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

In the push to net-zero, Scope 3 emissions are increasingly on the radar. Here’s why they put companies in a tricky spot

By Julius Melnitzer | March 29, 2022 Pressure to pursue climate-change strategies that address Scope 3 emissions — those generated not through operations but across the value chain — is mounting on Canadian companies, despite challenges posed by a lack of regulatory guidance and the breadth of the category itself. “Investors’ focus is gradually shifting […]

B.C. Supreme Court ruling on First Nations’ infringement rights to ‘open up broad range of remedies’

The court found that Rio Tinto had ‘significantly impaired’ the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations’ historical fishing rights By Julius Melnitzer | January 26, 2022 The British Columbia Supreme Court has opened up yet another avenue for First Nations seeking redress against project developers for infringement of their Aboriginal rights and title. “While litigation has […]

Ottawa’s last-minute interventions in energy projects eroding Canadian regulators’ independence

By Julius Melnitzer | December 22, 2021 Uncertainty about who ultimately makes energy decisions and how they are made is among the largest stumbling blocks to Canada’s chances of achieving net zero by 2050, according to a recent study from the University of Ottawa’s Positive Energy group. “The road to net zero requires an unprecedented […]

AltaLink ruling underscores Crown’s duty to consider Indigenous groups’ economic interests when making decisions

The ruling can be a roadmap for a win-win relationship with First Nations By Julius Melnitzer | November 30, 2021 Resource developers are welcoming an Alberta Court of Appeal ruling in October requiring the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC) to address Indigenous groups’ economic interests in its decisions. The ruling followed on an appeal by AltaLink […]

Manitoba vs Ottawa: Why the province lost its legal challenge against the federal carbon tax

The ruling leaves provinces with little wiggle room in opposing such measures going forward By Julius Melnitzer | November 3, 2021 A recent Federal Court ruling validating the federal government’s fuel charge backstop on Manitoba because the province’s own carbon pricing regime was not “stringent” enough leaves provinces with little wiggle room in opposing such […]

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BARE BONES BRIEFS: Pandemic spurs unprecedented satisfaction with lawyers | Non-humans can be patent ‘inventors’ | SCC revisits statutory interpretation? | EU declares open season for environmental challenges | Best of: law firm webinars & bulletins

By Julius Melnitzer | October 29, 2021 CLIENT SATISFACTION WITH LAWYERS PEAKS DURING PANDEMIC A UK survey suggests the inability to meet lawyers in person has, at the very least, not diminished clients’ satisfaction with their services. Indeed, according to the Law Society Gazette, satisfaction levels reached an all-time high during the pandemic. The Legal […]

Why Canadian companies are preparing for a wave of ESG cases coming their way

By Julius Melnitzer | October 25, 2021 By all accounts, environmental, social and governance (ESG) litigation will soon be flooding Canada’s courts. The international trend, after all, is undeniable: according to the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, more than 1,385 lawsuits seeking relief from climate change, which is but one […]

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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 […]

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