Greg Richards is a skilled and experienced courtroom lawyer.
For more than 37 years, Greg has successfully litigated a wide variety of cases, some of which have been precedent-setting. His practice has engaged corporate and commercial matters, complex contracts, tort claims, government liability, and a range of other issues.
Greg has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as several administrative tribunals. He has been counsel in arbitrations and mediations, and has also been appointed as an arbitrator.
Greg was formerly the managing partner of WeirFoulds, and later served as chair of the firm. He has also been head of the firm’s litigation practice, and several other firm committees.
In 2008, Greg was honoured by being made a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
He is a former award-winning teacher of trial advocacy at Queen’s University Law School, and is a past chair of the Dean’s Council. In 2014, Greg received the H.R.S. Ryan Law Alumni Award of Distinction.
Greg is also a past director of The Advocates’ Society, and past chair of the OBA’s Constitutional Law Section. He received The Advocates’ Society’s Pro Bono Volunteer Award in 2011 and the Catzman Award for Professionalism and Civility in 2019, and the OBA’s Joel Kuchar Award for Professionalism and Civility in 2020.
Greg regularly speaks and teaches, and has published many professional papers, including his doctoral thesis in the Duke Law Journal.
When not working, Greg enjoys the outdoors as well as life in the city.
The following are examples of the cases in which Greg Richards has acted as counsel, co-counsel, or arbitrator. As indicated, many of these cases are reported decisions:
Arbitration: Greg acted as Chair of a three-person arbitration tribunal that decided a wide-ranging and hotly contested dispute between two publicly listed mining companies over contractual obligations under a joint venture agreement relating to an off-shore mineral exploration property. In other cases, Greg has acted as litigation counsel for parties in significant arbitration matters.
Multi-Million Dollar Breach of Contract Case: Successfully defended the City of Guelph against a $33 million damages claim where allegations of breach of contract, bad faith, misrepresentation and abuse of public office were made. Thousands of documents were involved, examinations for discovery lasted over 40 days and extensive expert evidence was needed on damages and scientific and engineering issues. The trial lasted several months. The trial judgment is reported at Guelph (City) v. Super Blue Box Recycling Corp. (2007), 38 M.P.L.R. (4th) 267, 38 B.L.R. (4th) 1, 32 C.E.L.R. (3d) 8 (Ont. S.C.J.). The appeal judgment is reported at (2009), 58 M.P.L.R. (4th) 1, 56 B.L.R. (4th) 37 (Ont. C.A.). At an earlier stage of the case, acted for the City in successfully resisting a motion where it was alleged that the municipality had waived solicitor-client privilege over a large number of documents: see Guelph (City) v. Super Blue Box Recycling Corp. (2004), 2 C.P.C. (6th) 276 (Ont. S.C.J.)
Extensive Litigation re a Corporate “Work Out”: For seven years, acted for the plaintiff in an action for an accounting and damages in connection with a highly complex corporate “work out” of a business empire involving one of Canada’s largest corporate conglomerates. The litigation was extensive: documents filled approximately 1800 storage boxes, discoveries lasted 126 days, several pre-trial motions were successfully argued, and multiple experts were retained and instructed. The parties reached a settlement during the course of a mediation before trial.
Leading Corporate Tax Case: In QEW 427 Dodge Chrysler, acted for the successful plaintiff in this test case brought on behalf of Ontario’s automobile dealers. As a result of the decision, it was established that the province’s capital tax could not be imposed on the dealers’ new car inventory. After the decision, the Ontario government amended the Corporations Tax Act, but not retroactively. As a result, the auto dealers in the province achieved an 11-year corporate tax holiday and a refund process that ultimately will return in excess of an estimated $100 million to the dealers. See QEW 427 Dodge Chrysler (1991) Inc. v. Ontario (Minister of Revenue) (2002), 59 O.R. (3d) 460 160 O.A.C. 129 (Div. Ct.), aff’g, except as to costs, (2000), 49 O.R. (3d) 776 (Super. Ct. J.) and, as to costs, 50 O.R. (3d) 694 (Super. Ct. J.).
Breach of Warranty / Electronic Equipment: Acted for a Texas company in a multi-million dollar claim for breach of contract and warranty concerning an electronic medical testing device it purchased to manufacture from another company. Compliance with FDA regulations, requiring highly technical expert evidence, was at issue. The case settled on favourable terms after a number of days of pre-trial examinations.
