Donnelly Profile 2013David Donnelly is one of Canada's leading environmental lawyers and an award-winning advocate for smart growth. He has represented public interest groups and ratepayers in some of Ontario's key environmental battles, including: - Oak Ridges Moraine hearing in Richmond Hill;

- Big Bay Point OMB mega-marina hearing;

- Nelson Aggregates Joint Board hearing; and

- Walkerton Commission of Inquiry.

David is a founding member of some of Ontario's most important environmental campaigns, including the Greenbelt, Green Energy Act, SLAPP suit legislation and smart growth/Green Building Standards.  He goes to court regularly to protect greenspace, aboriginal cultural heritage and to prosecute environmental offences.

David has a law degree from the University of Windsor and a Master's degree in Environmental Studies from York University. Prior to practicing law, David was a professional planner and the executive director of Environmental Defence Canada from 1988 to 1996.

Before founding Donnelly Law, David practiced at a premiere boutique litigation firm in Toronto's historic Gooderham "Flatiron" Building.


  • Full Member of the Canadian Institute of Planners, 2004-2008
  • Member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 2002-present
  • University of Windsor, LL.B., 1999
  • York University, Masters of Environmental Studies (MES), 1994
  • Executive Director, Environmental Defence, 1988-1996
  • University of Toronto, Hons. B.A., 1987


  • Counsel to Environmental Defence, 2000-Present
  • Counsel to the Huron-Wendat Nation regarding cultural heritage, consultation and accommodation matters in Ontario, 2002-2013
  • Strategic Counsel to the Green Energy Act Alliance (GEEA), 2008-2013
  • Represented Protecting Escarpment Rural Land (PERL) and the Clearview Community Coalition (CCC) in opposition to quarry applications on the Niagara Escarpment, 2005-2013
  • Represented Friends of Boyd Park on private prosecution, bump-up under the Environmental Assessment Act and inclusion in the Greenbelt
  • Represented Green Door Alliance/Whitevale Ratepayers Duffins Rouge Agricultural Preserve Protection Act
  • Prosecution of York Durham Sewage System (the "Big Pipe") and bump-up to full Environmental Assessment
  • Co-Founder of the Green Gravel & Stone Coalition


  • Prix Mérite de la Nation huronne-wendat, 2011
  • Inaugural Toronto Star "Green Angel", 2009
  • NOW Magazine, Best Green Activist - Critics' Pick, 2009
  • Earth Day Canada, "Hometown Hero" Award, 2008
  • Toronto Life "Green Giant", 2007
  • Moraine Hero Award, 2006
  • Rated "Top Ten Municipal Lawyer", 2005
  • Placed 24th, Canadian Oyster Shucking Championship, 2013 (18th in 2012)