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Environmental Law: Final Essay Sathya Sivapathasundaram Gr.12 Canadian Law Mr. Jamie Glass June 11 , 2012 Environmental Law Stage 1: Intro Environmental issues have plagued politicians for decades and they have now become vital issues throughout Canada. There are numerous environmental issues that the world faces today, however, the most common issues that are under the spotlight are climate change, ozone depletion and pollution. In Canada, the environmental laws were enacted in 1999, to enforce an 1 eco-friendly environment where pollution and damage to large bodies of water is eliminated . Environmental law is a complicated body of treaties that regulate the emission standards in order to protect the public, provide guidance to industry and allow government enforcement. Due to high levels of pollution and toxic chemicals produced by industries, we as human beings are becoming more vulnerable to various diseases such as cancer . By developing treaties and statutes, the society would be more concerned and responsive about the environmental damage. Damage towards the environment would lessen and more protection for natural habitats can be established. This essay will determine how environmental laws were enacted, along with their purpose and how they function in today’s society. Environmental Law Stage 2: History/Herstory 1 Canadian Environmental Law Association. (2003). Featured Items and Collections | Canadian Environmental Law Association. In Featured Items and Collections. Retrieved March 02, 2012, from 2 Weiss, Robin , and Anthony McMichael. "Social and environmental risk factors in the emergence of infectious diseases." Nature outlook10.10.1038 (2012): 70-76. Print. Canada was a country first inhabited by the First Nations people who were self-sufficient and respectful towards the environment. In their time, they did not have technologies or any mechanisms that would damage the environment. In recent times, Canada, as a country has taken some measures to be environmentally friendly . There were numerous laws that were enacted prior to the laws that are practiced today. th During the European settlement in the 17 Century, Canada began to conserve their natural resources in five stages. The first stage was called the ‘Tree Reserves Period’ which was from the 1670s to 1860. During this era, the French and the English tried to ensure a stable 4 supply of timber. Both parties recognized that the environment was being damaged due to the misuse of natural resources. As a result, they began to conserve in order to avoid losing their supply of timber. The second stage was called the ‘Land Reserves Period’ during 1860 – 1885. During this era, the land was owned by various institutions, such as churches, schools, universities and railways. 5 The government created these institutions to gain wealth through selling land and collecting land taxes. The third stage was called the “Resource Reserves Period,” which commenced in 1880 and continues to the present day. This concept focused more on being self-sufficient due to limited natural resources. The fourth stage, the ‘Recreation Reserves Period,’ is also present today and was established in 1885. This stage focuses on recreation organizations such as parks and historic sites. The final stage is the ‘Nature and 3 Marshall, Joan. "Environmentalists from Our First Nations (A First Nations Book for Young Readers Series)." Resource Links Feb. 2012: 31. Canadian Periodicals Index Quarterly. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. 4 Foster, J. (1978). Environmental and Conservation Movements - The Canadian Encylopedia. In The Canadian Encylopedia. Retrieved February 27th, 2012, from 5 Foster, J. (1978). Environmental and Conservation Movements - The Canadian Encylopedia. In The Canadian Encylopedia. Retrieved February 27th, 2012, from Wilderness Reserves Period,’ and was developed in the 1960’s. This is the most significant factor that made Canadians value their resources and become more environmentally friendly . 6 Canada is known for its abundance of resources and its numerous trade agreements with foreign settlers as they immigrated to Canada. Fisheries and the fur trade were common trades between Canada and the Europeans. However, it soon became an oppressive system considering the amount of mammals that were endangered. The government developed the Constitutional Act in 1867 which enhanced wildlife conservation and protection areas. Additionally, Canada 7 established a national park system over the years . The idea of national parks developed particularly for recreational purposes; however, soon there was more of a focus on wildlife conservation. The Constitutional Act was developed and focused on the health and safety of the whole ecosystem and human health. However, the uses of Canada’s abundant wildlife resources have diminished its bird population which indicates that hunters did not take into account the outcome of uncontrolled hunting. The Birds Conventional Act was established in 1917 which helped improve the survival of birds. Canada regulated the hunting of wildlife which has increased the 9 animal population and has acted as a safeguard to wild animals . 6 Foster, J. (1978). Environmental and Conservation Movements - The Canadian Encylopedia. In The Canadian Encylopedia. Retrieved February 27th, 2012, from 7 Historica Dominion . "Wildlife Conservation and Management - The Canadian Encyclopedia." The Canadian Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 June 2012. . 8 Gorden, K. (2003). Wildlife Conservation and Management - The Canadian Encyclopedia. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 27th, 2012, from 9 Ontario - Ministry of Natural Resources. "Hunting in Ontario - Natural Resources Management Division - Ontario Government, Ministry of Natural Resources."Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministère des In the 1960’s, due to the growing public concern of environmental damage, Canada developed its first statute known as the Ontario Water Resources Act. During the 1960’s numerous industrial organizations and municipalities dumped waste into large bodies of water such as lakes and rivers. This resulted in large environmental costs due to damages made to the 10 environment . One of the recent regarding the Ontario Water Resources Act, was a gas station owner Khaled El-Masri , for not maintaining the sewage. The ministry inspection revealed that Mr. Masri, failed to build and operate the sewage according the Act’s requirements. In addition, he failed to analyze the water samples of the ground water. As a result, Mr. Masri, was charged 11 with 11 convictions was fined for $124,500 . The Canadian Government created programs that have a positive influence on the way businesses are being conducted in order to protect long-term economic wellbeing and reduce environmental impacts . The government took into account the many lives in danger and threats 13 to natural habitats . Considering these elements, the government enacted the Ontario Water 14 Resources Act . This act regulates certain substances such as dumping of waste into bodies of Richesses naturelles. Ontario, 24 May 2012. Web. 9 June 2012. . 