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Items filtered by date: October 2019

October 30, 2019

As one of the Nova Scotia Legislature's last orders of business before it adjourned on October 30, 2019, the Legislature passed the Sustainable Development Goals Act (Bill 213).

The Sustainable Development Goals Act repeals and replaces Nova Scotia's Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act ("EGSPA") which became law in 2007. EGSPA included 21 environmental goals that included protecting 12% of Nova Scotia's lands by 2015 and ensuring that 40% of the province's energy needs came from renewable sources by 2020. The Sustainable Development Goals Act includes 4 goals that are all related to action on climate change.

The Act intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 53% below 2005 levels by 2030 and move the province to a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050.

Bill 213 was introduced and passed in just one week. Despite the fact that the Bill passed second reading at 8:00 pm on Thursday, October 24 and was in front of the Law Amendments Committee (the only opportunity for public comment) at 11:00 am on Monday morning, the Committee received more than 85 written submissions and almost 50 in-person presentations.

Many of the presentations articulated concern that the climate goals, although currently the strongest in Canada, will not be enough to truly address the climate crisis. Others expressed disappointment over the significantly reduced number of goals in the Act.

East Coast Environmental Law shares many of the concerns that were expressed at Law Amendments. You can find our brief submission to Law Amendments here, and a more detailed submission to the EGSPA review process here

Now that the Sustainable Development Goals Act is in place, we will work with our colleagues, communities, and others to encourage the Government of Nova Scotia to build on its commitments and develop a strong, forward-looking climate change strategy, along with further important environmental goals that we hope will be included in regulations under the Act.

The introduction of this Act is bittersweet, and we will continue to advocate for more from our political leaders. Nova Scotia may have set the highest bar within Canada, but it is clear that we must continue to reach higher.

Published in News

October 24, 2019

Yesterday, the Government of Nova Scotia introduced a Bill to replace Nova Scotia’s Environmental Goals and Sustainability Prosperity Act.

If it is passed, Bill 213—the proposed “Sustainable Development Goals Act”—will create the strongest legislated GHG emissions reduction targets in Canada.

The Bill calls for a reduction of 53% below Nova Scotia’s 2005 levels by 2030, and it sets a target of net zero emissions by 2030. It also calls for the development of a strategic plan that will chart an effective course for the work ahead.

East Coast Environmental Law works to support the development of strong and innovative environmental laws throughout Atlantic Canada. We submitted comments during the recent review of the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, and we look forward to reading Bill 213 very closely in the coming days.

Published in News

October 17, 2019

This October, East Coast Environmental Law staff lawyers delivered a free and open-to-the-public workshop on the new federal Impact Assessment Act, the provincial Environmental Assessment Regulations and the Regional Assessment process.

You can find the presentations from the workshop below.

Presentation 1: Introduction to Environmental Impact Assessment 

Presentation 2: Environmental Assessment Process: Understanding the Provincial Approach

Presentation 3: Federal Impact Assessment Act

Published in News

October 17, 2019

The East Coast Environmental blog consists of a wide variety of environmental topics. Some blogs maintain a legal focus, some take a more sociological approach, while others lend a scientific lens to the material that they explore. The depth and breadth of these blog posts showcases the variety of interests and perspectives found amoung the many dedicated individuals connected to East Coast Environmental Law.

This blog post, written by East Coast Environmental Law Board member Matt Poirier, is one of a series of posts that profiles our organization’s board members; exemplifying the dynamic group of visionaries that make up the East Coast Environmental Law team.


On Friday, September 27, 2019, joined by my colleagues, I had the opportunity to march with 500,000 others in Montreal’s climate strike. We marched to send a message: it is time to take climate change seriously. The youth-led movement has inspired millions and is prompting further discussion on how to pursue a clean energy transition.

I am fortunate to work in a job that supports this transition on a daily basis. At Dunsky Energy Consulting—a leading Canadian firm specializing in the design, support, and evaluation of leading climate change and energy initiatives across North America—we support our clients in accelerating the clean energy transition. Our team has extensive experience in assessing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions reduction opportunities in the areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and mobility. Within Canada, we have worked with governments and utilities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. In this job, I find it clear that more and more individuals are appreciating the work that lies ahead to successfully address climate change.

