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 holds the prestigious Law Society of Ontario designation of Certified Specialist in 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 ranked in Legal 500 Canada 2017, an elite guide that lists him as one of the top lawyers in the country. He is described in the publication as "dean of the environmental law bar."