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Jennifer  Fairfax

Jennifer Fairfax

Partner, Litigation; Regulatory, Environmental, Aboriginal and Land

Contact Information

tel: 416.862.5998



Bar Admission

Ontario, 2003

  • York University, Osgoode Written Advocacy Workshop
  • York University, Osgoode Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop
  • Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B.
  • Queen's University, B.A. (Hons.)

Jennifer Fairfax practises regulatory and environmental law and litigation, as well as commercial litigation and dispute resolution. Jennifer has significant experience conducting negotiations with, and making representations to, regulatory bodies, including the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, as well as conducting environmental litigation, including civil actions/applications, judicial reviews, administrative tribunal proceedings, and defence of prosecutions. Jennifer also provides regulatory and environmental advice relating to regulatory orders, corporate transactions, permits and approvals, waste and soil, contaminated lands, renewable energy projects, and regulatory compliance. 

Jennifer litigates business-critical issues in environmental law, construction disputes, complex contractual / negligence disputes, insurance disputes, commercial arbitrations, and constitutional law. She has broad advocacy and trial experience, and has appeared before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Divisional Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal. Jennifer has also acted as lead appellate counsel in constitutional litigation. Jennifer is on the executive of the OBA Environmental Law Section. Prior to joining Osler, Jennifer clerked for The Honourable Justice Edgar Sexton with the Federal Court of Appeal.

  • Two separate appeals to the Federal Court of Appeal regarding the constitutional validity of the medical expense tax credit, per s. 15 of the Charter
  • Representation of a parent/child in a dispute with a school board relating to the child’s special education and required accommodation for Autism.
  • Canadian Celiac Association, Legal Assistance.
  • Law Help Ontario/Pro Bono Law Ontario, Duty Counsel Volunteer
  • Amnesty International

  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association: CLE Liaison, Environmental Law Section Executive
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Advocates Society
  • Young Canadian Arbitration Practitioners (YCAP)

Regulatory / Environmental Advice, including Negotiating with Government Regulators and Third Parties (Avoiding Litigation)

  • A US corporation in ongoing negotiations of a complex, multi-party settlement and remediation agreement to resolve orders issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change relating to orphaned landfills, including direct negotiations with Ministry representatives and third parties.
  • A Canadian receiver in ongoing communications with inspectors/officers at Environment Canada, acting as the liaison for the client, making written and oral representations arguing against the imposition of possible directions and orders, negotiating resolutions, and addressing issues relating to the environmental condition of the sites.
  • An international oil company in an odour investigation being conducted by a Provincial Officer of the Ministry of the Environment, including direct communications with the Ministry.
  • A global (aluminum and plastic) manufacturing corporation with issues relating to the remediation of contaminated lands and legal advice regarding environmental indemnity risks and obligations.
  • A global engineering and manufacturing group with issues relating to the investigation and remediation of contaminated lands and legal advice regarding environmental liability.
  • An international manufacturing and distribution company in providing regulatory advice regarding environmental disposal and waste management practices in the Province of Quebec.
  • A private company in providing regulatory advice regarding environmental waste management, transportation, and disposal in the Province of Ontario.
  • A private corporation in providing regulatory advice regarding the proposed new Ontario Waste Reduction Act.
  • Numerous clients, including U.S. clients with Canadian operations or prospective Canadian operations including those in the mining sector, with corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, financings, public offerings and other corporate transactional advice on environmental matters, including due diligence, advice regarding regulatory/environmental liabilities, drafting terms and conditions, and tactical advice.

Environmental Litigation (Both Civil and Regulatory)

  • Suncor Energy Products Inc. in a judicial review application before the Ontario Divisional Court concerning alleged environmental cumulative effects in Sarnia and involving various allegations of Charter breaches relating to the harm or risk of harm from exposure to pollutants.
  • Greater Toronto Airports Authority in litigation involving the alleged disposal and use of contaminated fill material on private property.
  • An American consulting firm in an active lawsuit involving negligence issues relating to the decommissioning of contaminated lands, including issues relating to professional liability, standard of care, pure economic loss, and the alleged stigma of contamination.
  • A transportation services company in defence of a prosecution alleging breaches of the Environmental Protection Act in relation to the transportation of allegedly hazardous waste without an environmental compliance approval.
  • A US corporation in an active appeal to the Environmental Review Tribunal from an order issued by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment relating to orphaned industrial landfills. 
  • A Canadian transportation/distribution company in litigation involving allegations relating to the alleged presence of designated and hazardous substances in a commercial building.
  • An international oil company in an environmental lawsuit involving issues relating to the migration of petroleum contamination, nuisance, negligence, remediation, and property value.
  • A waste and recycling company in an active contractual dispute resolved via private arbitration.

