5 min read
22 Jan
The Environment


Constitutional jurisdiction concerning environmental law is split between the federal and provincial governments, and on many initiatives, there are cooperative efforts and complimentary statutes.

Indeed, so many aspects of environmental concern do not stop at any intra-national or international border.

Global warming is indeed a global problem that will require a global effort.

The world will not be able to achieve many of its goals without the participation of the large polluters like India and China. The USA is also a huge polluter - second largest CO2 polluter after China.

Environmental concerns vary from fish and wildlife to ecosystems in the wetlands to the effects of plastics dumped into the ocean.

The following principle seems to be universal: laws are enacted to ensure that polluters pay for their misdeeds and accidental spills.

Carbon emissions (from dirty industries and other sources) build a dome of gas that surrounds the globe, heats the earth, melts glaciers, and causes flooding and severe destructive weather conditions.

Governments have devised various schemes to curb emissions. These include putting a tax on emitters, establishing an emissions trading scheme, helping businesses finance investments in greener technologies, making public transit greener, encouraging public transportation, enabling consumers to monitor consumption, and assisting businesses and homeowners to convert to greener technologies.


Caution: Legal information is not legal advice. This blog merely provides a general guide to the subject matter. New and interesting information will be periodically added on this topic. Copyrighted.

Check our alternate site as well for possible introductory or contextual general information on the ENVIRONMENT: https://www.fera-gasparini.ca/

What are biodiversity offsets? It is helpful if these additional questions are answered first: What is an ecosystem? What is biodiversity? In a specific place or environment, living and non-living things are interconnected to create a sustaining community. This is called an ecosystem. This is likely a natural environment, but it can be man-made. A self-sustaining aquarium is an example of an ecosystem in which everything in the aquarium support each other. Biodiversity is a term that refers to a variety of ecosystems and other living things. Indeed, the variety of life on earth in various habitats and ecosystem is biodiversity.

Major developments interfere with, curtail, or extinguish parts of our biodiversity. Some projects should not proceed or be placed elsewhere. Where development does occur, efforts need to be made to minimize disturbance of existing biodiversity, and rehabilitation of the site should occur after construction is complete. Where restoration is inadequate to bring the habitat to where it was, biodiversity offsets must be implemented. This may involve establishing a new location to equal or improve upon the ecosystem that was lost because of the development. (This is generalized information.)

Do we have a right to a healthy environment? 

What is CEPA? 

How does the federal government protect the environment? 

The answers to all of those questions can be answered summarily in a short paragraph. The Government of Canada has used the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) to, among of things, eliminate microbeads from things like toothpaste and cosmetics, have the BPH industrial chemical eliminated in the manufacture of baby bottles and imposed a ban on asbestos which causes irreversible damage to the lungs including mesothelioma cancer. Amendments to the statute (2023) will create the right to a healthy environment and require government involvement to protect that right.

Look to the book Canadian Law and Business Studies for a complete chapter on the Environment. Look inside that book for free by going to https://bit.ly/3Ay0lSR

COP 27 – United Nations Convention on Climate Change

  • In November of 2022, numerous world leaders gathered in an eastern coastal city in Egypt for the 27th Conference of UN members on climate change – COP27.
  • The goal of financing climate action in developing countries was again emphasized.
  • And COP27 renewed its commitment to the Paris Agreement (reached at COP21), namely, to limit the global temperature increase in this century to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Must greenhouse gas emissions be reported? Yes, federal and provincial laws set limits and emissions – say, 10,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent or more per year – must be reported to an agency or Ministry. Such information helps determine policies, set guidelines and assess the condition of the environment. 

We encourage you to visit us at our alternate website: https://www.fera-gasparini.ca/ and also to have a quick look inside our great new book on 

Canadian Law and Business Studies: https://bit.ly/3Ay0lSR.

This book contains a full chapter on "Environmental Law"

What is seabed mining? It occurs close to shore or deep below the high seas. The goal is to extract minerals on the surface of the ocean floor or below it. Robots may be involved in the extraction process. The mineral is sometimes oil (petroleum). That is what the Deepwater Horizon project was involved in. A disaster put an end to that project, but since then, offshore drilling has continued.

Seabed mining, overfishing and climate change with a resulting change in the water temperature affecting organisms in the sea are enemies of maintaining ocean biodiversity. In 2023, many nations under the auspices of the United Nations agreed to create a body to manage and sustain marine resources on the high seas (outside of their own boundaries).

Regard all information on our websites as generalized information. Our book contains a full chapter on the environment.

WHAT IS CAP AND TRADE?  It is a government program designed to limit greenhouse gas emissions by industry. It works somewhat like this. Permits allow for an amount of emissions and emitters exceeding their permit limit are taxed.  An emitter who does not emit the full amount of his permitted "quota" may "sell" the unused portion. But each year the government can reduce the total amount of emissions it will allow which in turn limits permitted use for each business with a permit. The program is there to incentivize emitters to invest in greener technologies or face increased cost in seeking and buying permits. Ontario used to have a cap-and-trade scheme in place but no longer has. Some states in the United states and the province of Quebec are among those that maintain such a program. In terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, Quebec's scheme is considered equivalent to the federal government's carbon tax (which taxes carbon fuels and provides a government rebate to consumers).

Check our alternate site as well for possible introductory or contextual information on the ENVIRONMENT: https://www.fera-gasparini.ca/.

What is greenwashing? With more and more people becoming environmentally conscious, businesses wish to show their contribution to conservation, sound renewable practices, and environmentally friendly activity. Some companies will exaggerate, and some will absolutely mislead. A container shown to have 50% more recyclable material is commendable but not if the original container only contained 2%. Here the company is greenwashing its container and itself - trying to show it is doing more than it is on the environmental front. Greenwashing (deception) is aimed at consumers and at those who are looking to invest in a company that is aware, forward thinking, and sustainable. This is part of ESG. What is ESG? (Indeed, investors today are looking to put there money in companies that emphasize ESG – environmental, social, and corporate governance. With a view to creating a better world and be socially responsible, a company makes decisions based on good environmental, social, and internal governance practices. A company or other organization with a strong ESG ethos strives to benefit or generate value for consumers, employees, suppliers and investors without sacrificing its own viability and, indeed, likely ensuring its sustainability. (These are simplified general explanations.)

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