The Canadian Constitution And Environmental Law

An Introduction to the Canadian Constitution and Environmental Law

In Canada, the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. This constitutional supremacy means that it plays an important role in shaping other government policy as well as laws and regulations. This section will serve as an introduction to the Canadian Constitution and highlight its connections with environmental law.  This is a introductory piece …


What exactly is the constitution?

A Constitution enshrines certain rights and freedoms above all other laws, regulations, and political decisions. It helps to codify what is held to be particularly important to any given society and enshrines certain concepts as paramount to a society’s health. In this way, a country’s constitution may be used as a tool for the protection …


Constitutional Law

Where did our Constitution come from? History & Background to the Constitution Act, 1867 The country of Canada was formally created by the British North American Act or BNA Act in 1867, a statute which created the Dominion of Canada,  four provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick)[1] and established Canada’s first constitution, the …


Common Law Contributions

Along with the written constitution and unwritten principles, constitutional power is expanded upon, and more clearly defined, in the common law. The common law is ‘judge-made law’, or law that is developed in the court system. It is not necessarily written down in statute and it is formed when a judge declares how the law …


What happens if there is a disagreement about the division of powers?

You might have noticed that sections 91 & 92 of the Constitution deal with especially broad topics and inevitably these broad categories end up leaving significant areas of the law up for debate. This is when the federal government comes in. Often, if an area of law or regulation is not clearly assigned to either …


1867 was a long time ago – what has happened since then?

A History of the Canada Act, 1982 On December 11, 1931, nearly 65 years after the Constitution Act, 1867 was passed, the British government passed the Statute of Westminster granting some of the former British colonies freedom from Britain, except in those areas where they wished to remain subordinate. [1] This meant that Canada now …


Was protection of the environment added to the Constitution in 1982?

The short answer is that, no, even with the chance to update and change our constitution, the Government of Canada decided not to include any environmental protections. However, this doesn’t mean that people weren’t trying to get it included! Even in the 1980s, there were already some who were fighting to have protections for the …


International Examples of Constitutional Recognition of the Environment

There are already a number of countries that have constitutionally recognized the right to a healthy environment. Canada can look to these examples to better understand why, even all the way back in 1978, CELA wanted Bill C-60 to include environmental protections. International Examples of Constitutional Recognition of the Environment: 1. Norway: In 1992, the …


Should we include the environment in the Constitution?

As we have discussed, numerous countries have already incorporated environmental rights into their respective constitutions. So, should Canada follow suit? In this section, we will go through some of the pros and cons that have been raised in debates over the potential amendment of our Canadian Constitution. While you read them, try to see if …


Section Review

Now that you have finished this section on the Canadian Constitution and Environmental Law, you should be comfortable: Defining what a constitution is and how it is different from other statutes Defining federalism and understanding how it can play a role in environmental law Discussing how the common law plays a role in understanding and …


 

The Canadian Constitution And Environmental Law

Curriculum Connections

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