Justice for Some

By: Alice Woolley

PDF: Justice for Some

Case Commented on: Green v Law Society of Manitoba, 2017 SCC 20 (CanLII)

Introduction (AKA: A General Complaint About Injustice)

On March 30, 2017 the Supreme Court issued its judgment in Green v. Law Society of Manitoba, 2017 SCC 20 (CanLII).

Rarely have so many judicial resources been spent on a case worthy of so little.

Sidney Green was called to the bar of Manitoba in 1955. In 2011, the Law Society of Manitoba introduced a requirement that all lawyers complete 12 hours of professional development a year. Mr. Green refused to participate. He said that “the CPD activities available to him would not have been helpful to him in his practice” (at para 48). The CEO of the Law Society of Manitoba sent Mr. Green a letter “notifying him that if he did not comply with the Rules within 60 days, he would be suspended from practising law” (at para 10). The CEO also told him, however, that Mr. Green should let the Law Society know if it had made a mistake, and if he needed more than 60 days that period could be extended (at para 10). Mr. Green still did not complete his professional development. Instead he sought judicial review and retained Charles Huband, formerly of the Manitoba Court of Appeal (1979-2007), to assist him.

Mr. Green’s application was unsuccessful at the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench (2014 MBQB 249 (CanLII)). It was unsuccessful at the Manitoba Court of Appeal (2015 MBCA 67 (CanLII)). The Supreme Court nonetheless granted leave. Continue reading

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Federal Environmental Assessment Re-Envisioned to Regain Public Trust – The Expert Panel Report

By Arlene Kwasniak

PDF Version: Federal Environmental Assessment Re-Envisioned to Regain Public Trust – The Expert Panel Report

Report Commented On: Expert Panel on the Review of Federal Environmental Assessment Processes, Building Common Ground: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada

This post considers the report of the Expert Panel (Panel) on the Review of Federal Environmental Assessment Processes, Building Common Ground: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada released April 5, 2017 (EP Report). It provides background to the Report and focusses on three issues: The Purpose of Assessment, Who Assesses, and Interjurisdictional Assessments. Other faculty members may be providing further comments on the EP Report in future posts.

About the Panel and the EP Report

The Prime Minister’s November 2015 Environment and Climate Change mandate letter instructed Minister Catherine McKenna to commence a number of law review and reform initiatives, including to “immediately review Canada’s environmental assessment processes to regain public trust ….” Minister McKenna followed through by establishing the Panel. Through September to December the Panel held public and indigenous meetings in numerous locations in Canada, invited written and online submissions, and formed a Multi-Interest Advisory Committee (MIAC) to provide perspective and advice. Professor Shaun Fluker with Anne Marie Syslak, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, presented to the Panel in Calgary on November 23 (see ABlawg post here), and Professors Martin Olszynski and Arlene Kwasniak separately presented on November 21 (Olszynski’s ABlawg post is here). All written submissions to the Panel are accessible on the Panel’s website. At the Panel’s behest, Professors Kwasniak and Olszynski additionally provided expert written advice, and participated in a meeting hosted by the Panel in Ottawa in February. The Panel received over 800 written submissions, heard over 400 oral presentations, and received 2,673 responses to the online Choicebook, a survey-like tool designed to gauge views on assessment reform. The public has until May 5th to comment on the EP Report, through the website Let’s Talk Environmental Assessment. From my reading of the Report, the Panel clearly took its mission to regain public trust in federal environmental assessment very seriously and, excepting for reservations mentioned later, will be successful in its mission if government follows through with legislation that faithfully reproduces its bold vision in legislative details. Continue reading

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Details of Alberta’s First Renewable Program Competition Announced: A Comment on the Dispute Resolution Procedure and Change of Law Provisions

By: Nigel Bankes

PDF Version: Details of Alberta’s First Renewable Program Competition Announced: A Comment on the Dispute Resolution Procedure and Change of Law Provisions

Documents commented on: (1) AESO, Request for Expressions of Interest for the first renewable electricity program procurement (REP Round 1), posted March 31, 2017, and (2) AESO, Key Provisions of the Renewable Electricity Support Agreement, March 31, 2017

The Government of Alberta released the framework for its plans to support the development of renewable energy projects in Alberta in November 2016 and provided the implementing authority for that program with the introduction and recent entry into force (March 31, 2017) of the Renewable Electricity Act, SA 2016, c R–16.5 (REA). The program adopted was based on a design proposed by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) and the AESO has been charged with its implementation. For discussion of the AESO’s proposals and REA see my earlier post here.

