Jeff Cowan is recognized as one of Canada's leading public law litigators.

He acts as counsel before administrative tribunals and the trial and appellate courts in many aspects of public law, including professional self-regulation and discipline, judicial review of government decision-making, freedom of information and privacy matters, municipal and provincial planning and environmental approvals, municipal assessment and taxation, health, education, alcohol and gaming, legislative drafting and government relations, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In addition, Jeff regularly litigates in matters relating to real property, including purchase and sale disputes, lease and contract interpretation, expropriation, valuation, taxation, boundary and ownership issues, Indigenous peoples’ land claims, and arbitration proceedings, including acting as an arbitrator and mediator.

Jeff has argued many of the leading cases – including in the Supreme Court of Canada – in the areas of tribunal jurisdiction and independence, Ministerial discretion, standard of judicial review, equality rights, constitutionality and interpretation of taxation and valuation legislation and remedies, freedom of information, Indigenous peoples’ land claims and remedies, ownership of waterfront property, and the interpretation of commercial leases.

C.U.P.E. v. Ontario (Minister of Labour) – Jeff was co-counsel, along with WeirFoulds partner Greg Richards, for the Canadian Bar Association in its successful intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada in this leading case in administrative law involving judicial review of the Minister’s discretionary decision to appoint retired judges as chairs of interest arbitration panels in the health care sector.

Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point v. Canada and Chippewas of Sarnia v. Canada – Jeff was successful counsel in these important decisions on aboriginal law and remedies in land claims, in the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

M. v. H. – Jeff was counsel for the United Church of Canada in this leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on equality rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Municipal Property Assessment Corp v. BCE Place Ltd. and Nesse Holdings Inc. v. Regional Assessment Commissioner – Jeff was counsel in these leading Court of Appeal for Ontario decisions on the interpretation of property assessment legislation.

Tranchemontagne v. Ontario (Director, Disability Support Program, Ministry of Community and Social Services) – Jeff was counsel for the Social Benefits Tribunal in this leading Supreme Court of Canada decision on the jurisdiction of tribunals to deal with challenges to their decision-making based on human rights legislation.

Orlando Corp. v. Zellers Inc., and CT Securities Ltd. v. Oxford Properties. Ltd. – Jeff was successful counsel in these two Court of Appeal for Ontario decisions involving the interpretation of commercial leases.

Hewat v. Ontario – Jeff acted as counsel for the Canadian Bar Association as an intervenor in this Court of Appeal for Ontario decision dealing with the independence and appointment of members of the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

W.C.B. v. Ontario – Jeff was counsel for the Workers’ Compensation Board in this Court of Appeal for Ontario decision dealing with the release of competitive information to third parties under freedom of information and privacy legislation.

Hudson’s Bay Company v. Ontario – Jeff was successful counsel to numerous shopping centre owners in Toronto in this Court of Appeal for Ontario case involving the constitutionality of municipal legislation.

Freidberg Ltd v. City of Toronto – Jeff was successful counsel in this Court of Appeal for Ontario decision regarding taxpayer remedies against municipalities.

Rowntree Beach Association v. Ontario (Attorney General)- Jeff was successful counsel in this leading case on original Crown surveys and the ownership of waterfront property in Ontario.

Michnick v. Bass Road Beach Association, 2015 ONSC 1936

Ellard v. Tiny Township, 2012 ONSC 280

GlaxoSmithKline Inc v Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 15, [2011] OARBD No 234

James Dick Construction Ltd. v. Caledon (Town) (2010), 66 OMBR 263

Municipal Property Assessment Corp v. BCE Place Ltd (2010), 325 DLR (4th) 69

North Bay Plaza Ltd v Municipal Property Assessment Corp Region No 28 (2010), 66 OMBR 206

H & M Hennes & Mauritz Inc. v. T.E.C. Leaseholds Ltd., [2010] OJ No 1490

Begon v. Worrall, [2010] OJ No 210

KWH Nomineeco Inc. v. Kitchener (City), [2009] OARBD No 114

1518756 Ontario Inc. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (2009), 309 DLR (4th) 250

Brookfield Properties Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 09, [2009] OARBD No 28

Kimvar Enterprises Inc., Re (2009), 61 OMBR 293

KWH Nomineeco Inc. v. Kitchener (City) (2009), 61 OMBR 349

BCE Place Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., Region No. 9, [2008] OARBD No 278

Chrysler Canada Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 15 (2008), 61 OMBR 57

Ontrea Inc. V. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (2008), 51 MPLR (4th) 206

