A number of interesting environmental law decisions were released in 2015. Among the highlights were:

  • A British Columbia Court of Appeal decision holding that comfort letters issued by the Ministry of Environment prior to the current contaminated sites regime coming into force cannot be relied on to limit or avoid liability for remediation costs
  • A British Columbia Supreme Court decision calling into question long-held assumptions about the recoverability of future remediation costs
  • Several judicial reviews involving major infrastructure projects
  • A Supreme Court of Canada decision affirming that Canadian courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate recognition and enforcement actions relating to foreign environmental claims

On the legislative front:

  • The provincial government promulgated the regulations necessary to implement the Greenhouse Industrial and Control Act, which came into effect on January 1, 2016
  • The provincial government published several papers explaining the policies that will inform the regulations necessary to implement the Water Sustainability Act
  • Changes were made to the Environmental Management Act, to bring the operation of the Environmental Appeal Board in line with the changes caused by the Administrative Tribunal Statues Amendment Act.

Federally, changes to the regulation under the Fisheries Act:

  • Increased coherence between federal and provincial aquaculture
  • Updated licensing requirements for Pacific aquaculture
  • Updated the regulation of invasive species

Changed how the seal hunt can be observed

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