The Navigating the Law to Protect the Environment webinar series is a partnership project between the Manitoba Eco-Network, the University of Winnipeg, and the Public Interest Law Centre which aims to provide information to activists, lawyers, students, and community members about a variety of environmental law topics. The project has funding support from the Manitoba Law Foundation.

The legal tools available to the public to make their voices heard regarding environmental matters are often overwhelmingly complex. By making the insights of experts in this field publicly available, we hope to improve Manitobans’ legal knowledge and help increase public engagement in legal processes and reforms related to environmental law. Please see our six webinars below that were offered as part of the series.

Winter/Spring 2021

Reconciliation and Environmental Law
April 15th, 2021

The theme of reconciliation is significant in Canada’s current legal, cultural, and political movement. In the legal world, the meaning and implications of this theme have been hotly debated, and debate has extended to the practice of environmental law. In this webinar, invited speakers will discuss what reconciliation means in the context of environmental law, and what path needs to be tread in order to work towards “reconciliation”.

Guest Speakers
Prof. Aimée Craft is an award-winning teacher, lawyer, author, and researcher, recognized internationally as a leader in the area of Indigenous laws, treaties, and nibi (water). Anishinaabe-Métis from Treaty 1 territory, she is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Common Law, University of Ottawa, and a member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.

Merrell-Ann Phare is a lawyer, writer, negotiator, facilitator, and the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources, a national First Nation charitable environmental organization. She is a member of the Forum for Leadership on Water, Smart Prosperity’s Leadership Council, and a recipient of Canada’s Clean 50 Award.

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Amplifying voices: Getting involved in environmental decisions
March 11th, 2021

Throughout Canada, decision-making on environmentally impactful project proposals is subject to regulatory processes through which members of the public are invited to voice their concerns or support for a given proposal. Depending on the process, becoming involved can be a significant and daunting undertaking. In this webinar, speakers Anna Johnston and Gloria Desorcy share their expertise on the challenges and opportunities that are presented by involving oneself in environmental regulatory processes.

Guest Speakers
Gloria Desorcy is Executive Director of the Manitoba branch of the Consumer’s Association of Canada. Gloria has worked as a consumer educator, researcher and advocate for more than 30 years. She has led interventions from the consumer perspective, in proceedings before the Manitoba Public Utilities Board, the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission, the CRTC, and the National Energy Board.

Anna Johnston, BA, LLB, is a staff lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, where she works on environmental impact assessment, cumulative effects, and climate law. She co-chairs the Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus of the Canadian Environmental Network and is a member of the Minister’s Advisory Council appointed to advise the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change in implementing the Impact Assessment Act.

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Feet on the ground: Your rights when you protest
February 11th, 2021

People living in Canada have often opted to voice their opinions and advocate for change on environmental issues through direct action and protest work. Our ability to express ourselves in these ways is rooted in the freedoms of expression and assembly which are guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. However, government has acted to limit the exercise of these rights in different ways, and participating in protest actions can expose a participant to liabilities. This webinar explores the legal framework around protesters rights and how the legal system and protest interact.

Guest Speakers
Cara Zwibel is a lawyer and director of the fundamental freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). Her work with CCLA involves providing legal opinions and research, coordinating litigation and interventions, representing CCLA before the courts, preparing submissions to legislative bodies and assisting with public education work.

Emilie Teresa Smith was born on the land of the Henia peoples in Argentina, grew up in Canada, spent much of her life in Guatemala, and currently resides on the territory of the Coast Salish peoples. She is an Anglican priest, writer, community activist, and co-president of the International Oscar Romero Solidarity Organization.

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Fall 2020

Are class actions the way to go?
November 12th, 2020

Class action lawsuits present an opportunity for many individuals to join forces in taking on typically bigger and more powerful entities. This tool is being increasingly used in the environmental context to protect individual and collective rights to a clean and healthy environment. This webinar will focus on these developments in the legal world and what promise Class actions might hold for furthering environmental justice.

Guest Speakers
Prof. Jasminka Kalajdzic is an associate professor at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. She served two terms as a member of the Law Foundation of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Committee and is the Canadian representative in an International Research Collaborative on Collective Litigation. She is the founder and clinic director of the Class Action Clinic, the first clinic in the world to focus on the needs and interests of class members.

Catherine Gauthier is the executive director of ENvironnement JEUnesse (ENJEU), a Quebec environmental organization focused on educating and equipping Quebec’s youth to take action on environmental issues. In 2018, Catherine and ENJEU launched a class action lawsuit against the federal government of Canada for its inaction regarding the climate change crisis; this action is presently moving through the courts.

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Accessing Legislative Change
October 8th, 2020

Environmental law is created by legislators through the legislative process. This process is open to public input and, as a result, citizen engagement in the legislative process is an important part of pushing for change on environmental matters. In this webinar, three seasoned advocates will discuss their tools for engaging and truths about the process of advocating for legislative change.

Guest Speakers
Hugh Benevides is a lawyer focused on environmental law and conservation. In 2004-06 he led a campaign for the Canadian Environmental Law Association in relation to the federal “smart regulation” program and served on an advisory committee (the Reference Group on Regulating) to Privy Council Office. Since 2016 he has advised groups on government and parliamentary relations, particularly on Bills C-68 and C-69 that became law during the final days of the 42nd Parliament.

Justyna Laurie-Lean works with Mining Association of Canada (MAC) members in addressing and understanding the federal regulations that Canadian mining companies adhere to, such as emerging regulatory issues and policy development. Prior to joining MAC in 1991, she worked in various mining operations in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia. A pioneer in the mining industry, Justyna was one of the first female mining engineers in Canada,.

Glen Koroluk has spent most of his career in the non-profit and charitable sector as a community organizer and coordinator on housing, food sovereignty, community development, and environmental protection. He is the executive director of the Manitoba Eco-Network and volunteers as a board member with the National Farmers Foundation, Canadian Environmental Network, and his local community club, Valour CC.

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Environmental Racism and the Law
September 10th, 2020

Environmental racism occurs when a law, policy, or practice differently affects or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on race or colour, often resulting in a lowered quality of life for those persons. This webinar will explore the topic of environmental racism and identify how it manifests in the Canadian and Manitoban contexts.

Guest Speakers
Chief Heidi Cook of Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids, Manitoba) is interested in the protection of lands and waters, understanding and strengthening Treaty relationships, cultural teachings and ceremonies, and living a good life. Heidi served as a Councillor for Misipawastik Cree Nation for six years, until she was elected Chief in July 2020. Prior to her time as an elected official, Heidi worked with the Misipawistik Cree Nation in areas of land use, planning, and management.

Dr. Bruce McIvor, is Principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, a law firm dedicated to negotiating and litigating on behalf of Indigenous Peoples across Canada, in the interests of protecting Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights, and Treaty rights. Bruce is a proud Metis from Manitoba, an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law, a Fulbright Scholar, and the author of First Peoples Law: Essays in Canadian Law and Decolonization.

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