Items filtered by date: May 2020

May 29, 2020

HALIFAX – Environmental groups applaud today’s landmark decision from the Nova Scotia Supreme Court stating that the Government of Nova Scotia must meet legal requirements to protect species at risk. These requirements include creating recovery plans for listed species and identifying species’ core habitat. 

In September 2019, East Coast Environmental Law, represented by Ecojustice lawyers, intervened in a judicial review of the Minister of Lands and Forestry’s failure to fulfill mandatory duties to protect at-risk species under Nova Scotia’s Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This was the first time the ESA had been interpreted by a court in Nova Scotia. 

Representatives from Ecojustice and East Coast Environmental Law made the following statements in response to the Court’s ruling:

Sarah McDonald, Ecojustice lawyer said:

“Today’s decision confirms that Nova Scotia’s ESA is the law, and not a set of vague or voluntary guidelines. The Minister is required to fulfill the law’s mandatory requirements to protect some of the province’s most vulnerable species. 

“This is a landmark victory for the province’s endangered species. The Court’s decision reinforces the fact that stopping biodiversity loss is urgent and important, and in order to do so the government must take seriously its duty to follow existing species protection laws.”

Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director of East Coast Environmental Law said:

“We are encouraged by the Court’s decision to hold the Minister accountable for the protection of Nova Scotia’s at-risk species. The Endangered Species Act was passed more than 20 years ago and the requirements in the Act represent the most basic steps to prevent the loss of species diversity in the province.  

“It is disappointing that this matter had to go to court, but, now that a decision has been handed down we look forward to compliance with the law and positive steps for species protection and recovery.” 

Background information:

  • In 2015, East Coast Environmental Law wrote a report on the province’s failures to protect endangered species.
  • In 2016, Nova Scotia’s Auditor General condemned the provincial government’s inaction and made five recommendations to improve.
  • In January 2019, East Coast Environmental Law updated and expanded their 2015 report.
  • In May 2020, an Auditor General’s report revealed that only one of the five recommendations from 2016 had been acted upon.


Ecojustice goes to court and uses the power of the law to defend nature, combat climate change, and fight for a healthy environment. Its strategic, innovative public interest lawsuits lead to legal precedents that deliver lasting solutions to Canada’s most urgent environmental problems. As Canada’s largest environmental law charity, Ecojustice operates offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Halifax.

East Coast Environmental Law responds to community inquiries, carries out legal and policy research and presents educational resources and opportunities to increase public awareness of environmental laws in Atlantic Canada. Our objective is to build capacity in the public and among legal practitioners so that we can work together to ensure that environmental laws are effectively used and strengthened.

For media inquiries:

Sean O’Shea, Communications specialist | Ecojustice
1-800-926-7744 ext.523, [email protected]

Lisa Mitchell, Executive director | East Coast Environmental Law
902-670-1113, [email protected]

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Published in News

May 26, 2020

Job Posting

Legal Researcher Summer Employment Positions

East Coast Environmental Law is an environmental law charity based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that engages in public-interest environmental law throughout Atlantic Canada. Our mission and vision reflect our desire for a future in which the just application of innovative and effective environmental laws provide Atlantic Canadians with clean and healthy environments for generations to come. The three pillars of our work are public legal education, collaboration, and legal action. 

East Coast Environmental Law is seeking to hire two law students or recent law school graduates to join our team as legal researchers from July 6th to August 31st, 2020.

The successful candidates’ primary responsibilities will be to:

  • conduct legal research by researching legislation, case law, and academic publications on selected environmental law topics;
  • engage in legal writing by preparing research summaries and memos for East Coast Environmental Law staff and drafting accessible materials intended for use in public legal education initiatives; and,
  • collaborate with East Coast Environmental Law staff to support project development and implementation.

Qualifications and Job Requirements: The Legal Researcher positions require legal research training. Applicants must be current law students or recent graduates of a law school program.

This position is funded through the Canada Summer Jobs program, and applicants must meet the program’s eligibility requirements. To be eligible for employment through the Canada Summer Jobs program, applicants must: be between 15 and 30 years of age (inclusive) at the start of employment; be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or person to whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for the duration of the employment; and, be legally entitled to work in Canada in accordance with relevant provincial or territorial legislation and regulations. International students are not eligible. 

In keeping with federal priority initiatives and in accordance with East Coast Environmental Law’s policies on equity, diversity, and inclusion in hiring, priority will be given to Indigenous applicants.

To apply, please send a cover letter and CV (combined into a single PDF document) to [email protected] Applications should be addressed to Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director and Senior Lawyer.

The application deadline is Friday, June 5th, at 5:00 PM.

Download a PDF copy of this job posting.

Published in News