David McGillivray

David McGillivray is an associate in Gowling WLG's Advocacy Group. He focuses his practice on multiple facets of administrative law, with an emphasis on energy and environmental regulation, as well as Indigenous law.

Energy and natural resources

David has extensive experience representing natural resource and energy sector participants in connection with complex regulatory proceedings arising from facility applications – including with respect to pipelines, transmission lines, power plants, and oil sands mining and SAGD operations. He has also acted on behalf of clients in respect of toll and tariff matters, cost of capital, and pipeline access issues.

His clients in these sectors particularly value his ability to help them navigate nuanced regulatory and permitting requirements throughout the full lifecycle of their projects, whether in the context of upstream, midstream, or downstream operations. David's specific experience in this area includes construction, operation, licence amendments/transfers/reorganizations, decommissioning, and the management of long-term liabilities.

Over the course of his career, David has appeared before a number of regulatory tribunals, including the Alberta Energy Regulator, Alberta Utilities Commission, Alberta Surface Rights Board, and Canada Energy Regulator (and various predecessors).

Environmental and indigenous law

David complements his natural resources and energy experience with a background in environmental law. His practice encompasses environmental and impact assessments, the management of contaminated sites, the protection of species at risk, the transportation of goods, waste management, land and water use, and the defence against enforcement proceedings.

David's work in Indigenous law routinely finds him advising on the duty to consult and established consultation processes, as well as the impact of projects on Treaty and Aboriginal rights and title. He also prepares and negotiates various forms of consultation capacity building agreements, as well as impact and benefit agreements.

Municipal law

In the context of municipal law, David has experience with development, land use, assessment, and policy development. He appears before municipal tribunals, as well as in court processes arising from them.

Product regulatory and administrative law

David also provides administrative law advice in the context of various other regulatory regimes, including with respect to product regulatory matters. In recent years, David has developed a breadth of knowledge on liquor, gaming, and cannabis regulatory regimes and permitting requirements across a number of Canadian jurisdictions.

David frequently serves as counsel in connection with litigation, arbitration, and judicial review proceedings arising from such administrative and regulatory processes.

Prior to joining Gowling WLG, David was legal counsel with a major multinational oil company, where he acted in connection with all manner of regulatory issues, as well as significant commercial litigation and arbitration matters.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2015

    • Career
      February 2015
      Shell, Legal Counsel in the Global Litigation Department
  • 2013

    • Community
      Splash of Red Fundraiser, Organizing Committee Member
  • 2012

    • Career
      March 2012
      Bennett Jones LLP, Associate in the Energy Regulatory Practice Group
    • Community
      HIV Community Link, Board of Directors
  • 2010

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, Alberta
  • 2009

    • Career
      June 2009
      Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons), Associate in the Commercial Litigation Group
    • Education
      University of Alberta, LLB
  • 2005

    • Education
      Acadia University, BA (Hons)


  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Canadian Energy Law Foundation
  • The Advocates Society

Representative Work

  • Proponent counsel in respect of a provincial pipeline project that was the subject of an Alberta Energy Regulator hearing concerning the potential impacts of the development on the rights of a local Indigenous group.
  • Proponent counsel in respect of a number regulatory appeals filed with the Alberta Energy Regulator by a local Indigenous group in respect of a gas development in the Rocky Mountain House area of Alberta.
  • Counsel to an oil and gas company in respect of a multimillion dollar ad hoc arbitration concerning a claim for unjust enrichment.
  • Counsel to an oil and gas company in respect of a billion dollar UNCITRAL arbitration concerning allocation of production proceeds.
  • Counsel to a shipper in connection with an intervention in the Northern Gateway Pipeline Joint Review Panel process.
  • Proponent counsel to a major electrical company in respect of 500Kv Transmission Line that was the subject of a contested Alberta Utilities Commission proceeding.
  • Counsel to a major electrical company in respect a number of Alberta Surface Rights Board proceedings connected to the construction of 500Kv Transmission Line.
  • Counsel to a major electrical company in respect of a deferral account proceeding before the Alberta Utilities Commission.
  • Counsel to a pipeline company in respect of environmental prosecutions as a result of a pipeline rupture and associated oil spill.
  • Assisted on behalf of industry with the negotiation and implementation of a number of impact benefit agreements with Indigenous peoples in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.