John Buhlman is an experienced litigator who acts on complex environmental and commercial litigation. A key part of his practice involves advising clients on regulatory compliance with environmental laws.
John is the former head of the firm's litigation practice. With degrees in both engineering and law, he practises in the areas of environmental law, litigation, and administrative law, and has appeared as counsel on matters in all levels of the courts in Ontario, and before several administrative tribunals, including the Environmental Review Tribunal, the Board of Directors of the College of Chiropractors of Ontario, the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal, the Law Society of Upper Canada, and the Royal College of Dental Surgeons. John also acts as a mediator and arbitrator and is a Mediation and Arbitration Member of the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Ontario.
John assists clients in resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. He acts regularly in complex cases involving commercial disputes, injunctions, real estate issues, shareholder disputes, environmental claims, environmental law issues, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, insurance coverage, class actions, and torts.
John acts for Pit and Quarry owners with respect to approvals under the Aggregate Resources Act.
John acted for a multi-national chemical company in defending against Orders issued by the Ministry of the Environment relating to contamination of groundwater. After the longest environmental hearings in Ontario, the case was settled advantageously for his client. John also acted for the same client defending lawsuits arising out of the contamination. The claims were all settled.
John successfully defended a retailer in a multi-billion dollar class action relating to PVC mini-blinds containing a lead stabilizer. The action was dismissed early on a motion for summary judgment.
John successfully acted for a landlord seeking to recover substantial damages for breach of a lease from a tenant which held the lease through a shell company. The action was settled advantageously for his client.
John acted in the leading case on the inspection powers of a Provincial Officer working for the Ministry of the Environment.
St. Mary's Cement Inc. (Canada) v. Ontario (Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing) (2013), 2 M.P.L.R. (5th) 46 (Ont. Div. Ct.)
St. Mary's Cement Inc. (Canada) v. Ontario (Director, Ministry of the Environment) (2012), 70 C.E.L.R. (3d) 266 (Ont. Div. Ct.)
St. Mary's Cement Inc. (Canada) v. Ontario (Ministry of the Environment) (2012), 65 C.E.L.R. (3d) 302 (ERT)
St. Mary's Cement Inc. (Canada) v. Ontario (Ministry of the Environment) (2011), 58 C.E.L.R. (3d) 125 (ERT)
McCutcheon v. Westhill Redevelopment Company Limited, (2010), 48 C.E.L.R. (3d) 259 (Ont. Div. t.)
James Dick Construction Ltd. v. Caledon (Town), (2010), 66 O.M.B.R. No. 263
Westhill Redevelopment (2009), 67 M.P.L.R (4th) 73 (OMB)
James Dick Construction Ltd. v. Caledon (Town),  O.M.B.D. No. 1116
Hill and Hill Farms Ltd. v. Bluewater (Municipality) (2006), 82 O.R. (3d) 505 (C.A.)
Peacock et al v. Corporation of Norfolk County; Ontario Pork Producers' Marketing Board, Intervenor (2006), 81 O.R. (3d) 530 (C.A.)
R. v. Crompton Co./ Cie (2005), 78 O.R. (3d) 135 (C.A.)
Hill and Hill Farms Ltd. v. Bluewater (Municipality) (2005), 26 M.P.L.R. (4th) 20 (C.A.)
Peacock v. Norfolk (County) (2004), 73 O.R. (3d) 200 (S.C.J.)
R v. Crompton Co./ Cie (2004), 76 O.R. (3d) 758
Millgate Financial Corp. v. BCED Holdings Ltd. (2003), 47 C.B.R. (4th) 278 (S.C.J.)
Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Pension Plan v. BF Realty Holdings Ltd. (2002), 38 C.B.R. (4th) 13(Ont. C.A.)
920935 Ontario Inc. v. Sudbury (Regional Municipality) (2001), 22 M.P.L.R. (3d) 65 (Ont. C.A.)
Uniroyal Chemical Co. v. Ontario (Ministry of the Environment),  O.E.A.B. No. 37
Philip Services Corp., Re (1999), 15 C.B.R. (4th) 107 (Ont. S.C.J.)
Ewaskiw v. Zellers Inc. (1998), 40 O.R. (3d) 795 (Gen. Div.)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (C.U.P.E.), Locals 1144 & 1590 v. Ontario (Superintendent of Pensions) (1998), 19 C.C.P.B. 54
Wellesley Central Hospital v. Ontario (Health Services Restructuring Commission H.S.R.C.) (1997), 151 D.L.R. (4th) 706 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Pembroke Civic Hospital v. Ontario (Health Services Restructuring Commission H.S.R.C.) (1997), 102 O.A.C. 207 (Ont. C.A.)
Olympia & York Developments Ltd., Re (1997), 143 D.L.R. (4th) 536 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Olympia & York Developments Ltd., Re (1997), 45 C.B.R. (3d) 100 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Alldrew Holdings Ltd. v. Nibro Holdings Ltd. (1996), 91 O.A.C. 241 (Ont. C.A.)
