Melissa Winch

Melissa Winch
Telephone: 416 815 4365
Fax: 647 259 7968

Suite 2100, Scotia Plaza
40 King Street West
Toronto, ON M5H 3C2

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Melissa Winch is a partner of the Municipal, Planning & Environmental Group at Cassels Brock. Her practice encompasses all aspects of municipal, land use planning and environmental law, including tax assessment appeals, expropriations and proceedings under the Building Code Act. Melissa 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 Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the Superior Courts respecting development approvals, 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 Butterworths. In addition to her law practice, Melissa sits on the Board of Directors for Gilda’s Club Toronto.

Some of Melissa’s experience includes:

  • Successfully representing the Corporation of the Town of Georgina in a precedent-setting case before the Superior Court respecting Building Code inspections and occupational health and safety issues (MacDonald v. The Corporation of the Town of Georgina, 2010 ONSC 6169)
  • Successfully defending 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 (Fiore v. Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and Delic, 2011 ONSC 3928(CanLII))
  • Acting for a client in obtaining approvals for the development of a cannabis growing and harvesting facility
  • Drafting and interpreting municipal by-laws
  • Acting for Infrastructure Ontario in the development of the West Don Lands in the Toronto waterfront, including preparations for the Pan/Parapan American Games
  • Acting for the University of Toronto in all matters of municipal, planning and environmental law
  • Assisting municipalities with large scale expansions of infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer lines, including expropriations as required
  • Preparing development applications and 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
  • Acting for developers in obtaining approvals for residential plans of subdivision
  • Advising on and negotiating municipal development agreements, including subdivision agreements, development approvals, including zoning and official plan amendments and site permits
  • Advising on environmental approvals and instruments, environmental assessment requirements, environmental due diligence and environmental compliance
  • Acting as defence counsel with respect to provincial offences charges
  • Representing private and public sector clients with respect to municipal enforcement matters, including Building Code prosecutions

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


University of Windsor, LL.B., 2008

York University, B.A. (Hons.) (with Distinction) (Specialized Comm.), 2005

Recent Work

Publications, Newsletters and Articles

Sweeping Reforms to Environmental Assessments Become Law

Bill 108 and the New Planning and Development System: Regulations, Transition & Royal Assent

Inclusionary Zoning Regulation Posted

Sweeping Reforms Proposed to Federal Assessments, Energy and Waterway Regulation

Conferences, Speaking Engagements, Events

Melissa Winch a Panelist at the Urban Land Institute's "The New Deal Structure - Understanding the Emerging Opportunities for Development around Transit" Program

Melissa Winch Speaking on "Municipal Implications of Cannabis Legalization"

Call to the bar

Ontario, 2009


  • Canadian Bar Association (Member, National Compensation Survey Subcommittee of the Women Lawyers Forum)
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Ontario Expropriation Association
  • Building Industry and Land Development Association (Member, Membership Committee)
  • Urban Land Institute

Pro Bono/Community Involvement

  • Member of the Board of Directors for Gilda’s Club Toronto


Land Development
Municipal, Planning & Environmental
Real Estate & Development