Roberto Aburto Partner

Speaks:  English

Year of Call: 2011 - Ontario

Primary phone: +1 613-786-8679

Fax: +1 613-788-3528


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Primary office:  Ottawa

Roberto Aburto

Roberto practises municipal law and civil litigation, with a focus on land use planning law, expropriation, municipal tax assessment, real estate disputes and commercial litigation.

Roberto regularly represents clients in a variety of areas, including land use planning matters, expropriation, interpretation of municipal by-laws, municipal tax assessment, development charge disputes, municipal conflicts of interest, municipal privacy matters, complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, real estate disputes 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 Municipal Board and Assessment Review Board. His practice also involves alternative dispute resolution, including engaging in mediation and arbitration.

Active in the community, Roberto serves on the board of directors for the Lifesaving Society (Ontario Branch) as the corporate secretary/legal adviser. Roberto is also on the board of trustees for the County of Carleton Law Association.

Roberto sits as regional representative for Eastern Ontario on the board of directors of the Ontario Expropriation Association. He is part of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute Concussion Injury Working Group. He is a member of Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society, the Ontario Bar Association and the Canadian Property Tax Association.

He is also co-chair of Gowling WLG's National Diversity and Inclusion Council and is committed to promoting principles of diversity and inclusion. Roberto serves as host of Diversonomics — a podcast on diversity in the legal market.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2014

    • Rankings & Awards
      Service Medal and Bar to Service for service to the Lifesaving Society
  • 2011

    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
      Year of Call, Ontario
  • 2010

    • Education
      University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law, LLB
    • Rankings & Awards
      Centenary Medal in recognition of future leaders of the Lifesaving Society
  • 2009

    • Education
      Michigan State University College of Law, JD, concentrating in international law
  • 2005

    • Education
      Wilfrid Laurier University, BBA
  • 2002

    • Rankings & Awards
      Queen's Golden Jubilee medal in recognition of outstanding contributions to the Commonwealth
    • Rankings & Awards
      Rescue Award of Merit for heroics in 2002 Rescue


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 and official plan amendments. Roberto has acted for developers as well as municipalities.

Complex Commercial Litigation

Roberto works on a variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including trade secret matters, breaches of fiduciary duties and confidentiality as well as other matters where e-discovery is required. Roberto has overseen the review of cases where more than 100,000 documents have been managed. Roberto finds innovative solutions for approaching these cases in an efficient manner, both from a cost and time perspective.

Counsel on numerous Planning Act and Development Charges Act cases including:

  • 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 @ 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.
  • 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.

Counsel on numerous expropriation arbitration hearings under the Expropriations Act, including a number of leading cases:

  • R. Jordan Greenhouses Limited v. Town of Grimsby, [2015] O.M.B.D. No. 95 &ndash 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) – 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.

Counsel on complex commercial litigation matters, in particular relating to real estate disputes, including:

  • Millerson Group Inc. v Huntington Properties Ottawa Inc., 2016 ONSC 6106 (CanLII) – As 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.