Adam Chamberlain Partner Certified Specialist - Environmental Law; Certified Specialist - Indigenous Legal Issues (Corporate and Commercial)

Parle :  Anglais

Téléphone principal : +1 416-369-7223

Fax : +1 416-862-7661

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Bureau principal :  Toronto

Adam Chamberlain

Adam Chamberlain is a partner in Gowling WLG's Toronto office, and leader of the firm's Climate Change and Environmental Law Group. He is also active in the firm's Indigenous Law and Canada North groups.

Certified as a specialist in both environmental law and Indigenous legal issues (corporate and commercial) by the Law Society of Ontario, Adam has a broad practice with work related to these areas at its heart.

Issues that he addresses regularly include: climate change, GHG and other emissions regulation and transactions, impact assessment, defense of environmental prosecutions, corporate commercial and other relationships involving Indigenous owned and operated entities, natural resource regulation and related business relationships, as well as litigation related to and arising from aspects of his practice.

Adam's work is geographically diverse, and he is an active member of the bar in all three of Canada's territories, in addition to his home province of Ontario. Sectors in which he has project and other experience include: waste management, energy (renewable generation, distribution and transmission), mining, infrastructure development, water and wastewater, contaminated land management, as well as municipal infrastructure.

Adam's practice has long been centred on matters now described as "ESG" (environmental, social and governance). He has advised corporate officers and directors on such matters for more than 25 years. Adam has a unique blend of experience and a pragmatic approach to relationship building and problem solving that equips him well to provide strategic legal advice and to assist a wide variety of different clients that include Indigenous organizations (Inuit, Métis, and First Nations), governments, agencies of government, and private companies of various sorts in several sectors.

Adam is non-Indigenous, but has lifelong relationships and experience with Indigenous Canadians. He considers himself an ally of his Indigenous friends, colleagues, clients, and business acquaintances.

  • Speaker, Global Maritime Week Conference, Arctic Shipping – Arctic Governance and Collaboration, January 2021.
  • Guest Lecturer, University of Melbourne Law School – Master's Level International Construction Law, Partnering with Indigenous peoples in construction projects and environmental impacts of construction projects in arctic Canada, December 2020.
  • Speaker, Urban Land Institute, Shared Path Webinar, Whose Land and Whose Law: Examining the Duty to Consult and Accommodate, November 2020.
  • Author, "Devolution and Northern Development." North of 60 Mining and Exploration Review. February 2020.
  • Mentor, 20/20 Catalysts Program Building Indigenous Clean Energy Capacity, May 2017 On-Site Intensive, Canmore, AB.
  • Speaker, Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, Legal Panel, Annual Conference, November 8, 2016.
  • Interviewed & Quoted, "Chambers Canada 2017: Legal practice in the Arctic requires special expertise," Legal Post, October 2016.
  • Speaker, EUCI, Aboriginal Energy Challenge, Program Chair and provider of Workshop, Topic: Energy Projects and Aboriginal Consultation, How to Consult and how to be consulted, October 2016.
  • Co-Author, "Federal Government Signals Support for Indigenous Rights Declaration," The Resource: BLG Energy Law Blog, May 2016.
  • Speaker, Canadian Institute, Aboriginal Consultation and Engagement East Conference, Speaker, Topic: Closing the Gaps and Clearing the Confusion on the Duty to Consult, May 2016.
  • Speaker and Program Committee Member, Nunavut Mining Symposium, speaker on matters related to environmental assessment in Nunavut and Indigenous / Inuit Consultation on projects in Nunavut (annually in April, 2012 to present)
  • Guest Lecturer, "Public Participation and Aboriginal involvement in the Environmental Assessment A processes," Ryerson University, March 2016.
  • Guest Lecturer, "Transportation of Hydrocarbons - An Overview of Canadian Regulatory Environment," University of Ottawa, February 2016.
  • Speaker, Ontario Bar Association Annual Institute, Developments in Consultation and Economic Participation in Natural Resource Projects, Topic: Case Study on Aboriginal Economic Participation, January, 2016.
  • Guest Lecturer, "Indigenous Involvement in Energy Project," University of Victoria Law School, November 2015 and November 2013.
  • Author, "Ontario Moves to Prepare for Cap and Trade System for Greenhouse Gas Emissions," September 2015.
  • Speaker, Greenland Tomorrow Conference (Nuuk, Greenland) Topic: The use of Impact Benefit Agreements for Mining Projects in Canada, May, 2015.
  • Interviewed, "Oil pain has social implications," Business News Network, March 2015.
  • Speaker, Yellowknife Geosciences Forum, Topic: Recent Aboriginal Decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada Implications for Resource Development and Related Trends for Aboriginal Relationships, November, 2014.
  • Speaker, Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, Topic: Impact and Benefit Agreements, The Black Box of the Mining Sector, November, 2014.
  • Author, "Wind Turbines and Health Issues?," November 2014.
  • Conference Committee Organizer, Moderator, Speaker, Canadian Bar Association, National Aboriginal Section Conference, Topic: Environmental assessment, June, 2014.
  • Panellist, "Trouble on the Great Lakes," The Agenda with Steve Paikin, TVO, March 2013.
  • Speaker, Canadian Bar Association, National Aboriginal Section Conference, Topic: Environmental, 2012
  • Speaker, Law Society of Upper Canada Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program, The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer, Topic: Renewable Energy Approval Processes, 2012.
  • Speaker, Canadian Institute, Aboriginal Consultation and Accommodation Conference, Speaker, Topic: Key Regulatory Changes Impacting Your Negotiation Strategies, 2012.
  • Speaker, Law Society of Upper Canada CPD program: Advanced Roundtable in Environment Law, Environmental Approval Processes for Renewable Energy Projects, 2010.