Significant Income Tax Litigation: Acted for a leading not-for-profit organization in successfully defending its tax exempt status – challenged by CRA – before the Tax Court of Canada. See BBM Canada (formerly BBM Bureau of Measurement) v. The Queen, 2008 D.T.C. 4129, 49 B.L.R. (4th) 192,  1 C.T.C. 2117.
Aboriginal Law: Acted as co-counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada for the appellants in R. v. Kapp. At issue was the constitutionality of a commercial salmon fishery in coastal British Columbia waters that was restricted by the federal government to members of three native bands, to the exclusion of other members of the public. The landmark case restates the requirements for an equality rights claim under section 15(1) of the Charter and is the first case to formulate a legal test for the validity of affirmative action programs under section 15(2) of the Charter. See R. v. Kapp, 2008 SCC 41,  2 S.C.R. 483.
Procedural Fairness: Acted for the union of Toronto Transit Commission workers in seeking to set aside orders of the Ontario Labour Relations Board that found the union to have engaged in an unlawful strike in May 2006. It was argued that the Board had exceeded its jurisdiction in failing to grant the union procedural fairness before making the orders. See Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 v. Ontario (Labour Relations Board) (2007), 88 O.R. (3d) 361, 233 O.A.C. 14,  O.L.R.B. Rep. 982 (Div. Ct.).
The Constitutionality of Corporal Punishment: Appeared as counsel for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, intervenor, in a constitutional challenge to section 43 of the Criminal Code. The section purported to allow parents and teachers to use force by way of “correction” toward their children and pupils if the force did not exceed what was “reasonable in the circumstances”. Although a majority of the Supreme Court of Canada declined to strike down section 43, the Court placed strict limits on the conduct that will escape criminal liability under the section. See Canadian Foundation for Children, Youth and the Law v. Canada (Attorney General),  1 S.C.R. 76, 234 D.L.R. (4th) 257, 183 O.A.C. 1 (S.C.C.), aff’g (2002), 57 O.R. (3d) 511, 207 D.L.R. (4th) 632, 90 C.R.R. 223 (C.A.), aff’g (2000), 49 O.R. (3d) 662, 188 D.L.R. (4th) 718, 76 C.R.R. (2d) 251 (Super. Ct. J.).
The “Retired Judges” Case: Acted for the Canadian Bar Association, intervenor, before the Supreme Court of Canada in what has been dubbed the “Retired Judges” case. It challenged the Ontario Minister of Labour’s exercise of discretion to appoint retired judges as chairs of interest arbitration boards under legislation governing labour disputes in hospitals. See C.U.P.E. v. Ontario (Minister of Labour),  1 S.C.R. 539, 226 D.L.R. (4th) 193, 173 O.A.C. 38, 51 O.R. (3d) 417, 50 Admin. L.R. (3d) 1 (S.C.C.).
Controlling Governments’ Taxing Powers (Re Eurig): Acted as co-counsel for Mrs. Eurig in this landmark case. The Supreme Court of Canada declared Ontario’s probate fee invalid on constitutional and administrative law grounds. The Supreme Court held that Ontario had charged a tax, rather than a fee, and that such a tax could only be imposed by the provincial legislature. The Court ordered that the appellant’s probate fee be refunded to her. The decision now constrains governments from imposing taxes by means other than a Bill originating in Parliament or one of the provincial legislatures. See Re Eurig Estate,  2 S.C.R. 565, 165 D.L.R. (4th) 1, 114 O.A.C. 55, 23 E.T.R. 1, 40 O.R. (3d) 160 (S.C.C.), rev’g (1997), 31 O.R. (3d) 777, 96 O.A.C. 354 (C.A.).
Health Restructuring: In Russell et al. v. Health Services Restructuring Commission (Ont.), acted for the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph of the Hotel Dieu of Kingston in a judicial review application to quash Directions of the Health Services Restructuring Commission that required the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston to close. The Directions were challenged on the basis the they (i) violated the Sisters’ freedom of religion as guaranteed by the Charter, (ii) were patently unreasonable, and (iii) exceeded the Commission’s jurisdiction by failing to consider relevant land use planning implications and requirements. See (1998), 114 O.A.C. 280, 13 Admin. L.R. (3d) 196 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1999), 175 D.L.R. (4th) 185, 121 O.A.C. 283 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused by the Supreme Court of Canada (2000), 181 D.L.R. (4th) vii.