While technological solutions will help, broader change is needed to successfully mitigate climate change. This is why I am also proud to support East Coast Environmental Law. With the non-profit being one of the reasons I chose to study law in Halifax, I have been involved with the organization in one capacity or another for nearly a decade. Over this time, I have seen the organization push for commitments to be upheld, while pushing the envelope on new laws and regulations. As a Board member, I strive to enable our growing staff to support the creation of the innovative and effective environmental laws needed to maintain healthy environments in Atlantic Canada.

Earlier this year, East Coast Environmental Law delivered its first youth education project entitled, Youth to Youth: Law and the Environment. The project brought law students from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University together with high-school students at the King's Edgehill School in Windsor, Nova Scotia. Using experiential learning methods the law and high school students explored the realm of public interest environmental law. Youth to Youth connected young law students who are passionate about environmental law with high school youth just beginning to consider their career options. The program provided opportunities for transformative empowerment for youth grappling with the challenging and uncertain future that they face by creating greater awareness of the legal tools at their disposal. Such legal tools, if used, have the potential to be instrumental in addressing climate change and environmental injustice now and into the future.

East Coast Environmental Law’s meticulous work provides opportunities for the next generation of lawyers to sharpen their skills, while resetting the norms we all abide by in order to maintain a healthy environment.

If East Coast Environmental Law’s work appeals to you, I’d welcome you to join me and all of our Board members in donating to the organization in 2019.


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Mathieu Poirier, Board Member

Published in Blog

October 4, 2019

East Coast Environmental Law presents: 
Environmental Impact Assessment in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Public Legal Education Session

DATE: Saturday, October 5, 2019
TIME: 2:00PM - 5:00PM (Doors open at 1:45)
LOCATION: The Lantern, 35 Barnes Road St. John's, NL A1C 3X1

* Wheelchair accessible *

Join us for a free public legal education session on environmental impact assessment in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Staff lawyers from East Coast Environmental Law will present information and facilitate discussion on the new federal Impact Assessment Act, the provincial Environmental Assessment Regulations and the Regional Assessment process.

During this session, we will explore questions including:

• What are the different stages of an environmental assessment?
• What is the difference between a federal and provincial assessment?
• How are environmental assessment decisions made?
• How can members of the public participate in an environmental assessment?
• How will federal assessment change under the new law?

East Coast Environmental Law is an environmental law charity based in Nova Scotia and working on issues of concern to Atlantic Canadians. Our work is centered around ensuring environmental laws in Atlantic Canada are founded on responsible, transparent and inclusive decision-making. We encourage the development and fair application of innovative and effective environmental laws through: Public Education; Collaboration; and Legal Action.

Light refreshments will be served during the public legal education workshop.

This workshop session is sponsored in part by the Manolis L Citizen Response Committee.

Please RSVP to [email protected]

Published in News

October 4, 2019

When the Nova Scotia government opened up a public commentary period for Nova Scotia's Environmental Goals and Sustainability Act ("EGSPA"), East Coast Environmental Law went to work, carefully crafted a list of recomendations for a strong renewal of the Act.

East Coast Environmental Law welcomes the renewal of EGSPA. We believe that the initial creation of the Act in 2007 was a significant achievement that demonstrated the power of non-partisan collaboration by all of the political parties that were represented in the House of Assembly at that time. This type of cooperation between political parties is necessary once again in order to address some of Nova Scotia’s most pressing needs and—just as importantly—to imagine a future in which Nova Scotia would be an environmental leader within Canada and beyond.

Today, Nova Scotians need this forward-thinking law more than ever. The world is facing an unprecedented crisis that includes mass species extinction and the threat of climate chaos. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned us repeatedly that we must begin to transform our high-greenhouse-gas-emitting, fossil-fuel-burning societies within the next eleven years or severe climate consequences will be inevitable. Nova Scotians need an Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act that sets us on course for effective climate change mitigation and adaptation and that helps us to protect this beautiful province we call home.

Read our recommendations on the renewal of EGSPA here.

Published in News