Roberto Aburto

Roberto Aburto practises municipal law, administrative law, and civil litigation, with a focus on development disputes, including real property disputes, construction law, land use planning law, expropriation, municipal tax assessment, and commercial litigation. He also specializes in administrative law and sports law. Roberto is a member of Gowling WLG's national Municipal Law Group, as well as the national Expropriation Law Group.

Roberto regularly represents clients in a variety of areas, including administrative law, complex commercial litigation, real property disputes, construction disputes, land use planning matters, expropriation, interpretation of municipal by-laws, municipal tax assessment, development charge disputes, heritage, conservation authority disputes, municipal conflicts of interest, municipal privacy matters, and environmental contamination disputes.

Roberto represents all sides of the development industry, including developers, municipalities, municipal councillors and community organizations. He regularly engages and works with experts in the fields of land use planning, real estate appraisal, municipal tax assessment, traffic engineering, civil engineering, environmental consulting, economics, business loss quantification, and business valuation.

Roberto has appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario, Divisional Court, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Ontario Court of Justice, and various administrative tribunals, including regularly appearing before the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board/Local Planning Appeal Tribunal), and Assessment Review Board. His practice also involves alternative dispute resolution, including engaging in mediation and arbitration.

Roberto is a member of Gowling WLG’s Food and Beverage Group. He advises and represents clients with respect to Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs), including notices of violation (NOV) with warnings and financial penalties issued by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and appeals to the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal (CART)

Active in the community, Roberto is on the board of trustees for the County of Carleton Law Association, and sits on the Association's Diversity Sub-Committee. Roberto served in various roles with the Lifesaving Society (Ontario Branch) and the Lifesaving Society (National Branch) for over two decades.

Roberto sits as regional representative for Eastern Ontario on the board of directors of the Ontario Expropriation Association. Roberto is a member of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, where he acts a mentor. He is a member of Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society, the Ontario Bar Association, Greater Ottawa Homebuilders' Association, and the Canadian Property Tax Association.

He is also co-chair of Gowling WLG's Canadian Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council, and is committed to promoting the principles of diversity and inclusion. Roberto serves as host of Diversonomics, a podcast on diversity in the legal market. In October 2020, Roberto was distinguished as an Excellence Award recipient for the "Pro Bono Gender Markers Initiative" at the Canadian Law Awards.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:

Memberships

  • County of Carleton Law Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Ontario Expropriation Association
  • Canadian Hispanic Bar Association
  • Canadian Property Tax Association
  • Lamda Alpha International

Presentations:

  • "Promoting Inclusivity and Diversity," CCLA East Region Solicitors Conference 2019, Montebello, QC, May 2019
  • "Unconscious Bias in the Profession," CCLA Annual Institute of Family Law, Montebello, QC, April 2019

Previous speaking engagements

Podcasts
22 December 2020 Diversonomics | Season 5 Episode 4: The long game: Alternative ways to entrench diversity & inclusion in the workplace CLE/CPD:This program will count for up to 20 minutes of EDI Professionalism credit toward the mandatory CPD requirements of the Law Society of Ontario.

Representative Work

Expropriation

Roberto frequently acts for both land and business owners as well as expropriating authorities. This practice involves consideration of working within the process relating to infrastructure projects and working towards win-win solutions for all parties in expropriation matters.

Land Use Planning

Roberto works regularly on various land use planning matters throughout the development process, including minor variances, severance consent applications, site plan applications, plans of subdivision, development charge appeals, zoning by-law, official plan amendments, heritage, conservation authorities and development charges. Roberto has acted for developers, municipalities, and community organizations.

Municipal Tax Assessment

Roberto regularly advises and works on matters before the Assessment Review Board on behalf of property owners and municipalities. Roberto has experience dealing with complicated valuation issues, and is well versed in Ontario's municipal tax assessment regime.

Administrative Law

Roberto regularly provides advice in relation to various administrative tribunals, including the Canada Agricultural Review Tribunal (CART), Landlord Tenant Board, Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, and Court of Revision (per the Drainage Act). Roberto also provides advice in relation to judicial review and appeals arising from administrative decisions. 

