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Cap & Trade 2.0: California Fine Tunes and Extends Cap & Trade Program to 2030

On July 17, 2017, the California legislature passed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2030 (the program was originally set to expire in 2020). Bill AB 398 received broad bi-partisan support and was passed with a two-thirds majority vote, which is the threshold required to pass tax laws in California. With a super-majority … Continue Reading

CLARIFYING THE ROLE OF REGULATORY TRIBUNALS IN CONSULTATION – CANADA’S HIGHEST COURT RELEASES TWO KEY ABORIGINAL CONSULTATION DECISIONS

On July 26, 2017, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its decisions in Hamlet of Clyde River, et al. v. Petroleum Geo-Services Inc. (PGS), et al. and Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v. Enbridge Pipelines Inc., et al. These appeals, which were heard on November 30, 2016 and previously discussed here, relate to … Continue Reading

From Commitment to Action: New Proposed Regulations to Reduce Emissions in Canada’s Oil and Gas Industry

On May 27, 2017, the federal government published the proposed Regulations Respecting Reduction in the Release of Methane and Certain Volatile Organic Compounds (Upstream Oil and Gas Sector) (the Proposed Regulations) in the Canada Gazette Part I. The Proposed Regulations are designed to meet the federal government’s domestic (under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth … Continue Reading

To Regulate or Not to Regulate: BC Environmental Appeal Board Confirms that Provincial and Municipal Laws Designed to Regulate Air Emissions Do Not Impede on Federal Jurisdiction

A decision released by the British Columbia Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) on May 12, 2017 has clarified the relationship between federal lands and provincial environmental legislation and confirmed Metro Vancouver’s jurisdiction to regulate air contaminants from a facility located on federal lands. Decision Nos. 2016-EMA-175(b) & 2016-EMA-G08 addressed  the constitutional question raised by Harvest Fraser … Continue Reading

Giving the Coast a Wide Berth: Federal Government Introduces Proposed Oil Tanker Moratorium Act

On May 12, 2017, the federal Minister of Transport introduced Bill C-48 into Parliament. Bill C-48, also known as the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act (the Act), seeks to implement the proposed moratorium on crude oil tankers on the northern part of British Columbia’s (BC) coast that was announced by the federal government in November 2016. … Continue Reading

Expert Panel Recommends Significant Changes to Canada’s Environmental Assessment Regime

On April 5, 2017, Environment and Climate Change Canada released the report of an external Expert Panel that was established in August 2016 to review the scope and process of federal environmental assessments under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA 2012”). The Expert Panel’s Report contains numerous recommendations which, if implemented, would result in … Continue Reading

Change on the Horizon for Aboriginal Consultation and Involvement in Mining Projects

The rapidly evolving legal landscape for Aboriginal consultation and involvement in mining and other resource development projects in Canada is likely to see a number of significant changes in 2017. In addition to three anticipated Supreme Court of Canada decisions on the duty to consult, 2017 will likely bring legislative and policy changes to the … Continue Reading

Changes to Canada’s environmental emergency regulations are coming in 2017

The Environmental Emergency Regulations (the “Current Regulations”) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (“CEPA”) aim to enhance the protection of the environment and human health in environmental emergency situations by promoting prevention and ensuring preparedness, response and recovery.[1] They require companies or persons who own or manage specified toxic and hazardous substances at or … Continue Reading

The Federal Government Takes a Stand on Carbon Emissions in Coal- and Natural-Gas Fired Generation

On December 17, 2016, the federal Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced its intention to address carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in electricity generation to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments made as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Paris Agreement). The Notice of intent published in the Canada … Continue Reading

Paving the Route to 2050: Canada Releases Mid-Century Strategy for a Clean Growth Economy

The Paris Climate Change Agreement came into force on November 4, 2016 and as global efforts get underway to implement the agreement, the Canadian federal government continues to craft its strategy to shift Canada to a low-emissions economy. At the recent United Nations climate change conference (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco that was held from … Continue Reading

The Protection of Species At Risk and Social and Economic Interests: Case Comment on The Ontario Court of Appeal’s Decision in Wildlands League v. Ontario (Natural Resources and Forestry)

On October 11, 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal (“Court”) released its decision in the Wildlands League v. Ontario (Natural Resources and Forestry) case.[1] The decision provides helpful commentary and guidance on the interpretation of the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007 (“Act”).[2] The Court dismissed the appeal and recognized that the protection of species at … Continue Reading

