It was a big week for new environmental lawsin Ontario. Last
week, on November 3, a trio of environmental laws–each of
which has suffered atortured history of introduction, death, and
re-incarnation– finally received royal assent and came into
effect:the Great Lakes Protection Act, 2015, Invasive Species Act,
2015, and the Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015.
Congratulations to the Wynn government.
As we have previously
blogged, the GLPA had already twice been introduced before
dying on the order paper. The Actaims to "protect and restore
the ecological health of the Great lakes-St.Lawrence River
Basin"and to "create opportunities" for stakeholder
participation. One of theGLPA's key features relates to the
development of "geographically-focused initiatives,"
which are designed to facilitate locally authored solutions for
some of the most pernicious issues plaguing the Great Lakes.
Various iterations of this Act have also
been introduced and died over the last several years. This Act
is the province's first concrete, legislative attempt to deal
with the issue of invasive species such as Asian Carp and
dog-strangling vine. It will apply to species designated by
regulation bythe Lieutenant Governor and, temporarily, to species
designated via ministerial order under certain circumstances. The
Act introducesprohibitions related to invasive species (such as
possession, deposit, and release), . It also sets up an exception
permitting regime for prohibited activities
The province has been under pressure for years to introduce
legislation aimed at curtailing the practice of "SLAPPs"
(strategic lawsuits against public participation), and finally it
has. SLAPPs have long been critiqued by environmental groups for
silencing public participation and public debate.
This Act bringsinto force amendments toCourts of Justice Act,
the Libel and Slander Act, and the Statutory Powers Procedure Act,
that are aimed at protecting expression on matters of public
interest. Dianne helped to lead Ontario Bar Association support for
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