Environmental disputes can arise in a number of ways. Your company’s activities may lead to investigations or even charges under environmental legislation by provincial or federal regulatory authorities. However, industrial activities may also lead to civil lawsuits by impacted neighbours or other parties.
When your company is facing an environmental investigation in connection with a suspected environmental offence, it is vital that you have experienced legal counsel as part of your team. McLennan Ross lawyers have extensive experience managing investigations, dealing with the investigator, preserving privilege and assisting the client in conducting their own internal investigation. Our insight into the process and relationship with the senior personnel of the regulatory authorities can help you navigate the process, and mitigate the prospect of charges being laid or manage the scope and extent of the charges.
If charges are laid, our experience as regulatory defence counsel can help you through the litigation process. We are familiar with the process, we know the prosecutors, and we know the judges. We can help you mitigate the impact to your company’s reputation and bottom line by advising you on the best course of action, be it a vigorous courtroom defence or a negotiated resolution with the prosecution. Such negotiated resolutions or “creative sentences” may be a reasonable and cost-effective way for your company to emerge from a prosecution having acted as a responsible corporate citizen and learned valuable lessons for the future, without suffering irreparable harm.
Played a key role in the defence team on behalf of an oilsands operator responding to an investigation by federal Fisheries officials in connection with alleged deposits of sediment into fish-bearing waters. Charges were laid and the matter proceeded to prosecution, but was resolved prior to trial.
Part of the defence team representing an oilsands operator in the response to an investigation, and the defence of a prosecution, relating to failure to install pollution abatement equipment. The matter was resolved prior to trial.
Part of the defence team acting as sentencing counsel, representing an oilsands operator, which led to a negotiated resolution to various federal and provincial environmental convictions.
Part of the defence team in connection with the defence of federal Fisheries charges arising from the redevelopment of a river shoreline and associated vegetation, which matter was resolved prior to trial.
Played a lead role in a client’s investigative team in responding to information surrounding a potential environmental release and, after investigating the release, formed part of the response team dealing with the regulator. The internal investigative process resulted in the regulator electing not to lay charges as a result of the client’s own investigative and remedial steps.
Involved in the defence of an agricultural operator charged under the Water Act with using unallocated water for irrigation purposes. This matter was resolved prior to trial.
Involved in the defence of an individual charged with criminal and environmental regulatory offenses in connection with alleged breaches of reporting obligations to the provincial regulator. The matter was resolved prior to trial.
Formed part of the defence team in responding to Environmental Appeal Board and subsequent Court of Queen’s Bench proceedings, in which other parties sought to bring our client into a regulator-ordered remediation of residential properties. The matter was successfully concluded.
Represented a local landowner group seeking to intervene in regulatory proceedings, in opposition to construction of a mine haul road. The matter was resolved with negotiation of a settlement that provided for the financing of a water and sewage system for the affected municipality.