Environmental & Aboriginal Law

The rights of First Nations & Métis in terms of the Crown’s duty to consult, and legislation and jurisprudence relating to the environment in the aboriginal law context and otherwise

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Rising municipality charges stalling efforts to develop green buildings in Canada

The Hastings-Quinte Social Services committee announced Wednesday that five retirement complex buildings in Belleville will have solar panels installed on their rooftops, like here at The Prince William building. PHOTO BY POSTMEDIA FILES By Julius Melnitzer | September 8, 2021 Rising development charges and insufficient incentives are stifling some major municipalities’ efforts to encourage developers […]

Ottawa’s Muskrat Falls bailout triggers First Nations lawsuit

Given the number of natural resource projects that have Indigenous support, this type of litigation could become more frequent A pair of disputes in Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta relating to resource projects on Indigenous territory, suggests that federal and provincial governments still don’t get it when it comes to their well-established duty to consult […]

Shell-shocked: Could a Dutch court’s ruling on Shell’s emissions encourage similar cases in Canada?

‘It’s a decision that’s worth paying attention to, and that people are talking about’ By Julius Melnitzer | August 11, 2021 If there’s any doubt about the extent to which societal and legal expectations regarding climate change are evolving, a Netherlands court’s ruling ordering Royal Dutch Shell Plc. to reduce the CO2 emissions of its 1,100 companies […]

B.C. court ruling could mean First Nations consent needed for any new project on historic treaty lands

Ruling dramatically lowers the bar for First Nations to demonstrate their treaty rights have been infringed By Julius Melnitzer | July 28, 2021 A British Columbia Supreme Court decision requiring the provincial government to consider the “cumulative effects” of development could mandate First Nations’ consent for any new project on historic treaty lands in Canada. […]

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BARE BONES BRIEFS: FC dismisses murdered Indigenous women’s class action, certifies class for feds’ negligence to Indigenous in custody | Divisional Court dismisses ‘intrusion upon seclusion’ class action against Equifax | Lawyers fined $33,500 for missing fraud at firm | ICC touts arbitration as part of international minimum tax framework | Best of: law firm bulletins

By Julius Melnitzer | June 25, 2021 MIXED RESULTS IN INDIGENOUS CLASS ACTIONS Indigenous class actions seeking to impose liability for mistreatment on governments and police have achieved mixed results. On June 23, the Federal Court certified a class consisting of Aboriginal persons assaulted by the RCMP while in custody in the Northwest Territories. The […]

Bill C-12: Why the Green Party and environmental groups are against Ottawa’s net-zero climate bill

By Julius Melnitzer | June 16, 2021 Make no mistake about it: Bill C-12, the federal legislation designed to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is nothing more than a top-down mandate focused on making net zero emissions commitment the obligation of the federal government. “What Bill C-12 doesn’t tell us is how the federal government […]

New insolvency rules help energy companies carve out their environmentally-compromised assets

By Julius Melnitzer | May 26, 2021 Following their formal recognition by the Quebec Superior Court and British Columbia Supreme Court, reverse vesting orders (RVO) are poised to become extremely valuable tools in insolvency and restructuring proceedings  — for the energy sector in particular. Historically, courts have used standard vesting orders to transfer purchased assets […]

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BARE BONES BRIEFS: OCA hammers experts again | Federal Court: duty to consult is double-edged sword | DLA Piper teams with Women+Power | Social impact law firm NOVAlex expands | Can’t-miss: law firm webinars & bulletins

By Julius Melnitzer | May 4, 2021 Another expert breaches duty of impartiality The Ontario Court of Appeal (OCA) has ruled that a doctor called as an expert defence witness in a malpractice case breached his duty to be independent by opining on the credibility and reliability of lay and expert witnesses. “It is clear […]

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Is Trudeau’s support for UNDRIP a meaningless ploy?

December 9, 2020 | By Julius Melnitzer The Liberal government’s introduction of legislation implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is nothing more than fluff: it’s unworkable and gives our Aboriginal neighbours false hope about its potential. Why is it that after 150 years of persecuting our Aboriginal neighbours, we […]

EU environmentalists score big access to justice win

November 7, 2020 | By Julius Melnitzer The European Commission (EC) has finally moved towards meaningful rights for environmentalists to challenge administrative decisions. In theory, non-governmental organizations(NGOs) have had that right since the European Union (EU) signed the United Nations-backed Aarhus Convention, which came into force in 2001. The Convention now has 47 states as […]

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