Kimvar Enterprises Inc. v. Innisfill (Town), [2008] OMBD No 927

Kimvar Enterprises Inc. v. Innisfill (Town), [2008] OMBD No 928

Kimvar Enterprises Inc. v. Innisfill (Town), [2008] OMBD No 459

Oxford Properties Group Inc. v. Toronto (City), 2008 CarswellOnt 1735

Kimvar Enterprises Inc. v. Simcoe (County), [2008] OMBD No 211

1518756 Ontario Inc. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. (2007), 39 MPLR (4th) 196

Ontario Harness Horse Assn. v. Ontario Racing Commission (2007), 229 OAC 307

Home Depot v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 09, [2007] OARBD No 638

Home Depot v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 3, [2007] OARBD No 606

Bell-Northern Research Ltd. v. Municipal Property Assessment Corp., Region No. 3, 9 and 19, 2007 CarswellOnt 5366

Cambridge (City) v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation Region No. 21, [2007] OARBD No 589

Geranium Corp. v. Ontario (Information and Privacy Commissioner) (2007), 31 MPLR (4th) 229

Curtis Properties (Bridgeland) Inc. v. Toronto (City) (2006), 27 MPLR (4th) 140

Rocca v. Caledon (Town) Committee of Adjustment (2006), 54 OMBR 156

Erie Shores Golf and Country Club v. Essex (County), [2006] OMBD No 864

Tranchemontagne v. Ontario (Director, Disability Support Program, Ministry of Community and Social Services), [2006] 1 SCR 513

Werbeski v. Ontario (Director of Disability Support Program, Ministry of Community & Social Services), (April 21, 2006) S.C.C. 14

Georgian Glen Development Ltd. v. Barrie (City), [2005] 13 M.P.L.R. (4th) 194

Fox (In Trust) v. Caledon (Town) Committee of Adjustment, (July 20, 2004) 47 O.M.B.R. 385

Mississauga Business Park Inc. v. Mississauga Municipal Property Assessment Corp. Region No. 15 (May 28, 2004), 47 O.M.B.R. 442

Gioris v. Ontario (Director of Disability Support Program) (June 20, 2002), 161 O.A.C. 227

Carlro Holdings Ltd. v. Mississauga (City) and Municipal Property Assessment Corp., Region No. 15 (May 30, 2002), 44 O.M.B.R. 137

Ontario Property Assessment Corporation v. Praxair Canada Inc. (January 14, 2002), 155 O.A.C. 360

682056 Ontario Inc. v. Ontario (Minister of Finance)(February 23, 2001), 41 O.M.B.R. 455

Metropolitan Hamilton Real Estate Board v. Ontario Property Assessment Corp., Region No.19,(February 19, 2001) 41 O.M.B.R. 471

Four Seasons Hotel Ltd. v. Pacific Centre Ltd. (December 6, 1999) 48 C.P.C. (4th) 338

Toronto (City) Zoning By-law 1997-0321 (Re) (October 16, 1998) 37 O.M.B.R. 239

Darius Alain Holdings Inc. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 (July 21, 1998) 37 O.M.B.R. 369

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 v. University/Elm Holdings Inc. (May 12, 1998) 37 O.M.B.R. 40

Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation v. Keppel (Township) (1998), 164 D.L.R. (4th) 511

Canadian Centre for Torture Victims (Toronto) Inc. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 (February 4, 1998), 36 O.R. (3d) 743

Greyhound Canada Transportation Corp. v.Trentway-Wagar Inc., [1997] 35 O.R. (3d) 145

Trentway-Wagar Inc. v. Ontario (Highway Transport Board) (April 11,1997), 101 O.A.C. 293

Fanshawe Park Place (1988) Ltd. v. Sifton Properties Ltd. (April 7, 1997) 35 O.M.B.R. 28

Tarxien Corp., Re Court Ontario Securities Commission (December 13, 1996)19 O.S.C.B. 6913

Decaire v. Wahta Mohawks First Nation (December 12, 1996) 124 F.T.R. 241

Pickering (Town) Zoning By-law 4621/95 (Re) Ontario Municipal Board (September 18, 1996) 34 O.M.B.R. 138

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 17 v. Hunt (July 19, 1996) 34 O.M.B.R. 1

748093 Ontario Ltd. et al. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 23 (May 27, 1996), 29 O.R. (3d) 106

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 21 v. Ontario (December 8, 1995) 33 O.M.B.R. 202

Canadian National Railway v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 (August 18, 1995) 32 O.M.B.R. 481

Mississauga (City) v. Ontario (Minister of Revenue), (April 12, 1995) 23 O.R. (3d) 1 (C.A.)

