Peer Review & Expert Opinion
Senior staff at D&A are routinely called upon to provide peer reviews and expert witness testimony for Municipalities, Agency Review Teams, Conservation Authorities, and private clients. D&A’s peer review and expert witness testimony work is in-depth, reliable, science-based, and respected by clients and agencies across southern Ontario. Our preferred approach is to assist the client and legal team with strategy and negotiation so that issues are reduced and refined, with the need for hearings reduced.
Our approach varies for each peer review and expert testimony project, depending on the type of report to be reviewed and/or the scope of testimony to be delivered. For all projects we apply the most current policies, supported by current scientific research, and scrutinize for errors and omissions.
Our staff must regularly interpret Municipal, Regional, Provincial, and Agency environmental policy and legislation, and based on our ecological and design experience, provide informed opinions on compliance with policy. Each peer review is considered within this policy context to identify information gaps, identify studies required, and make recommendations as to alternative approaches. Our involvement includes meetings and presentations to discuss the peer review findings.
Expert witness testimony is provided for Local Planning Appeal Tribunals (LPAT) hearings and court proceedings. This role often includes literature reviews, scoped site research focused on the specific technical components, preparation of witness statements, negotiation, and expert testimony while supporting the legal team on behalf of the client.
Our senior staff experience includes review of natural heritage reports for regional landscape and watershed-based studies, Official Plan policies, Environmental Impact Studies, and testimony at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunals, Ontario Land Compensation Board, Ontario Provincial Court, Ontario Energy Board, National Energy Board, and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.
Jim Dougan, Principal and Senior Ecologist at D&A, has been providing Expert Witness Testimony since 1978 and is a well-respected and thorough witness. Other senior staff, including Karl Konze, Senior Wildlife Biologist and Todd Fell, Landscape Architect (Manager) have provided testimony and support at OMB hearings and other legal proceedings. Staff from all disciplines at the D&A office (plant ecology, wildlife biology, landscape architecture, & GIS) regularly assist with literature reviews, supplemental studies, hearing preparation, report writing, and mapping as may be necessary for each case. Where necessary, our team collaborates with experts in other disciplines such as hydrology, hydrogeology, aquatic biology, engineering, and planning.
Examples of Our Work
- Peer reviews for municipalities (Environmental Impact Studies, natural heritage components of larger studies such as aggregate extraction applications, block plan applications)
- Expert witness testimony (Ontario Municipal Board, other legal proceedings)