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Environmental law issues have significant implications for businesses and individuals.

They can affect the way your business operates, the products you make, the way you make them, the materials you use, the waste you discard.

They can influence the property you buy or sell, develop or lease.

They can entangle your business in a maze of competing federal, provincial and municipal laws and regulations, subjecting you to costly project delays and involve you in tough litigation.

Environmental legislation, regulation and regimes are designed to anticipate future issues. This can be daunting.

Clients seek our advice on a wide range of environmental issues from contaminated sites to sick building syndrome to cross-border disputes. Our senior, experienced counsel provide a practical approach to the most complex environmental matters, including:

  • cost recovery actions;
  • directors’ and officers’ liability;
  • property development and transactions; and
  • environmental insurance coverage issues.

We know what is required and what needs to be proven, which saves you time and money in the long run.

Businesses, developers, landlords, municipalities, insurance companies and residential property owners rely on us to guide them through complex situations and regulations, reaching solutions that move them forward.

Harper Grey’s environmental lawyers are members of the following organizations:

  • B.C. Environmental Industry Association – BCEIA
  • B.C. Expropriation Association
  • Building Owners and Managers Association – BOMA
  • Canadian Bar Association – Environmental Law Subsection
  • Canadian Urban Institute
  • Environmental Managers Association of BC
  • National Brownfield Association
  • Women in Energy Network


Did you know that Harper Grey publishes the Canadian Environmental Law Blog?  Stay current with new case law and emerging issues – read more here


  • Representation in litigation involving environmental issues and regulations.
  • Representation before tribunals and the Environmental Appeal Board.
  • Legal opinions - analysis of risk before and after decisions are made. Includes interpretation of how legislation such as the Contaminated Sites Regulation and Environmental Management Act apply to your situation.
  • Brownfield development - compliance with legislation and regulations.
  • Contaminated sites - site assessments, investigations, remediation, certificates of compliance for polluted land.
  • Consultant liability - representing environmental consultants accused of negligence through professional errors and omissions insurance.
  • Commercial real estate - purchase, sale and development of contaminated land such as gas stations and wood treatment facilities. Includes expropriation issues.
  • Aboriginal land issues relating to purchase and development of contaminated territory.
  • Creditor issues - representing banks and lenders in foreclosure or takeover of contaminated land.
  • Directors and officers liability - determining individual responsibility for environmental offences, negligence or accidents.
  • Hazardous waste management - obtaining permits, outlining requirements for transportation, disposal, storage, treatment and management of industrial and toxic waste.
  • Insurance clauses - property and business policies carry some form of coverage relating to environmental damage. There are often exclusions for certain types of pollution. Policies can also be triggered by certain occurrences.
  • Lease disputes - environmental indemnities, waste provisions, "clean provisions", lease termination, tenant obligations.
  • Migration of contaminants - pollution typically crosses water, air and land space controlled by several parties. Regulators will want to ensure that your proportion of responsibility and risk is clear.
  • Municipal issues - permits, zoning, subdivision development requirements, Site Profiles and occupancy. Municipalities work with the Ministry of Environment to ensure that land is remediated before it's developed. Compliance from the outset is essential to a smooth process.
  • Quasi-criminal offences and prosecutions. Representation against charges under the Environmental Protection Act, CEPA, the Fisheries Act and the Migratory Birds Act.

Typical Situations

  • A commercial real estate developer wants to build a shopping centre on a lot currently occupied by a gas station. Land inspections and remediation must be done, and permits need to be acquired.
  • A municipality discovers that vapours from land and air pollution are causing respiratory problems in an adjacent neighbourhood.
  • A train derails near a provincial park. Liquid propane is spilled, contaminating land and causing major financial loss to the rail company, the companies selling and buying the propane and the province. Insurance will cover some of the damage, but citizens are concerned about clean-up and lasting effects.

Select Cases

  • Counsel for Morguard in the Environmental Appeal Board decision Morguard v. Ministry of Environment which addressed numerous issues surrounding the Ministry’s authority to reject Certificate of Compliance applications.
  • Counsel for a municipality seeking standing to challenge aspects of certificates of compliance impacting municipal land.
  • Lead counsel for CN Rail in a matter considered one of the most influential decisions regarding “responsible person” status of historic owners/operators of contaminated sites, Beazer East Inc., et al. v. British Columbia.
  • Acting for an international distributor in defence of various charges under the Ozone Depletion Regulation.
  • Representing an energy company in a matter before the Environmental Appeal Board regarding the responsibility of individual directors, officers and employees for corporate liability, Lawson v. Deputy Director Waste Management et al.
  • Representing an energy company in litigation that addressed the preconditions to cost recovery actions, No. 158 Seabright Holdings Ltd. et al v. Imperial Oil Limited et al.
  • Co-counsel for a pension plan that owns a significantly contaminated property on Vancouver Island. Issues addressed included historic contamination, source identification and migration. Involved a week-long mediation involving 17 counsel for parties involved and over eight years of negotiation.
  • Co-counsel for a corporation dealing with quasi-criminal offences under the Wildlife Management Act.
  • Conducting Judicial Review proceedings before the British Columbia Supreme Court in an environmental matter.

