1 Our Work | West Coast Environmental Law


Our Work

RELAW 2016-2017 Case Studies

In 2016 our first RELAW cohort, involving six Indigenous nations from around the province, began working on unique projects grounded in their own traditional laws. By facilitating community dialogue and engaging with the stories and traditions of their nations, participants draw out legal principles that can be applied to the environmental problems they are facing today.

St’át’imc Nation

Marine Conservation

Canada is an ocean nation. Our motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare, means “from sea to sea.” Eight of ten provinces and all three territories – home to 86 per cent of the Canadian population – are adjacent to salt water. Our coastline is more than 200,000 kilometres long, said to be the longest in the world. Our oceans cover some seven million square kilometres, seven-tenths the size of our landmass. We are an ocean nation. But we are failing our oceans. 

RELAW Community Call-Out 2017-2018

Community Call-out

RELAW is a project of West Coast Environmental Law supported and advised by the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria, Faculty of Law. The RELAW project aims to deepen community-based capacity to engage in revitalization and application of Indigenous law to environmental decision-making and proactive land and water management.

Clone of The Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund - 20 Jan 2015

Legal resources for British Columbians protecting their local environment

A lawyer hired by a regional environmental organization negotiates changes to BC’s laws protecting mountain caribou. The BC Supreme Court agrees with an opponent of fish farms that BC’s laws allowing fish farms are illegal. First Nations and non-First Nations people living near the proposed Ashcroft landfill not only derail the landfill, but also convince MetroVancouver to rethink its whole approach to waste management.

Our Work Home

childrenshovels.jpgFocused on solutions

West Coast Environmental Law is British Columbia’s legal champion for the environment. We provide legal information, guidance and support to individuals, communities and organizations seeking to protect their water, lands and air.

Forests & Climate Change

British Columbia’s vast natural legacy of wildlife and ecosystems are under threat from climate change, including the clean water and other “life support services” they provide for us. According to conservative scientific predictions, in this century, climate change will place 20 to 30 per cent of animal species at high risk of extinction. Therefore, BC needs strong laws that both dramatically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gas pollution and help native species of plants and animals better withstand the effects of climate change.

Tar Sands, Tankers & Pipelines

For decades a federal moratorium has protected British Columbia’s sensitive northern waters from crude oil tankers. All that will change if currently proposed oil pipelines are built from the Alberta tar sands to the coast of BC’s Great Bear Rainforest.

Communities Adapting to Climate Change

Is your community ready for the “new normal” of a changing climate?

Oil, Gas, & Mining

From the seismic lines that criss-cross wilderness and farmland in the Peace district to the toxic run-off from the abandoned Britannia mine site just outside of Vancouver, the oil and gas and mining industries are heavy contributors to some of BC's most difficult environmental problems. West Coast has made significant contributions to law reform in these areas. For example, by:

Environmental Deregulation

In 2001 the BC provincial government set a target of eliminating one third of all regulations. Between 2001 and 2005 the government repealed, amended or replaced a wide range of environmental statutes, as well as cutting funding to environment-related ministries. Despite promises that the changes would maintain high environmental standards, these changes severely weakened the province’s environmental regime.

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