Published In

Ecology Law Quarterly

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Canada; environmental law; instrument choice; economic instruments; political economy; policy frameworks


This Article examines the history of Canadian environmental law in order to explain why it has become a laggard in both legal reform and environmental performance. Canadian environmental law has long been of interest to scholars worldwide, yet its record is often poorly understood. The Article contrasts recent developments with the seemingly progressive initiatives of the 1970s, and analyzes these trends in light of their political, economic and governance context, as well as the wider critiques of environmental law. It argues that there is considerable room for Canadian governments to adopt more robust methods of environmental law, including following pioneering reforms advanced in other countries. However, even with such steps, further environmental degradation might not be averted unless Canadians are prepared to accept more fundamental changes to their economic systems and social values.