Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



This paper explores how the rights of nature could be protected through legislation in British Columbia (BC). Canada is far behind other countries in protecting rights of nature. Canadian law does not currently recognize the rights of nature in any meaningful way. Numerous statutes in Canada making nature—from fisheries to wildlife, to the land itself—the exclusive property of humans, with no inherent right to exist, flourish or be restored. We explore two potential avenues for protecting the rights of nature in British Columbia: 1) amendment of existing legislation, and 2) a new stand-alone rights of nature statute. We examine trailblazing rights of nature lawyers in other jurisdictions to identify key elements of a rights of nature law for BC. This paper presents a preliminary annotated draft of a possible rights of nature statute, not as a proposed model law but as a starting point for discussion.