Brenda Heelan Powell

Brenda Heelan Powell

Staff Counsel


Some of Brenda’s earliest memories are of family trips exploring Alberta’s natural beauty… the mountains, the badlands, the forests, the prairies. As a science student at the University of Alberta, Brenda’s budding interest in environmental issues grew and she became intrigued by how decisions and laws affecting our environment are made (which led to law school). Brenda is thrilled to work with the Environmental Law Centre – combining her legal skills with her passion for a sustainable society – and hopes to contribute in some small way to ensuring her wonderful children are left with the same natural legacy she enjoyed as a child.


Brenda Heelan Powell graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in 1993 and a LL.B. in 1996. After practicing law with a Calgary law firm, Brenda left private practice to pursue a LL.M. at the University of British Columbia. During her studies at the University of British Columbia, Brenda concentrated on environmental and natural resources law courses. Since completion of her LL.M. in 1999, Brenda has worked at the Environmental Law Centre and the Alberta Energy & Utilities Board. Brenda re-joined the Environmental Law Centre as Staff Counsel based in Calgary in 2011.


Brenda has published articles and briefs on a variety of environmental law topics. She is author of Demystifying Forestry Law, An Alberta Analysis, 2nd. Ed. and A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law. In addition, Brenda has had numerous speaking engagements dealing with environmental legal issues including as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta.



See Brenda’s publications and posts here


Environmental Assessment & the Canadian Constitution: Substitution and Equivalency
(Environmental Law Centre, 2014)


A Model Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Law
(Environmental Law Centre, 2013)


The Difference a Year Makes: Changes to Canadian Federal Environmental Assessment Laws in 2012
(Law Now, 2013)


Getting your Voice Heard through Petitions
(News Brief, 2012)


Northern Gateway Project: An Explanation of the Joint Panel Review Process
(News Brief, 2012)


An Introduction to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012
(New Brief, 2012)


Conservation Easements: An Environmental Law Centre Success Story
(News Brief, 2012)


Where do our Laws Come From?
(News Brief, 2011)


Challenging Administrative Decisions
(News Brief, 2011)


Demystifying Forestry Law: An Alberta Analysis, 2nd ed.
(Environmental Law Centre, 2003)


Community Action on Industrial Facilities: Guide and Background Materials
(Environmental Law Centre, 2002)


Practical Pointers on Petitions
(News Brief, 2001)


A Comment by the Environmental Law Centre on the Use of Compensation under the Proposed Species at Risk Act
(Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, 2001)


Cause for Concern: An Overview of Approaches to the Causation Problem in Toxic Tort Litigation
(Journal of Environmental Law and Practice, 2000)


Action Update: Species at Risk Act
(News Brief, 2000)


Protected Areas Legislation: What We Need
(Encompass, 2000)


British Columbia Introduces Anti-SLAPP Legislation: Should Alberta SLAPP Back as Well?
(New Brief, 2000)


Uncertain Risk, Causation and Precaution in Toxic Tort Litigation
(LL.M. Thesis, University of British Columbia, 1999) [unpublished]



Review of Energy Policies of Canada (International Energy Agency, June 2014)


A Year in the Life of CEAA: Changes to Canada’s Federal EA Laws & the ELC’s Model EA Law Project (Environmental Law Centre webinar, June, 2013)


Canada’s Federal Environmental Assessment Legislation vs. a Model Law (International Association for Impact Assessment Global Conference, May, 2013)


Model Environmental Assessment Law Project (Canadian Bar Association, Environmental Law Section (South), April 2013)


Bill C-38: Considerations for the Watershed (Bow River Basin Council, December, 2012)


The Two Faces of Bill C-38: The Environmental Impacts (University of Calgary, Cenovus Continuing Legal Education Series, November, 2012)


CEAA Seven Year Review: An ENGO Perspective (Canadian Bar Association, Environmental Law Section (South), December, 2011)


Comments on the Proposed Species at Risk Act (House of Commons, Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, May, 2001)


Lenders and Environmental Liability (Environmental Law Centre seminar, April, 2001)


The New Millennium: Can Threatened/Endangered Species Recover? (Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists, February, 2001)


Presentation to the plenary regarding the proposed Species at Risk Act(SARA). Also participated in the roundtable discussion to assist the Canadian Society of Environmental Biologists to formulate a policy statement with regard to SARA. (February, 2001)


Lenders and Environmental Liability (Community Futures Parters of Western Diversification, December, 2000)





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