Mortgage Litigation: In Re Glied and Confederation Life Insurance Company, successfully established a right to prepay under section 18 of the Mortgages Act (Ont.) and section 10 of the Interest Act (Can.) where the individual applicant and a corporation signed a mortgage as co-mortgagors. See (1996), 30 O.R. (3d) 579, 94 O.A.C. 274, 5 R.P.R. (3d) 161 (C.A.).
Securities Litigation: (1) In Ainsley Financial Corp. v. Ontario Securities Commission (1993), 14 O.R. (3d) 280, 106 D.L.R. (4th) 507, 1 C.C.L.S. 1, (Gen. Div.), aff’d (1994), 21 O.R. (3d), 104 121 D.L.R. (4th) 79, 77 O.A.C. 155, 6 C.C.L.S. 241 (C.A.), acted as co-counsel for the successful plaintiffs in a dispute over the rule and policy-making power of the OSC. The case gave rise to a Task Force that resulted in sweeping amendments to Ontario’s Securities Act. (2) In E.A. Manning Ltd. v. Ontario Securities Commission (1994), 18 O.R. (3d) 97, 3 C.C.L.S. 221 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1995), 23 O.R. (3d) 257, 125 D.L.R. (4th) 305, 80 O.A.C. 321, 7 C.C.L.S. 125 (C.A.), acted as co-counsel for the applicant in a judicial review application which demonstrated that all but two of the Commissioners of the O.S.C. were biased and therefore disqualified from sitting on the hearing. (3) In Glendale Securities Inc. v. Ontario (Securities Commission) (1996), 11 C.C.L.S. 102 (O.S.C.), app. for jud. rev. dism’d (1996), 11 C.C.L.S. 216 (Ont. Gen. Div.) an application was brought for a stay of proceedings on the grounds of bias on the part of the director of the enforcement branch and abuse of process in respect of the conduct of an investigative interview.
Freedom of Expression: Successfully defended a constitutional attack on the City of Burlington’s sign by-law where it was alleged the Charter-protected right to freedom of expression was infringed. See Canadian Mobile Sign Association v. City of Burlington (1994), 21 O.R. (3d) 33, 121 D.L.R. (4th) 131, 76 O.A.C. 369 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1997) 34 O.R. (3d) 134, 149 D.L.R. (4th) 292, 102 O.A.C. 140, 45 C.R.R. (2d) 229, 46 M.P.L.R. (2d) 14 (C.A.), leave to appeal refused by the Supreme Court of Canada (1998), 115 O.A.C. 200 (S.C.C.).
The Helmuth Buxbaum Case: Acted for the late Helmuth Buxbaum in a number of civil actions that arose out of his conviction for arranging the murder of his wife Hanna. One case was brought by Mr. Buxbaum’s nephew who was in the car at the time of the road-side shooting. The case was tried before a civil jury where extensive medical evidence was called to establish that Mr. Buxbaum lacked the mental capacity to be responsible for his actions following a massive stroke he had suffered which destroyed about 40% of his brain. The Ontario Court of Appeal ultimately reduced the jury’s award of damages: Buxbaum (Litigation Guardian of) v. Buxbaum,  O.J. No. 5166 (C.A.).
Injunctions: Acted in several injunction proceedings including: (1) as the court-appointed Independent Supervising Solicitor in the on-going implementation of an Anton Piller Order to preserve evidence prior to trial; (2) in obtaining a court order restraining a defendant from transferring shares against our client’s interests; and (3) in seeking an interlocutory injunction for the City of Burlington against an adult video store operating contrary to regulations: see Burlington (City) v. Video Matic 24 Hr. Movie Rentals Inc. (1994), 21 M.P.L.R. (2d) 217, 34 C.P.C. (3d) 54 (Ont. Gen. Div.) and 1356904 Ontario Inc. v. Burlington (City) (2002), 31 M.P.L.R. (3d) 117 (Ont. Div. Ct.).
Constructive and Resulting Trusts: Conducted a trial where the issue was whether a block of land transferred to the City of Guelph to prevent development 17 years earlier due to a lack of services at the time was being held by the municipality in a resulting trust for the developer. See University Village (Guelph) Ltd. v. Guelph (City) (1992), 22 R.P.R. (2d) 107, 9 M.P.L.R. (2d) 50 (Ont. Gen. Div.).
