Two separate court challenges of the federal and provincial environmental assessment approvals for the Site C hydropower project in British Columbia have recently been dismissed by the federal and BC appellate courts. The two appellate courts separately upheld earlier decisions of the BC Supreme Court and the Federal Court which had dismissed applications for judicial review by the Prophet River First Nation and the West Moberly First Nation (the First Nations) of the provincial and federal environmental assessment decisions approving Site C. The First Nations argued that the approvals infringed their treaty rights under Treaty 8 and that there was … Continue Reading
McCarthy Tétrault LLP’s Power Group has launched the 2nd edition of its publication, ‘Canadian Power – Key Developments in 2016/Trends to Watch for in 2017’. The publication provides a detailed overview of significant developments in the Canadian power sector over the past year, as well as emerging trends that will be relevant in the coming year. Content includes in-depth regional analyses of developments in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Québec, as well as commentary on the impact of specific issues on the power sector, such as recent M&A activity and developments in aboriginal law and environmental regulations … Continue Reading
As part of our continuing series of blog posts highlighting specific topics addressed in our publication Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016, we focus here on our analysis of developments and anticipated trends in Aboriginal Law across the country that will impact the power sector.
The National Power Group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP recently released Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016. This publication provides an unprecedented overview of the most significant developments in the Canadian power industry and to highlight key trends to watch for. In … Continue Reading
The National Power Group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP is pleased to introduce Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016. This publication provides an unprecedented overview of the most significant developments in the Canadian power industry and highlights key trends to watch for. In addition to providing a detailed review of developments in each region, we look at developments in key areas of national scope, including project finance, environmental, regulatory and aboriginal law matters.
A full pdf version of Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 / Trends to Watch for in 2016 can be accessed … Continue Reading
On January 27, 2016, the Federal Government announced five principles that will guide its discretionary decision making powers on major natural resource projects. These principles are intended as an interim measure while the Government undertakes a broader review of the environmental assessment process. As stated in the December 2015 Speech from the Throne, the Government plans to introduce new environmental assessment processes as part of its efforts to restore public trust.… Continue Reading
This post provides an update on the latest developments in the litigation proceedings involving BC Hydro’s Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). Please see our earlier posts on July 21, August 14, and September 2 for additional background on the proceedings.
At the outset, we note that on November 25, 2015, BC Hydro and the BC Government announced the awarding of a $1.5 billion construction contract for Site C to Peace River Hydro Partners (which includes Petrowest Construction, ACCIONA Infrastructure Canada Inc. and Samsung C&T Canada Ltd.). There will be an emphasis on hiring local … Continue Reading
This article provides a consolidated overview of recent developments in the six judicial review proceedings challenging the governmental approvals of Site C. Please check our blog for future updates on key developments in the proceedings.… Continue Reading
Blueberry River First Nations (BRFN) has commenced a novel treaty rights infringement claim (Claim) against the Province of British Columbia (Province). The Claim, filed March 3, 2015, alleges that the Province has breached its Treaty 8 obligations due to the cumulative impacts of provincially authorized industrial development in BRFN’s traditional territory.
BRFN’s traditional territory is located in the Upper Peace River region of northeastern BC, around and mainly north of Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Hudson’s Hope.
The Claim is significant because it is one of the first treaty rights infringement claims … Continue Reading
On January 5, 2015, the Province of British Columbia issued a direction (the “Direction”) to the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission (“OGC”) prohibiting the OGC from issuing permits to convert LNG facility pipelines, which are built to support liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facilities, into pipelines for transporting oil or diluted bitumen. The Direction prohibits the OGC from permitting project proponents to convert natural gas pipelines supplying LNG facilities to pipelines carrying oil.… Continue Reading
While most of us were dreaming of winter vacations, the OPA announced changes to the Aboriginal Renewable Energy Fund (“AREF”) on December 19, 2014 to make interim funding available to First Nations and Métis communities for due diligence work required to assess and develop opportunities for participation in the Large Renewable Procurement (“LRP”) program.
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a major ruling on aboriginal title in its Nation Tsilhqot’in v. British Columbia decision.
The Court recognized that the nomadic and semi-nomadic people of the Tsilhqot’in Nation in British Columbia hold the exclusive occupancy rights to a territory of more than 1,500 sq. km. in the province.
The Tsilhqot’in decision marks a turning point from 1990s jurisprudence on ancestral rights and aboriginal title. In the Van der Peet  case (1996), the Court established the requisite conditions for proving ancestral rights. This decision was followed in 1997 by … Continue Reading
The B.C. and federal governments have granted environmental approvals to BC Hydro for its Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced on October 14, 2014 the issuance of an environmental assessment certificate (EA Certificate) for Site C, concluding that the project is in the public interest and that its benefits outweigh the risks of significant adverse environmental, social and heritage effects. In addition, federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq issued a decision statement (Decision Statement) approving Site C, declaring that the significant adverse environmental effects that Site C is likely to cause are justified in … Continue Reading
On July 7, the Ontario Power Authority (“OPA”) published a list of 500 renewable energy contract offers under its Feed-in Tariff 3.0 (“FIT 3.0”) Program, which are expected to produce 123.5 megawatts (“MW”) of power.
