Monday, March 12, 2007

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: GENERAL - Environmental Disclosure and Transparency in Public Company Disclosure Documents - January 17, 2007

by Anne-Marie Sheahan of McCarthy Tétrault

"Although it has still not been convincingly demonstrated that good environmental and social practices create value for shareholders, it is clear that bad ones can destroy it."

George Dallas, Standard & Poor’s

Over the past 15 years, public companies have disclosed environmental liabilities in their financial statements. These companies have disseminated information about their environmental performance and risk factors in their annual reports and MD&A reports. As well, non-financial reports relating to their social and environmental performance are no longer exceptional.

More Info...

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: AMENDMENTS - Odours Are Public Nuisance: Newmarket Gets Injunction - 2006

by Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

On September 29 the Town of Newmarket won a significant legal judgment to eliminate composting odours that had distressed workers and residents for two years. Ontario Superior Court Justice Bryant found that the defendant company, Halton Recycling, had caused a public nuisance by emitting odours that caused extensive disturbance for its neighbours. Justice Bryant ordered Halton Recycling to shut down its operations if it fails to carry out its proposed plan to eliminate off-site odours within 90 days. The shut-down order would last for nine months.

More Info...

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: AMENDMENTS - Ontario MOE proposes Brownfields Changes - 2006

by Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

Would limit “reopeners”, civil liability for municipalities, but no protection from civil claims for property owners.

After extensive stakeholder consultation, the MOE is finally proposing amendments to its Brownfields laws and regulations.

Some proposed changes, including clarification of various “reopener” provisions will be welcomed by property owners and developers. Municipalities will gain civil immunity for issuing building permits based on incorrect RSCs.

Many stakeholders will be disappointed that nothing has been done to limit exposure of property owners to civil lawsuits. Also controversial is the proposal to eliminate horizontal severances – a legal technique that appears to offer potential to encourage lenders to finance Brownfields projects.

More Info...

WATER QUALITY - The Amended Clean Water Act: Key Changes
- November 14, 2006

by Joanna Rosengarten , Douglas R. Thomson of McCarthy Tétrault

On October 20th, 2006, we reported in a McCarthy Tétrault E-alert that the Clean Water Act had been passed by the Legislature. The Act has received Royal Assent and, accordingly, is now law. However, regulations are still needed to implement the source water protection scheme contemplated by the Act.

The Clean Water Act was introduced as Bill 43 on December 5, 2005. The Act requires municipalities and conservation authorities to work together to map drinking water sources and to develop plans to protect these sources. Prior to passage by the Legislature, the Act underwent a number of amendments. This article outlines a few of the most significant changes made to the Clean Water Act since its inception in draft form.

More Info...

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: COMPLIANCE & OFFENCES - Contaminated Site Update: Innocent Purchaser Responsible, Gasoline Manufacturer Not - December 13, 2006

by Nicholas R. Hughes of McCarthy Tétrault

In Gehring et al v. Chevron Canada Limited et al, 2006 BCSC 1639, the Supreme Court of British Columbia embarked upon its first comprehensive allocation of responsibility among "responsible persons" for contaminated site clean up costs under the B.C. Environment Management Act (the "Act"). In the course of doing so, it allocated liability as follows: 50% to past owners and operators of a gas bar and their directors; 50% to the owners of the property after contaminating activities had ceased; and 0% to the manufacturer of the gasoline sold at the site. More Info...

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW: AMENDMENTS - Mining: Civil Immunity for “Good Samaritan” Mine Rehabilitation - 2006

by Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has posted a proposal to amend the Mining Act to protect mining companies participating in voluntary rehabilitation of Crown-held abandoned mines. This would apply so long as the volunteers did not cause the historic “hazard".

More Info...

CLIMATE CHANGE - Special Report on Canada's Clean Air Act 2006 - November 2006

by Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

This summary of the Clean Air Act (Bill C-30) summarizes the framework proposed by the government and provides a clause-by-clause analysis of the proposed changes to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. More Info...