Ontario (Ministry of Community and Social Services, Director of Income Maintenance Branch) v. Wedekind (1994), 21 O.R. (3d) 289 (C.A.)

Dome Petroleum Ltd. v. Ontario (Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 27) (July 24, 1992) 28 O.M.B.R. 47

Canada (Department of National Defence) v. Ontario (Workers’ Compensation Board) (November 16, 1992) 98 D.L.R. (4th) 122

Royal Bank of Canada v. Niagara Falls (City) (May 11, 1992) 8 O.R. (3d) 220

Uniroyal Chemical Ltd., Re Ontario Environmental Appeal Board (February 4, 1992) 9 C.E.L.R. (N.S.) 85

Pensionfund Realty Ltd. v. Ontario (January 24, 1992) 7 O.R. (3d) 175

Royal Bank of Canada v. Niagara Falls (City) (January 14, 1992) 7 O.R. (3d) 147

Harbour Quay Developments Ltd. v Metropolitan Toronto (Municipality) (November 19, 1991) 6 O.R. (3d) 88

Myers v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 32 (June 5, 1991) 3 O.R. (3d) 488

United Church v. Anderson (February 6, 1991) 2 O.R. (3d) 304

Ontario (Ministry of Community and Social Services, Director of Income Maintenance Branch) v. Conway (December 12, 1990) 75 D.L.R. (4th) 564

Greenwin Property Management v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 10 (September 10, 1990) 24 O.M.B.R. 496

Evans v. Ontario Health Insurance Plan (June 25, 1990) 70 D.L.R. (4th) 486

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada (April 27, 1990) 24 O.M.B.R. 460

Mod-Aire Homes Ltd v. Bradford (Town) (No. 2) (April 28, 1989) 23 O.M.B.R. 263

Tarailo v. Allied Chemical Canada Ltd. (April 4, 1989), 68 O.R. (2d) 288

Meyer v. Waycon International Trucks Ltd., McDermott (next friend of) v. Waycon International Trucks Ltd. (March 25, 1988) 38 O.A.C. 398

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 v. Christie Gardens (March 10, 1988) 21 O.M.B.R. 410

Farr v. Attwood (February 16, 1988) 63 O.R. (2d) 543 (C.A.)

Medwid v. Ontario (Minister of Labour) (January 22, 1988) 63 O.R. (2d) 578

Group R. Ltd., Re (December 30, 1987) 38 M.P.L.R. 300

Movel Restaurants Ltd. v. Ontario Regiona Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 (August 21, 1987) 20 O.M.B.R. 454

Allport Investments Ltd. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, No. 11 (May 21, 1987) 20 O.M.B.R. 250

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 29 v. McLennan (April 9, 1987) 59 O.R. (2d) 318

Metropolitan Toronto School Board v. Metropolitan Separate School Board (February 26, 1987) 20 O.A.C. 400

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 v. Shelter Corp. of Canada (February 20, 1987) 19 O.M.B.R. 440

Sarnia (Township) Official Plan Amendment No. 21 (Re) (June 19, 1986) 19 O.M.B.R. 374

Serrie v. Vaughan (Town) (May 12, 1986) 19 O.M.B.R. 310

Temar Construction Ltd. v. West Hill Redevelopment Co. (January 29, 1986) 21 C.L.R. 156

Augustine Fathers (Ontario) Inc. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 14 et al (November 12, 1985) 52 O.R. (2d) 536

Joshi v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 11 (July 23, 1985) 18 O.M.B.R. 88

Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 10 (March 27, 1985) 17 O.M.B.R. 311

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 19 v. Neo Industries Ltd. (January 15, 1985) 17 O.M.B.R. 125

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner Region No. 12 v. Regal Paper Products Ltd. (November 19, 1984) 17 O.M.B.R. 141

Salvation Army, Canada East v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 14 (February 15, 1984) 45 O.R. (2d) 263

Pattison et al. v. Sceviour et al (October 18, 1983) 43 O.R. (2d) 229

Emily (Township) v. Johnson (March 11, 1983) 15 O.M.B.R. 371

Salvation Army, Canada East v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 22 (March 7, 1983) 21 M.P.L.R. 99

Scanti Investments Ltd. v. National Bank of Canada (March 7, 1983) 33 C.P.C. 113

Muskoka Planning Area Official Plan Amendment 19 (Re) (June 10, 1982) 13 O.M.B.R. 374

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 v. Sutton Place Ltd. (November 19, 1981) 14 O.M.B.R. 364

