Category - Environmental Law

Ontario’s Excess Soil Management Policy Framework

Posted on: Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

What is Excess Soil? Excess soil is soil that is generated in excess to requirements at a construction/development site or project (“source site”). It could include naturally occurring materials commonly known as earth, topsoil, loam, subsoil, clay, sand or gravel, or any combination thereof. Excess soil is not needed at [...]

New Risk Assessment Changes for Contaminated Sites

Posted on: Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

On November 1, 2016, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”) announced that it will be bringing into effect an updated “Approved Model” to be used by property owners in submissions of Modified Generic Risk Assessments (“MGRA”) for contaminated sites. This reflects the first change to the MGRA scheme since [...]

A New Approach to Contaminated Land Disputes

Posted on: Monday, February 6th, 2017

On May 26, 2016 the Supreme Court denied leave to appeal the decision in the seminal case of Midwest Properties Ltd. v. Thordarson (“Midwest”). This denial validates the reasoning from the Court of Appeal (“CofA”) and supports the use of s. 99(2) of the Environmental Protection Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. [...]

Wasted Dreams

Posted on: Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Municipalities exhaled a sigh of relief when the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the January 2011 decision of the Superior Court of Justice in the case Biskey v. Chatham-Kent (Municipality) on November 21, 2012. This case involved a couple (the Biskey’s) who were determined to build their dream-home on a [...]

Innocent Parties can Still be Held Responsible for Clean-up

Posted on: Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

In the May 28, 2012 decision of The Corporation of the City of Kawartha Lakes v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, the Divisional Court affirmed the Environmental Review Tribunal (“ERT”) November, 2009 decision. You can access an article we wrote on this decision which was published in the March 2013 [...]

“Adverse Effect” Does Not Require Significant Impact on the Natural Environment

Posted on: Friday, October 26th, 2012

On March 16, 2012, the Ontario Court of Appeal released an important decision pertaining to the definition of an “adverse effect” under the EPA. The case, Ontario (Environment) v. Castonguay Blasting LTD, involved a situation in which the defendant (Castonguay) was charged with a violation under the EPA because of [...]

Innocent parties CAN be held responsible for environmental clean-up

Posted on: Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Imagine having your property contaminated by your neighbour THEN being ordered by the Ministry to clean it up! Can it happen? Absolutely. In the May 28, 2012 decision of The Corporation of the City of Kawartha Lakes v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, the Divisional Court affirmed the Environmental Review [...]

Listing a Property Known to House a Grow Op?

Posted on: Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

What are Your Disclosure Obligations? The disclosure obligations of Real Estate Agents in Ontario are unclear for what are commonly referred to as stigmatized properties. But disclosure is clearly required for one category of stigmatized properties, that being homes that were used in a grow operation. The RECO website has [...]

Stigmatized Properties – To Disclose or Not to Disclose?

Posted on: Thursday, April 19th, 2012

I am often asked by real estate agents what do I have an obligation to disclose… murder, suicide, death…? If the property has been the location of a murder, suicide, sexual assault or death these events are considered stigmas. Depending on the facts of each case and your individual purchaser [...]

Nortel walks from clean-up cost of about $18 million

Posted on: Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

It is no surprise that Nortel is insolvent and seeking to restructure under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (“CCAA”). What is a surprise is the ruling this month of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the Ministry of Environment (“MOE”) Orders which require Nortel to perform environmental clean-up work [...]

The presense of fuel oil tanks – cause to investigate further.

Posted on: Thursday, April 5th, 2012

It is just a fact of life that fuel oil tanks inherently leak. That is why there are standards imposed which govern not only the manufacture and installation of fuel oil tanks but the maintenance and removal. A reasonable person would assume if a fuel oil tank is new or [...]

When is a Used Residential Property Subject to HST?

Posted on: Thursday, March 8th, 2012

It is important to turn your mind to whether a used residential property is subject to HST if that property is larger than a half hectare. Revenue Canada’s definition of a principal residence includes a limit on the land size to a half hectare. This is the amount of land [...]

The Role of Seller Property Information Statements

Posted on: Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I am often asked what my opinion is on whether Seller Property Information Statements (SPIS) should be used in a real estate transaction. This question has become more common in the past year, after recent court decisions where real estate agents were held to have not discharged their obligation to [...]

Environmental Law Meets Real Estate Law

Posted on: Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

There is no excuse today for real estate agents not to be aware that the environmental status of properties needs to be addressed in the purchase agreement. By becoming aware of the issues, real estate agents can avoid the discovery of unexpected environmental issues. Environmental liability is applied to a [...]