Environmental Law

Environmental law is the starting point for any individual considering the impact of their proposed activities on the environment. Each Technology Professional therefore needs to study and thoroughly understand the legislation that applies to their area of practice.

In Canada, the federal, provincial, territorial and many municipal governments have laws, regulations or bylaws that limit activities that could adversely affect the environment.

Federal Government

Environment Canada is the federal government agency charged with preserving and enhancing the quality of the natural environment. The principal pieces of legislation for regulating the environment are the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Other laws and regulations address fisheries, clean air, water and wildlife.

Provincial Government

Each province and territory has its own environmental ministry, law and regulations. Details of each ministry's activities can be found on their respective web sites.


Many municipalities have implemented regulations that address facets of environmental protection. For example, the City of Vancouver's Environmental Protection branch is responsible for enforcement of the Sewer and Watercourse and the regional Sewer Use by-laws which aim to eliminate the discharge of volatile or other hazardous substances into public and private sewers.

As an example, as of mid-2009, eighteen communities in British Columbia had passed bylaws restricting or banning the use of 'cosmetic' pesticides in their communities.

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