London (City) Planning Area Official Plan Amendment 154, 159, 160 & 16 (Re) (October 5, 1981) 14 O.M.B.R. 48

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 21 v. Buildevco Ltd. (April 14, 1981) 12 O.M.B.R. 467

Peterborough (City) Restricted Area By-law 1980-13 (Re) (March 6, 1981) 13 O.M.B.R. 253

Niagara Planning Area Official Plan (Re) (February 27, 1981) 11 O.M.B.R. 353

Weirdale Investments Ltd. v. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (C.I.B.C.) (February 6, 1981) 32 O.R. (2d) 183

Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 21 v. 397298 Ontario Ltd. (December 17, 1980) 12 O.M.B .R. 77

Peterborough (City) v. Smith (Township) (November 24, 1980) 12 O.M.B.R. 158

Hotel Toronto v. Ontario Regional Assessment Commissioner, Region No. 9 (May 5, 1980) 11 O.M.B.R. 170

Campeau Corporation v. Gloucester (Township) (January 10, 1979) 22 O.R. (2d) 652

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® in Canada 2019 as a leading lawyer in Administrative and Public Law and Real Estate
  • Recognized in the 2018 Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory as a leading lawyer in Litigation – Public Law
  • Recipient of Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators Medal for outstanding service to the administrative justice system of Ontario
  • Dedicated Service Award, Canadian Bar Association – Ontario
  • Rated by Martindale Hubbell Ratings as “pre-eminent” (AV)
  • Managing Partner of WeirFoulds from 1999-2003
  • Co-Editor, Ontario Annual Practice, Thomson Reuters (a leading publication in civil and public law litigation)
  • Member, International Property Tax Institute
  • Member and Past President, Canadian Property Tax Association
  • Member of the Secretariat, Civil Rules Committee
  • Member, Law Society of Upper Canada (Barristers’ Advisory Group – Bar Admission Course)
  • Member, Ontario Divisional Court Users Committee
  • Member of Administrative Tribunals Committee, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice
  • Course Director, Policy-Making in Administrative Tribunals, Osgoode Hall Law School Graduate Program in Law (LLM), Winter 2011 and Summer 2012
  • Head of Section for Public Law in the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Bar Admission Course from 1986 to 2005, prior to the Course changing to licensing examinations in 2006
  • Past Chair and current Executive Member, Administrative Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association
Called to the Bar
  • Ontario (1978)
Education
  • LL.M., Osgoode Hall Law School, 1983
  • Dip.L., University of Oxford, 1977
  • LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, 1975
  • B.A., University of Toronto, 1972
Affiliations
  • The Advocates' Society (past Director)
  • Ontario Bar Association (Executive member and past Chair of Administrative Law section and past Council member)
  • ADR Institute of Ontario, Inc.
  • Lambda Alpha International (Honorary Land Economics Society)
  • Canadian Property Tax Association
  • International Property Tax Institute

Corporate Directorship

Canadian Property Tax Association, Inc. (Past President)

Speaking Engagements

Roundtable Speaker, "Mediation and Arbitration – Does it Work or is it More Trouble Than it is Worth?", International Council of Shopping Centers, 2019 Canadian Law Conference, Toronto, ON, March 27, 2019
Speaker, "Legal and Regulatory Issues Affecting Building Owners & Property Managers," PM Springfest, Toronto, ON, March 27, 2019
Co-Chair, The Six-Minute Administrative Lawyer, The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, March 5, 2019
Panelist, "Challenges and Practical Issues: Timing, Disclosures, Board Expectations and Mediation & Resolutions", 8th Annual RICS and IPTI Property Tax Seminar, Toronto, November 21, 2018
Speaker, "Tribunal Standing on Judicial Review", Osgoode Hall Law School Graduate Program in Law (LLM), Toronto, ON, November 16, 2018
Chair, "Assessment Case Law Update" Institute of Municipal Assessors Annual Conference, Windsor, September 18, 2018
Co-Chair, "Advanced Issues in Professional Regulation”, Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, May 14, 2018
Co-Chair, "Professional Regulation Essentials", Ontario Bar Association, Toronto, May 14, 2018
Co-Chair, The Six Minute Administrative Lawyer, The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, March 1, 2018
Panelist: "Cutting through the red tape: Dealing with the difficult question of fair access" 7th Annual RICS and IPTI Property Tax Seminar, Toronto November 22, 2017

Legend: GeneralLitigationPropertyCorporateGovernment

Legend: GeneralLitigationPropertyCorporateGovernment

Legend: GeneralLitigationPropertyCorporateGovernment