Mandats représentatifs


  • Acts as environmental assessment (EA) counsel on large infrastructure projects in the energy, water, mining, wastewater and waste sectors. Advice ranges from the preparation of the Terms of Reference or Guidelines for EAs to the conduct of hearings and argument of arising appeals. Particularly notable involvement in energy, mining, waste and wastewater EAs including EA and Impact Assessment processes in Canada's North.
  • Has provided counsel to numerous significant infrastructure projects with a combination of extensive knowledge of environmental law and policy, and sound legal and risk management analysis; brings a unique multidisciplinary approach to problem solving and management.
  • Provides specialized regulatory counsel to parties involved in corporate, as well as real estate transactions.

Water, Wastewater and Hydro-Electric

  • Provides advice regarding the expansion of municipal sewage treatment facilities to facilitate additional municipal development.
  • Counsel in multi-year negotiations related to the transfer of administration and control of water resources from a national to a sub-national government.
  • Has provided advice regarding Indigenous consultation and relationship development related to proposed hydro-electric facilities across Canada.
  • Legal counsel regarding the restructuring of a clean water pipeline between two southern Ontario municipalities (included advice related to regulatory matters and refinancing of pipeline related debt and water supply contractual matters).
  • Advice regarding the potential purchase and operation of the drinking water system of a mid-size southern Ontario city.
  • Regulatory advice (natural resources, environmental, energy) related to the development of various hydro-electric generation facilities in Ontario
  • Extensive legal counsel regarding large municipal wastewater infrastructure development in the Greater Toronto Area including environmental assessment and related regulatory advice as well as advice related to Indigenous consultation and relationship development.
  • Defence of regulatory charges brought against municipalities pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act by the Ontario Ministry of Environment.
  • Defence of regulatory charges brought against several renewable energy projects pursuant to the Lakes and Rivers Improvement Act and the Ontario Environmental Protection Act by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ministry of Environment.
  • Regulatory counsel to a private developer in hearings pursuant to the Dominion Water Power Act related to a proposed generation facility on the Trent-Severn Waterway.
  • Indigenous relations and support through dispute resolution process for a significant northern Ontario hydro-electric facility).
  • Regulatory advice regarding the proposed bulk transfer of water across Great Lakes watersheds
  • Member and Volunteer advisor on matters related to the regulation, construction and operation of hydro-electric facilities in Ontario


  • Advises clients ranging from private power developers to government agencies in the power sector.
  • Assisted in leading negotiations in large infrastructure projects (this has involved a variety of energy, waste and energy from waste projects). Proven success in assisting with complex project management issues in projects involving numerous parties with significantly divergent interests.
  • Within electricity sector, has also assisted Indigenous utility developers resulting in the electrification of several off-grid communities in northern Ontario, as well as other Indigenous energy development initiatives.
  • Has broad and varied experience acting for government; served as counsel to the Ontario Ministry of Finance Advisory Committee on the Management and Disposition of Ontario's Hydro Contracts with Non-Utility Generators, and as co-counsel to the Select Committee of the Ontario Legislature on Ontario Hydro Nuclear Affairs.


  • Advises regarding the duty to consult with Aboriginal Peoples to proponents of infrastructure of various types and assists in the development and execution of consultation plans.
  • Provides advice to a territorial government on matters related to natural resource jurisdiction and supports related negotiations with the Government of Canada.
  • Assists project proponents of EAs with the complex legal relationship between the EA regulatory process and the need for Indigenous consultation.
  • Has assisted in the negotiation, implementation and assessment of Impact and Benefit Agreements and similar arrangements related to energy, mining and other natural resources.
  • Works as counsel to Aboriginal proponents of infrastructure of various sorts, as well as in the development of business relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations.


  • Provides regulatory, environmental, and impact and benefit advice to proponents, governments and Indigenous organizations involved in mining projects and transactions.
  • Provides advice to mining proponents, investors and service providers regarding regulatory and other risks - especially as related to undertakings in remote northern locales.
  • Advises governments and agencies on matters related to regulation of mining and natural resources more generally.
  • Assists with negotiations of Impact and Benefit Agreements and in the negotiation and creation of commercial relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous participants in the mining sector.