Chris Barnett

Chris Barnett is a partner in Osler's Real Estate Group and practices in the areas of administrative and regulatory law, with a focus on municipal and planning advice, environmental approvals and expropriations. He is recognized in the Lexpert/ALM 500 Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada in the area of Property Development.

He specializes in providing clients in both the public and private sectors with strategic advice on coordinating and addressing the various levels of approvals required for complex projects. Chris advises clients on a broad range of matters, including municipal governance, heritage issues, growth management issues, cultural heritage, parkland dedication/valuations, employment land and aggregate resource policies.  He also advises landowners and authorities on expropriations under both the federal and provincial statutes.

His clients include large landowner groups, governments and individual clients who he advises on development charges and cost sharing matters, environmental assessment processes and approvals and the implications of provincial policies and initiatives.

Chris appears regularly before the Ontario Land Tribunal and municipal councils. He advises clients on potential remedies in the courts, representing both the private sector and municipalities in bringing and responding to applications for judicial review of municipal and government decisions, and also acts as appellate counsel on appeals or reviews of OLT decisions. He is a regular speaker at continuing legal education events, and has provided annual case law updates to the Ontario Bar Association for over 15 years, and teaches Planning Law at the Toronto Metropolitan University School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Latest Insights

  • Osler Update Jun 7, 2024

    Fundamental changes made to Planning Act appeals as Bill 185 receives royal assent

    On June 6, 2024, the Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024 (Bill 185), was given royal assent, bringing into force sweeping changes to the...

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    Fundamental changes made to Planning Act appeals as Bill 185 receives royal assent
  • Osler Update Apr 11, 2024

    Ontario government announces proposed amendments to Planning Act and Development Charges Act

    On April 10, 2024, the Ontario government introduced Bill 185, the “Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2023”. The Bill proposes to repeal...

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    Ontario government announces proposed amendments to Planning Act and Development Charges Act
  • Osler Update Dec 11, 2023

    Private equity: developments in subscription line lending

    In recent years, subscription line facilities have become a well-accepted tool used by private equity sponsors to manage their liquidity, reduce and...

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    Private equity: developments in subscription line lending
  • Osler Update Sep 29, 2023

    Proposal to change development charge exemptions for affordable housing

    Bill 124 provides a proposed definition which focusses on the ability of households to pay, as opposed to only looking at what the market is asking.

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Awards and Recognition

  • Chambers Canada: Canada’s Leading Lawyers for Business: Recognized in Real Estate Ontario: Zoning/Land Use
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory: Recognized in Property Development; Toronto’s leading property development lawyers in 2021
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: Recognized in Municipal Law; Real Estate Law; “Lawyer of the Year”, Municipal Law (2023)

Media Mentions

  • Osler News Aug 25, 2022

    Osler recognized in 2023 edition of Best Lawyers Canada

    Congratulations to 170 of our lawyers who have been ranked across multiple practice areas and 13 who earned recognition as “Lawyer of the Year”.

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  • Osler News Jun 15, 2022

    25 Osler lawyers recognized in Lexpert Special Edition: Infrastructure 2022

    Congratulations to 25 of our lawyers for their inclusion in the Lexpert Special Edition: Infrastructure 2022.

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  • Media Mentions Jun 24, 2020

    Restructuring land use tribunals – Novae Res Urbis

    In an article in Novae Res Urbis, reporter Rachael Williams discusses the creation of the Ontario Land Tribunals, a new land use tribunal body...

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  • Media Mentions May 31, 2019

    Rail Deck Park: Clarity Pending — Novae Res Urbis Toronto

    Osler partner Chris Barnett tells Novae Res Urbis Toronto (NRU Toronto) that the format of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT) hearing under...

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Community Involvement

  • Chair, Board of Directors, Interprovincial Music Camp

Speaking and Writing

Speaking Engagements

speaker 26/5/2022
More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022
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speaker 30/11/2021
Indigenous Law Insights: Land decisions  adversely impacting Indigenous economic interests and Ontario land use planning matters
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speaker 05/2/2021
Ontario Bar Association’s Institute Series: Building Communities
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  • Osgoode Hall, York University, LL.B.
  • University of Toronto, B.A. (Political Science and History)


  • English

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, Advocates Society