Anna Côté

Anna Côté is a regulatory and litigation lawyer in Gowling WLG's Toronto office, practising at the intersection of environmental law, food law and land use planning law. She works with a wide range of clients – from corporate to municipal to Indigenous groups – to provide legal advice and representation on challenging and novel legal issues.

Areas of Practice

  • Environmental assessments, both provincial and federal
  • Environmental issues in the agri-food sector, including "green" food claims and protection of agricultural land
  • Planning policy and land use development, including expropriations, aggregate operations and brownfield remediation
  • Environmental management and compliance, including regulatory inspections, investigations and enforcement
  • Technical and strategic advice to various industrial sectors, including manufacturing, waste and recycling
  • Natural resource management and development
  • Endangered species compliance and approvals
  • Import and export of environmentally regulated substances and products including novel substances
  • Environmental litigation and tribunal work
  • Environmental permits and approvals

Regulatory Advisor & Client Advocate

Anna brings a dedicated, engaged approach to her practice, forging collaborative relationships and resolving intricate legal problems. She draws on her experience working on sustainable development matters in the Middle East, Europe and the UK, her education as an environmental land use planner, and her dual law degree from McGill in advising her clients on how to understand, navigate and comply with environmental laws.

She also acts as an advocate for her clients in matters before the tribunals and courts, including the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and Environmental Review Tribunal), federal panels convened under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Ontario courts and the Federal Court.

Thought Leadership

Anna is a frequent speaker and lecturer, having co-taught the 2019 JD environmental law course at Osgoode Hall Law School, appearing as guest lecturer at law schools and planning programs, and speaking at and chairing industry events. She writes frequently about developments in environmental law and co-authored A Guide to Canada's Impact Assessment Act, 2020 Edition. She is currently focused on spearheading the convergence of environmental, climate and food law.

Community Engagement

Anna is in her fourth year serving as a member of the Environmental Law Section Executive of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) and her second year as part of the Canadian Association for Food Law and Policy. She is a big believer in the benefits of mentorship and dedicates her time to the McGill Alumni Mentorship Program, Gowling's Advocacy Student Committee, and other channels of formal and informal mentorship of law students and junior lawyers.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2017

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, Ontario
  • 2016

    • Education
      McGill University – BCL/LLB
  • 2013

    • Rankings & Awards
      McGill University, Chief Justice R.A.E. Greenshields Memorial Scholarship
    • Education
      York University, Faculty of Environmental Studies – MES in Environmental Planning
  • 2012

    • Rankings & Awards
      Gerald Carrothers Graduate Scholarship, Ontario Professional Planners Institute
  • 2011

    • Community
      Toronto Youth Food Policy Council
  • 2008

    • Education
      Queen's University – BAH, Philosophy

Representative Work

  • Agri-Food and Environmental Work – Advise multi-national food manufacturers with respect to making environmental claims on their food products and complying with environmental policies and regulations in their production chains. Work with municipalities to assess the impact of new development on agricultural uses and the regulation of cannabis production facilities.
  • Environmental and Impact Assessment – Assist municipalities and First Nations in completing environmental and impact assessment processes at the local, provincial and federal levels. Have advised on environmental assessments in Northern and Southern Ontario and in Canada's North, including representing our client in front of a federal environmental assessment panel for a multi-week hearing on a proposed development in the GTA.
  • Remediation of Brownfield Sites – Assist clients and work with environmental consultants to identify, delineate and address contamination on brownfield sites. Achieve creative clean-up and risk management measures that satisfy Ministry requirements and prepare properties for new uses and/or sale.
  • Planning and Development – Appear in front of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the courts with respect to planning and development matters, helping secure wins with respect to siting new institutions and protecting environmentally-sensitive areas. Assist with complex expropriation matters involving historical sites and environmental contamination issues impacting related properties.
  • Endangered Species – Advise on the status and protections for endangered species, particularly in relation to proposed new development. Assist with strategy development for addressing endangered species requirements at the federal and provincial levels while responding to development needs.
  • Waste and Recycling – Assist waste management clients with compliance matters and obtaining required permits and approvals. Assist clients providing consumer products with recycling registrations and food product packaging design and disposal.
  • Environmental Compliance Approvals – Asses and advise clients on compliance matters related to environmental compliance approvals for air, noise, waste and sewage.
  • Pest Control Products Regulation – Advised international companies on the application of pest control product regulation to laboratory and home product filters, including those using novel nanomaterials and UV light. Assisted with securing clarity and clearance from the Pest Management Regulatory Agency with respect to importation of such products into Canada.
  • COVID-19 Antibacterial Product Use and Regulation – Advised international auto-manufacturer on the approval, importation and use of various disinfectant products to assist with rapid reopening of manufacturing capabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Use of Novel Nanomaterials – Advised American companies on the requirements for Canadian approval and novel use of nanomaterials for antibacterial purposes.
  • Pesticide & Fertilizer Registration and Regulation – Advise companies on the Canadian registration status and registration process, as well as compliance issues surrounding manufacturing, importation and use, for pesticides and fertilizers, as required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Chemicals in Feeds – Advised corporation on labelling requirements for chemicals falling under the Feeds Act and Regulations, administered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
  • Chemical Reporting – Advised popular essential oils company on the Canadian chemical reporting process as it relates to the Domestic Substances List, the Non-Domestic Substances List, and New Substance Notification requirements.