Books & Reports: 2001-Present

Public Lands and Resources Law in Canada

by Elaine L. Hughes, Arlene J. Kwasniak and Alastair Lucas. 2016.

This is the first and only legal textbook that surveys key legal issues common to the regulation of all resource sectors in Canada. This book is a valuable resource for law students, lawyers, and those in the various resource industries, and was shortlisted for the Walter Owen Book Prize.

Alberta Wetlands: A Law and Policy Guide, Second Edition

by Arlene J. Kwasniak. 2016.
339 pp. ISBN 978-0-919269-53-8. $35.00 (softcover)

Wetlands are among the most valuable natural systems on earth. They store and release surface water, re-charge groundwater, and aid in flood control. They reduce sedimentation and purify water, help control erosion, and sequester carbon. They can be hotbeds of biological diversity and serve as important habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and other animals. They provide vast ecological goods and services and have aesthetic, economic, heritage, recreational, and intrinsic values. Notwithstanding the significant values, functions, and services of wetlands, it was not until the middle/latter 20th century that the need for wetland protection and conservation was visibly recognized. Even though efforts are now universally made to protect and conserve them, losses continue.

Laws and policies have a powerful and definitive role to play in whether a wetland is protected, impacted, restored, or lost. Alberta Wetlands: A Law and Policy Guide, Second Edition (Guide) provides macroscopic to microscopic descriptions and explanations of many of the major threads in the tangled web of laws and policies the implementation of which can impact wetlands for better or worse. It looks not only at laws and policies that directly apply to wetland impacts, such as wetland drainage laws, or wetland conservation policies, but also at the myriad of regulatory and other legal influences that more indirectly influence and determine the fate of wetlands. These include legal rules and frameworks concerning common law, property rights, energy resource exploration and development, residential, commercial and industrial development, and those relating to dispositions on and use of public land, including for agricultural and forestry operations. It also looks at legal approaches to protect, restore, and recognize wetlands and their values, including government designation, environmental assessment, international recognition, land use planning, economic instruments, development restrictions, and wildlife laws. The Guide attempts to put the legal concepts and rules within a context so that they will be understandable to readers from a variety of backgrounds. For example, the Guide provides information on our Constitution and on which levels of government have the right to legislate areas of law that could impact wetlands, as well as on the various sources of laws and legal directives and the ways they can relate to wetlands.

The Guide contains eight primers that offer general instruction on areas of law or jurisdiction, sixteen chapters on particular areas of law that can impact wetlands, a chart identifying and describing tools for municipalities and others that could be used to protect wetlands and prevent or address impacts on them, and a detailed bibliography. This is the Second Edition of the Guide, current to February 2016. The first Edition, published in 2001, is significantly out of date primarily owing to substantial legislative and policy changes and to shifts in government, industry, and community approaches towards wetland conservation. The Second Edition is fundamentally a new work that updates, revises, rewrites, and adds extensive material to the First Edition.

A Legal Guide to Non-Private Lands in Alberta

by Arlene J. Kwasniak. 2015.
195 pp. ISBN 978-0-919269-52-1. $40.00 (softcover)

Alberta is a mosaic of private and non-private land. This book is a legal Guide to non-private lands in Alberta. Private land is land owned by an individual or corporation for which a private land title is registered at the Alberta Land Titles Office. Private land constitutes less than 30% of the province. This Guide concerns the roughly 70% of land in Alberta that is non-private lands. By “non-private land” this Guide means land that is owned by a level of government (federal, provincial, or municipal) or a federal or provincial Crown agent or corporation, land owned or managed by a public or shared governance entity under legislation (e.g. airports), and Aboriginal lands. The term also includes land that is not typical private land, such as land that has specific legislation applying to it, and where there is a limited public right of access. A college campus is an example.

This Guide is roughly in the same camp as field guides, such as field guides popularized by Roger Tory Peterson (1908-1996). Field guides are intended to provide a layperson with information on what may be observed in a local area, on a subject matter, such as wildlife or natural phenomena. This Guide is intended to provide legal and policy information on the kinds and categories of non-private lands that a layperson may observe in Alberta. It provides information on the legal landscape, in contrast to information on the natural landscape.

The first six parts of the Guide provide general background and legal information. Here the Guide takes a historical look at how land ownership and legislative authority over land came to be in Alberta. It discusses constitutional authority over management of private and non-private land, and how common law and legislation relate to ownership and management of land. It also looks at the concept of Crown immunity and how it may apply to owners or managers of non-private lands. The next three parts of the Guide provide specific legal landscapes on lands administered or managed by the federal government such as national parks and other protected or heritage areas, military bases, airports, experimental farms and forests, harbours, and postal lands. The next part considers Aboriginal lands, including First Nations reserves, off reserve traditional lands, and Métis Settlement lands. Then the Guide looks at the railway lines, as a unique kind of non-private land. Following that, the Guide provides legal and policy information on the provincial administration and management of non-private lands including a variety of protected and heritage areas, post-secondary institution lands, Special Areas, watercourses, water bodies, and beds and shores, and Crown lands under a range of dispositions, such as forestry or grazing. Next the Guide provides legal and policy information on non-private land owned or administered by municipalities, including the categories of municipal reserve lands. The last part deals with public access to non-private lands, including municipal reserves, public land under agricultural disposition, other provincial public lands, and public places. Throughout the Guide provides examples, and raises policy and other issues concerning non-private lands and their management and administration.

The Special Areas Act: Alberta’s Dust Bowl in a Changing Climate

by Dr. William N. Holden. 2015.
91 pp. ISBN 978-0-919269-51-4. $35.00 (softcover)

The Special Areas in Alberta fall under a unique provincial land management regime created under the Special Areas Act. This book considers the historical origins of the Special Areas during the drought of the 1920s and 1930s. In light of increasing concerns about global warming in the 21st century, it is worth examining the role of the Special Areas Board in administering these provincial lands in the context of the capacity to cope with reduced precipitation that is anticipated to accompany climate change.

Environmental Agreements in Canada: Aboriginal Participation, EIA Follow-Up and Environmental Management of Major Projects

by Ciaran O'Faircheallaigh. 2006.
217 pp. ISBN-13: 978-0-919269-50-7. $35.00 (softcover)

There is increasing recognition both in academic and policy debates of the need for specific initiatives to ensure effective follow-up to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and to achieve meaningful Aboriginal participation in environmental management of major resource projects. This book examines the potential of a novel policy instrument, Environmental Agreements involving industry, government and Aboriginal peoples, to promote these goals. It argues, based on case studies from the Northwest Territories, Alberta and Newfoundland, that Environmental Agreements have considerable potential in this regard. However, if this potential is to be realized, greater attention must be focused on design of structures and processes that actively encourage Aboriginal participation and the application of Aboriginal environmental knowledge; and on provision of financial and other resources needed to support the effective operation of Environmental Agreements.