Canadian Issues in Environmental Law and Policy

Allan Greenbaum, Ron Pushchak, Alex Wellington  (Eds.)

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-201-9 (2009)
464 pages, 1040 g, 8.5 X 11, $57.75 (US$46.25)

Canadian Issues in Environmental Law and Policy is a stimulating multidisciplinary collection of classic, recent, and original readings on environmental regulation, litigation and assessment in Canada. The contributors represent a wide range of scholarly and professional expertise, substantive concerns, and points of view. Topics include the regulatory system in Canada, constitutional and jurisdictional issues, policy instruments (including “command and control” regulations, green taxes, and cap-and-trade schemes), environmental assessment, standard setting, and enforcement of environmental law in Canada. More than one third of the readings concern topical controversies around science, risk, health, and the precautionary principle, and related issues, such as pesticides, genetically modified organisms, and drinking water borne hazards (such as the pathogens that killed seven and sickened thousands in Walkerton, Ontario).

The readings explore how issues in environmental law and policy (such as who should bear what burden of proof in litigation and regulatory risk assessment) turn on fundamental political questions about the proper relationship between government, business, and civil society, and the tensions among competing conceptions and rankings of security, liberty, equality, and democracy. The collection reflects a wide range of views in hopes of engaging readers to take part in the discussions on this crucially important and urgent issue of our society today — the environment.

An invaluable resource for anyone interested in environmental law and its social impact, Canadian Issues in Environmental Law and Policy helps readers to appreciate that the law pertaining to the environment is not fixed and static but, rather, is a set of social practices engaged in and carried out by many people performing distinct roles, including judges, lawyers, bureaucrats, policy-makers, and politicians.

Table of Contents   top

Introduction: Some Socio-Legal Reflections on Canadian Environmental Law and Policy

The Regulatory System:
Implementation, Standards, and Instruments

  1.    Controlling Corporate Misconduct Through Regulatory Offences: The Canadian Experience

Kernaghan Webb

  2.    A Model Procedure for Setting Environmental Standards ...

M.A.H. Franson, R.T. Franson, and A.R. Lucas

  3.    Environmental Standards-Setting and the Law in Canada

Kernaghan Webb

  4.    Instruments in Policy Implementation

Law Reform Commission of Canada

  5.    The Case for Pollution Taxes

Nancy Olewiler

  6.    The ABCs of Emissions Trading: An Overview

National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

  7.    The Kyoto Conundrum: Why Abandoning the Protocol’s Targets in Favour of a More Sustainable Plan May Be Best for Canada and the World

Joseph A. Doucet

The Regulatory System:
Monitoring, Enforcement, and Voluntary Initiatives

  8.    Environmental Regulation as a Bargaining Process: The Canadian Approach

Murray Rankin and Peter Z.R. Finkle

  9.    Persuasion, Penalties, and Prosecution: Administrative v. Criminal Sanctions

Richard Brown and Murray Rankin

10.    A Case for Strict Enforcement of Environmental Statutes

John Z. Swaigen

11.    The Impact of Prosecution of Corporations and Their Officers and Directors
upon Regulatory Compliance by Corporations

Dianne Saxe

12.    Weak Environmental Law Enforcement in Canada: A Continuing Well-Kept Secret

David Donnelly and Mary Rollinson-Lorimer  

13.    Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands:
The Role of Citizens in Canadian Pollution Control Enforcement