The list of successful applicants is heavily skewed in favour of solar projects. Of the 500 contract offers, 490 are solar photovoltaic (“PV”) projects, which account for 120.89 MW of the 123.5 MW approved by the OPA. The 10 successful non-solar applicants can be divided into eight bioenergy projects; one wind energy project, and one waterpower project.… Continue Reading
As discussed in our earlier blog posting, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) recently released its decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia (2014 SCC 44), a decision which granted a declaration of title over a tract of Crown lands located in interior British Columbia (BC) to the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Tsilhqot’in). As Aboriginal groups celebrate the SCC decision, parties involved in resource development across Canada are no doubt dissecting the decision to assess the potential implications of the decision for their projects.
The effects of the Tsilhqot’in decision will be felt most by projects in parts of Canada where … Continue Reading
On June 26, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) released its highly anticipated decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia. In this ground-breaking decision, Canada’s highest court granted a declaration of Aboriginal title over a tract of Crown lands to the Tsilhqot’in Nation (Tsilhqot’in) of the west central interior of British Columbia. This is the first time in Canadian history that Aboriginal title has been definitively established and affirmed.
In allowing the appeal of the Tsilhqot’in from the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal (BCCA) in William v. British … Continue Reading
In their assessment of the Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C), the Joint Review Panel (the Panel) considered the potential impact of Site C on Aboriginal rights and treaty rights, along with the possible effects of the project on the cultural and economic well-being of First Nations. It identified 24 groups claiming an interest in the Local Assessment Area, as well as 6 other Aboriginal groups with potential interests who did not participate in the review process. Overall, the Panel determined that Site C would likely cause significant adverse effects on fishing opportunities and practices and on hunting and … Continue Reading
As reported in our earlier blog, the Joint Review Panel (the Panel) appointed to review BC Hydro’s proposed Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) recently released its report to the public. In addition to assessing the project costs associated with Site C and BC Hydro’s methods for analyzing load forecast and demand, the Panel put forward a number of conclusions and recommendations in relation to the environmental and aboriginal impacts of Site C. Part 1 of this blog presents an overview of the key environmental findings of the Panel, while the Panel’s findings on the potential impacts to … Continue Reading
The following article by Will Fyfe and Lynn Parsons may be of interest to readers of this blog: $1 Billion Investment in Ring of Fire.
The Government of Ontario announced today that it will commit $1 billion toward the development of infrastructure in the so called “Ring of Fire” in Ontario’s far north. → Read more.… Continue Reading
On April 14, 2014, the BC Government issued Order in Council (No. 185) amending the Reviewable Projects Regulation (B.C. Reg 370/200) to remove the need for a provincial environmental assessment for sweet natural gas processing plants (the Proposed Amendment). The Proposed Amendment, which was to come into effect on April 28, 2014, would have had significant implications for upstream activities, especially in northeast BC where shale gas development is rapidly underway.… Continue Reading
On March 26, 2014, the Government of Ontario and the group of nine Aboriginal communities known as the Matawa member First Nations entered into a “Regional Framework Agreement” for the development of the so-called “Ring of Fire” in northern Ontario. This long-awaited agreement is expected to be a crucial step forward in the development of the Ring of Fire, a remote area of northern muskeg that is considered to have $60 billion worth of known mineral potential and includes North America’s largest chromite deposit.… Continue Reading
On February 5, 2014, the BC government announced that it is unlikely to release the detailed tax regime for the province’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector before the fall legislative session. In his address to the media, BC Finance Minister Mike de Jong explained that he expects the government to make the framework for the LNG tax public when he presents the provincial budget on February 18, 2014, but tax rates are unlikely to be released until legislation is tabled this fall.
In September 2013, the BC government cancelled the fall sitting of the legislature on the basis that … Continue Reading
On November 26, 2013, the BC government confirmed its approval of BC Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). The IRP provides a 20-year outlook of how BC Hydro expects to reliably and cost-effectively meet the anticipated future electricity needs of the province through conservation and acquisition of sufficient generation and transmission resources.… Continue Reading
The BC government announced on October 28, 2013, its intention to support clean-energy developments in First Nations communities through investments in the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund (FNCEBF). In his speech at the 11th annual Clean Energy BC conference in Vancouver, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation John Rustad stated that the FNCEBF will support 10 capacity-building projects and two $500,000 equity ventures all supporting clean-energy objectives.
According to the government, the FNCEBF will provide support to 12 First Nations in connection with a variety of clean-energy projects including:
- a feasibility study by Lake Babine Nation which will