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Environmental Bill of Rights

BILL NO. 26

(as introduced)

1st Session, 63rd General Assembly
Nova Scotia
66 Elizabeth II, 2017



Private Member's Bill



Environmental Bill of Rights



Lenore Zann
Truro–Bible Hill–Millbrook–Salmon River



First Reading: October 5, 2017

Second Reading:

Third Reading:

An Act to Establish
an Environmental Bill of Rights

WHEREAS the people of Nova Scotia recognize the inherent and intrinsic value of the environment for the prosperity of the Province;

AND WHEREAS a healthy and ecologically balanced environment is inextricably linked to the health of communities, families and individuals in Nova Scotia;

AND WHEREAS the people of Nova Scotia should have the means to ensure that decisions affecting the environment are achieved in an effective, timely, open and fair manner;

AND WHEREAS the House of Assembly recognizes the cultural and spiritual significance of the environment to indigenous peoples who have lived in Nova Scotia since time immemorial;

AND WHEREAS the House of Assembly acknowledges that there is a history of environmental racism in Nova Scotia that has disproportionately and negatively affected historically marginalized, vulnerable and economically disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities, particularly indigenous people and African Nova Scotians;

AND WHEREAS the people of Nova Scotia share the responsibility to protect, preserve and restore the environment for the benefit of present and future generations;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Nova Scotia, as the representative of the people, is the trustee of the environment;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Nova Scotia has the primary responsibility to protect, preserve and restore the environment within its jurisdiction;

AND WHEREAS the House of Assembly affirms that the people of Nova Scotia have a right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;

THEREFORE be it enacted by the Governor and Assembly as follows:

1 This Act may be cited as the Environmental Bill of Rights.

2 (1) The general purpose of this Act is to

(a) safeguard the right of all present and future generations of Nova Scotians to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment by supporting and promoting the protection, enhancement and prudent use of the environment;

(b) protect the people of Nova Scotia from environmental hazards and guarantee that everyone living in Nova Scotia has a right to live and thrive in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;

(c) address environmental racism that disproportionately and negatively affected, and continues to affect, historically marginalized, vulnerable or economically disadvantaged individuals, groups and communities, particularly indigenous peoples and African Nova Scotians;

(d) confirm the Government's duty to protect the environment as a public trust; and

(e) protect, preserve and, where reasonable, restore the integrity of the environment by the means provided in this Act.

(2) The procedural purpose of this Act is to

(a) foster transparency, inclusiveness and accountability, and provide the people of Nova Scotia with legal tools to enable them to protect the environment;

(b) ensure that the people of Nova Scotia have access to information about decisions that affect the health and integrity of the environment;

(c) ensure that the people of Nova Scotia have access to justice to take action to uphold their right to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment;

(d) protect the people of Nova Scotia against malicious or strategic lawsuits that are designed to intimidate and dissuade participation in decision-making or seeking environmental justice; and

(e) enable the people of Nova Scotia to participate in environmental governance and decision-making.

(3) The substantive purpose of this Act is to

(a) establish principles of environmental law;

(b) articulate and guarantee the fundamental environmental needs that are necessary for the health, well-being, dignity and social equity of the people of Nova Scotia;

(c) acknowledge the intrinsic and fundamental value of the environment to all Nova Scotians, and to indigenous cultures and traditions in particular; and

(d) articulate the responsibilities of the people of Nova Scotia and the Government with respect to the environment.

3 (1) In this Act,

(a) "Board" means the Labour Board established under the Labour Board Act;

(b) "Commissioner" means the Environmental Commissioner appointed under subsection 15(1);

(c) "Court" means the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia;

(d) "department" means a department or office of the public service created by or under the Public Service Act;

(e) "greenhouse gas" means a greenhouse gas as defined in the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act;

(f) "instrument" means any document of legal effect issued under an Act and includes a permit, licence, approval, authorization, direction or order issued under an Act, but does not include a regulation;

(g) "minister" means a member of the Executive Council;

(h) "municipality" means a municipality as defined in the Municipal Government Act;

