Steven J. O'Melia

Associé | Région de Waterloo


Portrait de Steven J. O’Melia

( Disponible en anglais seulement )


Steve O’Melia focuses on municipal, planning/development, and expropriation law. Acting for both public and private sector clients, Steve frequently appears before municipal councils, committees, and administrative tribunals such as the Ontario Land Tribunal. He has successfully represented clients before all levels of the Ontario Court on municipal law matters.

Steve is an LSO Certified Specialist in Municipal Law (Local Government/Land Use Planning and Development) and was appointed to the Law Society’s Municipal Law Specialty Committee. He has been a course instructor in municipal law topics for Conestoga College and the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario (AMCTO). Steve contributes to municipal law publications and continuing legal education programs.

After beginning his legal career in the Toronto office of a large national law firm, Steve held increasingly senior in-house legal positions with local and regional municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area. Since his 2003 move to Waterloo Region to return to private practice, he has advised and represented numerous municipalities, school boards, conservation authorities, private companies, and individuals.

Steve was named to the 2014 through 2020 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada for Municipal Law, and since 2014 has been ranked as “Consistently Recommended” for Property Development by Lexpert Canada.

Steve provides pragmatic advice and representation in a number of areas:

Municipal governance: Steve has provided counsel and representation to well over 30 municipalities over the course of his career and he has developed a keen appreciation for the larger public role of these clients.

School boards: Steve regularly acts for school boards on property, planning, education development charges, and other Education Act matters.

Land development: Steve has acted for private developers and property owners on a broad range of planning and development applications and issues.

Expropriations: Steve has acted for expropriating authorities, property owners, and tenants on numerous full and partial acquisition matters.

Réalisations professionnelles et leadership

  • The Best Lawyers in Canada – Municipal Law, 2014-2024; Expropriation Law, 2021-2024; Commercial Leasing Law, 2021-2024; Administrative and Public Law, 2022-2024
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory – Property Development, 2014-2023
  • Certified Specialist, Municipal Law (Local Government/Land Use Planning and Development)
  • Past Member, Law Society of Ontario Municipal Law Specialty Committee
  • Associate Faculty Member, Conestoga College Municipal Law Clerk Program
  • Course Instructor, AMCTO Certification Program
  • Past Instructor, Law Society of Ontario Bar Admission Course
  • Inaugural Recipient, International Municipal Lawyers Association Canadian Scholarship
  • Past Member of the Executive, Canadian Bar Association, Municipal Law Section

Mandats importants

  • Has appeared as counsel in more than 250 Ontario Land Tribunal (formerly known as the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal and the Ontario Municipal Board) proceedings
  • Counsel to the Regional Municipality of York Police Services Board at the Commission of Inquiry on Proceedings Involving Guy Paul Morin
  • Counsel to a number of municipalities, police and fire services at coroner’s inquests
  • Successfully defended prominent municipal politicians in response to alleged violations of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and Municipal Elections Act
  • Act as counsel to conservation authorities in prosecutions for unlawful development under the Conservation Authorities Act
  • Has represented municipalities and school boards on Development Charge and Education Development Charge by-laws and appeals

Leadership éclairé

  • “Municipal Bonusing: What’s Permitted and What’s Not,” 2006
  • “Changes Planned for the Ontario Municipal Board,” 2005
  • “Municipal Election 2003: The ‘Lame Duck’ Period,” 2003
  • “Municipalities and Their Growing Role in Assessment Litigation,” 2003
  • “Freedom of Expression and Sign By-Laws in Canada—Where are We Now?” 2002
  • “Is the Writing on the Wall for Sign By-laws in Canada?” 2002
  • “Do Not Disturb: Expropriations and the Planning Approvals Process,” 1997
  • “What is the Municipal Role? Responsibilities and Resources for Dealing with Contaminated Sites,” 1996
  • “Municipal Regulation of Propane Storage Tanks: An Explosive Issue,” 1995
  • “The Expert Witness,” 1991

Engagement communautaire

  • Past Vice Chair, City of Waterloo Committee of Adjustment
  • Director, K-W Habilitation Services
  • Past Vice Chair, Town of Markham Committee of Adjustment
  • Incorporating Lawyer and Founding Director, The Community Safety Village of York Region

Associations professionnelles

  • Member, Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations
  • Member, Law Society of Ontario
  • Past Member, Law Society of Ontario Municipal Law Specialty Committee
  • Member, International Municipal Lawyers Association
  • Member, Ontario Expropriation Association
  • Past Trustee and Member, Waterloo Law Association

Formation et admission au barreau

  • Ontario, 1991
  • Mediation Program for Lawyers, Harvard Law School, 2001
  • LL.B., Queen’s University, 1989
  • B.A. (Economics, Honours), Western University, 1986