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Biography

Spotlight

Chris is a highly experienced regulatory practitioner who has represented clients in the energy and environmental sectors before all levels of court. Clients say: "He can look at a situation and our objectives and readily devise a strategy to achieve the results we are seeking." 

- Chambers Global, 2017 Guide

Chris focuses on government relations and regulation in the energy and resource sectors throughout western Canada. He has advised utilities, independent power producers, marketers, mine and energy project developers, crown corporations, tribunals and governments.

Chris appears frequently before regulatory boards in energy and environmental matters in British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories. He represents clients in judicial proceedings arising in the regulatory context or, more generally, from the relationship between business and government heard by all levels of court in British Columbia and Alberta and in the federal court system including the Supreme Court of Canada. He has particular expertise in connection with all aspects of public utility law.

Recent tribunal experience includes assisting proponents for LNG export projects to obtain required authorizations from the National Energy Board and local regulators on both the west and east coasts of Canada.

His recent experience also includes a number of regulatory and judicial proceedings involving the extent of the Crown's obligation to consult First Nations. He was counsel to BC Hydro at all levels including the Supreme Court of Canada in RioTinto Alcan and BC Hydro v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council, 2010 SCC 43.

Chris also provides overall strategic advice to clients seeking to develop energy projects in BC with a particular focus on regulatory matters and First Nations relationships. 

Professional Activities

  • Provided pro bono services in connection with public interest litigation (e.g., to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in Chamberlain v. Surrey School District No. 36 and in BC Teachers Federation v. Translink and BC Transit) including the Supreme Court of Canada in both cases
  • “Regulatory Boards and Administrative Law Litigation” Federated Press, Member of Editorial Board
  • Past Chair of Water Research Council
  • Past Chair of the Advisory Council to the Natural Law Resource Program at Faculty of Law at UBC
  • Served on The Canadian Judicial Appointment Advisory Committee from 2011 to 2016

Community Activities

  • Co-Chair of Family Services of Greater Vancouver Foundation
  • Family Services of Greater Vancouver, Former Chair
  • Kenneth Gordon School Foundation, Former Chair
  • Society for the Education of Children with Specific Learning Disabilities, Former Chair

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

  • Benchmark Canada: The Guide to Canada’s Leading Litigation Firms and Attorneys: recognized as a Litigation Star for Energy and Natural Resources and Environmental litigation in British Columbia
  • Best Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Administrative and Public Law, Energy Law, Energy Regulatory law, Natural Resources law
  • Best Lawyers: Energy Law Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2017
  • Best Lawyers: Energy Regulatory Law Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2010 and 2014
  • Best Lawyers: Natural Resources Law Lawyer of the Year in Vancouver for 2013
  • Chambers Canada: recognized in the Energy: Power (Regulatory) (Canada) and Energy: Provincial Regulatory & Litigation category
  • Chambers Global: recognized in the Energy: Power (Regulatory) (Canada) category
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 
    • most frequently recommended as a Leading Practitioner for: Energy (Electricity) law
    • most consistently recommended as a Leading Practitioner for: Energy (Oil and Gas) law
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2018: Canada's Leading Corporate Lawyers 
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2016 & 2017: Leading Canadian Lawyers in Energy
  • 2018 Lexpert Guide to US/Canada Cross-Border Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Regulatory
  • Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Energy (Electricity) and Energy (Oil & Gas)
  • Lexpert Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Energy (Electricity) law
  • Lexpert 2014 Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Corporate Lawyers in Canada: recognized for Energy law
  • Expert Guides: recognized as a leading lawyer in the area of Energy and Natural Resources
  • 2011 Lexpert Zenith Award: recognized for Corporate and Law Firm Social Responsibility for his contributions to Family Services of Greater Vancouver
  • 2010 Lexpert Zenith Award: recognized for Pro Bono contributions in the Civil Liberties category for his work with the BC Civil Liberties Association
  • Legal 500 Canada: recognized as the Leading lawyer in the Energy (Power) and Energy (Oil and Gas) category
  • Recognized in Lexpert's Leading Canadian Energy Lawyers 2013 publication
  • Martindale-Hubbell International Law Directory: AV Peer Review rated
  • 2011 Premier's Collaboration Award (NWT) for work on the Mackenzie Gas Project
  • International Who’s Who of Energy Lawyers: recognized for Energy law
  • Who's Who Legal Canada: recognized for Energy law (Oil and Gas) 

Experience

Experience

Recent engagements include representing:

  • Successfully represented Woodfibre LNG in preparing and filing all materials in connection with approvals it requires from the National Energy Board to obtain a 40 year export licence
  • Represents Powerex Corp., in a long running proceeding in front of the Alberta Utilities Commission which is likely to lead to billing adjustments in Alberta's wholesale electricity market exceeding $100 million
  • An electric utility and its marketing subsidiary in connection with the allocation of capacity to import and export electricity to and from Alberta 
  • A crude oil shipper in connection with the allocation of service capacity amongst competing users of petroleum pipeline.  
  • The developer of a special purpose 260 km road to the “Ring of Fire” in Northern Ontario
  • The owner of a natural gas storage facility in connection with provincial and regulatory policy related to natural gas storage in B.C.
  • An oil refinery in connection with various applications before the National Energy Board and the British Columbia Utilities Commission relating to crude oil and refined product shipment
  • A territorial government in connection with an application to construct the Mackenzie Gas Project and in constitutional litigation arising therefrom
  • A territorial government in connection with an application to transfer regulatory jurisdiction over TransCanada Pipeline’s Alberta System from Alberta Utilities Commission to National Energy Board jurisdiction
  • A territorial government in connection with the restructuring of its regulatory model for its electric industry 
  • A Canadian energy marketer in connection with regulatory and civil class action proceedings arising out of the California Energy Crisis in 2000 and 2001
  • A large electric utility seeking to upgrade its high voltage transmission system to serve significant new demand from the natural gas industry
  • A large electric utility before the British Columbia Utilities Commission the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada in connection with a contract for the purchase of $950 million worth of energy from an independent generator
  • A large electric utility in connection with all regulatory and First Nation consultation aspects of acquiring an interest in a major hydro and electric generating facility
  • A Canadian energy marketer in connection with all regulatory aspects of short and long term export sales
  • The Canadian entity in connection with a series of negotiations and transactions relating to energy entitlements created under the Columbia River Treaty
  • Numerous applicants for a licence from the National Energy Board to export LNG from the west and east coasts of Canada

News & Publications

News & Publications

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

  • "Opening the Door to Future Markets", September 20-21, 2012, Moderator
  • "Realizing British Columbia’s Natural Gas Future", BC Chamber Energy Summit, November 18, 2011, Speaker
  • "First Nation Consultation", 3rd Annual Northeast BC Natural Gas Summit, Insight Information, Calgary, AB, September 20-21, 2011, Co-chair and Speaker
  • "The Duty to Consult with First Nations in the Administrative Law Context", Pacific Business & Law Institute, March 11, 2011, Speaker
  • 2nd Annual Northeast BC Natural Gas Summit, September 29, 2010, Co-Chair
Chris Sanderson, QC, Lawson Lundell Photo
Vancouver
t 604.631.9183
f 604.669.1620

Assistant Contact

Bar Admissions

  • British Columbia (1978)
  • Alberta (1988)
  • Queen’s Counsel, British Columbia (2001)

Education

University of British Columbia (B.A., 1972)

University of British Columbia (LL.B., 1977)

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