Shareholder Disputes / Oppression: Acted as co-counsel in a case involving allegations by a minority shareholder of oppression in a corporation created by the late Harold E. Ballard to effect an estate freeze. See 820099 Ontario Inc. v. Harold E. Ballard Ltd. (1991), 3 B.L.R. (2d) 113 (Ont. Div. Ct.).
Ownership of a Gold Property: Acted as co-counsel for the successful plaintiff in a 3-month trial and subsequent appeal concerning the ownership of a multi-million dollar gold property in Northern Ontario. The case involved issues of breach of contract and fiduciary duties, misrepresentation, and misuse of confidential information. See Ontex Resources Ltd. v. Metalore Resources Ltd. (1990), 75 O.R. (2d) 513 (Gen. Div.), appeal allowed in part (1993) 13 O.R. (3d) 229, 103 D.L.R. (4th) 158, 12 B.L.R. (2d) 226 (C.A.). Subsequently achieved significant success on a lengthy assessment of costs hearing (36 days) arising from the costs awards made at trial and on appeal. See (1996), 45 C.P.C. (3d) 237 (Ont. Assmt. Officer).
Leading Expropriation Law Case: Acted as co-counsel in the “Dell Holdings” case – ultimately decided in the Supreme Court of Canada – that set a precedent regarding damages claims for delay caused by a public authority in an expropriation. See Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority v. Dell Holdings Ltd. (1990), 43 L.C.R. 138 (O.M.B.), varied (1991), 3 O.R. (3d) 78, 80 D.L.R. (4th) 112 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1995), 22 O.R. (3d) 733, 123 D.L.R. (4th) 157 (C.A.), decision of O.M.B. restored  1 S.C.R. 32, 142 D.L.R. (4th) 206.
The “Jane Doe” Case: In this now famous case, acted as co-counsel for the defendants. The issue was whether a police department breached a constitutional and private law duty of care to a rape victim by allegedly failing to warn her of the likelihood that she might be assaulted by a serial rapist. The following chain of decisions determined that the plaintiff had the right to sue: Jane Doe v. Board of Commissioners of Police for the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (1989), 58 D.L.R. (4th) 396, 48 C.C.L.T. 105 (H.C.J.), aff’d (1990), 74 O.R. (2d) 225, 72 D.L.R. (4th) 580, 50 C.P.C. (2d) 92, 40 O.A.C. 161, 1 C.R.R. (2d) 211, 5 C.C.L.T. (2d) 77 (Div. Ct.), leave to appeal refused (1991) 1 O.R. (3d) 416 (C.A.). The trial judgment, reported at (1998), 39 O.R. (3d) 487, 160 D.L.R. (4th) 697, 43 C.C.L.T. (2d) 123, 55 C.R.R. (2d) D-2 (Gen. Div.), established liability and damages.
Debentures and Statutory Liens: Acted for the Workers’ Compensation Board in successfully establishing the priority of a statutory lien over floating charge debentures. See Re Standard-Modern Technologies Corp. (1989), 69 O.R. (2d) 737, 62 D.L.R. (4th) 342, 45 B.L.R. 142 (H.C.J.), aff’d (1992), 6 O.R. (3d) 161, 87 D.L.R. (4th) 442, 4 B.L.R. (2d) 93 (C.A.).
Equality Rights and Separate Schools: Acted as co-counsel for one of the parties in the Supreme Court of Canada on a reference concerning the constitutional validity of legislation providing for full funding of Roman Catholic secondary schools in Ontario. See Reference re an Act to Amend the Education Act (Ontario),  1 S.C.R. 1148, 40 D.L.R. (4th) 18, 22 O.A.C. 321.
Property Rights vs. Union’s Right to Organize: Acted as co-counsel in this case where judicial review was sought of a decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board allowing union organizers access to the Eaton Centre in Toronto to organize the employees of the anchor tenant. See Cadillac Fairview Corp. Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (1987), 62 O.R. (2d) 337, 45 D.L.R. (4th) 401 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1989), 71 O.R. (2d) 206, 64 D.L.R. (4th) 267 (C.A.).