(i) "public land" means land that

(i) belongs to Her Majesty in right of the Province or to a municipality, or

(ii) is subject to a conservation easement as defined in the Conservation Easements Act,

but does not include land that is leased from a person referred to in subclause (i) and that is used for agricultural purposes;

(j) "public resource" means

(i) air,

(ii) water, not including water covering the lot described in the Schedule to the Water Act,

(iii) unimproved public land,

(iv) any parcel of public land that is larger than five hectares and is used for

(A) recreation,

(B) conservation,

(C) resource extraction,

(D) resource management, or

(E) a purpose similar to one mentioned in paragraphs (A) to (D), and

(v) any plant life, animal life or ecological system associated with any air, water or land described in subclauses (i) to (iv);

(k) "registry" means the environmental registry established under subsection 10(1) of the Environment Act.

(2) For the purpose of Sections 6, 7 and 8, where a proposal is under consideration in more than one department, the department is the department with primary responsibility for the proposal and the minister is the minister responsible for that department.

4 This Act binds Her Majesty.

PART I

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT DECISION-MAKING

5 (1) This Part sets out minimum levels of public participation that must be met before the Government of the Province makes decisions on certain kinds of environmentally significant proposals for policies, Acts, regulations and instruments.

(2) This Part does not limit any rights of public participation otherwise available.

6 (1) Where a minister considers that a proposal under consideration in the minister's department for a policy or Act could, if implemented, have a significant effect on the environment, and the minister considers that the public should have an opportunity to comment on the proposal before implementation, the minister shall do everything in the minister's power to give notice of the proposal to the public at least 30 days before the proposal is implemented.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a policy or Act that is predominantly financial or administrative in nature.

7 (1) Where a minister considers that a proposal under consideration in the minister's department for a regulation under an Act prescribed by the regulations could, if implemented, have a significant effect on the environment, the minister shall do everything in the minister's power to give notice of the proposal to the public at least 30 days before the proposal is implemented.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a regulation that is predominantly financial or administrative in nature.

8 (1) A minister shall do everything in the minister's power to give notice to the public of a proposal for an instrument under consideration in the minister's department at least 30 days before a decision is made whether or not to implement the proposal.

(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), a proposal for an instrument is under consideration in a department if

(a) it is possible that a decision whether to implement the proposal will be made under an Act by the minister for the department or by a person employed in the department; or

(b) it is possible that a decision whether to implement the proposal will be made under an Act administered by the minister for the department.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the minister need not give notice of a proposal to amend or revoke an instrument if the minister considers that the potential effect of the amendment or revocation on the environment is insignificant.

9 (1) Notice of a proposal under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) must be given in the registry and by any other means the minister giving the notice considers appropriate.

(2) Notice of a proposal given under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) in the registry must include

(a) a brief description of the proposal;

(b) a statement of the manner by which and time within which members of the public may participate in decision-making on the proposal;

(c) a statement of where and when members of the public may review written information about the proposal;

(d) an address to which members of the public may direct

(i) written comments on the proposal, and

(ii) written questions about the rights of members of the public to participate in decision-making on the proposal;

(e) any information prescribed by the regulations; and

(f) any other information that the minister giving the notice considers appropriate.

10 (1) Sections 6, 7 and 8 do not apply if, in the minister's opinion, the delay involved in giving notice to the public, in allowing time for public response to the notice or in considering the response to the notice would result in

(a) danger to the health or safety of any person;

(b) harm or serious risk of harm to the environment; or

(c) injury or damage or serious risk of injury or damage to any property.

(2) Where a minister decides under subsection (1) not to give notice of a proposal under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1), the minister shall give notice of the decision to the public and to the Commissioner.

(3) Notice under subsection (2) must be given as soon as reasonably possible after the decision is made and must include a brief statement of the minister's reasons for the decision and any other information about the decision that the minister considers appropriate.

11 (1) Sections 6, 7 and 8 do not apply if, in the minister's opinion, the environmentally significant aspects of a proposal for a policy, Act, regulation or instrument

(a) have already been considered in a process of public participation, under this Act, under another Act or otherwise, that was substantially equivalent to the process required in relation to the proposal under this Act; or

(b) are required to be considered in a process of public participation under another Act that is substantially equivalent to the process required in relation to the proposal under this Act.

