W. Cory Wanless

Partner / Litigation Lawyer


Cory Wanless has been actively litigating cases of public importance for over a decade. He has represented clients before all levels of court in Ontario and Alberta, and at the Supreme Court of Canada. Cory has particular interest and experience in complex civil litigation, especially as it relates to corporate accountability, human rights, Indigenous rights, Aboriginal law, police and state accountability, anti-racism and defending human rights defenders.

Cory devotes a sizeable portion of his practice to access to justice cases. Cory often represents clients in high-profile and precedent-setting cases. He currently is co-counsel in ground-breaking corporate accountability lawsuits against two Canadian mining companies regarding serious human rights abuse in Guatemala and in Tanzania. Cory was lead counsel for the University of Toronto Faculty of Law International Human Rights Program in an intervention at the Supreme Court in a case regarding the use of forced labour at a Canadian-owned mine in Eritrea.

On the domestic front, Cory represents clients in Charter and human rights lawsuits against police and other law enforcement – often in cases involving racism and racial profiling. His representation of a young Black man who was assaulted by Toronto Transit Commission Fare Inspectors led to the TTC committing to a system-wide anti-racism strategy aimed at preventing racial profiling. Cory is a key member of the class counsel team in a class action against the Canadian government for collective harms caused to Indigenous bands by Canada’s residential school policy that, on the eve of trial, secured one of the largest class action settlements in Canadian history. In 2021, he was part of the Day Scholars class counsel team that secured a settlement on behalf of residential school survivors who attended but did not reside at residential schools, and who were left out of the 2006 Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Cory also represents business and individuals in employment, defamation and negligence cases.

Cory is a frequent speaker on the topics of corporate accountability, mining and human rights, and has guest-lectured at various universities and faculties of law throughout Canada. Cory periodically co-teaches a course in Ethics, Society, and Law at Trinity College, University of Toronto, and sits on the board of an environmental education charity that fosters in youth resilience and connection to nature through outdoor experiences.

In 2021, Cory was named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under List 2021, and recognized as a 2021 Lexpert Rising Star (leading lawyers under 40). Cory was named as a Benchmark Litigation Future Star in 2023.

  • University of Alberta (B.A.) (2004)
  • University of Toronto (J.D.) (2008)