The Role of Science in Contemporary Canadian Environmental Decision Making: The Example of Environmental Assessment

University of British Columbia Law Review, Forthcoming

50 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2019 Last revised: 8 Feb 2019

See all articles by A.R. Westwood

A.R. Westwood

Independent

Martin Olszynski

University of Calgary - Faculty of Law

C.H. Fox

Independent

A.T. Ford

University of British Columbia Okanagan

Aerin Jacob

Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y)

J.W. Moore

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

W.J. Palen

Simon Fraser University (SFU)

Date Written: January 3, 2019

Abstract

In this article, we examine the role of science in Canada’s federal environmental assessment (EA) regime to illustrate opportunities for improvement. We do not address the application of science in EA practices (i.e., how to do good science within EA processes), which has been thoroughly reviewed by others. Instead, we examine the context for science in EA law: we examine the components of a regulatory regime, enshrined by law, that would allow for scientifically defensible assessments and evidence-based decision making. We have four objectives: (1) to provide a recent history of the role(s) of science in Canada’s legislated EA regimes, including public support for science in EA law; (2) to propose five components necessary in an EA regime to ensure strong inclusion of science; (3) to evaluate if new proposed legislation meets scientific standards for modern EA, particularly cumulative effects and climate change; and (4) to encourage collaboration between scholars and practitioners in law and the natural and social sciences to work towards stronger scientific foundations in Canada’s EA regimes at all levels.

Keywords: environmental law, environmental assessment, environmental science

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Westwood, Alana and Olszynski, Martin Z.P. and Fox, Caroline and Ford, Adam and Jacob, Aerin and Moore, Jonathan and Palen, Wendy, The Role of Science in Contemporary Canadian Environmental Decision Making: The Example of Environmental Assessment (January 3, 2019). University of British Columbia Law Review, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3309943

Alana Westwood (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Martin Z.P. Olszynski

University of Calgary - Faculty of Law ( email )

Murray Fraser Hall
2500 University Dr. N.W.
Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4
Canada

Caroline Fox

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Adam Ford

University of British Columbia Okanagan ( email )

Vancouver
Canada

Aerin Jacob

Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) ( email )

200 - 1350 Railway Ave
Canmore, T1W 1P6
Canada

Jonathan Moore

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Wendy Palen

Simon Fraser University (SFU) ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

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