Risa was counsel to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment from 2001 to 2012.
During that time period, she was responsible for drafting legislation and regulations under the Environmental Assessment Act and was part of the drafting team for Safeguarding and Sustaining Ontario’s Water Act, 2007 which implemented an agreement with U.S. states to prohibit bulk water transfers and regulate in basin transfers of water in the Great Lakes Region.
One of Risa’s subspecialties is transboundary water law and she has amassed expertise on the workings of the International Joint Commission, both for transboundary water issues in Ontario for the Great Lakes Basin and the Lake of the Woods as well as the Columbia River Treaty in British Columbia.
She has expertise advising on the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights, provincial and Canadian environmental assessment requirements. As well, Risa negotiated and drafted international and intergovernmental agreements including the Environment Chapter of Ontario-Quebec Economic Partnership Agreement.
Risa was also the Environment and Sustainable Development lead for the Ontario Delegation for Rounds I to III, Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
In addition to her government experience, Risa worked for non-governmental environmental organizations early in her career and has written articles and reports in this area.