Water Quality Trading in Ontario

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This paper, by Richard McNeil, explores Water Quality Trading (WQT) as a complement to the traditional regulatory approach to reducing water pollution. It examines the theory behind WQT, reviews common practices where trading has been introduced, and identifies principles for effective programs. It presents two Ontario case studies: the South Nation River watershed, where WQT has been a success, and the Lake Simcoe watershed, where WQT is currently being considered. Continue reading

Open Justice in the Common Law

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This paper explores the development and application of the common-law principle of open justice. For centuries, people used common-law courts to resolve disputes about pollution. The courts were open and accountable. Environmental disputes are now often resolved by regulatory bodies that are less transparent. For example, disputes concerning agricultural pollution are heard by government-appointed right-to-farm boards. Some boards do not release their decisions to the public, and some delete key information regarding the parties and their locations. This lack of transparency makes it difficult for people to make informed decisions about where to live, how to behave, and what to expect. When governments move decisions about the environment from courts to administrative bodies, it is essential that they adopt the principles of transparency and accountability that have long infused the common-law.

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Right-to-Farm Legislation in Canada

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This paper outlines the provincial laws that exempt  farmers from liability for the nuisances they create. It describes the new standard of "normalcy" by which agricultural practices are often measured and examines the farm practice review boards that have been established to determine whether disputed practices are normal, and thus acceptable.

 

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Greener Pastures: Decentralizing the Regulation of Agricultural Pollution

By Elizabeth Brubaker.

This book traces the evolution of laws permitting farms to grow larger and to create nuisances — especially odours — that harm their neighbours. It argues for a return to a more decentralized, rights-based regulatory regime in which individuals and communities are empowered to protect themselves from polluting farms.

Published by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Public Management, 2007

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