Category: Environmental

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Ontario Announces Five-Year Climate Change Action Plan

June 10, 2016

On June 8, 2016, the Ontario government (Government) released a five-year Climate Change Action Plan (Action Plan), which builds on the Government’s Climate Change Strategy released in November 2015, that set the long-term vision for meeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. The Action Plan outlines the key actions the Government will take to combat climate change at a cost…

Ontario Announces Significant Climate Change, Cap-and-Trade, GHG Emissions Legislative Developments

May 30, 2016

 On May 18, 2016, the Ontario government (Government) passed the Climate Change Mitigation and Low-carbon Economy Act, 2016 (Act). The Government says that the Act’s objective is to make the province accountable for transparently investing proceeds from the cap-and-trade program into actions that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, create jobs and help people and businesses shift to a low-carbon economy….

B.C. Increases Potential Fines, Adds Administrative Penalties for Mining Law Violations

May 24, 2016

Since the 2014 Mount Polley tailings dam breach, the British Columbia government has made numerous changes to its mining regulatory regime. The most recent amendments, some of which came into force late last week, significantly increased the penalties that may be imposed for violation of the Mines Act (Act). The changes heighten the potential exposure of mining companies and their…

Viewpoint: The Great Debate, Part II: More People Appointed to Review Proposed Trans Mountain Expansion Project

May 19, 2016

In January 2016, I wrote an article about the commencement of the new federal government’s promised review of its environmental assessment process. Given that the existing process has been an issue that has seriously divided Canadians — and is of clear national importance — a review seemed timely. Then, nothing happened.  On May 17, 2016, the Minister of Natural Resources (Minister)…

B.C. Proposes to Significantly Broaden Requirements for Spill Reporting and Response

April 26, 2016

The British Columbia government is seeking further input on its proposed new regime for spill reporting, preparedness and response through the release of an intentions paper on April 5, 2016 and an open comment period until June 30, 2016. The proposed program is the government’s response to concerns around the potential impacts of spills from the two major oil pipelines…

Alberta Budget 2016: Climate Leadership Plan Implementation

April 21, 2016

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan (Plan) was released on November 22, 2015. The Plan represented a dramatic and fundamental shift in Alberta’s approach to climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) issues, including to achieve the government’s stated objective of gaining support and “social licence” for the pipeline takeaway capacity needed to support Alberta’s oil and gas production and export industries. With…

Quebec’s Energy Policy: Ambitious Energy Goals for 2030

April 11, 2016

After extensive public consultations, the Government of Quebec announced Quebec’s energy policy for 2016–2030 (Policy) on April 7, 2016. By focusing on energy efficiency, innovation and renewable energy, the Policy aims to transition towards a low-carbon economy that will help fight climate change. Environmental organizations, businesses and First Nations thus far seem to be in favour of the Policy. The…

Species at Risk Putting Wind Projects at Risk

March 11, 2016

Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal (ERT) has allowed another wind project Renewable Energy Approval (REA) appeal on the basis of environmental concerns. In doing so, it has made findings on the statutory test of “serious and irreversible harm to animal life or the natural environment” with respect to species at risk that could have significant impacts on future renewable energy projects….

B.C. Enters New Era of Water Regulation as Water Sustainability Act Is Brought into Force

March 10, 2016

Nearly two years after passing the Water Sustainability Act (WSA), the province of British Columbia has quietly brought it into force through the registration of five new regulations. Together, these implement a new regime that expands the authority of the province to take action on water use, management and conservation. For more information on what has effectively been a six-year…

Legal Trends 2016: Oil & Gas

March 9, 2016

ONE | LOW COMMODITY PRICES As depressed oil prices continue to dominate the headlines and natural-gas prices hover near record lows, sustained low commodity prices have had a cascading effect on the industry, compelling companies to fundamentally alter their business strategies. Cash-flow management is among the areas most impacted. Without a steady income stream, companies are left with few options….

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