Kernaghan Webb

14.    Voluntary Initiatives and the Law

Kernaghan Webb

Science and the Law

15.    Due Process and the Nova Scotia Herbicide Trial

Colin Goff

16.    The Conflict between Law and Science

Hajo Versteeg

17.    Science and the Tribunal: Dealing with Scientific Evidence in the Adversarial Arena

Michael I. Jeffery

18.    Science in the Courtroom: The Value of an Adversarial System

Stuart L. Smith

19.    Ethics, Science, and Environmental Regulation

Donald A. Brown

20.    Using Science in Environmental Policy: Can Canada Do Better?

Ted Schrecker

Risk Assessment and the Precautionary Principle

21.    A Critical Review of Current Issues in Risk Assessment and Risk Management

Steve E. Hrudey

22.    Is a Scientific Assessment of Risk Possible?
Value Assumptions in the Canadian Alachlor Controversy

Conrad Brunk, Lawrence Haworth, and Brenda Lee

23.    Comparative Risk Assessment and the Naturalistic Fallacy

Kristin S. Shrader-Frechette

24.    GM Food Regulations: Canadian Debates

Grant E. Isaac and Jill E. Hobbs

25.    A New Socio-Political Dialectic:
The Precautionary Approach v. the Precautionary Principle

Stan Benda

26.    Shifting the Burden of Proof:
The Precautionary Principle and Its Potential for the “Democratization” of Risk

Dayna Nadine Scott

27.    “Streamlining Regulation” and Environmental Protection

Mary Richardson

Impacts of Environmental Law on Health

28.    When Precaution Points Two Ways: Confronting “West Nile Fever”

Dayna Nadine Scott

29.    Drinking-Water Law in Ontario after Walkerton:
Assessing Regulatory Responses to a Public Health Debacle

Wendy Pons and Allan Greenbaum

30.    Protecting Source Waters:
The Ontario Clean Water Act 2006, Watershed Planning, and Risk Management

Ron Pushchak and Andrea Torok

Legal Reform and the Politics of Sustainability

31.    Applying the Tests of Real Crime to Environmental Pollution

Law Reform Commission of Canada

32.    Constitutional Jurisdiction over the Kyoto Protocol

Douglas R. Thomson

33.    Federalism, Environmental Protection, and Blame Avoidance

Kathryn Harrison

34.    Environmental Protection and the Role of Government

Anita Krajnc

35.    Bulk Water Removal: Legal and Political Issues

Mary Rollinson-Lorimer and Alex Wellington

36.    Class, Place, and Citizenship: The Changing Dynamics of Environmental Protection

Ted Schrecker

Property Rights and Environmental Protection

37.    In the Name of the Public Good

Elizabeth Brubaker

38.    Property Rights in Canada: Ontario’s Greenbelt Act

David Donnelly and Jonathan Tryansky

Environmental Assessment

39.    Assessing Environmental Impacts in Canada

Thomas Meredith

40.    Environmental Assessment and Democracy

Stephen Hazell

41.    “The Nasty Game”: The Failure of Environmental Assessment in Canada

Andrew Nikiforuk

Notes and References

Instructor Resources   top

Related Resources   top

About the Author   top

Allan Greenbaum is an instructor at both York University and Ryerson University in Toronto. He teaches courses in philosophy, sociology, social Science and environmental studies in both undergraduate and graduate levels. Professor Greenbaum received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Philosophy from the University of Toronto. From York University, he received a Law degree, a Master's degree in environmental studies and a Ph.D. in Sociology. He has published in numerous books and journals in the fields of environmental sociology and environmental and business ethics. Currently, he is working with Alex Wellington on Environmental Law and Policy in the Canadian Context, a comprehensive multidisciplinary textbook that is unique in the field of environmental studies.


Ron Pushchak is a Professor in the School of Occupational and Public Health and the School of Urban and Regional Planning at Ryerson University. The founding director of the Environmental Applied Science and Management Master's program at Ryerson University, Professor Pushchak is also a member of the Board of Directors of Environmental Defence Canada. He has a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from York University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Planning from Princeton. His research interests are in environmental risk assessment and hazardous facility siting, and he is actively involved in the field, including the Ontario government’s efforts to develop legislation to protect municipal drinking water sources, the project to locate municipal waste landfills, and other professional environmental planning cases. Professor Pushchak’s research and field work has resulted in his contributions to a variety of special fields, such as environmental assessment, hazardous waste management, high-level radioactive waste disposal, and on the participation of First Nation's people in Canadian plans to dispose of radioactive wastes.


Alex Wellington is an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at Ryerson University. She is also the Acting Director of the Ethics Network at Ryerson. Professor Wellington received a Master in Environmental Studies, L.L.B, L.L.M., and Ph.D. in Philosophy from York University. A well-published scholar, her work has been included in the Intellectual Property Journal and the Canadian Journal of Law and Jurisprudence. Her research interests include ethics and human rights, philosophy of law and justice, information policy, intellectual property ethics and law, and environmental law and policy, and her current SSHRC funded research focuses on ethics, sustainability, and environmental protection. In addition to her research, Alex is also hard at work co-authoring with Allan Greenbaum the much anticipated textbook, Environmental Law and Policy in the Canadian Context.