Occasional Papers: 60-69

Laws Protecting the Sage Grouse in Alberta as Compared to Saskatchewan and the United States

by Sara L. Jaremko, March 2019 

79 pp. Occasional Paper #69. $20.00 (softcover)

The Greater Sage-Grouse (centrocercus urophasianus urophasianus) [the “sage grouse”] is an endangered, iconic animal native to the north American prairies, whose survival is interrelated with the conservation of its habitat. Sage grouse have been early subjects of species at risk legislation, a relatively new and controversial field, and were subjects of Canada’s first Emergency Protection Order [EO] for species at risk. Sage grouse are considered endangered under federal and provincial legislation in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and considered for protection under federal United States legislation. The EO is credited with a small recovery in sage grouse populations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, meanwhile, stakeholder pressures facing this habitat continue, and litigation challenging the EO is underway.

This paper will review Canada’s history of sage grouse protection. It will review and compare the federal and provincial legislation and policy governing sage grouse protection, as well as the 2013 Emergency Order and related litigation. It will review sage grouse protection in the US. It will then critically discuss the respective regimes, along with the emerging trends in the field being: strategic prioritization, multi-species recovery planning, and voluntary and incentivized collaborative efforts.

Adopting a Single Provincial Regulator for Electricity Generation Projects in Alberta

by Indra Maharaj, February 2019 

51 pp. Occasional Paper #68. $20.00 (softcover)

Since 2013, oil and gas development projects in Alberta have been regulated primarily by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER). For the most part, electricity transmission and gas distribution utilities are regulated by the Alberta Utilities Commission (AUC). However, power generation projects live in regulatory purgatory - simultaneously regulated by inter alia, the Alberta Utilities Commission, Alberta Environment and Parks, and the Alberta Electric System Operator. There are a multiplicity of regulatory authorities that must align their processes to ensure compliance with the principles of natural justice, apply a public interest test (or not), and conduct substantive factual reviews for the approval of power generation projects in Alberta. This approach is duplicative and challenges the tenets of due process. The CIRL working paper recommends that as in the case of the oil and gas industry, power generation facilities should be regulated by a single agency modeled after the AER that recognizes the unique aspects of the deregulated power generation market, a power generation facility’s non-linear environmental footprint, and the power generation facility’s interface with regulated electricity transmission assets in Alberta. A single regulator would clarify the project approval process and ensure compliance with the principles of natural justice in a fair and transparent process.

A Citizen's Guide to Appearing Before Municipal Councils in Alberta

by Judy Stewart, February 2019

30 pp. Occasional Paper #67. $20.00 (softcover)

Having informed and responsive citizens is essential for community sustainability. This Citizen’s Guide to Appearing Before Municipal Councils in Alberta (Citizen’s Guide) is intended to help citizens prepare and present effective written and oral submissions to their municipal councils to influence decision-making by their local governments. Albertans have a statutory right to participate in public hearings on planning and development matters that may affect private property or impact a person’s quality of life or business.

There are a number of opportunities for citizens to informally and formally participate in local governance when they may be affected by council decisions. This Citizen’s Guide will focus primarily on appearing before council as a delegation at regular meetings of council; speaking at public hearings, including public hearings on proposed planning bylaws; preparing and filing petitions, appearing before council committees and task forces, and taking part in municipal open houses and municipal surveys. It explains municipal procedural bylaws and how they affect a citizen’s right to participate in local decision-making processes. As a value-added aspect, the guide will provide information about how to become engaged in municipal public engagement and outreach processes that often precede formal delegation and public hearing processes.

Species at Risk Act: A Comprehensive Inventory of Legislative Documents 1973-2017

by Nadine Hoffman, April 2018, Occasional Paper #66/Symposium Paper 2018

The long and complex history of the enactment of the Canadian Species at Risk Act (SARA) made this statute a prime target for a legislative and documentary history. The sheer volume of, and difficulty in locating, documents related to and considered in the development of SARA is vast. In a 30-year period, 18 bills relating to species protection were introduced in the House of Commons. In the past 15 years, 12 amending bills were introduced and 70 pieces of subordinate legislation were registered under SARA (largely regulations and Orders in Council). This legislative and documentary history includes all bills, amendments, and regulations, beginning with the 1973 Speech from the Throne and ending in February 2018. It also includes parliamentary papers and committee reports, related international treaties, regulatory process information, reports and backgrounders from various government departments and non-government organizations (NGO’s), and selected scholarly articles documenting the legislative process. The purpose of this legislative and documentary history is to facilitate an understanding of the legislative framework for SARA and assist with identifying primary legal documents related to endangered species research in Canada.

