Making it through 2020 together

r1 And preparing for environmental action in 2021 ... r19 December 2020 | Legal e-Brief FacebookTwitter YouTube Instagram WCEL logo Donate today

Dear Paov,

With winter setting in, and 2020 coming to a close, our team is reflecting on the turbulent nature of the past 12 months. It’s been a big year, full of challenges and new ways of living in the world.

For some of us, it’s been a time to reckon with the painful realities of injustice and illness. It has added new pressures on top of worsening climate impacts and dwindling ecosystems, while shedding light on the inadequacy of our colonial legal systems in tackling these major challenges.

Through all this, West Coast has been there. Whether we’re working together with Indigenous nations revitalizing their laws, collaborating on coastal protection or sharing expert analysis on climate legislation, a new year offers a fresh start and a renewed commitment to centre justice and healing in our work in 2021.

Guide to Coastal & Ocean Protection Law in BC After years of research, our Marine Team has unveiled our Guide to Coastal and Ocean Protection Law in BC! We’re so proud of the hard work that went into creating this comprehensive resource, which covers the wide array of legal tools available to Indigenous, federal, provincial and local governments to protect the coast and ocean.

The guide launched earlier this month with a special webinar about how law can be used to safeguard marine ecosystems. You can watch the full recording here.
Canada’s climate law fills the glass part way, but we need to top it up Bill C-12, the new Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, falls short of a leading-edge climate accountability law – but there are some relatively easy fixes that could get it working and give us a climate law we can all be proud of.

Read our recommendations in this blog by Staff Lawyer Andrew Gage.
Why the BC NDP’s promise of a new law for biodiversity and ecosystems could be transformational If the newly elected BC government acts on its election promise to implement the “full slate of proposals from the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel” – including a new overarching provincial law to prioritize biodiversity and ecosystems – it could be a game-changer, and not just for old-growth forests.

Staff Lawyer Gavin Smith explains.
Environmental monitoring is a crucial part of a coastal strategy A new report from marine biologist Maryann Watson found troubling gaps in the BC government's habitat monitoring, with implications for struggling coastal ecosystems. Read about how a coastal strategy could help fill those gaps and safeguard habitat on the coast.

Fortunately, protecting the coast appears to be a priority for BC's new government – with commitments to develop a coastal strategy outlined in mandate letters for multiple cabinet ministers.
2021 Summer Law Student applications are open! Text that says Hey Law students! Looking for hands-on experience in environmental law?

Just a reminder to Canadian law students – we’re currently accepting applications for summer 2021 law student placements at West Coast. It’s a great opportunity for hands-on experience working with environmental and Indigenous law.

Read more and apply by January 8th, 2021

Remembering Joe Arvay

This month we are mourning the loss of a valued colleague, lawyer Joe Arvay. West Coast has worked alongside Joe for many years, including as an ally on climate litigation. He will be remembered as an outspoken voice on LGBTQ2S+ rights, a champion of the environment, and a dedicated advocate for Canadians’ civil liberties.

Our condolences go out to his loved ones and colleagues.

Please donate to the West Coast Environmental Law Research Foundation and help us strengthen the laws, and legal traditions that defend and protect the environment and our communities. Thank you for all that you do..

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The Legal E-Brief is a publication of West Coast Environmental Law Association

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