Competition Law: Appeared as successful co-counsel for the Attorney General of Canada and the Director of Investigation and Research under the Competition Act in a case where the Supreme Court of Canada considered the constitutional validity of the regulator’s search and seizure powers. See Thompson Newspapers Ltd. v. Canada (Director of Investigation and Research, Restrictive Trade Practices Commission), (1986), 57 O.R. (2d) 257, 34 D.L.R. (4th) 413, 30 C.C.C. (3d) 145, 12 C.P.R. (3d) 97 (C.A.), aff’d  1 S.C.R. 435, 67 D.L.R. (4th) 161, 76 C.R. (3d) 129, 47 C.R.R. 1.
Workers’ Compensation and the Charter: (1) Acted as co-counsel for the Workers’ Compensation Board in successfully defending an equality rights challenge to the Workers’ Compensation Act: see Re Medwid and The Queen in right of Ontario (1988), 63 O.R. (2d) 578, 48 D.L.R. (4th) 272 (H.C.J.). (2) In another case, was successful in defending the constitutionality of the workers’ compensation scheme from an attack made under section 7 (fundamental justice) of the Charter: see Ryan and Workmen’s Compensation Board (1984), 6 O.A.C. 33 (Ont. Div. Ct.).
Constitutional Division of Powers: Appeared as co-counsel in a case that determined whether a municipal transit service serving both Ottawa and Hull was constitutionally subject to federal or provincial labour legislation. See Re Ottawa-Carleton Regional Transit Commission and Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 279 (1983), 144 D.L.R. (3d) 581 (Div. Ct.), aff’d (1983), 44 O.R. (2d) 560, 4 D.L.R. (4th) 452 (C.A.).
Challenging Cabinet Decisions: Acted as co-counsel in successfully establishing the right to challenge a decision made by the provincial Cabinet regarding the location of a waste disposal site for allegedly violating the principles of natural justice. See Township of South-West Oxford v. Attorney General for Ontario (1983), 44 O.R. (2d) 376 (H.C.J.). At issue in (1985), 49 C.P.C. 233 (Senior Master), rev’d (1985), 50 O.R. (2d) 297, 3 C.P.C. (2d) 92 (H.C.J.) was the question of whether documents prepared in connection with the decision of Cabinet were protected by a claim of Crown privilege.
Greg Richards has acted as counsel or co-counsel in over 80 reported cases. Examples of these cases are described and found under the heading “Significant Cases”.
- Elected Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers
- Recognized in Benchmark Canada, the Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys
- Designated as a leading practitioner in Administrative and Public Law and Corporate and Commercial Litigation in Best Lawyers in Canada
- Given an “AV – Preeminent, 5.0 out of 5” rating (the highest possible) by Martindale-Hubbell
- Identified in Canadian Who’s Who (University of Toronto Press)
- Joel Kuchar Award for Professionalism and Civility, Ontario Bar Association
- H.R.S. Ryan Law Alumni Award of Distinction from Queen’s University Law School
- The Catzman Award for Professionalism and Civility, The Advocates’ Society and the Chief Justice of Ontario’s Advisory Committee on Professionalism
- Pro Bono Volunteer Award, The Advocates’ Society
- Teaching award, Special Lecturer in Advocacy, Queen’s University Faculty of Law
- Outstanding Achievement Award for Leadership in Child Welfare, Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies
- William W. Cook Graduate Fellowship (paying full tuition and all living expenses at the University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor). Offers of admission also received from Harvard and Yale Law Schools’ graduate programs.
- Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship
- A number of prizes while a student at Queen’s University Law School
- Scholarships while an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto
- Past Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section
- Past Chair of the Dean’s Council, Queen’s University Law School
- Former Director of The Advocates’ Society
- Former Director of the Sir William Campbell Foundation
- Former Adjunct Faculty Member at Queen’s University Law School
- Contributing Editor, Corporate Litigation (Federated Press)
Called to the Bar
- Ontario (1982)
- S.J.D., University of Michigan, 1982
- LL.M., University of Michigan, 1981
- LL.B., Queen's University, 1979
- B.A., University of Toronto, 1976
- American College of Trial Lawyers (Fellow)
- The Advocates' Society (Past Director)
- Canadian Bar Association
- Ontario Bar Association (Former Executive Member and Past Chair, Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Section)
- Toronto Lawyers Association
- The Osgoode Society
- Ontario Expropriation Association