Shawn  Denstedt Q.C.

Shawn Denstedt Q.C., Partner, Environmental, Regulatory and Aboriginal

Contact Information

  • tel: 403.260.7088
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Bar Admission

Alberta, 1989 ; Ontario, 1993


  • University of Western Ontario, LL.B.
  • Wilfrid Laurier University, B.A.






Shawn is national Co-chair of the firm. His practice is comprised of energy, mining, environmental, regulatory and aboriginal law matters. Shawn advises companies in a variety of industries, including: the energy, mining and chemical industries. He has been engaged in a number of international assignments including advising the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the development of its oil sands regulatory system. He has also advised Canada’s largest energy industry associations (CAPP, CEPA and EPIC) in respect of regulatory reform for energy project development. Shawn has appeared in major regulatory proceedings before the: Energy Resources Conservation Board; Alberta Utilities Commission; National Energy Board; Federal Environmental Assessment Joint Review Panels; Ontario Energy Board; Alberta Environmental Appeal Board and various other appeal boards. He has successfully represented clients in the development of multi-billion dollar projects including oil sands projects, shale gas projects, LNG projects, hydro-electric projects, offshore developments, and mining projects. He has also advised clients on their obligations to aboriginal groups and negotiated resource development and impact benefit agreements with Aboriginal groups on behalf of resource developers.

Notable Matters

  • Shell Canada Limited with their Muskeg River Mine and Expansions, Jackpine Mine and Expansions, and Pierre River Mine with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals (ERCB, AENV, DFO and Joint Review Panel) and advising on Aboriginal issues for its oil sands mines and extraction plants in Northern Alberta.
  • De Beers Canada Inc. with their Gahcho Kué Diamond Mine Project in the Northwest Territories with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals before the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board, as well as advising on Aboriginal issues.
  • Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. with regard to an intervention before a Joint Review Panel in relation to the application for approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project and with regard to its proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline system, which transports product to the west coast of Canada.
  • Chevron Canada Limited  with their submissions and participation in the National Energy Board’s Arctic Offshore Drilling Review to determine future filing requirements to drill in the Canadian Arctic offshore.
  • Vale with advice with respect to Aboriginal rights on lands impacted by Vale operations.
  • Shell Canada Limited in their Scotford Upgrader and Upgrader Expansion Project with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals for its bitumen Upgrader at Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta.
  • ConocoPhillips Canada in their Parsons Lake natural gas field and gathering system before a Joint Review Panel and NEB in the Mackenzie Delta with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals.
  • McCain Foods (Canada) Limited with obtaining its environmental and regulatory approvals for their agrifood plant in Alberta.
  • EnCana Corporation in their Suffield NWA shallow gas project in Medicine Hat, Alberta with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals before a Joint Review Panel, ERCB, and Environment Canada.
  • Canadian Hydro Developers, Inc. in their proposed Dunvegan Hydro Electric Project before a Joint Review Panel, AUC, NRCB and CEAA (DFO) with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals.
  • Devon Canada Corporation in their Jackfish SAGD Project with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals to develop a commercial scale Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage bitumen production project in the Jackfish area.
  • Nalcor Energy in their Lower Churchill Hydroelectric Project in Labrador before a Joint Federal-Provincial Environmental Assessment Review Panel with regard to obtaining all regulatory and environmental approvals and advising on Aboriginal matters.
  • TransCanada Pipeline with regard to obtaining a certificate of public convenience and necessity before the National Energy Board for their Groundbirch, Horn River and Northwest Mainline Projects.


  • Law Society of Alberta
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Canadian Bar Association

Industry Recognition

  • Client Choice Award Recipient 2014: Environment – Alberta and Canada (Exclusive Winner)
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2014 “Lawyer of the Year” for Calgary Environmental Law
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2015: Aboriginal Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Natural Resources Law
  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Business Lawyers 2014: Aboriginal Law; Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory); Environment
  • The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada 2014: Envionmental; Energy (Oil & Gas)
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014: Aboriginal Law; Environmental Law (most frequently recommended); Energy (Oil & Gas) (most frequently recommended)
  • Lexpert Special Edition: Canada’s Leading Corporate Lawyers 2014
  • Lexpert Special Edition: Canada’s Leading Energy Lawyers 2013
  • Who's Who Legal 2013: The International Who's Who of Energy Lawyers
  • Who’s Who Legal 2012: Environment; Oil and Gas
  • Canadian Who’s Who 2011: Contribution to the field of Environmental Law
  • Named Queen’s Counsel 2010


Shawn has published numerous articles and lectures extensively on environmental assessment and regulatory proceedings, aboriginal rights, public consultation and risk communication. Highlights include:

  • Review of Federal Government Environmental Law Reforms - Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, Environmental Law Forum, January 17, 2013.
  • Preliminary Strategies for Managing Aboriginal Risks, iComply for Mining in Canada, No.4, September 2012 (with S. Duncanson).
  • Dealing with Indigenous Communities: Law and Best Practices for the Osgoode Certificate in Mining Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, February 21, 2012.
  • Regulatory Approvals, Processes and Best Practises for Canadian Energy Projects: From Field to Export, North Asia Natural Gas Export Mission, June 2011.
  • Métis Consultation Plays Key Role in Land Use and Natural Resource Development Planning, Osler Update, September 1, 2009.
  • Implementation of Alberta Land-Use Framework on the Horizon, Osler Update, June 16, 2009.
  • The Accord Acts 20 Years Later, The Canadian Petroleum Law Foundation, East Coast Seminar in Oil and Gas, September 2007 (with J. Thrasher).
  • Oil Sands Development in North America, Institute for Energy Law, 58th Annual Oil and Gas Conference, February 2007.
  • Oil Sands Mining in Northern Alberta, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, 50th Annual Conference, July 2004 (with J. Courtright).