ECELAW has been adding our support and expertise to the process though the PEI Environmental Rights Working Group and the Coalition for Protection of PEI Water. Our experience with law reform, drafting environmental laws and public engagement runs deep. The proposed Water Act has great potential with the seeds of a solid purpose section, hints at a right to clean water, and opportunities for watershed planning. However, as a legislative drafter I see a multitude of improvements that could be made to create a law that is more coherent, continues to engage the public and ensures that the Minister has the authority necessary to carry out the goals of the Act.
ECELAW urges the government of PEI to take advantage of the expertise that exists within its citizenry and the non-profit organizations that support them. We recommend that the government host a round table session of participants with relevant knowledge and expertise to complete a clause by clause review of the draft Act as part of the public consultation process. The volunteer sector and the contribution they make to society is vastly underrated and undervalued, just like the environment.
PEI Government Page on the Water Act: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/communities-land-and-environment/water-act
Inside the Water Act (Consultation Draft): https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/inside_the_water_act.pdf