(2) Where a minister decides under subsection (1) not to give notice of a proposal under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1), the minister shall give notice of the decision to the public and to the Commissioner.

(3) Notice under subsection (2) must be given as soon as reasonably possible after the decision is made and must include a brief statement of the minister's reasons for the decision and any other information about the decision that the minister considers appropriate.

12 Notice to the public under subsection 10(2) or 11(2) must be given in the registry and by any other means the minister considers appropriate.

13 (1) Section 8 does not apply if, in the minister's opinion, the issuance, amendment or revocation of an instrument would be a step towards implementing an undertaking or other project approved by

(a) a decision made by a tribunal under an Act after affording an opportunity for public participation; or

(b) a decision made under Part IV of the Environment Act.

(2) Section 8 does not apply if, in the minister's opinion, the issuance, amendment or revocation of an instrument would be a step towards implementing an undertaking that has been exempted by a regulation under Part IV of the Environment Act.

(3) A decision about a class of undertaking is a decision within the meaning of subsection (1) and an exemption for a class of undertaking is an exemption within the meaning of subsection (2).

14 (1) A minister need not give notice under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) of a proposal that would, if implemented, form part of or give effect to a budget or economic statement presented to the Assembly.

(2) A minister need not give notice under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) of a proposal that would, if implemented, change

(a) a policy that forms part of a budget or economic statement presented to the Assembly; or

(b) a bill, Act, regulation or instrument that gives effect to a budget or economic statement presented to the Assembly.

PART II

ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER

15 (1) There shall be an Environmental Commissioner who is an officer of the Assembly.

(2) The Governor in Council shall appoint the Commissioner on the recommendation of the Assembly.

(3) The Commissioner holds office for a term of five years and may be re-appointed for one or more further terms.

(4) The Governor in Council may remove the Commissioner for cause on the recommendation of the Assembly.

(5) The Commissioner shall not do any work or hold any office that interferes with the performance of the duties of the Commissioner.

(6) Subsection (5) does not prevent the person appointed as Commissioner from concurrently holding a similar office under an enactment of New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island if appointed to such office under that enactment or in accordance with an agreement between the Minister of Environment and the government of that province.

16 (1) Subject to subsection (3), the Commissioner shall be paid a salary to be fixed by the Governor in Council.

(2) The salary of the Commissioner shall not be reduced except on the recommendation of the Assembly.

(3) The money required for the purpose of subsection (1) must be paid out of money appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.

17 (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Commissioner is a member of the Public Service Superannuation Plan.

(2) The money required for the purpose of subsection (1) must be paid out of money appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.

18 Before commencing the duties of office, the Commissioner shall take an oath, to be administered by the Speaker of the Assembly, that the Commissioner will faithfully and impartially exercise the functions of the office of the Commissioner.

19 (1) Where the Commissioner dies, resigns or is unable or neglects to perform the functions of the office while the Assembly is not sitting, the Governor in Council may, before the Assembly next sits, appoint a temporary Environmental Commissioner to hold office for a term of not more than six months.

(2) A temporary Environmental Commissioner has the powers and duties of the Commissioner and is entitled to the remuneration and allowances fixed by the Governor in Council.

20 (1) Subject to subsection (6) and the approval of the House of Assembly Management Commission, the Commissioner may employ such employees as the Commissioner considers necessary for the efficient operation of the office of the Commissioner, and may determine their salaries or wages and the terms and conditions of their employment.

(2) Salaries or wages determined under subsection (1) must be comparable to the salaries or wages for persons employed in similar positions in the Civil Service.

(3) Subject to subsection (6), the benefits with respect to the following matters for persons employed in similar positions in the Civil Service who are not within a bargaining unit apply to the employees of the office of the Commissioner:

(a) cumulative vacation and sick leave credits for regular attendance and payments in respect of those credits;

(b) plans for group life insurance, medical-surgical insurance or long-term income protection;

(c) the granting of leaves of absence.

(4) For the purpose of subsection (3), where a benefit applicable to an employee of the office of the Commissioner is contingent on the exercise of a discretionary power or the performance of a discretionary function, the power may be exercised or the function may be performed by the Commissioner or any person authorized in writing by the Commissioner.

