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environmental assessment

Twelve pillars of a “next generation” of Canadian environmental assessment

25 August, 2016

Canada needs a visionary new approach to assessing proposals that could impact the environment. This August, West Coast published the proceedings of the Federal Environmental Assessment Reform Summit it hosted in Ottawa in May 2016. Attended by over 30 experts from across the country, the Summit explored leading-edge solutions to key issues facing environmental assessment in Canada.  We compiled the key principles that Summit participants reached consensus on into twelve integrated “pillars” of environmental assessment. 

Canada has an opportunity to build a legacy law: a next-generation environmental assessment act that safeguards communities, the environment and democracy.  The government recognized this fact in June 2016 when it announced an independent review of federal environmental assessment (EA) processes.  The four-person expert panel appointed to conduct the review has until January 31, 2017 to do widespread consultations and submit a report to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change with its recommendations on how to build a stronger, more credible EA framework for Canada. This visionary framework must be based in meaningful public participation and collaboration with Indigenous governments.  Read up on the groundwork laid by these twelve pillars from the EA Reform Summit.

 

 

The jury is out: Canada needs a visionary new approach to assessing proposals that could impact the environment. We have written previously about how Canada’s environmental assessment (EA) regime is broken (here and here, for example).

Environmental review panel ‘cause for optimism,’ lawyers say

Monday, August 15, 2016

Federal government announces four-member panel to review environmental legislation

Lessons from a summer at West Coast

12 August, 2016

West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the country. As the season winds down, our summer law students share their reflections on an exciting few months learning about the ins and outs of environmental law.

From left to right: Alex Kirby, Sina Kazemi, Monisha Sebastian and Brianna Meyer.

How will we build the next generation of environmental assessment for Canada?

14 July, 2016

This June, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced that she will establish an independent expert panel to review Canada’s environmental assessment processes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), and opened up a 30-day public comment period on the Panel’s draft Terms of Reference. ather than tweak at the edges of a fundamentally broken and outdated system, Canada needs a next-generation environmental assessment law that works for nature and communities, and upholds Canada’s international commitments, including the Paris Agreement and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

 

 

Why navigation protection is also environmental protection

5 July, 2016

The Canadian government has announced that the House Standing Committee on Transportation will soon be starting its review of the Navigation Protection Act.

Unfortunately, Transport Minister Marc Garneau, in announcing the review, downplayed expectations that the government would restore lost environmental protections to a wide range of rivers and endorsed the previous government’s views that the purpose of the act is to protect navigation, and not navigable waters. That’s contrary to what the Liberal Party of Canada promised in the last election.

Canadians who were expecting better protection for the 99% of lakes and rivers that lost their legal protection in 2012 will want to let the government know their views.

 

The Canadian government has announced that the House Standing Committee on Transportation will soon be starting its review of the Navigation Protection Act.

Federal government reviews of environmental laws: Processes where people matter

21 June, 2016

On June 20, the federal government unveiled a wide-ranging review of the dramatic weakening of Canada's environmental laws made in 2012 by our previous administration and affirmed its intention to build stronger, modern environmental safeguards for nature and democracy.

While at first blush, "process to review environmental laws" may not sound like the most exciting news to make environmental headlines, the announcement marks a rare opportunity for Canadians to help shape the laws governing the things they value.

Vancouver shoreline

Photo: Gord McKenna via Flickr

Environmental lawyers have high hopes for planned overhaul of environmental assessment in Canada

Monday, June 20, 2016

 

Federal government announces long-awaited review of environmental legislation

VANCOUVER, BC, Coast Salish Territories – The federal government today set in motion a process to rebuild and strengthen Canadian environmental laws, including the much-criticized system for conducting environmental assessments of major projects – a move welcomed by environmental lawyers who have been working for many years to champion this goal.

Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water: The Cheakamus Retreat

20 June, 2016

The Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) Project is a new initiative that aims to deepen First Nations’ capacity to engage in the process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing their own laws to contemporary environmental problems and proactive land and resource decision-making. In this post, Articled Student Lindsay Borrows recounts her powerful learning experiences at the recent 5-day RELAW retreat at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish Nation Territory.

A meandering stream at the Cheakamus Centre (Photo: Alice William)

Reflections on RELAW: The role of stories in law

17 June, 2016

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria. RELAW is a pilot project with the aim of supporting First Nations in their process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing Indigenous laws in relation to a contemporary aspect of environmental governance. In this post, Staff Counsel Georgia Lloyd-Smith reflects on her experience researching Secwepemc law with ILRU and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, to provide insight into the work we will be doing in the RELAW project.

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria.

Addressing cumulative effects in BC's north

30 May, 2016

Today, in conjunction with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), West Coast Environmental Law is releasing our report Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment for Northern British Columbia: The Case and Opportunity.  The report offers an intimate glimpse into the hearts and minds of northern residents as they face a multitude of proposals for industrial development in their communities, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), forestry, mining, oil and gas, and hydroelectric projects.

Today, in conjunction with the Northwest Institute for Bioregional Research (NWI), West Coast Environmental Law is releasing our report Regional Strategic Environmental Assessment for Northern British Columbia: The Case and Opportunity. The report offers an intimate glimpse into the hearts and minds of northern residents as they face a multitude of proposals for

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