4. February 2021 Feet on the ground: Your rights when you protest
6. April 2021 Reconciliation and Environmental Law
Background on the project
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 feetmaking 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. We will be offering three webinars in the fall of 2020 and three in the winter/spring of 2021.
Feet on the ground: Your rights when you protest
February 11th, 2021
Cara Zwibel – Cara Zwibel is a lawyer and director of the fundamental freedoms program at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Cara was called to the Ontario bar in 2005. She has a political science degree from McGill University and law degrees from Osgoode Hall Law School (LL.B.) and New York University (LL.M.). 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 – Emilie Teresa Smith was born on the land of the Henia peoples in Argentina, grew up in Canada, and currently resides on the territory of the Coast Salish peoples. She has spent much of her life in Guatemala, especially in the highland communities of the K’iche peoples. She is an Anglican priest, writer and community activist. She is the co-president of the International Oscar Romero Solidarity Organization (SICSAL), a network of liberation theology practicing Christians around the world, particularly focused on transforming injustice in Abya Yala (Latin America). She is married, and mother of three, and — gloriously — grandmother of three.
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.
Gloria Desorcy is Executive Director of the Manitoba branch of the Consumer’s Association of Canada. Gloria has worked as a consumer educator 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. Gloria has also led research on a wide variety of consumer issues, most recently on the subject of public participation and consumer engagement in regulatory proceedings.
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 also 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. Anna is currently working towards a Master of Laws from Dalhousie University’s Schulich School of Law, where she is writing on federal jurisdiction over next-generation environmental assessment.
Reconciliation and Environmental Law
April 15th, 2021 | 12:00pm – 1:00pm CST
Recording coming soon.
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”.
Aimée Craft is an award-winning teacher and researcher, recognized internationally as a leader in the area of Indigenous laws, treaties, and water. She prioritizes Indigenous-lead and interdisciplinary research, including through visual arts and film, co-leads a series of major research grants on Decolonizing Water Governance, and works with many Indigenous nations and communities on Indigenous relationships with and responsibilities to nibi (water). She plays an active role in international collaborations relating to transformative memory in colonial contexts and relating to the reclamation of Indigenous birthing practices as expressions of territorial sovereignty. Prof. Craft is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Common law, University of Ottawa, and an Indigenous (Anishinaabe-Métis) lawyer from Treaty 1 territory in Manitoba. She is the former Director of Research at the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the founding Director of Research at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. She practiced at the Public Interest Law Centre for over a decade and in 2016 she was voted one of the top 25 most influential lawyers in Canada. In 2021 she was awarded the prestigious Canadian Bar Association President’s Award. Breathing Life Into the Stone Fort Treaty, her award-winning book, focuses on understanding and interpreting treaties from an Anishinaabe inaakonigewin (legal) perspective. She is past chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Canadian Bar Association and a current member of the Speaker’s Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba.
Merrell-Ann Phare is a lawyer, writer, and the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), a national First Nation charitable environmental organisation. She is a Commissioner of the International Joint Commission. As Chief Negotiator, Merrell-Ann lead the negotiation of transboundary water agreements in the Mackenzie River Basin and the creation of Thaidene Nene, a national and territorial park in the east arm of Great Slave Lake in NWT. She is the author of the book ‘Denying the Source: The Crisis of First Nations Water Rights’ and co-author of ‘Ethical Water’. She facilitates the Collaborative Leadership Initiative in southern Manitoba. She is a member of the Forum for Leadership on Water, Smart Prosperity’s Leadership Council, and is a
recipient of Canada’s Clean 50 Award. She is legal counsel and advisor to a
number of First Nation and Metis governments and organisations and regularly speaks on water, governance, and Indigenous rights issues.
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.
Chief Heidi Cook of Misipawistik Cree Nation – Chief Cook is from Grand Rapids, Manitoba, and is a member of the Misipawistik Cree Nation. Her interests include the protection of lands and waters, understanding and strengthening Treaty relationships, cultural teachings and ceremonies, and living a good life. She holds a BA in Environmental Sustainability and Politics and a Masters Certificate in Project Management from UWinnipeg, and a Masters in Development Practice (MDP) in Indigenous Development from the University of Winnipeg. Heidi has served for 6 years as a Councillor for Misipawastik Cree Nation and most recently, in July of 2020, she was elected Chief of Misipawistik. Prior to her time as an elected official, Heidi worked with the Misipawistik Cree Nation Traditional Lands and Waters in areas of land use, planning, and management. She continues her work with Indigenous communities in Manitoba to achieve development that is just, improves opportunities for health and employment, and ensures lands, waters, and rights are protected.
Dr. Bruce McIvor, Principal of First Peoples Law Corporation – Dr. McIvor is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights, and Treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples across Canada. Bruce is dedicated to public education. He recently published the third edition of his collection of essays entitled First Peoples Law: Essays in Canadian Law and Decolonization. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Bruce is a proud Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. He holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history, and is a Fulbright Scholar. Bruce, a member of the bar in British Columbia and Ontario, is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.
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.
Hugh Benevides has been called to the Bar in Ontario and Nova Scotia and has worked for a Member of Parliament and committee chair on Parliament Hill, as the Canadian legal officer at an international organization, and for many of Canada’s leading environmental law, environmental, and conservation organizations. 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 in 2005-06. 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 MAC members in addressing and understanding the federal regulatory and legislative environment that Canadian mining companies adhere to. In her role, she monitors emerging regulatory issues and participates in policy development for a wide range of federal acts and regulations. Prior to joining MAC in 1991, Justyna worked in various mining operations in Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, followed by a posting with the federal government. A pioneer in the industry, Justyna was one of the first female mining engineers in Canada, having completed a degree in Mining Engineering from McGill University in 1978.
Glen Koroluk has spent most of his working career in the non-profit and charitable sector as a community organizer and coordinator on issues and projects such as housing, food sovereignty, community development, and environmental protection. He is currently 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. He holds a BSc. from the University of Winnipeg that focused on geography and statistics.
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.
Professor Jasminka Kalajdzic – Professor Kalajdzic is an associate professor at Windsor Law where she teaches courses on legal ethics, evidence, and class actions. Professor Kalajdzic is widely published, including Class Actions in Canada: The Promise and Reality of Access to Justice (2018) and The Law of Class Actions in Canada (co-authored, 2015). Professor Kalajdzic was the co-principal researcher and co-author of the Law Commission of Ontario’s Class Action Report (2019). She speaks regularly about class actions at scholarly and judicial conferences in Canada, the United States, and Europe. 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 co-teaches a comparative class action seminar with colleagues at Stanford, Tilburg, and Leuphana Universities. 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. Catherine holds a Masters in international law and politics, specializing in international climate negotiations, environmental issues, education, and human rights. She has been invited to speak to the United Nations General Assembly, at the 11th conference of the parties for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and, on behalf of ENJEU, has participated in ten UN conferences of the parties on climate change since 2007. 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. Catherine continues to be involved with groups working on issues related to climate change, just and equitable economic transitions, and intergenerational equity.