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Natural Resources

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Thursday, November 24, 2016 @ 07:00 PM

Natural Resources Law - Public utilities - Regulatory tribunals - Appeals - Provincial boards, tribunals and commissions -

Application by the Office of the Utilities Consumer Advocate of Alberta for permission to appeal two decisions by the Alberta Utilities Commission. In 2004, FortisAlberta (Fortis) acquired lands for construction of a proposed centralized inventory facility. In 2015, Fortis reviewed its plans and decided the lands were not required, as a decentralized approach was more desirable. Fortis accordingly requested the Commission’s consent to disposition of the property. The Commission concluded the lands were no longer required by Fortis, and that customers would not suffer a rate or service impact by the proposed disposition. The Commission determined that the lands would remain in the determination of the rate base until rebasing in 2017. The applicant took issue with the timing of the land’s removal from Fortis’s rate base, alleging removal should have occurred in 2011. The applicant sought permission to appeal the Commission’s approval of the proposed disposition and a second review and variance ruling that upheld the approval decision. ... [read more]

Thursday, November 24, 2016 @ 07:00 PM

No changes planned for two way costs rule despite pleas from groups

Despite pleas from environmental groups, the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal won’t replace the usual loser pay costs rule by a new rule that would presumptively insulate unsuccessful public interest litigants from having to pay the legal costs of respondent governments and third parties. ... [read more]

Thursday, October 20, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Political heat over federal greenhouse gas plan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau caught provincial environment ministers off guard when he announced a federal plan that will put a national price on greenhouse gas emissions. The controversial move fulfils a promise the Liberals made during the 2015 federal election, but has also launched a political firestorm. ... [read more]

Thursday, October 06, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

A call to action

With the publication of Ontario’s first comprehensive action plan on climate change, there are some indications in the press that we are moving from sound bite commentary to a more detailed, productive consideration of how to decarbonize Ontario.  ... [read more]

Thursday, October 06, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Case highlights value of environmental consultant

Included as part of the agreed statement of facts in Dobara Properties Ltd. v. Arnone et al 2016 ONSC 3599, were certain assumptions relating to the scope of diligence and reporting obligations in commercial real estate transactions. Although the decision on the main question in the case related to appropriate damages in the event of solicitor negligence, the agreed statement of facts has created concern that the courts have increasingly high expectations of diligence on small commercial real estate transactions. ... [read more]

Thursday, October 06, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Environmental Law - Environmental assessments - Canadian Environmental Assessment Act - Federal-provincial coordination and cooperation - Panel hearings - Screening report - Provincial environmental assessment

Appeal by the Peace Valley Landowner Association from a judicial review judgment in respect of an environmental assessment certificate. BC Hydro was the proponent of the Site C hydroelectric project, involving the construction of a massive earth-fill dam on the Peace River. The project was of an unprecedented magnitude. It required an environmental assessment certificate (EAC) under provincial and federal legislation applied pursuant to a joint review process. Following submissions and a hearing, a governmental joint review panel produced a report including 50 recommendations, some of which were related to issuance of an EAC, and some of which were unrelated. The Executive Director of the Environmental Assessment Office responded to the recommendations, stating that, among other things, four of the recommendations at issue were outside of the scope of the panel’s mandate, and could not become conditions of an EAC. The panel’s report and the Director’s response were submitted to the Ministers. The Ministers subsequently issued an EAC that included several conditions, but did not address the four recommendations at issue. The appellant, an opponent of the project, sought judicial review of the issuance of the EAC based on the Ministers’ failure to consider the recommendations. The reviewing court found no basis for intervention, as there was no indication the recommendations were ignored, and the recommendations were not capable of being incorporated into the EAC as conditions. The Association appealed. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 29, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Picking the right legal platform

Running a business, whether large or small, whether legal or not, requires a constantly expanding tech stack just to keep the lights on and the wheels humming. But it’s often the additional tech stack required for running a legal business that can cause us the most angst. Legal technology can be a competitive advantage and a brand differentiator — making it increasingly relevant in today’s “new normal,” and therefore increasingly important to get right. But it’s also essentially decision-making in the midst of an information flood. The more choices we have, the more that analysis-paralysis sets in. ... [read more]

Thursday, September 22, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Natural Resources Law - Fishing - Offences and penalties

Motion by Ontario Corporation 1796926, carrying on business as Ontario Outdoor Recreational Alliance (OntORA), for leave to appeal from a decision dismissing its appeal from convictions for offences of occupying or using public lands or a road in contravention of a notice given, contrary to s. 28(3) of the Public Lands Act (PLA), and trespass to a property for the purpose of fishing, contrary to s. 10(1)(a) of the Fish and Wildlife Conversation Act. OntORA members, traveling primarily on ATVs, used a road/trail to access Oswald Lake and “symbolically” fish where Ministry signs were posted prohibiting the use of vehicles to access the lake. The Justice of the Peace found the portion of the road/trail that OntORA had used to access the lake was no longer a road but, in fact, a trail. He found, given the berm preventing vehicular access and the growth of natural vegetation, that the trail/road could no longer be considered a road at the time of the offences. OntORA sought to argue that the Justice of the Peace erred in finding that the road/trail was not a road and that the Ministry could close the road or limit the public’s right of access to the road. ... [read more]

Thursday, August 25, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Hatt sees group legacy as a greener world

It was one of the most significant battles for the environment ever heard at the Supreme Court of Canada, pitting the quaint, Quebec town of Hudson against two large lawn care companies, ChemLawn (now TruGreen) and Spraytech. At the forefront of 114957 Canada Ltée (Spraytech, Société d’arrosage) v. Hudson (Town) 2001 SCC 40 was Ecojustice, the only national non-profit group in Canada that uses litigation in an effort to protect the environment. ... [read more]

Thursday, August 18, 2016 @ 08:00 PM

Too much power to the people

Enshrined in the preamble of the Charter, the rule of law is a cornerstone of our legal system, providing that all citizens, including government officials, are governed by the same laws. ... [read more]