law

New Biodiversity Treaty in effect this week

Fair sharing of biodiversity: The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, under the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity (CBD), enters into force this week. The Protocol is an international environmental agreement intended to ensure that those, who share access to genetic resources and associated traditional…

As minimum fines get higher, is there a work-around?

As minimum fines on multiple charges lead to increasingly unfair results, defence counsel, and occasionally judges, are looking for ways to reconcile the law with what they consider to be just results. Earlier this year, the Ontario Court of Appeal slammed the door shut on two such ideas: credit for compliance with regulatory orders, and concurrent…

First “climate refugee” case going to appeal in New Zealand

ON 1ST MAY 2014, the New Zealand Court of Appeal will hear Ioane Teitiota’s claim to become the world’s first climate refugee. Mr. Teitota is from a remote atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati, one of the lowest-lying nations on Earth. He is trying to convince New Zealand judges that he’s a refugee—suffering not from persecution, but…

Waste Diversion groups can sit uncomfortably with the Competition Act

The industry funding organizations used to provide, or to fund, waste diversion can have anti-competitive effects. There is a natural tendency for large companies with market power to use that power to design waste diversion programs and organizations in their own interest and to create obstacles for their competitors. The curious mixture of public and…

Supreme Court: Honest efforts to understand the law are not enough

The Supreme Court of Canada has made compliance with ambiguous regulations tougher than ever, by ruling that honest efforts to understand the law (however confusing) are not enough. In La Souveraine, Compagnie d’assurance générale v. Autorité des marchés financiers, Sovereign General (SG) was an Alberta insurance company registered with the Quebec Autorité des marchés financiers (“AMF”)…

Ecojustice asks Commissioner to improve contaminated sites law

The farther we move away from the “polluter pay” principle, the greater the disarray in Ontario’s contaminated sites law and policy, and the greater its economic and environmental harm. The Ontario Bar Association is working on a submission to the Law Commission of Ontario, asking them to look into the issue and make recommendations for…

Tribunal cracks down on non-expert anti-wind “experts”

Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal approved another wind farm on December 24, 2013, in Bovaird v. Director, Ministry of the Environment. In addition to rejecting the Charter argument, described earlier this week, Bovaird was notable for a slightly tougher approach to witnesses who propose “expert” anti-wind evidence in areas beyond their expertise.

Institute of Corporate Directors Webinar on No-fault Director’s Liability

Many of you will be attending the Institute of Corporate Directors‘  very popular webinar this Thursday, on the Ministry of the Environment’s campaign to impose no-fault environmental liability on corporate officers and directors. I will be one of the presenters, together with Neil Baker of Baker v. Director, and Brian Rosenbaum of Aon. The ICD  will…

Bill 83: Anti SLAPP law at last

Ontario is finally introducing an anti SLAPP law later today, the Public Participation Act, 2013. We worked hard to reach this result, through the Ontario Bar Association, and in cooperation with other stakeholders. Lets hope it is acceptable to the NDP and will be passed with their support.

Who has seen the spin? Wind opponents wrong about Fairview Wind decision

This decision opens no new door to legal claims against wind farms, nor does it bolster the acceptance of the wind opponents’ “evidence” in the courts.

Why the Supreme Court decision in AbitibiBowater won’t work

We have written several times about the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in AbitibiBowater v. Newfoundland, in which insolvency law trumped environmental orders. Today, we want to tell you more about the rule the court laid down, and why it is likely to have perverse consequences. In short, the Supreme Court ruled that environmental orders can…