Harper Grey recognized as a "Leading Law Firm" regionally in the area of Dispute Resolution by Chambers Canada®, 2017-2020

Chambers Canada®

Richard Bereti recognized as a "Leader in His Field" in the area of Environment (Nationwide-Canada) by Chambers Canada®, 2017-2020

Chambers Canada®

24 Harper Grey lawyers recognized for litigation expertise by Benchmark Canada®, 2021

Benchmark Canada®

Harper Grey receives highest firm ranking as a “Highly Recommended” local litigation law firm in British Columbia from Benchmark Canada® 2014-2020

Benchmark Canada®

29 Harper Grey lawyers recognized across 19 specialty areas by Best Lawyers® in Canada, 2020

Best Lawyers® in Canada

19 Harper Grey lawyers recognized as “Leading Practitioners” by Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®, 2021

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®

Martindale Hubbell® recognizes 13 Harper Grey lawyers across 27 practice areas

Martindale Hubbell®

Harper Grey receives the TAGLaw Membership Award of Distinction acknowledging 15 years of outstanding service


Harper Grey recognized as a Top 10 Regional Firm in British Columbia, Alberta and the Territories by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, 2012 and 2014

Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Harper Grey recognized as "Repeatedly Recommended" in the area of Environmental Law by Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®, 2019-2020

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory®

"The Harper Grey team is a well-oiled machine. All the lawyers I deal with are well-trained and hardworking. They communicate well and are always available for questions."

Benchmark Canada® 2020

“Incredibly strong skill set, knowledge of litigation and strategic, and keen ability to solve problems.”

Benchmark Canada® 2020

“These lawyers are all subject matter experts, and leaders in their field, whose knowledge and skill are matched by their excellent client service.”

Benchmark Canada® 2019

“Una Radoja is an extraordinary lawyer. She keeps us up to date, provides excellent and pragmatic advice, and knows us and our legal issues. She also has incredible judgment and memory.

Benchmark Canada® 2019

"Una Radoja has a very broad depth of environmental and contract law.”

Benchmark Canada® 2019

“This team has provided outstanding legal service. They are prompt, responsive, and communicative. They are strong strategists and provide well researched, experienced legal advice. We work with many firms, and Harper Grey stands out. One member of the team remembers every interaction, memo, pleading and document. They understand a very complicated file and address it with ease and candor. We very much appreciate their strong advocacy.”

Benchmark Canada® 2019

“The firm is top notch. They have many lawyers specialized in medical defense work who are highly skilled in their legal acumen and practice management, but who also recognize the importance of carrying out their work in a practical, results-oriented manner. They actively look for ways to more efficiently partner with their clients for effective management of the work, while at the same time not weakening their excellent service delivery, their responsiveness, or their effectiveness in the work.”

Benchmark Canada® 2019

“The firm’s lawyers are principled and have deep integrity. Their work is thorough and of consistent high quality.”

Benchmark Canada® 2019

“Chris Rusnak is very strong, especially in dealing with engineering and environmental cases.”

Benchmark Canada® 2018

“They dominate the medical practice, insurance, and product liability and even have more specialties like bankruptcy, aviation, defamation, securities, even environmental.”

Benchmark Canada® 2018

“Excellent response time, good talent from junior and intermediate to senior levels and reasonable service costs.”

Benchmark Canada® 2018

“Harper Grey lawyers are ‘dedicated to their clients and focused on finding and implementing practical solutions for them. The lawyers are prompt, intelligent and insightful, and provide a high level of customer service’.”

2012 Canadian Lawyer Magazine Embracing Regionalism - Canadian Lawyer’s Top 10 firms from B.C., Alberta, and the Territories are in the Sweet Spot Right Now, October 1, 2012

“Harper Grey is one of the best firms in Vancouver. They have excellent service, knowledge and their cost structure is excellent.”

Benchmark Canada® 2017

“A Vancouver staple, Harper Grey is perhaps the most BC-centric of the “highly recommended” firms, owing largely to the firm’s bench strength in several key areas.”

Benchmark Canada® 2018

“Every day it seems like I am dealing with someone at Harper Grey, and I always find them professional, courteous and effective.”

Benchmark Canada® 2017

“A lawyer who refers work to Harper Grey wrote it has ‘great service, a breadth of practice and I have never received a negative comment from referrals to the firm’.”

2014 Canadian Lawyer Magazine Stronger than Ever - Top Western & Northern Firms, September 1, 2014

“Harper Grey has a stellar pedigree as a litigation firm, and they’ve put a ton of people on the bench”, observes one peer.”

Benchmark Canada® 2014

“Harper Grey has niches, and in those niches they are the best of the best."

Benchmark Canada® 2016

“They exceeded all my expectations. I am very satisfied with their work and very happy to recommend them.”

Chambers Canada® 2017

“Clients are comforted by the firm’s long history in BC. We’re steeped in the region. Our connection is such that we have knowledge of not only the issue itself, but the history of the issue in the province.” - Richard Bereti

2012 Canadian Lawyer Magazine Embracing Regionalism - Canadian Lawyer’s Top 10 firms from B.C., Alberta, and the Territories are in the Sweet Spot Right Now, October 1, 2012



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Contact Environmental Regulation & Disputes