Melissa Winch

Partner | 

Melissa Winch is a partner in the Municipal, Planning & Environmental Group at Cassels. Melissa’s practice encompasses all aspects of municipal, land use planning and environmental law, including tax assessment appeals, expropriations and proceedings under the Building Code Act. She represents both developers and municipalities as well as other public agencies and institutions such as Infrastructure Ontario and the University of Toronto. She has represented both public and private sector clients before the Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal), Superior Courts and Court of Appeal respecting development approvals, expropriations, occupational health and safety issues, Building Code inspections, grading and drainage issues, and general negligence. Melissa is co-author of Canadian Forms & Precedents — Land Development, published by LexisNexis. In addition to her law practice, Melissa sits on the Board of Directors for Gilda’s Club Toronto.

Examples of Melissa’s experience includes:

  • Acting for developers in obtaining approvals for high rise condominium towers and residential plans of subdivision
  • Providing strategic advice and guidance for large scale developments, including for secondary plans
  • Representing Infrastructure Ontario in the development of the West Don Lands in the Toronto waterfront, including preparations for the Pan/Parapan American Games
  • Obtaining approval for large scale, institutional and public facilities in the City of Toronto, including the development of the Toronto PanAm Sports Centre at the former Morningside Landfill in Toronto
  • Obtaining development approvals for private and public sector clients
  • Advising on the redevelopment of contaminated land, including former landfill sites, and assisting with obtaining all required approvals under the Environmental Protection Act and the Environmental Assessment Act
  • Advising on and negotiating municipal development agreements, including subdivision agreements, development approvals, including zoning and official plan amendments and site permits
  • Drafting and interpreting municipal by-laws
  • Assisting municipalities with large scale expansions of infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer lines, including expropriations as required

Notable cases Melissa has worked on include:

  • MacDonald v. The Corporation of the Town of Georgina, 2010 ONSC 6169 (a precedent-setting case before the Superior Court respecting Building Code inspections and occupational health and safety issues)
  • Fiore v. Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and Delic, 2011 ONSC 3928(CanLII) (successfully defended the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville on an action in which the plaintiffs sought to appeal the decision of the Chief Building Official to grant a building permit to the plaintiffs’ neighbour, alleging negligence respecting the Chief Building Official’s assessment of grading, drainage and septic system issues)

Prior to her call to the bar, Melissa was seconded to the criminal law offices of Greenspan Partners where she assisted on a number of high-profile cases. Melissa also worked at the Ministry of the Attorney General, Crown Attorney’s office, where she prosecuted a variety of Provincial Offences.

  • Gilda’s Club Toronto
  • LL.B., University of Windsor, 2008
  • B.A. (Hons.) (with Distinction) (Specialized Comm.), York University, 2005
  • Ontario, 2009
  • Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Member, Membership Committee
  • Canadian Bar Association, Member, National Compensation Survey Subcommittee of the Women Lawyers Forum
  • Ontario Expropriation Association
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Urban Land Institute