As part of our mission to build environmental law capacity throughout Atlantic Canada, East Coast Environmental Law engages in partnerships and collaboration with public interest organizations and community groups throughout the Atlantic region.

These partnerships create welcome opportunities for reciprocal support and collaborative action. As Atlantic Canada's only environmental law charity with a mandate for public legal education and the provision of accessible legal information about environmental law, ECELAW is uniquely positioned to provide legal research services to others throughout the Atlantic region who wish to engage in informed, strategic advocacy for environmental law enforcement and reform.

If your organization or group would like to discuss a partnership or collaboration with East Coast Environmental Law, please contact us at [email protected]

p: 902-494-7121
e: [email protected]

6061 University Avenue
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Canada B3H 4R2

If you would like to submit a legal inquiry, click here.

Check back soon to learn more about East Coast Environmental Law's strategic plan for 2019-2022!

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2017 Board Members 

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Brian Hebert


Phillip Saunders

Vice Chair

Mathieu Poirier


Dawn Madic


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Michael Boyd

Board Member

Nicole Cameron

Board Member

Heather Hill

Board Member

Julia Pelton

Board Member

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Bakes Mitchell

Board Member

Rosalie Francis

Board Member

Lil MacPherson

Board Member

Erin Burbidge

Board Member

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 Sara Seck

Board Member

Craig Beare

Board Member

Tricia Barry

Board Member




ER Action Banner

On April 21st, 2017, on the eve of Earth Day, citizens packed into the Wooden Monkey in Halifax, Nova Scotia for the public release of a proposed non-partisan Environmental Bill of Rights for Nova Scotia. The Bill, developed by the Nova Scotia Environmental Rights Working Group (NSERWG), endeavours to give everyone in the province legal access to a healthy environment. Similar laws exist in other provinces, but this is the first time a proposed EBR recognizes the unique concerns of traditionally marginalized or vulnerable residents.

Nova Scotians are often left in the lurch when it comes to industrial pollution and other environmental degradation impacting their communities. Without a legal right to a healthy environment, community members find their concerns falling on deaf ears. This is where you come in.


We are asking citizens from across Nova Scotia to demand the right to a healthy environment be enshrined in and protected by law. In the section below, you will find all the resources you need to send an email to your local MLA candidate, as well as the party leaders for the Liberals, PC's and NDP's. You can simply copy the information into your email client, or you can even download and print the document to be sent by post, the choice is yours.

We thank you for supporting environmental rights in Nova Scotia. Isn't it about time?

 Letter to Government

Let our candidates know that we care about environmental rights.

Click on the image below and copy the information into your email client.

Letter screenshot

You can find the contact information for all the MLA's in Nova Scotia right here.

 Other Resources


Environmental Rights Community Summaries:

 About the Nova Scotia Environmental Rights Working Group

The Nova Scotia Environmental Rights Working Group (ERWG) is a coalition of environmental and community leaders whose mandate is to create legally-based environmental rights.

Members include:

  • Lisa Mitchell, Executive Director, East Coast Environmental Law
  • Mark Butler, Policy Director, Ecology Action Centre
  • Lil McPherson, Food Activist and Owner of the Wooden Monkey
  • Gretchen Fitzgerald, National Programs, Sierra Club of Canada Foundation
  • Silver Donald Cameron, Journalist, Green Interview
  • Tricia Barry, Board of Directors, Ecojustice
  • Jamie Simpson, Lawyer, Juniper Law
  • Heather Johannesen, Nova Scotia Environmental Network
  • Ingrid Waldron, Director, ENRICH
  • Vinidhra Vaitheeswaran, Board of Directors, ECELAW
  • Sadie Beaton, Ecology Action Centre
  • Matthew Green, Director, NSPIRG
  • Ellen Sweeney, Health Research Scientist, Atlantic PATH
  • Jenna Khoury-Hanna, student, Schulich School of Law
  • Taylor Smiley, student Schulich School of Law
  • Mike Kofahl, student, Schulich School of Law
  • Neil Robertson, student, Schulich School of Law


 Member Organizations

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The Community Environmental Law Clinic

Are you part of a group interested in learning more about environmental law? Does your community face an environmental challenge and need advice?

East Coast Environmental LAw prides itself on being closely integrated with its surrounding communities. The needs of the communities in which we live and work shape the support we provide. When there is an environmental concern to address, we bring legal resources to the table by sharing information, providing legal advice, and, when required, pursuing a legal solution.

One of the ways we support Atlantic Canadian communities is through our travelling environmental law clinics. Our goal is to make the law accessible by sharing our legal expertise to inform, empower, and connect Atlantic Canadians so that we can all affect change that strengthens our communities and protects our environment. 

Let us know how we can help your community learn more about environmental law through our interactive and participatory clinic program. At ECELAW, we believe that increasing awareness and understanding is the first step to accessing justice. Work with us to bring our travelling clinic to your community in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador.

ECELAW has already conducted clinics on the following topics:

  • Coastal Protection Legislation
  • Environmental Rights
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)
  • Public Interest Litigation
  • Environmental Law for Land and Sea
  • Provincial Environmental Statutes
  • Environmental Racism


Does your event need a seasoned and knowledgeable presenter? 

You can request an ECELAW environmental law expert to speak at an event for your school, community, or organization's function. A wide array of environmental and legal presentation topics can be requested.

Contact Us for More Info

For more information or to request a clinic or presentation, please write to us at [email protected].

