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ELC New Website - under construction

January 8, 2014

Victoria, BC - The ELC is in the process of developing a new and vastly improved website. We are excited at the opportunities the new website will bring to present you with information in a fresh, visual and user-friendly fashion. In the meantime, we will continue to post current information amd update this site, but in a simplified form. Many thanks for your patience as we undergo this transformation. We will announce a launch date for our shiny new website in the near future!

Top Stories:

Canadian Charitable Law Needs Urgent Reform

March 25, 2015

Victoria, BC - A new ELC report released today calls for sweeping modernization of Canadian charitable law. Current rules in Canada around "political activities" are ambiguous and confusing, and the penalties for breaking the rules are too harsh. More... Click here to read the report.

Professional Reliance and Environmental Regulation in British Columbia

February 9, 2015

Victoria, BC - Over the last decade the BC government embarked on a major law reform initiative to reduce the “regulatory burden” on industry. They reduced the size of the civil service and its role in resource management governance, which increased our dependence upon professionals employed by industry proponents to meet the public interest in natural resource management and environmental protection. This new report, prepared by Mark Haddock and supported with funding from the Law Foundation of BC, evaluates this regulatory approach, identifies issues and makes recommendations for improvement. Click here to read the report.

Guidance for the CRD's Regional Sustainability Strategy Feedback Form

February 3, 2015

Victoria, BC - Until February 15, 2015, the Capital Regional District (CRD) is inviting public comments on the updating the CRD's Regional Growth Strategy. Comments on the new Regional Sustainability Strategy (RSS) are accepted through an 18-page feedback form. In order to help the conversation, the ELC's Deborah Curran has teamed up with six regional experts to develop a helpful background document. The document provides information about the process and guidance on how to respond to the questions. Click here for a Word version

ELC Submission to Mount Polley Expert Panel

January 7, 2015

Victoria, BC - In early December, the ELC filed a submission to the Mount Polley Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel entitled, "Not an Act of God." Written by ELC Intensive Stream students under the supervision of senior ELC lawyers, the report examines the facts and issues that may have contributed to the failure of the Mount Polley tailing storage facility. Click here to read a copy of the report entitled, "Not an Act of God."

BC's White Paper on Societies Act opens the door to misuse of court time and society's resources

October 15, 2014

Victoria, BC - The ELC filed a submission today asking the provincial government to rethink part of the draft legislation in their White Paper on the Societies Act. Focussed on a section that may encourage SLAPP-like law suits against societies, the ELC submission states the potential negative effects on the public interest are far worse than the problem the provision seeks to address. READ THE SUBMISSION

Government should disclose Mount Polley documents: ELC asks BC Information Commissioner to investigate

October 7, 2014

Victoria, BC - The ELC asked BC’s Information & Privacy Commissioner today to investigate the provincial government’s refusal to release documents related to the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse. More...READ THE SUBMISSION

BC Nature Challenges Federal Cabinet Decision to approve Northern Gateway

July 14, 2014

North Vancouver, BC - The Federation of BC Naturalists (BC Nature) filed a lawsuit today challenging the federal Cabinet’s decision to approve the Northern Gateway project. The lawsuit asks the Federal Court of Appeal for leave to commence an application declaring the Cabinet’s June 17, 2014 decision invalid. Read BC Nature's media release.

ELC to Represent BC Nature in Court Challenge to Northern Gateway Approval

June 17, 2014

Victoria, BC - BC Nature announced today that the ELC will file a lawsuit on their behalf challenging the federal Cabinet decision to approve the Northern Gateway project. The lawsuit will highlight serious deficiencies and flaws in the December 19, 2013 Joint Review Panel report, which Cabinet relied upon to make their decision.

"Filing this lawsuit will ensure that the Federal Court of Appeal is able to hear and consider arguments relating to all of the various flaws and deficiencies associated with Northern Gateway approval process," says ELC Executive Director, Chris Tollefson. Click here to read BC Nature's media release.

Tighter Rules Needed for Underground Injection of Fracking Wastewater

June 16, 2014

Victoria, BC - First Nations in Northeast BC have many concerns about plans to dramatically expand fracking operations in their territories to feed the LNG industry. Thousands of new fracking wells will seriously impact wildlife, air quality and the Nations’ traditional way of life. Now a new University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre study done for the Fort Nelson First Nation highlights the risks raised by current fracking wastewater disposal practices. More...

Law Reform: Government Should Disclose Fish Farm Diseases

June 12, 2014

Victoria, BC - Disease outbreaks at fish farms may spread and threaten wild salmon stock. Although the government knows where outbreaks occur, they fail to report the information until it is too late to be useful to independent scientists. Working for the Wuikinuvx First Nation, ELC student Sam Harrison wrote a report documenting how government needs to publish detailed, meaningful and timely information on diseases that happen on BC fish farms. More...

BC's New Water Sustainability Act

May 20, 2014

Victoria, BC - BC recently gave third and final reading to a new Water Sustainability Act, a long-awaited overhaul of the water management and allocation regime in BC, which ELC Program Director Deborah Curran says is the "best piece of environmental legislation introduced in BC in more than a decade," although the devil of environmental protection will be in the details of regulation. See her summary of the new Water Sustainability Acthere.


March 14, 2014

The ELC was in the Supreme Court of British Columbia this week for our first ever Judicial Review. More... Update: Read the Oral Reasons for Judgment of The Honourable Mr. Justice MacKenzie

BC Nature brings lawsuit to halt Northern Gateway approval

January 17, 2014

Less than a month after the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel (JRP)’s report was published, the first lawsuits aimed at stopping the proposed project were filed today. On behalf of BC Nature (the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists), the ELC filed an application for judicial review in the Federal Court of Appeal, asking that the JRP’s report be declared invalid and that the approval process be halted until its court challenge is heard. More...

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ELC News Archive

A Citizen's Guide to FOI
Layperson's guide to BC's Freedom of Information legislation for getting documents and other information from provincial and local governments, educational institutions, and professional bodies.

Read the latest Backgrounder Paper from the ELC Associates Program. Click here to read the other backgrounders and to learn more about the ELC's Associate Program.

2010 Annual Report




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