada. Advice with respect to the conduct of environmental assessments for numerous existing and proposed projects at a nuclear research facility.
  • Environmental Compliance at Nuclear Facilities. Advice with respect to Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, Species at Risk Act, and the Fisheries Act compliance at nuclear facilities. Advice with respect to the management of contaminated sites and environmental liability at nuclear facilities.
  • POC Regulations Implementation. Advice with respect to the application of the Projects Outside of Canada Regulations under the Environmental Assessment Act to several existing and potential nuclear projects outside of Canada.

II. Policy

1. Legislation

  • Canadian Environmental Assessment Act amendments. Advice to a public client with respect to preferred policy options. Representation to the Privy Counsel's Office on behalf of a client with respect to the implications of sensitive proposed legislative amendments for certain nuclear facilities and projects.
  • POC Regulations. Advice on, and developing policy options for, the amendment of the Project Outside of Canada regulations under the Federal Environmental Assessment Act in respect of their impact on nuclear projects outside of Canada.

2. Implementation of International Obligations

  • GEN IV Framework. Advice to a public client with respect to the GEN IV Framework MOU.
  • Nuclear Regulations Amendments. Advice and representation with respect to several proposed draft regulations intended to implement in domestic legislation international obligations and standards, including ICRP60, and the IAEA's NSR1, NSR2 and NSR3.
  • Climate Change. Advice with respect to international and domestic climate change legislative policies and their impact on nuclear power projects.

3. Parliamentary Proceedings

  • MAPLE Project Cancellation. Advice and representation with respect to the appearance of the CEO of a crown agent before a Parliamentary Committee inquiring into the cancellation of the MAPLE Project.
  • NRU Shutdown. Advice and representation with respect to the appearance of client representatives before the Committee of the Whole of the Parliament of Canada, convened to consider the passage of legislation to permit the continued operation of NRU, notwithstanding the CNSC's order to shut it down

4. Policy Development

  • Nuclear New Build Program. Advice and representation to a nuclear vendor with respect to the optimization of the federal and provincial regulatory approvals regimes for the purposes of several proposed new build projects. Representations to government with respect to same.
  • Nuclear Privatization. Advice to minister with respect to the proposed privatization of a crown agent's commercial nuclear business.
  • Ontario Energy Policy. Advice and representation with respect to the impact of and preferred options for federal and provincial energy policies in so much as they relate to nuclear power generation. Representation of client with Ontario Ministry of Energy.

III. Supply

  • Isotope Supply. Advice and representation to a crown agent with respect to an agreement for the supply of medical radioisotopes. Advice with respect to market, production and regulatory risks and risk management.
  • Supplier Indemnities & Nuclear Liability. Advice and representation with respect to the impact of nuclear liability legislation on the exposure to liability in tort of operators, owners, contractors and suppliers, as well as advice and representation with respect to the negotiation of contractual allocation of liability and indemnification.
  • New Build Equipment Supply. Advice and representation with respect to an agreement to supply equipment for a nuclear new build project.

IV. Nuclear Projects

1. New Build Projects

  • Alberta New Build. Advice and representation with respect to a proposal to construct new nuclear reactors in Alberta.
  • Rolphton Site New Build. Advice and representation with respect to a proposal to construct a new nuclear reactor in Rolphton, Ontario.
  • New Brunswick New Build. Advice and representation with respect to a proposal to construct new nuclear reactors in New Brunswick.
  • Darlington New Build. Advice and representation with respect to a proposal to construct new nuclear reactors in Ontario.
  • Cernavoda 3 & 4 Feasibility Study. Member of consortium providing advice to Romanian government agents with respect to the appropriateness of the financing and ownership structures proposed for the Cernavoda 3 and 4 projects.
  • Cernavoda 3 and 4 Structuring Advice. Advice to Romanian government agents with respect to the feasibility of the Cernavoda 3 and 4 project.
  • Jordan New Build. Advice (pro bono) to JAEC executives with respect to the proposal to build new power generation reactors and the agreement for the construction of a research reactor.

2. Refurbishment Projects

  • Bruce Power Refurbishment. Advice and representation with respect to the refurbishment of CANDU nuclear reactors at the Bruce Power facilities.
  • New Brunswick Refurbishment. Advice and representation with respect to the refurbishment of a CANDU nuclear reactor in New Brunswick.

