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David Estrin
Counsel      Toronto
t  416-862-4301
f  416-863-3401
David Estrin
  • 1980 Alberta
  • 1971 Ontario
  • University of Alberta, LLB

David Estrin is counsel in Gowlings' Toronto office. He is recognized as Canada’s senior environmental law practitioner and one of the country's most experienced environmental law specialists. For more than 30 years he has advised government agencies, corporations and financial institutions, Aboriginal people and ratepayers, as well as law firms in Canada and the U.S., in all facets of environmental law.

David is also a highly experienced Aboriginal lawyer. He has advised and represented First Nations, Inuit people as well as private sector proponents and is head of Gowlings' Toronto Aboriginal Law practice group.

David is highly sought-after for his environmental counsel. He has appeared as counsel before virtually every level of court in Ontario, Alberta and at the Federal level, at various times representing federal and provincial departments and agencies, Crown corporations, municipalities, the private sector, Aboriginal people and environmental groups.  He is also recognized as a leading environmental counsel before Ontario’s Environmental Assessment Board, the Ontario Municipal Board, the Environmental Review Tribunal and Joint Boards. His cases before the courts and tribunals have established leading precedents in the environmental, Aboriginal, land use planning and resources law areas.

David's cases before the Federal Court Trial Division and Federal Court of Appeal have established leading precedents regarding the proper scope of environmental assessment for major infrastructure projects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

David's in-depth involvement in various aspects of environmental assessment, includes:

  • policy development and drafting of environmental assessment legislation;
  • advisor to the Ontario Minister of the Environment regarding EA reform;
  • advising consultants and clients regarding necessary components for an acceptable environmental assessment study;
  • litigating fundamental legal issues as to what constitutes a proper and acceptable environmental assessment document and environmental assessment procedural issues before Environmental Assessment Boards, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Federal Court of Canada.

In 2006, the Canadian Bar Association honoured David's achievements in the development of Canadian environmental law practice by establishing the David Estrin Prize for the best scholarly essay in environmental, energy or resources law by a Canadian law student.

In 2011-12, he served as senior vice-chair of the International Bar Association Environment, Health and Safety Committee.

David is recognized in Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2014 for Environmental Law.


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