Environmental

We represent clients on a wide variety of environmental law issues in British Columbia and elsewhere in Canada.

We act for industrial clients in the natural resource sector including mining, forestry and energy companies, corporate clients and their in-house counsel, engineers and environmental consultants, financial service providers, hospitals, insurers and individuals who need help dealing with an environmental issue or dispute.

We regularly provide advice and representation on emerging environmental issues including:

  • Contaminated sites;
  • Emergency response;
  • Pollution and nuisance complaints;
  • Insurance issues;
  • Sales and acquisition of contaminated lands;
  • Marine pollution issues, including emergency response;
  • Risk management;
  • Errors and omissions (“E&O”) claims;
  • Directors and officers liability; and
  • Environmental offences.

Contaminated Sites

Many of our clients face issues arising under the Environmental Management Act and its regulations regarding contaminated sites. We assist clients in understanding their rights and obligations under this key piece of environmental legislation. Our experience means we can efficiently and effectively create appropriate strategies for handling the remediation of contaminated sites and lessen the impact on our clients. Our expertise in this area includes:

  • Defending against and dealing with Remediation Orders;
  • Negotiation and drafting of remediation agreements;
  • Interpreting and explaining directives from environmental authorities;
  • Conducting stakeholder’s meetings;
  • Pursuing actions for the recovery of costs incurred in cleaning up contaminated lands;
  • Obtaining Approvals in Principal and Certificates of Compliance; and
  • Representing clients in matters before the Courts and the Environmental Appeal Board.

Emergency Response

We are equipped to provide immediate on-site help and advice to clients when an environmental emergency or incident occurs. We are able to act as an effective liaison with government officials, witnesses, affected neighbours, clean-up personnel and others to help clients minimize environmental damage and any repercussions to the client that may result from the incident. Members of our group periodically attend emergency response training sessions to maintain and foster their response skills.

Maritime Law

Our maritime lawyers bring vast experience in marine law including marine emergency response on behalf of our clients who have environmental issues with a marine component.

Insurance

We also draw on our strengths as one of western Canada’s largest insurance law firms to provide a comprehensive array of environmental law services to insurers, including both defence of claims and coverage issues.

Acquisitions

Our group advises and assists clients in the acquisition and disposition of companies and properties when potential environmental problems are an issue. Services we routinely provide include:

  • Conducting due diligence investigations and searches;
  • Negotiating and drafting purchase and sale agreements; and
  • Preparing indemnity or other agreements to identify, allocate and mitigate any risks associated with environmental contamination.

Environmental Offences

The Supreme Court of Canada has said that managing the continued expansion of resource utilization and consumption with the goal of sustaining the integrity of the environment is the most significant challenge facing modern society. This challenge is being met, in part, by the passage of new criminal and regulatory legislation and environmental policy, both on the federal and provincial level, importing standards of absolute and strict liability where damage to the environment has occurred. In circumstances where federal or provincial environmental authorities take criminal or administrative action against a company or its representatives, we provide advice and representation to defend and protect our clients’ interests.

Industry Involvement

Our environmental lawyers are members of the Environmental Managers Association, the British Columbia Environment Industry Association and the Environmental Law section of the Canadian Bar Association. We are also active in providing seminars and information sessions to clients.

Representative Matters

We defended a company against charges brought under the federal Fisheries Act respecting alleged deposit of deleterious substances in Burrard Inlet

We appeared before the Environmental Appeal Board to set aside a Remediation Order.

We have negotiated a host of multi-party site remediation agreements involving provincial regulatory authorities, municipalities, landowners and other stakeholders.

We developed evidence in a civil proceeding concerning lead-isotope technical analysis to permit conclusive dating of gasoline and other contaminants.