IV. Disputes

1. Nuclear Project Related Disputes

  • CANDU Sale to China. Advice and representation in proceedings with respect to the sale and construction of two CANDU reactors in China.
  • Cancellation of MAPLE Project. Lead arbitration counsel. Successfully defended a complex arbitration brought against a client for damages in the amount of $1.6 billion and for an order for specific performance relating to two nuclear reactors and a processing facility.
  • Privatization of Isotope Business. Acted as counsel to AECL with respect to disputes with MDS arising from the privatization of the isotope business and the MMIR (MAPLE) Project.
  • Nuclear Project Insurance Claim. Representing a client with respect to a claim against an insurer for recovery of cost overruns and delay costs arising in the course of a nuclear construction project.

2. Defence of Prosecutions and Investigations

  • Counsel on several regulatory investigations and defence of criminal prosecutions alleging violations under the Atomic Energy Control Act and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act.

3. Compensation for Inventions

  • Advice and representation on a dispute relating to the compensation of inventors at a federal nuclear institution.

4. Protection of Sensitive Nuclear Information

  • Freedom of Information. Advice and representation with respect to numerous applications for disclosure to the public of information sought from nuclear operators and crown agents.
  • National Security. Counsel on special sittings of the federal court in proceedings brought to avoid damage to national security that would arise from the disclosure of nuclear information.

V. Federal Crown Agent Governance

  • Accountability. Advice with respect to the impact of the Federal Accountability Act on a federal crown agent engaged in the nuclear industry.
  • Financial Administration. Advice with respect to the duties and obligations of a crown agent, its officers and directors under the federal Financial Administration Act, as well as the obligations of directors and officers with respect to regulatory compliance and civil liability exposures. Advice with respect to the compliance of transactions with the federal Financial Administration Act.
  • Appropriations and Funding. Advice and independent opinion with respect to the justification and sufficiency of federal government funding of a crown agent operating nuclear facilities, along with the impact of funding levels on regulatory compliance and due diligence.

Environmental

1. Environmental Assessment

  • Served as counsel to proponents and opponents of major undertakings with respect to environmental assessments under federal and provincial regimes.
  • Represented and advised clients on environmental assessments with respect to proposals to establish waste disposal sites.
  • Represented and advised a client on an environmental assessment with respect to an LNG terminal.
  • Represented and advised a client in a major dispute with respect to the application of Canadian environmental assessment legislation to a major infrastructure undertaking outside of Canada.
  • Advised clients on numerous environmental assessments for nuclear projects in and outside of Canada.

2. Policy and Legislation

  • Advised and represented clients with respect to proposals for amendments to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Projects Outside of Canada Regulations under that act.
  • Advised and represented clients with respect the development of Ontario's Brownfields Amendment Act.
  • Member of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy's (NRTEE) National Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy Task Force and was the principal author of its national policy recommendation titled "Facilitating a Brownfield Redevelopment Strategy for Canada", prepared at the request of the then Prime Minister of Canada.
  • Advised and represented clients in the petroleum and nuclear industries with respect to climate change policy and legislation. Represented clients with respect to National Resources Canada's proposals for the implementation of Kyoto Accord.

3. Compliance & Dispute Resolution

  • National environmental counsel for integrated oil company. Advised on the development of policies and processes for managing the risks and liabilities associated with ownership of hundreds of current and former contaminated sites. Worked with local counsel in each of the provinces to develop responses to regulatory and civil claims arising from the current or past ownership of hundreds of contaminated sites.
  • Counsel for a major oil refiner / fuels retailer in Canada and the US with respect to management of risks and liability for contaminated sites.
  • Counsel to a national leading commercial developer with respect to transactions involving contaminated sites.
  • Dealt with over 600 contaminated sites actual and potential civil and regulatory disputes.

Litigation

  • Lead and Co-lead counsel on multi-billion dollar commercial and construction disputes related to nuclear projects.
  • Co-lead counsel representing a provincial art gallery in litigation before the courts of the UK and New Brunswick, as well as before an arbitration panel, in a dispute over title to some $200 million of artwork.
  • Lead counsel representing a major integrated oil company in a large number of disputes over liability for contaminated lands.
  • Co-lead counsel for the respondent in a judicial review application brought by non-governmental organizations to halt major infrastructure projects undertaken by Canadian industry outside of Canada.
  • Lead counsel for a retail chain with respect to more than 12 arbitration matters and two complex matters in litigation before the courts, arising from the sale of the assets of the business.
  • Co-counsel in proceedings before a special sitting of the Federal Court to determine Canada Evidence Act National Security Certificates on behalf of a federal Crown corporation.
  • Lead counsel in several injunction proceedings brought to protect and recover highly sensitive confidential information of a government agency.
  • Co-lead counsel for the defence to several quasi-criminal prosecutions under federal and provincial legislation.
  • Lead counsel on judicial review applications and regulatory appeals of regulatory civil enforcement measures.
  • Co-lead counsel in hearings before specialized nuclear and environmental regulatory tribunals.