ERT Allows Wind Farm Appeal on the Basis of Harm to Little Brown Bat and Concerns Regarding Aerodromes

Another wind farm in Ontario has had their Renewable Energy Approval (“REA”) revoked by the Environmental Review Tribunal. This time, it is the Fairview Wind Farm in Clearview Township. The ERT concluded that the Fairview project would cause serious and irreversible harm to an endangered species of bat, the little brown bat. The ERT also … Continue Reading

Taking the Bull by the Horns: Federal Government Introduces Pan-Canadian Carbon Price and Ratifies Paris Agreement; Paris Agreement to Come into Force in November 2016

The week of October 3, 2016 was an eventful one for Canadian climate change policy as the federal government introduced a pan-Canadian carbon price and ratified the Paris Agreement. Following the federal election in October 2015, indications were that all provinces and territories would be expected to price carbon. This was confirmed on October 3, … Continue Reading

Target 2050: BC Releases Updated Climate Change Action Plan

The BC government released its long awaited Climate Leadership Plan (the Plan) on August 19, 2016. The Plan, which updates the province’s 2008 Climate Action Plan, contains 21 new actions to reduce emissions across the following sectors: (i) natural gas, (ii) transportation, (iii) forestry and agriculture, (iv) communities and built environment, and (v) public sector. … Continue Reading

Amendments under the Pipeline Safety Act Come into Force

On June 19, 2016, the amendments under the Pipeline Safety Act (the “Act”), which amend the damage prevention provisions in the National Energy Board Act and the Canadian Oil and Gas Operations Act, came into force. These amendments set out the specific obligations of individuals and pipeline companies with respect to preventing pipeline damage. Under … Continue Reading

Contaminated Site Update: Rough and Ready Allocation of Liability

On May 5, 2016, the Supreme Court of British Columbia released its decision in Domovitch v. Willows, 2016 BCSC 1068 (CanLII) in which the court allocated liability amongst a number of “responsible persons” under the Contaminated Sites provisions of the B.C. Environmental Management Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 53 (the “EMA”). Despite the reasons for judgment … Continue Reading

And So it Begins – Federal Government Launches Review of Environmental and Regulatory Processes

On June 20, 2016, the Federal Government launched a comprehensive review of four key environmental and regulatory processes, namely: The federal environmental assessment processes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012); The National Energy Board (NEB); The Fisheries Act; and The Navigation Protection Act.… Continue Reading

The Quebec Government introduces its Bill to Modernize the Environmental Authorization Scheme

On June 7, 2016, the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Mr. David Heurtel (the “Minister“), introduced Bill 102[1] at the Quebec National Assembly, which aims at modernizing the environmental authorization scheme established by the Environment Quality Act. If adopted in its current form, this bill could have important … Continue Reading

Words into Action: Ontario Gets Ready for Implementation as it Releases Final Regulations for Cap-and-Trade Program and Greenhouse Gas Reporting

As we reported earlier, the Ontario government passed the final version of the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016 (the Act) on May 18, 2016. The Act received Royal Assent later that same day and is now in force. On May 19th, the government posted the final version of The Cap and Trade … Continue Reading

Federal Government Introduces Administrative Penalty Regulations for Six Environmental Statutes

In 2010, the federal government introduced The Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA), which provided Environment Canada with the authority to issue Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) for certain offences. The government has now introduced proposed regulations, the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (the “Regulations”), which set-out the details of the AMPs regime under … Continue Reading

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Free, Prior and Informed Consent – Where does Canada go from here?

This article appears in McCarthy Tétrault’s March 2016 publication, Mining in the Courts, Year in Review, volume VI. The full publication is available online. In 2015, Canada’s new federal government committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration). This has generated significant attention in the mining and natural resource … Continue Reading

The Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate – 3 upcoming cases at the SCC to watch

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) granted leave to appeal in three cases that concern important aspects of the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples. A summary of each decision under appeal is provided below. Follow our ERA blog for further updates as we track these cases at the SCC.… Continue Reading

First Phase of Water Sustainability Act Comes into Force

The British Columbia Government has finally brought into effect portions of the long awaited Water Sustainability Act (WSA). The WSA, which was passed by the British Columbia Legislature in April 2014, came into effect on February 29, 2016. The WSA replaces many parts of the old Water Act and creates a new regulatory regime for … Continue Reading
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