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Dennis Wood Best Lawyer Award

Dennis Wood | Counsel

Dennis Wood’s practice encompasses the full range of approvals processes, hearings processes and court applications and appeals in regard to municipal, land use and environmental matters (including appearances before Municipal Councils (and their committees), Committees of Adjustment, the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (formerly the Ontario Municipal Board), Conservation Review Board, environmental tribunals, and Joint Boards established under the Consolidated Hearings Act.   Over the 40 plus years of his practice, Dennis has represented a great diversity of clients, both public and private sector, and has been involved in a wide range of land development related matters.   

Dennis has also taught at several universities and published leading articles and texts in the areas of the law of land use planning, development charges and environmental approvals. 

Dennis is able to develop and advance effective, integrated strategies to deal with political, business, public relations, environmental and regulatory obstacles.  He is also able to formulate cost effective, successful approaches in both routine and adversarial proceedings and for projects large and small.  Dennis has a reputation for achieving successful results for clients, even under the most difficult circumstances.

Representative Experience

Dennis has represented a great diversity of clients and has been involved in a wide range of land development related matters.

  • Dennis has worked with interdisciplinary teams to achieve development approvals for major residential subdivision housing developments, urban condominium developments and mixed use mainstreets projects.
  • As counsel for residential and commercial developers, Dennis has successfully led appeals of development charge by-laws, including the negotiation of advantageous settlements for his clients, avoiding expensive hearings.  He has also been retained by municipalities to defend their development charge by-laws.
  • Dennis has acted for individual homeowners and neighbourhood associations in support of and in opposition to proposed residential development applications, including single family and multi-family variance applications.
  • As counsel for one of the largest retail developers in Canada, Dennis has worked with interdisciplinary teams to successfully achieve approvals for over 40 shopping centre projects in Ontario, many of which are anchored by “big-box” format retail stores.
  • Dennis has been retained as legal counsel to work closely with scientists and outside consultants to develop solutions to the problem of waste management, including municipal waste, industrial waste, low-level radioactive waste and nuclear fuel waste and to obtain necessary approvals.

The approval processes in regard to many of these projects involved hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board, the Conservation Review Board, the Environmental Assessment Board (now the Environmental Review Tribunal) and other environmental tribunals and the courts.

See full curriculum vitae>>

  • Developed courses and taught at the Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Toronto; at Waterloo University; and at the Bar Admission Course (The Law Society of Upper Canada).
  • Recent speaking engagements:
    • "FoNTRA Forum on OMB Reform", Oct 2017
    • "Land Use and Development After Bill 139 (and a Few Other Things)" at the FCT Lawyer Roundtable, Sept 2017
    • "Experts Before the OMB" at the Land Development & Planning Forum, Jun 2015
    • "Development Permit System - Breaking the Mold" at the Land Development & Planning Forum, Jun 2014
    • "Exploration of Legal Non-Conforming Uses and Related Committee of Adjustment Powers" at the Ontario Association of Committees of Adjustment (OACA) Conference, May 2014“



Legal Texts

  • Ontario Heritage Act - A Sourcebook
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Sixth Edition) (Carswell)   
  • Provincial Plans: A Sourcebook (Carswell)
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Fifth Edition) (Carswell)
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Fourth Edition) (Carswell)   
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Third Edition) (Carswell)   
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Second Edition) (Carswell)   
  • The Planning Act: A Sourcebook (Carswell)   
  • McCarthy Tétrault Annotated Environmental Statutes (Thomson Professional Publishing/Carswell)
  • The Development Charges Act, 1994: A Manual of Development Charges in Ontario (Thomson
    Professional Publishing/Carswell)

Selected Cases

Awards and Honours

  • Recipient of the Ontario Bar Association Municipal Law Section Award of Excellence (2009).
  • Recognized by the Canadian Legal LEXPERT Directory as a Consistently Recommended leading practitioner in the area of Property Development (2018)
  • Received the AV® Preeminent™ certification mark, the highest rating in both legal ability and ethical standards in the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings (2011-2013)
  • Recognized in Best Lawyers of Canada™ in the practice areas of Real Estate Law and Municipal Law (2006-2020)

Past Positions

  • Chairman, Siting Task Force for Low-level Radioactive Waste Management, May 1993  –  October 1995 (Canada)
  • Legal Counsel, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, 1989 – 1995
  • Legal Counsel, Interim Waste Authority Limited, 1992 – 1995
  • Board Member, Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority, 1987 – 1993
  • Legal Counsel, Metropolitan Toronto Solid Waste Environmental Assessment Program, 1989 – 1992
  • Lecturer, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (Course: Planning, Housing and Urban Development), 1974 - 1989
  • Member, Canadian Association of Law Teachers, 1974 – 1989
  • Lecturer, Bar Admission Course, Law Society of Upper Canada - "Land Use Controls in Ontario", 1978 – 1987
  • Chairman, Canadian Bar Association, Special Committee on The Rules of the Ontario Municipal Board,1986
  • Legal Counsel, Commission on Industrial Waste Management, (formerly Hearing Panel on Industrial Waste Management), 1982 – 1985 (Ontario)
  • President and Director, Canadian Environmental Law Research Foundation, 1978 – 1983
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Waterloo, Faculty of Environmental Studies, 1975 – 1982 (Course: The Law of Land Use Planning)
  • Legal Counsel, Hearing Panel on Industrial Waste Management in South Cayuga, 1981 (Ontario)
  • Director, "Sunshine, An Association for the Right to Information", 1978 – 1980
  • President, Canadian Environmental Law Association, 1976 – 1978
  • Founding Director, Don Area Co-operative Homes, 1972

Professional Affiliations

  • Past Chair, Municipal Law Section, Canadian Bar Association (Ontario)
  • Member, Canadian Bar Association (Ontario) - Municipal Law Section, Environmental Law Section and Administrative Law Section
  • Member, The Advocates' Society,
  • Member, Urban Land Institute
  • Member, Canadian Urban Institute
  • Member, Canadian Institute of Administrative Justice
  • Member, Lambda Alpha International
  • Board Member, The Institute for Social Impact Assessment
  • Member, Canadian Nuclear Law Association

Areas of Expertise

Bar Admissions

Ontario, 1972


  • University of Toronto, LL.B. 1970
  • University of Toronto B.Comm, 1967
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