Construction / Commercial Litigation

  • A Canadian Crown corporation in various active contractual and insurance disputes, both via arbitration and the courts.
  • An Ontario municipality in active litigation relating to the reconstruction of a historical building.
  • Various Ontario companies in an ongoing breach of contract and negligence dispute relating to defective design and construction in a development project.
  • A private non-profit corporation in a complex, multi-party Ontario action involving allegations of negligence and breach of contract relating to a construction project. 
  • A private corporation in a long Ontario trial involving claims by a former senior executive for equity entitlement and significant monetary damages. 
  • An international manufacturing company in an Ontario action commenced by a supplier who seeks damages for alleged fundamental breach of contract.
  • A Canadian company in a long-standing dispute with its international insurers, involving events spanning thirty years and complex issues relating to recoverability. 
  • An international corporation in a license software contractual dispute via private arbitration. 
  • An American company in an Ontario action involving allegations of conspiracy, fraud and oppression, which focussed on the propriety of the Ontario courts assuming jurisdiction over the dispute.
  • General Motors of Canada in a proposed class action by retired employees (Vernon v. General Motors of Canada Ltd., [2005] O.J. No. 486 (C.A.)).
  • Beaverbrook Art Gallery in a public arbitration regarding the ownership of works of art valued in excess of $100 million, located at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Obtained the largest costs award in Canadian history ($4.8 million).

Selected Events – as Speaker

  • Advanced Roundtable for Environmental Law Practitioners, Ontario Bar Association, June 4, 2015 (Co-Chair).
  • Using Experts Successfully at Environmental Hearings, Anatomy of an Environmental Regulatory Challenge Passport Series, The Canadian Bar Association, April 2, 2015 (Program Chair).
  • Ontario’s Proposed Anti-SLAPP Legislation – The Devil is in the Details, ADR Institute of Ontario, February 18, 2015 (Speaker).
  • Managing New Environmental Quagmires – Perspectives from the Litigation, Regulatory and Transactional Contexts, Ontario Bar Association Institute, February 4, 2015 (Speaker).
  • What it Takes to be a Cutting-Edge Environmental Lawyer, OBA Environmental Law/Young Lawyers Division mentoring dinner, October 3, 2013 (Speaker).

Selected Publications

  • B.C. Court of Appeal Allows Environmental Claim Based on Unproven Aboriginal Title to Proceed, Osler Update, April 29, 2015 (co-author).
  • Ontario Court of Appeal Decides Ostrander Wind Farm Project and Sends Dispute Back to the ERT, Osler Update, April 21, 2015 (co-author).
  • The New Normal of Carbon Pricing: Ontario to Unveil a Cap-and-Trade System in an Effort to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Osler Update, April 14, 2015 (co-author).
  • Neighbourly Nuisance: Ontario Court of Appeal Confirms Nuisance Must Emanate from Another’s Land, Osler Update, February 20, 2015 (co-author).
  • Divisional Court Confirms the Constitutionality of the Review Process for Renewable Energy Projects under Ontario’s EPA, Osler Update, February 2, 2015 (co-author).
  • Order Uncertainty:Are Courts Favouring Regulatory Orders Over Civil Claims to Achieve Environmental Protection? An examination of recent jurisprudential trends, by Dan Kirby, Jennifer Fairfax and Patrick Welsh, in Key Developments in Environmental Law, 2014 Edition, Chapter 5 (Toronto: Carswell, 2014)
  • Ontario’s Proposed Anti-SLAPP Legislation Moves Forward (Again), Osler Update, December 10, 2014 (co-author).
  • Landmark Health Canada Study Finds No Definitive Link Between Wind Turbines and Human Health, Osler Update, November 10, 2014 (co-author).
  • Balancing Caution and Pragmatism, Federal Court Finds “Gaps” in Darlington Environmental Assessment, Revokes Licence and Orders Reconsideration, Energy Regulation Quarterly, September 15, 2014 (co-author).
  • Divisional Court Overturns Environmental Review Tribunal Decision and Allows Wind Project to Proceed, Osler Update, February 25, 2014 (co-author).
  • Sufficient Certainty? The Supreme Court of Canada Rules on Whether an Environmental Order Against an Insolvent Company Can be Stayed: Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc., by Daniel Kirby, Edward Sellers, Jennifer Fairfax and Patrick Welsh, in Key Developments in Environmental Law, 2013 Edition, Chapter 1 (Toronto: Carswell, 2013).
  • Appeal Court Allows $2-Billion Wind Farm Action to Proceed Against Government of Ontario, Osler Update, December 18, 2013 (co-author).
  • Former Directors and Officers of Bankrupt Company Reach $4.75 Million Settlement with the Ministry of Environment over Cleanup Orders, Osler Update, November 1, 2013 (co-author).
  • "When in Doubt, Report" - the Supreme Court of Canada Broadens the Application of Ontario’s Environmental Protection Act, Osler Update, October 18, 2013 (co-author)
  • Ontario Introduces Waste Reduction Strategy and Proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013, Osler Update, July 24, 2013 (co-authored).
  • Appeal Court Confirms That Innocent Party Must Clean Up Pollution, Osler Update, May 13, 2013 (co-authored).
  • The Supreme Court Weighs in on the Balance of Private Interests Versus the Public Good in Nuisance, Osler Update, March 12, 2013 (co-authored).
  • New Disclosure Obligations in the Federal Environmental Enforcement Act May Undermine Meaningful Disclosure, by Dan Kirby, Andrew MacDougall and Jennifer Fairfax, Chapter 2, Key Developments in Environmental Law, 2010 Edition (Canada Law Book, 2010).
  • ’Fairness’ Principle Overturned by Environmental Review Tribunal – the Pendulum Swings Yet Again, by Jack Coop and Jennifer Fairfax, Chapter 6, Key Developments in Environmental Law, 2010 Edition (Canada Law Book, 2010).