Fidelity Bankers Life Insurance Co. (Deputy Receiver of) v. Dowsley (1996), 2 C.P.C. (4th) 45 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. v. Kansa General Insurance Co. (1996), 89 O.A.C. 311
Central Capital Corporation, Re (1996), 27 O.R. (3d) 494 (Ont. C.A.)
APT Environment, Re (1995), 18 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 180
Central Capital Corporation, Re (1995), 22 B.L.R. (2d) 210 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., Re (1994), 15 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 83 (Ont. Gen. Div.)
Tyre King Tyre Recycling Ltd. and Straza v. Director, West Central Region, Ontario Ministry of the Environment (1992), 9 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 314
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., Re (1992), 9 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 151
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., Re (1992), 9 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 85
Dale v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (1991), 5 C.C.L.I. (2d) 220 (Ont. C.A.)
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. v. Ontario (Ministry of Environment),  O.E.A.B. No. 3
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., Re (1991), 6 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 68
Uniroyal Chemical Ltd. v. Ontario (Ministry of Environment),  O.E.A.B. No. 31
Dale v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. (1990), 47 C.C.L.I. (2d) 253 (Ont. H.C.J.)
Rigg v. Toronto (City) (1989), 46 M.P.L.R. 113 (Ont. H.C.J.)
Mar-Flite Ltd. v. Guardall Warranty Corp. (Trustee of) (1989), 75 C.B.R. (N.S.) 203
Metropolitan Toronto School Board v. Metropolitan Separate School Board (1987), 20 O.A.C. 400 (Ont. Div. Ct.)
Levita v. Board of Directors of Chiropractic,  O.J. No. 21 (Div. Ct.)
Metropolitan Toronto School Board v. Foodcorp Ltd. (1986), 18 O.M.B.R. 395
Tien Kue Inn Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of Transportation & Communications) (1984), 32 L.C.R. 224
Muskoka & Parry Sound Telephone Co. v. Ontario Telephone Development Corp. (1984), 32 L.C.R. 154
Essex (County) Roman Catholic Separate School Board v. Tremblay-Webster (1984), 45 O.R. (2d) 83 (C.A.)
392980 Ontario Ltd. v. Welland (City) (1984), 45 O.R. (2d) 165 (H.C.J.)
Essex (County) Roman Catholic Separate School Board v. Tremblay-Webster (1983), 142 D.L.R. (4th) 479 (Ont. Div. Ct.)Black, Re
(1982), 37 O.R. (2d) 219 (H.C.J.)
"Client Newsletter - Spring 2013", WeirFoulds LLP Client Newsletter, March 2013 (with Robert Warren and R. Ian Mitchell)
"Quiz: Legal interests in the pipeline", Canadian Lawyer InHouse Magazine, April 2012 (with Robert Warren)
"Client Newsletter - Spring 2012", Spring Issue, March 2012 (with Lisa Borsook and Robert Warren)
"Doing Business in Ontario: An Overview of Environmental Protection Law", WeirFoulds LLP, November 2011 (with Robert Warren)
"Doing Business in Ontario: An Overview of Environmental Protection Law", WeirFoulds LLP , April 2009 (with Robert Warren)
"Environmental Law Quiz", Canadian Lawyer IN HOUSE Magazine, August 2008
"Directors BEWARE – Potential Environmental Liability", WeirFoulds LLP - Litigation Update Spring 2008, May 2008 (with W. A. Derry Millar)
"Get the lead out", WeirFoulds LLP Client Newsletter, October 2007 (with Ralph Kroman and W. A. Derry Millar)
"Avoiding the Fight Over Who Contaminated What" published in November 2004 issue of Canadian Property Management.
"Environmental Pitfalls - How to Avoid Them in Real Estate Related Transactions" published in May 1997 edition of "Property Management" magazine.
"Investors Beware (of Liability for Contaminated Property)", presented on May 3, 1995 - Weir & Foulds' client seminar.
"Do You Know What Your Tenants Are Doing?", published in December 1994 Weir & Foulds Client Newsletter.
"Directors' Personal Liability for Environmental Harm" presented on May 19, 1993, at Weir & Foulds' client seminar
"Crossing the Rubicon: Inspections v. Investigations", published in WeirFoulds' Winter/Spring Advantage 2003
"Supreme Court of Canada Clarifies Scope of Search Warrants" published in the 2000 edition of Federated Press Quarterly "Environment Law".
