Posts Tagged ‘Environmental law’

Ontario Court of Appeal confirms broad scope of environmental protection in the Ontario Environmental Protection Act but Supreme Court of Canada hearing pending.

October 18th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The Supreme Court of Canada recently granted leave to hear an important Environmental Protection Act case.  In Ontario (Environment) v. Castonguay Blasting Ltd., 2012 ONCA 165 (CanLII) Castonguay, a construction subcontractor caused fly rock to be flung 90 metres into the air during highway construction near Marmora, Ontario in 2007.  The fly rock caused damage to a nearby home and vehicle.

A year later, Castonguay was charged with failure to report the discharge of a contaminant under s.15(1) of the Ontario Environmental Protection Act (EPA).  This provision requires reporting of discharges of contaminants likely to cause an adverse effect to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, (MOE) so that it can be investigated and addressed accordingly.

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Jarvis Bike Lane Removal Exposes Serious Weaknesses in Municipal Class Approvals

October 12th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

The “Class EA” was introduced to the Ontario environmental assessment process shortly after the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act was passed, in 1976. The purpose of Class EAs was said to be to streamline approvals for undertakings that were similar in nature (i.e. belonging to the same ‘class’ of project) and that generally had predictable and easy to mitigate effects and therefore did not need full environmental assessments. Class assessments were immediately used for municipal infrastructure projects. Class EAs are an attempt to balance many competing policy factors including reducing the cost of municipal infrastructure, avoiding duplication with other municipal processes and the difficulty of predicting environmental effects on a class‑wide basis. However, strong pressures to exempt an ever growing array of projects from full environmental assessments have led to the growth of Class EAs, and Class EAs have come to dominate EA practices in Ontario by a wide margin.

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What powers do Canadian municipalities have to create environmental rights?

June 28th, 2012 by Paula Boutis and Laura Bowman

A reader asked us if Canadian municipalities can pass an environmental bill of rights, as some American jurisdictions have with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund. The example provided by the reader prohibited the extraction of natural gas by means other than gas wells installed and operating at the time of the enactment of the ordinance.

In Canada, municipalities are created by provincial laws and their powers are limited both by those laws and by the limits on provincial jurisdiction.


The costs of hiding environmental information

April 26th, 2012 by Iler Campbell LLP

Laura Bowman wrote our Pro Bono column on this month. In it, she discusses access to environmental information:

For citizens and NGOs who want to challenge environmental decisions, the biggest obstacle is usually obtaining information about the potential environmental effects of a decision or project.  In the 1990s, the Ontario government passed the Environmental Bill of Rights which was supposed to make access to environmental information easier.

Read the column here

Rumours about forthcoming federal environmental assessment changes abound

April 19th, 2012 by Laura Bowman

On April 17, Joe Oliver, federal Minister of Natural Resources made announcements and gave interviews about the fate of Canada’s beleaguered federal environmental assessment law, the Canadian Environmental Assessment ActNo specific amendments have been provided, so it is difficult to understand exactly what the government is proposing to do.

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Proposed Changes to Fish Habitat Provisions of the Fisheries Act

April 18th, 2012 by Laura Bowman and Paula Boutis

In mid‑March 2012, a number of news outlets reported that the Harper government is looking at significant changes to the wording of the Fisheries Act after they were leaked to Otto Langer.

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