Environmental Legal Aid

West Coast Environmental Law believes that the law is society’s most powerful tool in protecting BC’s environment. Most importantly, the law is a tool that can be used by anyone, anywhere to protect his or her community and to become a champion for the environment. Since 1974, West Coast Environmental Law has helped British Columbians access the legal help they need to protect their environment.

While many environmental law organizations focus on large, cutting edge litigation, our emphasis has been on helping individuals, environmental organizations and communities use the law to protect their environment.

Currently, we offer two legal aid services for people who find themselves in an environmental conflict:

  • Summary Advice - Our staff is available to give basic legal information or advice to members of the public who are facing an environmental problem. Sometimes, a simple conversation with a lawyer identifies which law or government agency can help them.
  • Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund - If resolving an environmental issue requires the direct and ongoing involvement of a lawyer, and financial support, the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund (EDRF) is available to help hire a lawyer at a legal aid rate. For 25 years, the fund has allowed individuals and community groups to hire lawyers to help them protect the environment in negotiations, mediation, in court or before government tribunals. Each year the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund puts $100,000 in the hands of community groups to hire lawyers and experts to help them fight for environmental justice. For more information about the EDRF click here.