Image of a finger going along text on a tablet. The below articles are published by the Environmental Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association. Members are encouraged to submit articles. View the article disclaimer

Editors: Dina Awad and Diana Weir


Ontario and Québec Governments to Regulate Movement of Soil

  • October 28, 2019
  • John Tidball and Claire Durocher

In the past, relocation of large quantities of soil excavated in construction projects was sporadically regulated by provincial governments. In 2019, both Ontario and Québec governments are proceeding with new regulatory schemes that will impose legal requirements on the movement and disposition of excavated soil. This article reviews the requirements imposed by the new regulatory schemes and their impact in both jurisdictions.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Penalty Creep: What is Going On With Environmental Fines Across Canada?

  • October 25, 2019
  • Aaron Atcheson, Bryan Smits, Danielle Parry and Julia Zanetti

In July 2019, a fine of $2.7M was levied against Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC for violations of the Fisheries Act. The news raises a broader question: are fines for environmental offenses rising faster than inflation? If so, to what end? Is there any indication that these larger fines are changing behaviour? This review looks at the legislative changes in the minimum and maximum environmental fines, and whether these changes are actually having any real effects on the quantum of fines.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Five Things Project Proponents Need to Know About Canada's New Impact Assessment Act

  • September 23, 2019
  • Rodney Northey, Liane Langstaff, Anna Côté, lawyers at Gowling WLG

The new Impact Assessment Act came into force at the end of summer, changing Canada’s long-standing regime from environmental assessment to impact assessment. Federal decisions to approve projects will now be made after evaluating whether the project is in the “public interest”, replacing the previous test of avoiding “significant adverse environmental effects”. This article explains five things all participants need to know about the new Act as they address its new requirements and processes.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Hot off the Press: The CSA Issues Guidance on Climate Change-Related Risks

  • September 23, 2019
  • Irwin Greenblatt, Eric Roblin and Jennifer Humphrey, Fogler, Rubinoff LLP

Published on August 1, 2019, the CSA Staff Notice 51-358 Reporting of Climate Change-related Risks, highlights the disclosure obligations of a securities issuer in light of climate change-related issues as they relate to the issuer's MD&A and AIF. This article explains those risks and their impact.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

What Should You Know About the Coming into Force of the Impact Assessment Act?

  • September 23, 2019
  • Stanley Berger, partner Fogler, Rubinoff LLP

The Impact Assessment Act and two important regulations came into force in August 2019, transferring greater oversight of the federal environmental assessment process to the new Impact Assessment Agency. This article summarizes these oversight powers and how they have changed from the previous regime.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Lack of Progress on Fossil Fuel Subsidies Reform Undermines Historical Progress Made by Recent Fisheries Act Amendments in Canada

  • July 04, 2019
  • Carissa Wong

Canada’s subsidies of fossil fuels (particularly diesel) support over-fishing by industrial fleets, and undermine the progress of recent amendments to the Fisheries Act to rebuild devastated marine fish and shark populations. More attention and concrete action through World Trade Organization law reform is needed to transition Canada out of fuel subsidies and ultimately enhance fish and shark stocks.

Environmental Law, Natural Resources and Energy Law, Student Forum

Blaney's Appeals: Ontario Court of Appeal Summaries (May 21 – 24, 2019)

  • June 01, 2019
  • John Polyzogopoulos

Topics covered for this week’s civil decisions of the Court of Appeal for Ontario included annulling a bankruptcy where the bankrupt was not really insolvent and appeared only to try to avoid paying on a judgment, damages for breach of an agreement of purchase and sale of land, discoverability of a claim for negligent tax advice (“appropriate means”), and amending pleadings.

Civil Litigation, Environmental Law, Student Forum

Granting Lake Erie Environmental Rights: Will it work?

  • April 26, 2019
  • David McRobert and Bianca Salive

This article considers the recent bill of environmental rights that one city granted to Lake Erie. It examines the history of granting legal rights to nature, as well as arguments for and against. While reluctant to dismiss granting nature legal rights as largely a façade, the authors conclude that more complex regulatory solutions premised on cooperation between multiple stakeholders seem more likely to deliver a viable, long-term solution for the Lake.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Supreme Court of Canada Decision in Redwater: Early implications

  • March 30, 2019
  • Melanie Gaston, Janice Buckingham, Emily Paplawski

The decision in Redwater Energy Corporation (Re) may, for now, resolve the uncertainty regarding the end‐of‐life obligations owed by an AER licensee debtor in an insolvency proceeding. This article describes the likely consequences of the decision for the federal insolvency regime, energy industry, debt financing, and directors of oil and gas companies.

Environmental Law, Student Forum

Insolvency and Environmental Law Collide: Supreme Court of Canada rules in favour of Alberta energy regulator in Redwater decision

  • March 30, 2019
  • Tamara Farber and Sherry Kettle

The SCC’s decision in Orphan Well Association v. Grant Thornton Limited says there are end-of-life remedial obligations associated with a bankrupt’s non-productive wells that have to be addressed. These remedial obligations are a prioritization of the use of the bankrupt’s assets for compliance with its regulatory obligations to clean up under the terms of its licenses.This article provides an overview of the impact of the decision on insolvency professionals and secured creditors.

Environmental Law, Student Forum