Strategic Interaction with Climate and Compliance Issues
As Canadians become increasingly attentive to the impacts of human activity on the climate and seek to hold offenders accountable, environmental regulations, laws, and administrative procedures have become increasingly complex.
Our integrated team of lawyers draw on each other’s expertise to assist our clients in navigating a variety of environmental issues, including:
- Environmental protection
- Environmental assessment and impact benefits agreements
- Environmental management
- Land use planning
- Forestry management
- Fish protection
- Climate change
We have considerable experience working within the environmental regulatory processes of all levels of governments including those established under the Impact Assessment Act (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), the BC Environmental Assessment Act, the federal Fisheries Act, the BC Fish Protection Act, the BC Environmental Management Act, and the BC Land Act.
We represent a diversity of clients, including First Nations, environmental organizations and campaigners, and private citizens in the pursuit of environmental protection for the air, lands, and waters that we value. Our representation of organizations and individuals includes holding government and industry to high environmental standards in areas such as mining, pipeline development, and water diversions.
We have acted on claims regarding:
- The cumulative impact of industrial development on the environment as an infringement on Aboriginal rights
- Toxic spills on Indigenous lands and waterways
- Diversion of water from a major river in First Nations territory and the subsequent environmental harm
- Successful stoppage of a commercial herring fishery that threatened the long-term viability of the stock
Environmental assessments are conducted to ensure that any potential environmental, economic, social, cultural, and health effects that may result from a major project are thoroughly assessed.
We regularly assist clients with:
- Developing and implementing internal First Nations environmental and Aboriginal impact assessments
- Advising on third-party regulators’ environmental impact assessments of projects on First Nations lands
- Securing various mitigation and accommodation measures with respect to Aboriginal and treaty rights
- Advocacy related to changes to environmental legislation, including the Impact Assessment Act
- Representing clients on consultation processes and impact benefit agreements
Environmental management programs help to identify factors leading to the degradation of air, water, and land, and work to mitigate the impact of human activity on the climate, including outlining enforcement provisions. In general, environmental management encompasses hazardous and municipal waste disposal, spill response and recovery, air quality and emissions, and the identification and handling of contaminated sites.
Our experience in this area includes:
- Drafting of internal environmental management laws for First Nations
- Assisting with land use planning and creation of land codes with provisions for environmental protection
- Advising on enforcement policies with respect to the application of environmental management practices and laws
- Counseling on managing contamination and enforcing clean-up of contaminated sites on First Nations lands caused by third parties