Legislative Frameworks for Urban Biodiversity, Ecosystems and Wildlife in Alberta

by Sara L. Jaremko, March 2018

62 pp. Occasional Paper #65. $20.00 (softcover)

Alberta is a rapidly growing province whose cities are rapidly growing, often into wildlife habitat. These cities are host to many species of wildlife and plants, already facing pressure in the urban setting. At the same time, as the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy notes, “the global decline of biodiversity is now recognized as one of the most serious environmental issues facing humanity.” Ecological management in urban areas, including environmental conservation and wildlife management, is a subject of community concern and engagement, with a variety of stakeholder values and interests.

The Precautionary Principle in Animal Disease Prevention

By Michael J. Swanson, January 2018

42 pp. Occasional Paper #64. $20.00 (softcover)

The discovery of a single case of BSE on a remote farm in northern Alberta on May 20, 2003 had disastrous economic consequences for the province. The resulting crisis caused panic throughout the Canadian industry and resulted in lost export market access for our nation’s cattle. Outbreaks of animal disease including BSE have subsequently been addressed by enhanced federal and provincial regulations including mandatory animal identification, premise identification and animal movement. BSE is thought to be preventable by implementing specific precautionary measures including specified risk material (SRM removal), enhanced feed bans (EFB), and enhanced animal surveillance practices. This paper will present specific aspects of mandatory animal identification and BSE prevention in Canada with specific reference to the province of Alberta. There is compelling reason to conclude that together these BSE prevention measures have effectively addressed the incidence of BSE in the Canadian cattle herd. Equivalent measures have also been adopted by other beef producing countries including the USA and EU. Animal identification regulatory frameworks can potentially serve to offer additional benefits to consumers, including product quality assurances and other attributes. Existing penalty frameworks for noncompliance are in many cases inadequate to the extent that they reflect neither traditional sentencing principles nor the polluter pays principle.

Do Recent Amendments to Alberta's Municipal Government Act Enable Management of Surface Water Resources and Air Quality?

by Judy Stewart, December 2017

41 pp. Occasional Paper #62. $20.00 (softcover)

Since 2015, new provisions have been added to the Alberta Municipal Government Act (MGA) that arguably authorize municipalities to manage components of the environment, such as surface water resources and air quality at the local and regional geopolitical landscape scales. Since 2013, Part 17.1 enabled voluntary formation of 'growth management boards' (GMB) by two or more participating municipalities, and once appointed by the Minister, GMBs are empowered to create 'growth plans' to govern growth-related land use decision-making processes within the boundaries of the participating municipalities. Recently, additional MGA amendments were enacted as the Modernized Municipal Government Act and two new purposes of municipal government were added: 'to work collaboratively with neighbouring municipalities to plan, deliver and fund intermunicipal services, and 'to foster the well-being of the environment'. This paper examines and analyzes amendments to the MGA since 2015 to determine if Alberta municipalities are now authorized to manage the environment, specifically surface water resources and air quality.

Charting a Course for Good Governance of Canada's Emerging Ocean Economy

by Sara Mahaney & Daniel Watt, September 2017

50 pp. Occasional Paper #61

Atlantic Canada is at a turning point. The region’s history and economic development have historically been inextricably linked to the ocean. Global macro-economic and demographic trends point to the world's oceans figuring much more prominently in meeting the foreseeable food and energy needs of a growing global population and warming planet. Building on its oceans expertise, Atlantic Canada is well-positioned to take advantage of these emerging opportunities and create a globally competitive ocean and marine resources industry and associated innovation ecosystem. But doing so requires the implementation of robust and comprehensive regulatory regimes for the safe and sustainable development of new ocean resources.

This paper proposes new regulatory regimes for ocean resource activities in Atlantic Canada, focusing on the aquaculture and ocean-based renewable energy industries. Though two vastly different ocean activities, both are poised for growth and offer tremendous opportunities for Atlantic Canada. And both are hindered by a common obstacle: the absence of regulatory conditions permitting their safe and sustainable development outside provincial territory.  This paper proposes both can best be developed through a comprehensive and responsive regulatory regime based on the joint federal-provincial system that has successfully governed Atlantic Canadian offshore oil and gas activities for the last several decades.

Alberta Energy Projects and Indigenous Accommodation?

by David K. Laidlaw, updated to June 2021

145 pp. Occasional Paper #60

This paper summarizes the relevant law regarding governments’ obligations to accommodate Indigenous peoples living in Canada in making development approval decisions. It examines project approvals issued before December 31, 2017, to ascertain what, if any, affects the incorporation of proposed Aboriginal accommodation measures had on the conditions attached to project approvals. This paper may be used as a guide to standardize accommodation measures for particular Aboriginal concerns—to assist government and corporate policy makers in environmental tribunal hearings and the courts in dispensing justice. It may also assist energy developers in developing best practices for Aboriginal accommodation on a practical level. Lastly, this paper may assist Aboriginal groups in advancing their concerns.