Coastal Protection


Nova Scotia has 13,000 kilometres of coastline, and global sea levels are expected to rise 1 meter above current levels by the year 2100.[1] Nova Scotia will experience some of the greatest local sea-level rise because the land is sinking as sea levels rise. With 70% of Nova Scotia’s population living in coastal communities, it is important to protect the coast, its ecosystems, and its residents. 

For several years, East Coast Environmental Law has been advocating for legislation to protect the coastal areas of Nova Scotia. Coastal areas and resources have played an essential role in making Nova Scotia what it is today, and its ecosystems are crucial for species, ecosystems, and culture.

In April 2019, the provincial legislature passed the Coastal Protection Act (“CPA”) for Nova Scotia.[2] This gave advocates hope for stronger laws to enforce protection and create clearer rules around activities and development near the coast. While the CPA will not address all coastal issues, it aims to address the development, construction, and related activity along the coast that increasingly puts people at risk from sea level rise, storm surge, and coastal flooding. The CPA also seeks to address erosion and damage to sensitive coastal ecosystems that provide valuable ecological functions.

However, the CPA is currently not in force, which means its rules do not yet apply. The province is still creating regulations that will provide the details about how the CPA will operate. The Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change invited public comments on the proposed regulations until September 30, 2021. 

[1] Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change, “Consultation Begins on Coastal Protection Act Regulations,” Government of Nova Scotia (15 July 2021), online: <https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210715003>

[2] Coastal Protection Act, SNS 2019, c 3 [CPA].