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Vol 26, 2022 SPRING

Hello ELC Community,

It’s been a busy 2022 so far. In addition to launching the regular ELC Clinic, in January we welcomed three new people to the team, including our new Clinic Lawyer Patrick Canning, who jumped right into teaching the ELC Clinic this Spring term with Deborah Curran. We offered the Intensive Clinic for the first time in four years, started planning for May gatherings with our Associates and Alumni, which will be our first in-person events since 2019, and we even managed to squeeze in a field trip.

As we moved forward with new people, projects and event planning, we also assessed our past year’s work for reporting to our funders and preparing our Annual Report. We’ll share that in our summer newsletter but here’s one tidbit: our small team of staff and students provided an astonishing 6,588 hours of pro bono legal services this past year!
SERIES: GOOD NEWS STORIES
COMPETITION BUREAU INVESTIGATION INTO COFFEE PODS RECYCLABILITY CLAIMS
We’ve said many times before that some ELC files need time to brew. Such was the case with our 2019 submission with Ecojustice to Canada’s Competition Bureau asking for an investigation into Keurig Canada’s claims about the recyclability of their coffee pods.
GOOD NEWS STORIES: WALKING ON TWO LEGS
When the time is right, we’ll meet in person to celebrate the ELC's 25th anniversary. Until then, we're sharing a series of Good News Stories that were inspired by the 2021 Research-a-thon. We hope you can share our celebratory spirit through these stories. 

> Our third Good News Story shares the inspiring story of Stk'emlupsemc Te Secwepemc Nation's dedication to preserving and honoring the culturally significant site Pipsell through upholding Secwepemc Law and legal processes and their approach of Walking on Two Legs
ELC RESOURCE ROUNDUP:

PROTECTING BEAR DENS IN BC FORESTS

Recommendations to protect black bear dens from inadvertently being destroyed by industrial activities

Link to ELC Submission: Media:

REQUEST FOR AN AUDIT AND EXAMINATION OF BC HYDRO FUNDING OF THE FISH AND WILDLIFE COMPENSATION PROGRAM

Submission to the Auditor General about BC Hydro’s failure to properly compensate for damage done to fish and wildlife habitat across the province.

Link to ELC Submission: Media:

COMMENTS ON CANADA'S DRAFT SINGLE-USE PLASTICS PROHIBITION REGULATIONS

Submission responding to the federal government’s proposed regulations on banning single-use plastics

Link to ELC Submission: Media:

COMPREHENSIVE ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT APPLICATION REGARDING A PROPOSED NATURAL GAS LIQUID RECOVERY PROJECT

Submission to the provincial government requesting a proposed project be designated as reviewable and that an independent panel of experts conduct the environmental assessment and public hearings.

Link to ELC Submission: Media:
UPDATES, IMPACTS AND SHOUT OUTS:
VANCOUVER ALUMNI! We’re coming to town and we’d love to see you. If you’re free on Fri, May 27 from 6-8pm, RSVP ASAP to Holly at elc@uvic.ca and we'll save you a spot.
WELCOME to to our Articled Student Edith Barabash who came to us from Ontario and has been living in her fabulous bus. Edith will be with us until the end of May.
THANK YOU to our Spring Coop Student Adele LesBrisay, who was a great addition to our team.
THANK YOU to Pauquachin First Nation’s Marine Department for showing ELC Clinic students and staff the problems with shellfish contamination on their territory and discussing solutions.
THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS to ELC Club members for another successful Research-a-thon! This year’s greenwashing topic was inspired by the ELC’s submission to the Competition Bureau. Students found a number of potential greenwashing examples that the ELC will further investigate over the coming months.
UPDATE ON PRINCE GEORGE INDUSTRIAL PROJECTS: In our Fall 2021 newsletter we told you about our work for Too Close for Comfort regarding a proposed petrochemical complex project in the Prince George area. Most recently, we prepared submissions asking the provincial government to designation a proposed project as reviewable to order that an independent panel of experts conduct the assessment and public hearings. In response to our submission, we learned that the Environmental Assessment Office is conducting a special review process to determine whether they will act with the Minister to establish an Environmental Assessment and an independent panel with public hearings.

 
UPDATE ON MINING LAW REFORM (#1): In 2019, the ELC joined with organizations throughout the province to launch the BC Mining Law Reform platform, which is intended to guide mining law reform in BC for the next decade.

In late March 2022, the provincial government released Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act Action Plan, which included commitments to modernize the Mineral Tenure Act in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous organizations and communities. The Action Plan also had commitments to undertake watershed planning and the collaborative governance of water with Indigenous communities, a goal that ELC staff have been supporting for many years.

 
UPDATE ON MINING LAW REFORM (#2): In early April 2022 we learned that the provincial government was releasing an interim policy changing bonding rules for mining, which is a priority area of concern addressed in the Mining Law Reform platform. The interim policy requires new mines and any existing mines having less than five years of remaining minerals reserves to post full reclamation security. Upon release of the policy, Chief Permitting Officer for the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation thanked the BC Mining Law Reform Network and acknowledged that the Polluter Pays report helped inform the new policy.

 
UPDATE ON SKAGIT: Early in 2022, BC and the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission and the Province of BC announced that they had purchased Imperial Metal’s mining claims in the 5300 hectare Skagit Valley “Donut Hole” – the area of spotted owl habitat which has long separated Manning Provincial Park from Skagit Valley Provincial Park. The ELC has provided recommendations and ongoing advice regarding tenure purchasing as far back as 2005, and as recently as 2018, when we prepared a legal opinion regarding the legal impacts if BC carried through with a plan to conduct logging in the Donut Hole.

 
UPDATE ON WATER BOTTLING: In our Fall 2021 newsletter we told you about our submission calling on the Provincial Government for a moratorium on new licences to extract groundwater for water bottling in BC. In March 2022, BC Assembly of First Nations passed the following resolution in support:
 
The BCAFN Chiefs-in-Assembly support the findings and recommendations in the Water for Future Report prepared by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and direct the Regional Chief to call on the BC Government to: 1. Place an immediate moratorium on all new and pending water bottling licenses; 2. commit to working with First Nations rightsholders on implementing the remaining report recommendations through watershed-based co-governance approaches; and 3. recognize First Nations as the first water users in BC and affirm Aboriginal and Treaty rights to water as priority rights within the First in Time, First in Right system under the Water Sustainability Act.

 
ICYMI: Did you know that the ELC is now on Instagram? Check out our behind-the-scenes action at UVicELC
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