ECELAW envisions a future where innovative and effective environmental laws, and the fair application of those laws, provide Atlantic Canadians with a clean, healthy environment, which will make a positive contribution to the quality of life of its present and future inhabitants and visitors. To that end and through Public Education, Collaboration, and Legal Action, we focus our work on 4 key issue areas: CLIMATE & ENERGY, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES, MARINE & FRESHWATER, and SPECIES AND HABITAT.

Click on an image to learn more about our work.

Climate Square 2

Healthy Square 2

Marine Square 2 Species & Habitat



On May 19, 2015, ECELAW and the Nova Scotia Right to Know Coalition (NSRTK) released a joint statement addressing Nova Scotia Bill 95 and amendments to the Fisheries and Coastal Resources Act.

ECELAW remains committed to advocating for full implemetation of the Doelle-Lahey Report recommendations. We are concerned that Bill 95 falls short of this standard. 

Please see the full release, attached. 


Jamie Simpson’s speech for the David Suzuki Foundation Blue Dot / Environmental Rights Tour, St. John’s NL and Halifax NS – September 24 and 27

Last Saturday morning, I was staring at my computer screen, wondering what I would say this evening, feeling just a little nervous about stepping onto this stage.

The words were not coming easily, so, my strategy, was to shut down the computer, and ask my friend if she was up for a walk. We ambled towards the water, through coastal heath barrens. We moved slowly, filling a couple of baskets with huckleberries.   I don’t know how many of you pick huckleberries, but if you haven’t, I’d recommend them. They are these perfect,little bursts of sweetness.

Berry picking, as it happens, is not so bad for speech writing. My mind wandered, along with my feet. I started thinking about the generations of people who had picked huckleberries in this same spot. And the cranberries too, that grow a little closer to the shore. I thought about kids gathering pail-fulls, fishermen’s kids, Mi’kmaq kids.   I stole a quick glance at my friend’s basket, to see if I was keeping up with her harvesting pace.

That led me to think about people around the world, who end up with toxic contaminants in their bodies, in their breast milk, after eating food from the land. I thought about people up north, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, whose traditional foods are now laced with toxics, brought in by air and water currents and accumulated in the flesh of the food they eat.Food from the land, food that should be the healthiest food in the world.

I thought about people, in various parts of Canada, who are sick because of exposure to toxic chemicals in their surrounding water, air, soil and, even their food.

I thought, how can it be, that we do not have a right to live in an environment that does not compromise our health?

I recently went back to school.

I don’t know; a life crisis perhaps. It was law school or a motorcycle. I think I’d recommend the motorcycle. But I can say that as I made my way through law school, I came to see the law though new eyes. Eyes slightly blurred from days on end of reading.

I can say that I came to realize three things in particular.

First, we are embedded in this thing called “law”. It’s not just about crime and prisons – rather, it touches every part of our lives. Shaping how we live our lives, how we interact with each other, how we interact with our government. When you dig into it, there’s hardly an aspect of our lives, of our society, that isn’t influenced by law.

Second, I learned about human rights.

The legal recognition of human rights is fairly new in our Canadian history. Not so long ago, for example, there was no legal right against discrimination.

When my grandmother was 18, in 1940, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Montreal Forum was within its rights to refuse to serve a man by the name of Mr. Fred Christie. Mr. Christie had ordered a beer for himself and two friends, after watching the Canadiens play a game.   The Supreme Court of Canada said that the colour of Mr. Christie’s skin, was reason enough for any business in Canada to deny him service. It’s a decision that seems unfathomable, today.

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Canada andthe provinces had all implemented Bills of Human Rights. It wasn’t until 1982 that we had our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Don’t get me wrong – we are far from perfect on human rights in Canada. Look to those living in abject poverty. Look to those with little access to justice, with little opportunity to assert their rights. Yet, despite the challenges, we have come a heck of a long way since Mr. Christie’s case.

Nonetheless,our human rights journey is far from complete. So long as our legal system does not recognize that a child has a right to live in an environment that does not make her sick, our work on human rights remains embarrassingly deficient.As I’m sure you know, there are Canadian children, and adults, whose health is compromised by environmental contaminants.

That brings me to the third thing I realized while studying law. Law is not cast in stone. Law is malleable. Law evolves. It evolves due to pressure –pressure from groups of people with a cause, pressure from individuals passionate about an issue.Pressure from us.

At this moment, we do not have environmental rights in Canada, or in Nova Scotia, or, in Halifax. But, a few decades ago, we did not have a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. There will be a day when we, and our children, will say, “can you believe it, in 2014, Canada did not have Environmental Rights,” and shake their heads in wonder.

How can we not have a right to breathe clean air?

How can we not have a right to drink clean water?

How can we not have a right to live in an environment that will not compromise our health, our children’s health?

Changing law is not easy – it takes a lot of work – a lot of pressure – but changing law is possible. Public pressure works. The human rights we do have now in Canada are proof that sustained community pressure works.

The East Coast Environmental Law Association is working with people in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador to move environmental rights forward. If you’re interested in getting involved, get in touch and let me know.


Now, I’m honoured to introduce to you, the person we’ve come here to see. Dr. Suzuki has known, first hand, one of the failures of our human rights record in Canada – the law that forced Canadian families, of Japanese descent, into internment camps during the second world war, leaving behind and forfeiting most of their possessions, their businesses, their properties. You can read about these experiences in Dr. Suzuki’s 2006 Autobiography.

In 1974, Dr. Suzuki developed the CBC’s Quirks and Quarks program, and hosted it for its first 4 years. In 1979, he became host of the award-winning The Nature of Things with David Suzuki.

Please join me in welcoming, Dr. David Suzuki.

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