Archives: Environmental

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BC Government Sets the Stage for “Revitalizing” the Provincial Environmental Assessment Process

Changes are on the horizon for the BC Environmental Assessment (EA) process. On March 7, 2018, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman announced that the provincial government will “revitalize” the provincial EA process with a view to enhancing public confidence, advancing reconciliation with First Nations, and protecting the environment while supporting sustainable … Continue Reading

Québec Publishes Draft Regulations to Amend Environment Quality Act

On February 14, 2018, the Government of Québec published for consultation purposes 24 draft regulations aimed at implementing significant amendments made to the Québec Environment Quality Act (the “EQA”) pursuant to Bill 102[1]. The Government of Québec’s intent is that twenty-two of these draft regulations come into force at the latest by December 1, 2018. The … Continue Reading

It’s been a great run NEB: After almost 60 years, the National Energy Board to be replaced with the Canadian Energy Regulator

On February 8, 2018, the Federal Government announced the first reading of Bill C-69: An Act to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts (Bill C-69). While Bill C-69 proposes to amend a multitude of Federal legislation, … Continue Reading

Moving Towards Sustainability and Public Interest: Federal Government Introduces the Impact Assessment Act

On February 8, 2018, the federal government introduced the Impact Assessment Act (“IAA” or “Act”), federal legislation to replace Canada’s current environmental assessment legislation, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (“CEAA 2012”). The proposed IAA is the result of the federal government’s review of the scope and process of Canada’s federal environmental assessment legislation, which … Continue Reading

Hit the Rewind Button: Federal Government Introduces Amendments to Canadian Navigation Protection Legislation to Restore Lost Protections

In 2012, omnibus budget legislation (Bill C-38) was introduced by the previous Harper government, which included changes aimed at streamlining various federal environmental assessment (EA) review and regulatory processes. As part of its 2015 election platform, the federal Liberals promised to review these changes with a view to restoring lost protections and introducing modern safeguards. … Continue Reading

Angling for Reconciliation: An Overview of Indigenous–related Amendments to the Fisheries Act

On February 6, 2018, the federal government announced proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act (the Act), as we summarized here. In furtherance of the federal government’s reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples, the proposed amendments provide opportunities to increase and strengthen the role of Indigenous groups in decision-making under the Act, which includes the potential for … Continue Reading

Back to the Future? Federal Government Introduces Amendments to Fisheries Act: Initial Thoughts

On February 6, 2018, the federal government announced amendments to the Fisheries Act (the “Act”) aimed at restoring what it describes as ‘lost protections” and “incorporating modern safeguards” to protect fish and fish habitat. The Act, regarded as one of Canada’s principal environmental laws as it is the primary federal statute governing fisheries resources in … Continue Reading

Paving the Way for Lower Carbon Fuels: Federal Government Releases Regulatory Framework for Clean Fuel Standard

In November 2016, the federal government announced that it would commence development of a performance-based clean fuel standard (CFS) that would incent the use of a broad range of low carbon fuels, energy sources and technologies. The objective of the CFS is to achieve 30 megatonnes (Mt) of annual reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions … Continue Reading

In Pursuit of Sustainable Communities: Survey finds that Indigenous Participation is Driving Clean Energy Growth in Canada

A pioneering survey has found that Indigenous participation in Canada’s clean energy economy has grown rapidly over the past 20 years, in all regions of the country. Lumos Clean Energy Advisors (Lumos), an advisor to First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, undertook a review of national research and drew on the company’s database of clean … Continue Reading

NAFTA Renegotiations: Will changes to environmental and labour standards be “very difficult”?

On August 27, President Trump tweeted that both Canada and Mexico were being “very difficult” during the ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (“NAFTA”). Without question the three countries’ trade representatives have a lot areas to cover in the negotiations, but environmental and labour standards are two areas that have been taking … Continue Reading

Taking on the Political Hot Potato of Pipelines: BC’s Attorney General Granted Intervenor Status in Federal Court of Appeal Proceeding Challenging Trans Mountain Pipeline Approvals

The proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project (the Project) involves a $7.4-billion expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline stretching from Edmonton to Burnaby, as well as the construction of new works such as pump stations and tanks and the expansion of an existing marine terminal. In December 2016, the Project received federal government approval, after the … Continue Reading

Failure to Disclose: In Finding Negligent Misrepresentation, BC Supreme Court Holds that Potential Contamination on a Property Gives Rise to Stigma

In a recent decision of the BC Supreme Court (the Court), the purchasers of a residential property in Victoria were awarded damages when the Court found that the seller made negligent misrepresentations in the property disclosure statement (PDS) regarding the possible migration of contaminants onto the property. In their claim, the plaintiffs alleged that the … Continue Reading

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