This post briefly references the first Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) and then discusses the dispute resolution provision of the Key Provisions of the Renewable Electricity Support Agreement (RESA). Continue reading

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When is a Lease an Improper Subdivision of Land?

By: Jonnette Watson Hamilton

PDF Version: When is a Lease an Improper Subdivision of Land?

Case Commented On: Paskal Holdings Inc v Loedeman, 2017 ABCA 29 (CanLII)

An instrument or a caveat related to an instrument “that has the effect or may have the effect of subdividing a parcel of land” cannot be registered at a Land Titles Office unless a subdivision has been approved by the appropriate planning authority, according to subsections 652(1) and (5) of the Municipal Government Act, RSA 2000, c M-26. Section 94(1) of the Land Titles Act, RSA 2000, c L-4 provides that “[n]o lots shall be sold under agreement for sale or otherwise according to any townsite or subdivision plan until a plan creating the lots has been registered.” Both of these prohibitions have much broader scope than might be apparent on first reading. Neither is restricted to sales of fee simple title. In fact, over the years the most difficult applications of this prohibition have involved leases of portions of parcels of land, such as leases of farmsteads on quarter sections, stand-alone stores in mall developments, and RV or mobile home lots. The most recent decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in this area ? Paskal Holdings Inc v Loedeman ? might settle some issues. Continue reading

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Jurisdictional Matters Concerning Environmental Protection Orders Under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

By: Shaun Fluker

PDF Version: Jurisdictional Matters Concerning Environmental Protection Orders Under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

Case Commented On: Director (EAP) v Alberta (Provincial Court), 2017 ABQB 3 (CanLII)

During April and May of 2010 a significant gasoline spill occurred at a gas station located at 6336 Bowness Road in Calgary. The underground petroleum plume spread to adjacent properties, and in December 2010 the Director of Alberta Environment issued a remediation order under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, RSA 2000, c E-12 (EPEA). The site is now an empty lot, and while remediation activities have been conducted there is disagreement on whether the property is fully cleaned up. Metaphorically speaking, this petroleum plume also spread to the Alberta legal system. A preliminary search in preparation for writing this comment revealed no less than 10 decisions concerning the spill: (1) the Director’s December 2010 remediation order; (2) a December 2011 decision by the Alberta Environmental Appeals Board concerning an appeal of the December 2010 remediation order (Gas Plus Inc and Handel Transport v Director (Alberta Environment), Appeals No 10-034, 11-002, 008 & 023R; (3) a revised remediation order issued in January 2012 incorporating the Board’s recommendations; (4) an Order of the Court of Queen’s Bench issued in December 2012 concerning the January 2012 revised remediation order; (5) 2 interlocutory decisions by the Court of Queen’s Bench in relation to civil proceedings concerning the spill (Floate v Gas Plus, 2015 ABQB 545 (CanLII) and Floate v Gas Plus, 2015 ABQB 725 (CanLII)); (6) a decision by the Calgary Development Authority to deny a permit to construct a new gas station on the site and a March 2015 decision by the Calgary Subdivision and Development Appeal Board dismissing an appeal of the development decision (Re SDAB2014-0146, 2014 CGYSDAB 146 (CanLII)); and (7) a decision issued in January 2017 by the Honourable Mr Justice P.R. Jeffrey quashing a mediation order issued by the Honourable Judge H.A. Lamoureux in relation to the dispute over remediation. This comment examines this most recent decision by Justice Jeffrey in Director (EAP) v Alberta (Provincial Court), 2017 ABQB 3 (CanLII), which addresses jurisdictional matters concerning environmental protection orders under EPEA and the inherent authority of the court. Continue reading

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