Professor Stewart Elgie specializes in environmental and natural resources law and policy. He is also the associate director of the University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment.
From 1992 to 2001, Professor Elgie was the founder and managing lawyer of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, now Canada’s largest public interest environmental law organization. In that role, he advised over 100 environmental, community and First Nations groups across Canada, and served as counsel on a number of precedent-setting public interest environmental cases across Canada – including four successful appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada on major environmental-constitutional cases. Prior to founding SLDF, he worked as an environmental lawyer in Alaska, including litigating against Exxon over the Valdez oil spill. From 2001 to 2003, Elgie was the founding Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Trust: a foundation supporting conservation of Canada’s northern forest ecosystems. In 2007, he founded Sustainable Prosperity, a research and policy initiative that brings together leaders from business, environment, academia and government to build a vision of transforming Canada to a truly sustainable economy through fiscal and policy reforms.
Professor Elgie has served on government advisory bodies on a range of issues, including: the NAFTA environmental side agreement, endangered species legislation, parks legislation, environmental assessment, and trade and the environment. He is a frequent witness before Parliamentary committees on environment matters, and spearheaded a successful campaign for federal endangered species legislation (passed in 2002).
He has previously taught at Osgoode Hall Law School (part-time, 1997-2002), University of British Columbia (part-time, 1993-96) and University of Alberta (full-time, 1990-92). He has published numerous articles in academic and non-academic journals on a variety of environmental policy and law subjects.
In 2001, Professor Elgie was awarded the Law Society of Upper Canada medal (LSM) for exceptional contributions to law, one of the youngest persons ever to receive the profession’s highest honour. In 2003, he also received an Achievement Award from the federal Environment Minister for his leadership role in the development of Canada's endangered species law.