Rick Williams

Partner

Vancouver
RWilliams@blg.com
604.640.4074

Rick represents and advises clients on commercial and regulatory aspects of project development, permitting and operations in the energy and natural resource sectors, including land, environmental and Indigenous issues. Rick also represents and advises clients on dispute resolution including regulatory proceedings, corporate/commercial litigation and arbitration, with a focus on energy, transportation, forestry and mining.

Rick is the National Leader of BLG's Environmental Law Group and the Regional Leader of the Regulatory and Oil and Gas Groups, and a member of the Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) leadership team.

Rick has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia, the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has represented clients before the British Columbia Utilities Commission (BCUC), the Surface Rights Board, the Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal, the Safety Authority, the Environmental Appeal Board as well as the Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) and the National Energy Board (NEB). Rick also has significant experience advising clients on their applications and dealings with the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission.

Rick provides legal services through a Law Corporation.

Experience

  • Acted for a developer organization in a hearing before the BCUC successfully opposing the approval of a Neighbourhood Energy Agreement and issuance of a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for a district energy project.
  • Lead counsel on a number of appeals to the Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal, including an oil and gas producer in the successful defence of a series of appeals – the first in British Columbia that directly addressed issues concerning the impact of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater and induced seismicity, and the sufficiency of regulations relating to such issues.
  • Advised Pacific Northwest LNG on all regulatory aspects relating to its proposed LNG facility.
  • Advised a project proponent on all regulatory matters relating to the PTP pipeline and KM LNG facility.
  • Represented a ski resort in a dispute with a mining company regarding regulatory approvals for a power line project to provide service to a skiing lodge and issues regarding historical power service.
  • Acting for the province of British Columbia in defence of an action by Blueberry River First Nations alleged breach of Treaty.
  • Lead counsel in the first common carrier/common processor hearing before the BCUC in more than 30 years. This hearing established the test to be applied in BC.
  • Lead counsel in the successful challenge of a public utility's discriminatory security deposit policy before the BCUC.
  • Acted on successful applications to the ERCB (now AER), obtaining one of the largest interim shut-ins ever.
  • Lead counsel on number of appeals to the Oil and Gas Appeal Tribunal.
  • Lead counsel on many successful arbitrations/motions before the BC Surface Rights Board.
  • Counsel on a number of contaminated site cases, including the first trial in BC to consider reasonably incurred costs of remediation under BC's legislation.
  • Represented the British Columbia Ministry of Forests on a 20-day trial, resulting in its acquittal of all charges under the federal Fisheries Act.
  • Lead counsel for a foreign bank in the arrest and judicial sale of a vessel, including overseeing a courthouse auction (part of global efforts to enforce a $77-million judgment from a U.S. court).
  • Successfully defended an international shipping company on the validity of an arrest to the Supreme Court of Canada Acted for an international shipping company in successfully defending the validity of an arrest to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Beyond our Walls

Professional Involvement

  • Business Council of British Columbia Environmental Policy Advisory Committee
  • Business Council of British Columbia Climate & Energy Policy Advisory Committee
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Member, Air & Waste Management Association
  • Past Vice-President Communications, Environmental Managers Association of British Columbia

Awards & Recognitions

  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada as:
    • 2023 'Lawyer of the Year' for Natural Resources Law;
    • 2022 'Lawyer of the Year' for Environmental Law;
    • 2020 ‘Lawyer of the Year’ for Oil and Gas Law; and
    • 2023 edition for Aboriginal Law/Indigenous Law and Natural Resources Law (since 2022), Energy Regulatory Law (since 2016), and Environmental Law and Oil and Gas Law (since 2015).
  • Recognized by Chambers Canada in:
    • 2022 edition (and since 2019) – Canada's Leading Lawyers for Environment (Nationwide);
    • 2022 edition of Chambers Global (Environment);
    • 2019 to 2021 editions – Canada's Leading Lawyers for Energy - Provincial Regulatory (British Columbia); and
    • 2018 edition – Canada's Leading Lawyers for Energy - Provincial Regulatory and Litigation (British Columbia).
  • Recognized by The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory in:
    • 2022 (and since 2014) editions (Energy: Oil and Gas). Also recognized since 2019 for Environmental Law and since 2020 for Energy (Electricity) and Indigenous Law.
  • Recognized by Lexpert®/Report on Business Special Edition in:
    • 2021 edition (and since 2014) – Canada leading Energy Lawyers; and
    • 2019 edition – Canada’s Leading Corporate Lawyers.
  • Recognized by Benchmark Canada in:
    • 2022, 2021 and 2019 editions – The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys (Energy, Environment, Arbitration, Commercial); and
    • 2020, 2018 and 2017 editions – The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms Attorneys as a Local Litigation Star: British Columbia, and a Litigation Star: (Arbitration, Energy and Natural Resources, Environmental, and General Commercial).

Bar Admission & Education

  • British Columbia, 2000
  • LLB, University of Victoria, 1999
  • BA, University of Ottawa, 1995