Municipal Law

The firm’s municipal law practice includes a large municipal clientele spread across central and northern Ontario. As part of this practice area we also represent landowners, developers and public interest groups.

General Municipal Advice

Our firm regularly provides advice and opinions to our municipal clients in connection with the Municipal Act and other legislation, procedural and governance matters, privacy legislation, municipal by-law enforcement and issues arising from the general operations of a municipality. This also includes drafting and negotiating corporate and commercial contracts, attending Council and other committee or staff meetings to provide opinions and make presentations on legal issues as required. For further information contact Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Realty Tax Arrears

Douglas Christie specializes in the area of municipal tax sales. He is responsible for hundreds of municipal tax sale proceedings for municipal clients on an annual basis.

Land Use Planning and Development

We provide advice and representation on all aspects of land use planning and development. Our lawyers have lectured or written articles on issues arising from the Planning Act, and related legislation. Edward Veldboom has a Master’s Degree in Planning and was a practising land use planner prior to obtaining a law degree.

We represent municipalities before the Ontario Municipal Board and other Provincial Tribunals. It has been our experience that Board Hearings, like court proceedings, are becoming much more complex and costly. For this reason, we try to take all steps possible to resolve outstanding disputes in order to avoid a full hearing.

The lawyers in our firm have prepared a multitude of Subdivision Agreements and Site Plan Control Agreements for our municipal clients. We employ a “checklist process” which is designed to identify all potential issues with subdivision and development proposals at the outset in order to minimize misunderstandings and disputes and permit development to proceed in an orderly and cost effective manner.

We also represent private sector clients in negotiations with municipalities that are not our clients concerning the procurement of development approvals, involving such matters as subdivisions, site plan approval, Zoning By-law and Official Plan appeals, consents, minor variances and the issuance of building permits. For further information contact Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Building Regulation

We receive requests for advice on matters relating to the Building Code Act and the Building Code from our municipal clients. Our firm routinely works with Chief Building Officials to enforce the Act and the Code in Superior Court proceedings. For further information contact, Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Employment and Personnel

The lawyers in our firm have the requisite expertise to provide general and specific advice and representation relating to employee hiring, discipline and dismissal. For further information contact, Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Real Estate and Conveyancing

We act for municipalities and private sector clients on a wide variety of real estate transactions, including property acquisitions and dispositions, expropriations and highways. Services provided include drafting and negotiating agreements of purchase and sale, leases, encroachment agreements, license agreements, easements, expropriation, maintenance and operations agreements, road widenings, title issues and general real estate law matters. For further information contact, Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Development Charges

William Koughan is the firm’s leading expert on matters relating to development charges and our firm provides advice to municipal and private sector clients in connection with development charges imposed or proposed under the Development Charges Act. We have assisted municipalities with drafting the content of development charge by-laws and have appeared before the Ontario Municipal Board in proceedings related to development charges.

Environmental Law

We provide services to our municipal clients with respect to environmental legislation particularly as it relates to municipal servicing and new development proposals. This legislation includes the Environmental Protection Act, the Fisheries Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act. For further information contact, Douglas Christie, William Koughan or Edward Veldboom.

Litigation

Councils of our municipal clients frequently must decide whether court proceedings are necessary to enforce legislative requirements (such as zoning and building by-laws) or to protect municipal property and services. Also, as sophisticated service providers, municipalities are inevitably sued and must be defended in court. We have extensive experience in handling such matters and, as costs of litigation can be high, we are often able to negotiate mediated solutions that can save taxpayers money. However, clients can be assured if any matters result in a court action, our litigation department consisting of Michael Miller, Michael Sirdevan and Jennifer Biggar can step in and assist with this aspect.

Our Municipal Practitioners

Douglas S. Christie

Ext. 248 dchristie@russellchristie.com

William S. Koughan

Ext 245 bkoughan@russellchristie.com

Edward B. Veldboom

Ext. 237 eveldboom@russellchristie.com

Jennifer E. Biggar

Ext. 224 jbiggar@russellchristie.com