JELP Environmental Law Conference

Members of the research team will be participating in the upcoming 7th annual environmental law conference hosted by the Journal of Environmental Law and Practice. The theme of the conference is Back to the Future: Re-Defining Canada’s Environmental Priorities, and it will be held at the Lester B Pearson United World College in Victoria, BC. The draft program is available HERE.

On June 7, from 2:15 pm – 3:30 pm , Professor Nathalie Chalifour will be presenting on a panel called “Climate Constitutionalism: The Interpretative Imperatives of Ecological Sustainability, Equality and Reconciliation, and Devolution”.

On June 8, from 2:15 pm – 3:45 pm, Professor Nathalie Chalifour and Professor Heather McLeod-Kilmurray will be presenting on a panel called “Environmental Justice and Food Systems: Food Justice, Climate Justice and Indigenous Food Sovereignty”.

Carbon Pricing on Trial

The University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment will be hosting a panel on the constitutionality of Canada’s carbon pricing law, which Saskatchewan and Ontario have challenged. Three of the lawyers involved, including project member Nathalie Chalifour, who is acting as counsel for the United Chiefs of the Mnidoo Mnising, will discuss the recent hearing, the arguments and the implications of this landmark case.

The other panelists are:

  • Stewart Elgie, uOttawa Law professor, counsel for the Ecofiscal Commission

  • Josh Ginsberg, Director of the uOttawa-Ecojustice Law Clinic, counsel for David Suzuki Foundation


When: Wednesday, March 13, 11:30 AM – 1 PM
Where : Room 133, Fauteux Hall (Law Faculty), 57 Louis Pasteur, University of Ottawa

A light lunch will be served.

Extracting Environmental Justice: A Joint Panel Q&A

Professors Nathalie Chalifour and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, along with their colleagues Salvador Herencia and Professors Penelope Simons and Aimée Craft will be participating in a joint panel Q&A on environmental justice on Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 11:30am - 1:00pm in FTX 137. The panel will engage in a critical dialogue on the harmful impacts of natural resource extraction on marginalized communities.

The event is co-hosted by the Indigenous Law Students Association, the Environmental Law Students Association, Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) uOttawa, and Level Justice.

All are welcome, and lunch will be provided! Please note that the event will be in English.

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Saskatchewan, Ontario and the constitutionality of a national carbon price

Professor Nathalie Chalifour has published a new op-ed in The Globe and Mail examining Saskatchewan and Ontario’s positions in relation to the federal carbon tax.

She points out that in general, the arguments presented by both provinces are weak, especially since many legal experts agree that Parliament is within its constitutional authority to implement a national carbon price under one or more subject matters. She also highlights some interesting aspects raised by both provincial governments.

She concludes that: “In the end, it looks as if Saskatchewan and Ontario’s complaints are not really about the Constitution, but reflect a politically motivated, foot-stomping show of their unwillingness to do their part in the national and global effort to reduce GHG emissions. The fact that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is turning to the courts for help, when he recently stated he would override a court decision with the notwithstanding clause because he did not agree with the outcome, speaks volumes. Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that the federal government opted to use a carbon price because it is the policy favoured by economists and conservatives because of its efficiency. Yet it is the conservative-led provinces that are making the most noise about it. Meanwhile, these outlier provinces have left Canadian climate policy fragmented and bogged down in costly lawsuits.”

Nathalie Chalifour Inducted into Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Professor Nathalie Chalifour has been selected as a member of the 2018 cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

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Professor Chalifour is widely recognized for her expertise in environmental law and policy, and known internationally for her pioneering work at the intersections of environmental issues, economics and social justice. Her rich record of scholarship is acclaimed for its policy relevance, consistently modeling innovative interdisciplinary approaches to timely environmental problems. As an emerging leader in her field, Professor Chalifour is helping to shape Canada’s developing legal framework for climate change and environmental justice, while contributing to our understanding of how markets and fiscal policy can be harnessed to fairly and effectively safeguard the environment.

The RSC College aims to address issues of particular concern to new scholars, artists and scientists, fostering an environment of interdisciplinary collaboration with the ultimate goal of advancing society. The criteria for election to the College is excellence, and each membership lasts for seven years. Up to 100 members may be elected each year.

Congratulations to Professor Chalifour for this latest achievement!

Sustainable Development Goals and Universities

This month, Professor Chalifour joined a panel featuring Jeffrey D. Sachs, exploring the role of Universities in advancing the global Sustainable Development Goals.

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Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economistranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.

Professor Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.  He is University Professor at Columbia University, the university’s highest academic rank.  During 2002 to 2016 he served as the Director of the Earth Institute.  Sachs is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on both the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Sachs is currently Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He is Chair and Founder of SDG USA, a non-governmental initiative to promote the Sustainable Development Goal concepts in the United States. Sachs is also co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and was director of the Millennium Villages Project (2005-2015).

Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Timesbestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011).  His recent books include: To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) and Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017).

Climate Law Seminar

Professor Nathalie Chalifour taught the first upper year Climate Law Seminar at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law this January, as part of the intensive winter session. Using a multidisciplinary approach characteristic of Chalifour’s teaching, students grappled with legal questions in their broader scientific, economic and political context. Taught in a bilingual format, the seminar featured numerous experts to engage the students in understanding the legal and policy framework for responding to climate change. The course was split between the international context, including an in-depth examination of the Paris Agreement, and Canada’s legal response to climate change at all levels of government.