Real Property and Construction Litigation

Roberto works regularly on court and arbitration matters relating to all facets of the development industry, including construction law and environmental disputes.

Planning Act cases:

  • IN8 (The Capitol) Developments Inc. v Building Kingston’s Future, 2020 ONSC 6151 (CanLII) – Counsel for the Respondents at the Divisional Court in successfully dismissing appeal of an LPAT decision relating to a zoning by-law amendment.
  • Niagara-On-The-Lake v. Tweed Farms Inc., 2020 ONSC 3664 (CanLII) – Counsel for Tweed Farms Inc. both at the LPAT and at the Divisional Court in successfully having the Town’s motion for leave to appeal dismissed in relation to an interim control by-law.
  • Craft et al. v. City of Toronto et al, 2019 ONSC 1151 (CanLII), Craft v. City of Toronto, 2019 ONSC 3636 (CanLII) - Counsel for the interveners Home Builders' Associations on a stated case to the Divisional Court relating to the regime for certain Planning Act appeals impacting planning cases across Ontario.
  • Kearney v Ottawa (City), 2018 CanLII 35114 (ON LPAT) - Lead counsel who successfully defended a zoning by-law amendment permitting a patio for the iconic Wellington Diner.
  • ClubLink Corporation ULC v Oakville (Town), 2017 CanLII 29557 (ON OMB) (CanLII) - Successfully defended validity of interim control by-law as counsel for the municipality
  • Counsel for one of the developers in the first case to interpret the new Growth Plan as it applied to the new Region of Waterloo Official Plan, resulting in adoption by the Ontario Municipal Board of the landowners land budget providing an approximately 1,000 ha expansion for the region's urban area.
  • Dolan v Ottawa (City), 2016 CanLII 10078 (ON OMB) - Successfully represented developer on motion to direct municipality to complete proper five year official plan process, where municipality had failed to do so.

Expropriations Act cases:

  • Shergar Development Inc. v. The City of Windsor, 2020 ONCA 490 (CanLII), 2019 ONSC 2623 (CanLII) - Represented Claimant in leading case on costs and interests pursuant to the Expropriations Act at the Divisional Court and Court of Appeal.
  • Murray Bauman Investments v. MTO, unreported - Counsel for Claimant receiving over $100,000 in full indemnity costs award at a costs assessment pursuant to the Expropriations Act
  • R. Jordan Greenhouses Limited v. Town of Grimsby, [2015] O.M.B.D. No. 95 - Counsel for Successful Claimant in a leading case obtaining injurious affection under the Expropriations Act in a "no land taken" case.
  • 1353837 Ontario Inc. v. Stratford (City), 2013 CarswellOnt 8648 (OMB), 2016 CanLII 69891 (ON LPAT), 2017 CanLII 78415 (ON LPAT), 2018 ONSC 71 (CanLII) (Div Ct) - Counsel for the claimant on a number of leading decisions under the Expropriations Act.
  • Marsdin et al v. Hamilton (City), 2013 CarswellOnt 10709 (OMB) - Successful counsel for the City on a leading case relating to costs under the Expropriations Act.

Assessment Act cases:

Development Charges Act cases:

  • Dymon Storage Corporation v Ottawa (City), 2017 CanLII 57424 (ON OMB) - Successfully overturned a decision of the municipality, reducing the development charges that had been improperly charged.
  • Marjerrison v. Ottawa (City), 2015 CarswellOnt 15583 (OMB) - Successfully represented developer in challenging development charges and holding provision, and achieving award of $4 million from municipality.

Real property and construction litigation matters:

  • Union Gas Limited v. Norwich (Township), 2018 ONCA 11 (CanLII) - Counsel toe the Township of Norwich on a leading case pursuant to the Drainage Act.
  • Millerson Group Inc. v Huntington Properties Ottawa Inc., 2016 ONSC 6106 (CanLII) - Lead counsel in two week trial fully successful in disproving allegations of fraud, and upholding the validity of a settlement agreement.
  • Millerson Group Inc. v Huntington Properties Ottawa Inc., 2017 ONSC 3794 (CanLII) - As lead counsel, awarded costs totalling over $172,000.00 following successful two week trial in the Superior Court.