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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter surveys Canadian environmental law, including the allocation of environmental powers, the choice of regulatory models, and the implementation of environmental laws. Notable Canadian accomplishments include broad municipal powers, pioneering experimentation with sustainability assessment, North American leadership on carbon taxes, and a history of innovation with indigenous land claims. Overall, however, the chapter challenges Canada’s image as an environmental law leader, documenting its timid version of environmental federalism, generally conservative judiciary, limited policy imagination, feeble pursuit of environmental justice, excessive levels of administrative discretion, frequent bouts of deregulation and fiscal austerity, and largely rhetorical embrace of environmental rights, the polluter-pays principle, the precautionary principle, and sustainable development. Against this background, Canadian indigenous peoples are vigorously reasserting their environmental sovereignty and laws. Reconciliation between settler and indigenous societies is amongst the greatest challenges and opportunities facing Canadian environmental law today.

Keywords: Canada, indigenous peoples, environmental law, federalism, regulatory instruments, environmental principles, environmental enforcement

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