12 ""Court dismisses turbine challenge; Door opens to challenge Green Energy Act rules at environmental tribunal."Record [Kitchener, Ontario] 4 Mar. 2011: A3. Ontario Newspapers. Web. 4 Mar. 2012. 13 Mausberg, Burkhard. "Environment Canada." Pollution A to Z. Ed. Richard M. Stapleton. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 193-194. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. 14 "Cutting environmental review will be risky, experts say; Attacking plans to streamline process for resource projects, they say more input is needed, not less." Toronto Star [Toronto, Ontario] 21 Feb. 2012: water to limit environmental threats. In return, the government has given industries permits to 15 dump waste into old gravel pits and quarries instead of depositing it into water. During the 1970’s Canada developed two acts; the Waste Management Act and the Environmental Protection Act (EPA). The Waste Management Act regulated the dumping of wastes in bodies of water, which results in a threat to the environment. The Environmental Protection Act bans toxic chemicals that cause deadly diseases to human beings. In addition the Environmental Protection Act enforces various ways to make Canada an eco-friendly country. One of the well known non-profitable organizations Friends Of the Environment, established by 16 the government raised awareness for the safety of the environment. . In the 1980’s, the NDP as a party made essential decisions to help the public create an eco-friendly environment. This included lawyers and scientists who are involved to prosecute individuals or groups who go against the law. Today, Canada establishes new Environmental Laws that enforce a greener upbringing of the society and are the cornerstone of the government’s commitment to an eco- friendly environment . 17 A6. Ontario Newspapers. Web. 4 Mar. 2012. 15 "50+ years of Environmental Law in Canada." Environmental Law and Litigation — News and analysis (not advice) by a top Ontario environmental lawyer. Web. 2 June 2012. . 16 Saxe, D. (April 19th, 2011). Environmental Communication Options' Media Releases. In 50 years of environmental law in Canada. Retrieved February 26th, 2012, from Canada/2214.html. 17 Environment Canada. (October 13, 2011). Environment Canada- Enforcement- Main Page for Environment Canada's Enforcement Branch. In Environment Canada. Retrieved March 25th, 2012, from Environmental Law Stage 3: Charter The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was developed by Queen Elizabeth the second and the Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau on April 17, 1982 to ensure the rights and freedoms of every Canadian citizen . The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms contains various legal rights which makes Canada a democratic country. These acts include 18 Department of Justice. (March 03, 2012). Canadian Charter of rights and Freedoms. In Department of Justice Canada. Retrieved March 26th, 2012, from “Fundamental Freedom, Democratic Rights, Mobility Rights, Legal Rights, Aboriginal peoples' rights, Equality Rights, Language Rights and Minority-language educational rights” . Every 19 Canadian citizen is entitled to these sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Fundamental Freedoms allow Canadian citizens to express their thoughts, beliefs and opinions without any hesitation . This gives Canadians the privilege to interact with each other and practice their beliefs and religions without being discriminated against. The Democratic Rights allow Canadian citizens to have the right to vote in elections and choose their representatives as Members of Parliament. Mobility Rights are rights to live in Canada and move in and out of the country or province along with searching for employment. Legal Rights underline the essential rights of every citizen and they will be penalized if they are involved in any criminal offense or indulge in any activities that object the law. Aboriginal Peoples’ Rights ultimately protect their treaty and preserve their culture and identity. Equality Rights are put in place so that all men and women are treated the same in all environments, particularly in working environments. English and French are the official languages of Canada, and Language Rights give equal status among both languages in any legal documents, advertisements and in Parliament. However, English is the language spoken the most in Canada, except in Quebec. The last right is Minority-language educational rights which is equally significant. This Right gives privilege to French speakers by teaching French in elementary schools so French and English are 21 equivalent . As Canadians we should be grateful for having privilege to access these laws, 19 Canadian Heritage. (October 12, 2009). Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In Canadian Heritage. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from 20 Newman, Stephen L. "Liberty, community, and censorship: hate speech and freedom of expression in Canada and the United States." American Review of Canadian Studies 32.3 (2002): 369+. Academic OneFile. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. 21 Department of Justice. (December 5, 2011). Canada's System of Justice. In Department of Justice. Retrieved March 24, 2012, from however, some do not take into account that damage to environment can affect us humans to. In fact, pollution itself is a factor to harmful illness; such as asthma . The environment is one of the important elements for a country to function. If there are no safety rights to clean air and clean water, the country would not have a healthy environment. Developing countries such as Africa do not have access to these rights, yet their wildlife is not being damaged . We as Canadians are living in a country with advanced technologies and have laws that protect us Canadians. Although the Charter includes vital Rights, Canadian Citizens seem to be unfamiliar with Environmental Law. Ultimately, the Environmental Law should be incorporated with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom in order to potentially raise awareness of how to treat and maintain the land we live in. If Environmental Law is incorporated in the CCRF, every individual would be protected from environmental harm that may affect them. Having an eco-friendly environment is much healthier than living in the city that is unsanitary. The environment we live in today is damaged daily due to pollution, and toxic chemicals that are deposited into large bodies of water and other harmful factors that effect the 24 environment . Every citizen has the right to be free from being harmed by environment yet, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does not directly propose an act that demonstrates legal actions for damaging the environment. However, Fundamental Rights claims that every 22 NIEHS. "Ato Z." National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Web. 2 June 2012.
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