"Ontario's New Brownfields Law", presented on October 27, 2004, at WeirFoulds' client seminar
"Drinking Water and Prosecutions", published in WeirFoulds' Environmental Law Bulletin, November 2003
"Environmental Law: Administrative Monetary Principles", published in WeirFoulds' Spring/Summer Advantage 2002
"Supreme Court of Canada Upholds Constitutionality of Part II of CEPA" published in October 1997 edition of "Enviro News" CBAO Environmental Law Section Newsletter
"The Status of Unincorporated Associations under the Environmental Bill of Rights" published in February 1997 edition of Federated Press Quarterly "Environment Law"
"Recent Developments in Environmental Law: The Environmental Bill of Rights and The Three Rs Regulations" presented on May 11, 1994, at Weir & Foulds' client seminar
"Statutory Liability for Pollution" presented at Executive Enterprises seminar on "Insurance Claims for Environmental Damages" on June 2-3, 1993
"How Clean is Clean: Environmental Clean-Up Standards in Ontario" presented at The Canadian Institute Programme on "The Clean-Up and Sale of Toxic Real Estate, Industrial Plants and Natural Resource Sites" on September 11, 1990
Chapter in the materials for the Bar Admission Course on administrative law and Charter of Rights entitled "The Supervisory Role of the Courts: Historical Perspective" (1983)
John is a regular speaker at both professional development seminars and client-focused seminars. Key topics of particular interest to clients are:
Speaker, "Brownfield Redevelopment", WeirFoulds LLP Municipal and Planning Law Practice 2016 Private Sector Seminar, May 18, 2016
Panellist, "Environmental Liability: Considerations & Strategies", Association of Corporate Counsel, October 28, 2015
"American Bar Association Section of International Law - 2015 Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. - Moderator of Panel: This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land.. Wait a Minute. Whose Land Did We Say This Is? A discussion of Aboriginal Land Claims and Resource Development"
"Resolving Growing Incivility Issues by Promoting Professional Courtesy", Canadian Institute, May 7, 2013
"Environmental Law & Regulation in Ontario", Canadian Institute, October 25 & 26, 2012
"Advanced Administrative Law & Practice Conference", Canadian Institute, October 25 & 26, 2011
"Certificates of Pending Litigation", Ontario Bar Association's program, "Walking the Tightrope: Pre-Trial Remedies in the age of high costs and low budgets", October 11, 2005
"Recent Developments in Environmental Law: The Environmental Bill of Rights and The Three Rs Regulations", WeirFoulds LLP Client Seminar, May 1994
Other speaking engagements:
Panel Member at the Ontario Stone, Sand, & Gravel Association, Annual General Meetings, 2012 & 2013
"The Farm Next Door - The Right to Farm", Ontario Bar Association's Nasty Neighbours IV: Noise and Nuisance, December 5, 2006
"Persuasive Arguments", Advocates' Society Program: "A Trial from A-Z", March 8, 2005
"Best Practices and Procedures in Commercial and Civil Litigation Case Management", Insight seminar, "3rd Annual Law Clerks' Forum", March 7, 2005
"10 Tips for Improving your Examinations-in-Chief", The Advocates' Society, November 24, 2005
John is also a highly valued instructor within the legal community.
He has been a skills instructor since 1989 in many programmes offered by The Advocates' Society, a sampling of which is listed.
Office of Administration of Justice, United Nations, New York – Administration Tribunal Advocacy, New York, April 2015
"Tenant Duty Counsel – Advocacy Skills Training Workshop", The Advocates' Society, October 15, 2007
Civil Litigation Skills Certificate Program – The Advocates' Society, since 1989:
"Do a Trial", The Advocates' Society, 2005–2014
"Advanced Do a Trial", The Advocates' Society, December 2014
"Discovery Done Right – Controlling the Process and Getting the Facts", April 29, 2007
"Evidence for Litigators" - January 11, 2006
"Winning with Experts" - December 7, 2006
"Advocacy Skills Examination-in-Chief and Cross-Examination", The Advocates' Society – Newfoundland Bar Admission Course, October 24, 2006
"Advocacy Skills Training Workshop – Cross-examination and Impeachment", The Advocates' Society – Newfoundland Continuing Legal Education, October 23, 2006
"Fall Forum 2006", The Advocates' Society, September 29 and 30, 2006
"Train the Trainer", The Advocates' Society, September 2006, 2008, 2011, 2013
Awards & Recognition
Recognized as a leading practitioner in the 2016 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory
Recognized as a leading practitioner in Corporate and Commercial Litigation, and Environmental Law in Best Lawyers® in Canada
National Research Council scholarship (declined)
The Advocates' Society Award for Excellence in Teaching, June 2009
The Sopinka Cup Society, Secretary & Treasurer, Past President
The Advocates' Society, Instructor and Past Director, Member of the Education Committee
Chair of the Arnup Cup Committee, The Advocates' Society, since 1990
Ontario Centre for Advocacy Training, Instructor, since 1989
Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Ontario, Mediation and Arbitration Panel Member
Toronto Lawyers' Association
Past Executive Member of the Ontario Bar Association, Environmental Law Section
Canadian Bar Association
Ontario Bar Association
The Advocates' Society
Canadian Corporate Counsel Association
Toronto Commercial Arbitration Society
Air & Waste Management Association
The Sopinka Cup Society
Ontario Stone, Sand & Gravel Association