This case was heard in the New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench (Trial Division).
New Brunswick’s Minister of the Environment applied for a determination of the rights of Canadian Pacific Limited (“CPL”) under the Clean Environment Act. CPI wished to abandon the operation of certain railway lines in New Brunswick, and the Minister was of the view that such abandonment would be subject to the Clean Environment Act. CPI had applied to the National Transportation Agency of Canada for permission to abandon the railway lines, but had not registered the abandonment as an “undertaking” that would be subject to New Brunswick’s provincial environmental legislation. CPI argued that it had not yet initiated an “undertaking” that would fall within the scope of the Clean Environment Act, as applying for permission to abandon the railway lines was not equivalent to actually abandoning them.
After consideration, the Court held that CPI had not yet begun an “undertaking” that would fall within the scope of the Clean Environment Act, and that it would be premature to consider whether the actual abandonment of the railway lines would fall within the scope of the Act.