Environmental Law and Policy in the Canadian Context

Allan Greenbaum, Alex Wellington    

Captus Press, ISBN 978-1-55322-171-5 (2010)
678 pages, 1590 g, 8.5 X 11, $65.95 (US$52.75)

Environmental law in Canada has undergone a dramatic and momentous evolution from the shift of the 20th to the 21st century. Issues and cases in environmental law attract media attention to an unprecedented degree. This book is a genuine innovation amongst books on environmental law and policy, as it provides a bridge between the worlds of "law on the books" – the statutes, regulations and cases which comprise the jurisprudence of environmental law – and "law in the streets". The major topics of environmental law – Constitutional Division of Powers, Regulation of Pollution, Common Law Litigation including Class Actions and Toxic Torts are situated within the broader social context throughout the book. Topics such as the Impact of Trade on Environmental Protection, Climate Change, Regulation of Toxic Substances, Risk Assessment, and the Protection of Green Spaces and Species are given particular emphasis. There are over 80 figures designed to illustrate central aspects of the legal and policy landscape, as well as over a dozen case summaries. Those case summaries provide overviews of the legal rulings in many of the most significant environmental cases across Canada, and emphasizes their implications for the future development of environmental law and policy.

Table of Contents   top


List of Acronyms and Initials


Chapter 1     Governance in Canada: The Basics
Alex Wellington

  • Democracy and Governance
  • Three Branches of Government
  • The Canadian Court System
  • Constitutional Division of Powers
  • Westminster Model of Parliamentary Democracy
  • Parliamentary Supremacy and Judicial Review
  • Intergovernmental Relations and Multilevel Governance

Chapter 2     Sources of Norms in the Canadian Legal System
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • Situating Environmental Law
  • Civil Law and Common Law Systems
  • Common Law and Equity
  • Judge-Made (Common) Law and Legislation
  • Public Law and Private Law
  • Civil Law and Criminal Law
  • Substantive Law and Procedural Law
  • Administrative Law

Chapter 3     Levels of Environmental Jurisdiction
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • The Constitution and the Environment
  • Significant Federal and Provincial Environmental Legislation
  • The Environmental Implications of Municipal Law
  • National and International Law
  • The Role of the Supreme Court in Canadian Environmental Law

Chapter 4     Sources of Environmental Liability
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • Comparison of the Main Types of Liability — Criminal and Civil
  • Continuum of Legal Responses to Pollution and Types of Liability
  • Liability of Directors and Officers
  • Sentencing Factors for Environmental Offences
  • The Way Ahead

Chapter 5     Common Law and the Environment
Alex Wellington

  • Situating Common Law Approaches to Pollution
  • Basic Elements of Common Law
  • Common Law Causes of Action

Chapter 6     Toxic Torts and Class Actions
Alex Wellington

  • Toxic Torts
  • Class Action Lawsuits

Chapter 7     The Environment–Health Interface and Approaches to Pollution
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • The Environmental Law–Health Law Connections
  • Facts, Values, and Interpretation
  • Comparing and Contrasting Legal Approaches

Chapter 8     The Regulatory System
Allan Greenbaum and Alex Wellington

  • Stages of the Regulatory System
  • Implementation Gaps, Monitoring Lapses, and Enforcement Deficits
  • Implementation: Standard Setting and Instruments
  • Environmental Policy Instruments: An Overview

Chapter 9     Issues in Enforcement and Regulatory Reform
Allan Greenbaum and Alex Wellington with Mary Rollinson-Lorimer

  • Issues in Enforcement
  • Empirical Research on Enforcement
  • Examples Of Regulatory Reform in Ontario
  • Regulatory Reform and Voluntary Initiatives
  • Appendix: Selected Excerpts from Ontario’s Environmental Legislation

Chapter 10   Science, Law, Risk, and Health
Allan Greenbaum, Alex Wellington, and Ron Pushchak

  • Science and the Law
  • Models of the Science–Law Interface
  • The Differentiation of Science and Law
  • Science in the Courtroom: The Adversary System
  • Defining the Precautionary Principle
  • Risk Assessment and the Precautionary Principle
  • Risk Evaluation and Risk Comparison
  • The Precautionary Principle: Burden and Standard of Proof Issues
  • Impacts of Environmental Law on Health
  • Environmental Assessment in Canada
  • Appendix: Crucial Terms and Concepts Relating to Risks, Hazards, and Toxics
    Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum with Mary Rollinson-Lorimer

Chapter 11   Environmental Law in the Global Context
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • International Environmental Law
  • The Precautionary Principle in International and Canadian Law
  • Trade and Environmental Protection
  • Responses to Climate Change

Chapter 12   Toxics and the Law in Canada
Alex Wellington and Allan Greenbaum

  • The Regulation of Toxic Substances
  • Workplace Pollution and Occupational Health and Safety
  • Contaminated Land and Toxic Real Estate

Chapter 13   Protection of Green Spaces and Species
Alex Wellington

  • The Biodiversity Crisis and Sustainable Development
  • Parks and Protected Areas
  • Endangered Species
  • Conservation Easements
  • Municipal Planning

Chapter 14   The Walkerton Tragedy: A Comprehensive Chronology
Alex Wellington with Caitlin Burley and Mary Rollinson-Lorimer

  • Basic Facts
  • Leading Up to Walkerton
  • Chronology of Events: During and After
  • Continuing Developments
  • Walkerton Class Action: Smith v. Brockton

Chapter 15   Environmental Case Summaries
Allan Greenbaum and Alex Wellington with Caitlin Burley

  • Explanatory Note to Case Summaries
  • Fifteen Cases

Appendices and References

Instructor Resources   top

Sample assignments available

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.


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.