Planning Law

Efficient, Timely Land Development Approvals

Obtaining the required planning and environmental approvals to build a new land development in Ontario can be a complicated, expensive and time-consuming exercise. Our firm’s approach is results-oriented: avoiding false starts and redundant effort, seeking the straightest, surest line to the necessary approval, and focusing on targets and deadlines.

Our lawyers have a cumulative experience of over 60 years of specialized practice in Ontario’s planning and land development approval system. Over that time, we have established productive working relationships with municipalities and a strong reputation as counsel before the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT) and other regulatory authorities.

We understand the realities of the approval process – and can cut through to the key requirements to get approvals in place and the project moving. We resolve issues with municipalities and other government agencies cooperatively if possible, but have an excellent track record before OLT when adjudication is required.

Broad Experience, Varied Projects

Our firm handles the full range of environmental and land use planning approvals, including:

  • Official plans and zoning bylaws
  • Site plans and subdivision agreements
  • Development charges
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Environmental approvals
  • Expropriations

Project experience includes planning approvals for residential and commercial developments, infrastructure and energy projects, and rural residential uses including cottages, camp grounds, trailers and mobile home parks.

Because of our focus and expertise in this area, our firm is always up to speed on current case law, regulatory requirements and best planning practices in an ever-changing practice area.

Planning Law
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Understanding Rural Land Development And Resource Management

Rural land development and resource management is a special field of planning and municipal law. Garrod Pickfield LLP has many years of experience in this area, acting on behalf of developers, farmers, landowners, rural municipalities and conservation authorities, and other rural stakeholder groups. Key areas of firm experience and expertise include:

  • Aggregate Resource Management and Approvals
  • Forest Management and Municipal Tree Bylaws
  • Conservation Authority planning and regulatory requirements
  • Fisheries Act and Endangered Species Act approvals and issues
  • Wind Energy and Renewable Energy Approvals
  • Source Water Protection and the Clean Water Act

Understanding the Challenges

It sometimes seems like the laws and regulations concerning management and development of rural lands are themselves always under development. Non-urban lands have special restrictions and requirements to obtain permission for development and resource management. For developers, landowners and even the regulators themselves – municipalities and conservation authorities – staying informed about changing rules, regulatory requirements, and administrative and tribunal practices and procedures can be a challenge.

Our approach draws on years of experience and maintains an up-to-date knowledge and practical understanding of regulatory requirements in the area. We are familiar with both the restrictions placed on land use and resource management and the reasoning behind them.

We act for both the regulatory agencies, and the businesses and individuals who must meet the approval requirements and standards imposed by regulators. Our lawyers can help you explain your position to the relevant authorities, and provide strategic, cost-effective advice that will help you obtain environmental and development approvals.

Our emphasis is always on avoiding costly disputes, but if litigation is necessary, we have a successful track record representing clients before tribunals and courts in rural areas.


Our farming clients can run up against various regulations that limit their ability to carry out their farming duties, or to carry them out cost-effectively. We can help you deal with the Normal Farm Practices Protection Board and other government agencies involved in your use of land for issues such as:

  • Nutrient management
  • Pesticides regulation
  • Minimum separation distances
  • Municipal drains
  • Neighbour disputes
  • Land-use approvals

Dealing Constructively With Environmental Charges and Orders

Environmental land contamination issues are commonplace throughout urban areas across Ontario. Dealing with these issues can be complicated by a web of regulatory requirements, involvement of the Ministry of the Environment and other government regulators, the threat of expensive and invasive regulatory orders, and conflicting pressures from neighbouring property owners.

Garrod Pickfield LLP has been advising landowners, industries, municipalities, developers and other stakeholders on these types of issues for over 35 years. Our firm handles issues related to

  • Soil and/or water contamination
  • Brownfield redevelopment
  • Source water protection arising from the Clean Water Act
  • Defence of environmental charges
  • Clean-up and pollution control orders
  • Appeals to the Environmental Review Tribunal and Courts

Experience. Knowledge. Client Focus

Our lawyers maintain the most up-to-date knowledge and practical understanding in this swiftly changing field of environmental law, policy and practice. Our firm has achieved cost-effective solutions by:

  • Focusing on common-sense, cost-effective approaches and solutions
  • Building a non-confrontational cooperative positive relationship with key regulatory agencies to avoid unnecessary and expensive litigation with public bodies
  • Relying, where necessary and appropriate, on our experience as litigators before the Environmental Review Tribunal and Courts to achieve the right result for our client

Contaminated land and water issues require a solid team effort to achieve efficient and cost-effective solutions. Our firm is able to put clients in contact with a network of experienced, practically minded and trusted consultants and experts who we have worked with over the years to achieve positive results for our clients.

Contact Garrod Pickfield LLP

We help businesses throughout the Greater Golden Horseshoe area and Southwestern Ontario to navigate the environmental approval process. Call our Guelph office at 519-837-0500 or fill in our online form.

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