(5) Subject to subsection (6), the employees of the office of the Commissioner are members of the Public Service Superannuation Plan.

(6) The money required for the purpose of this Section must be paid out of money appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature.

21 The House of Assembly Management Commission may from time to time issue directives to the Commissioner with respect to the expenditure of funds and the Commissioner shall follow the directives.

22 The accounts and financial transactions of the office of the Commissioner must be audited annually by the Auditor General.

23 In addition to fulfilling the other duties of Commissioner under this Act, it is the function of the Commissioner to

(a) review the implementation of this Act and compliance in departments with the requirements of this Act;

(b) at the request of a minister, provide guidance to the minister's department on how to comply with the requirements of this Act;

(c) at the request of a minister, assist the minister's department in providing educational programs about this Act;

(d) provide educational programs about this Act to the public;

(e) provide advice and assistance to members of the public who wish to participate in decision-making about a proposal as provided in this Act;

(f) review the use of the registry;

(g) review the exercise of discretion by ministers under this Act;

(h) review the receipt, handling and disposition of applications for review under Part III and applications for investigation under Part IV;

(i) review department plans and priorities for conducting reviews under Part III;

(j) review the use of the right of action set out in Section 33, the use of defences set out in Section 34, and reliance on Section 44 respecting public nuisance actions; and

(k) review recourse to the procedure under Part VI for complaints about employer reprisals.

24 (1) The Commissioner shall report annually to the Speaker of the Assembly who shall table the report in the Assembly as soon as reasonably possible.

(2) The annual report must include

(a) a report on the work of the Commissioner and on whether the departments affected by this Act have co-operated with requests by the Commissioner for information;

(b) a summary of the information gathered by the Commissioner as a result of performing the functions set out in Section 23;

(c) a list of all proposals of which notice has been given under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) during the period covered by the report;

(d) any information prescribed by the regulations; and

(e) any information that the Commissioner considers appropriate.

(3) The first report under subsection (1) must be submitted in the first half of 2018 and must cover the period beginning on the day this Act comes into force and ending on December 31, 2017.

(4) The Commissioner may make a special report to the Speaker of the Assembly at any time on any matter related to this Act that, in the opinion of the Commissioner, should not be deferred until the annual report, and the Speaker shall table the report in the Assembly as soon as reasonably possible.

25 (1) The Commissioner shall report annually to the Speaker of the Assembly on the progress of activities in the Province to reduce the use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels, and the Speaker shall table the report in the Assembly as soon as reasonably possible.

(2) Each report must

(a) describe the results of initiatives in the Province during the year covered by the annual report to reduce the use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels;

(b) describe the progress in meeting targets established by the Government of the Province for reducing the use or making more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels; and

(c) identify any

(i) enactments of Canada or the Province,

(ii) by-laws of municipalities in the Province, and

(iii) policies of the Government of Canada, the Government of the Province or municipalities in the Province,

that result in barriers to the development or implementation of measures to reduce the use or make more efficient use of electricity, natural gas, propane, oil and transportation fuels.

26 (1) The Commissioner shall report annually to the Speaker of the Assembly on the progress of activities in the Province to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and the Speaker shall table the report in the Assembly as soon as reasonably possible.

(2) Each report under subsection (1) must include a review of any annual report on greenhouse gas reductions or climate change published by the Government of the Province during the year covered by the report under subsection (1).

27 The Commissioner shall perform special assignments as required by the Assembly, but such assignments must not take precedence over the other duties of the Commissioner under this Act.

PART III

APPLICATION FOR REVIEW

28 (1) Any two persons resident in the Province who believe that an existing policy, Act, regulation or instrument of the Province should be amended, repealed or revoked in order to protect the environment may apply to the Commissioner for a review by the appropriate minister of the policy, Act, regulation or instrument.

(2) Any two persons resident in the Province who believe that a new policy, Act or regulation of the Province should be made or passed in order to protect the environment may apply to the Commissioner for a review by the appropriate minister of the need for the new policy, Act or regulation.

(3) An application under subsection (1) or (2) must be in the form provided for that purpose by the office of the Commissioner and must include

(a) the names and addresses of the applicants;

(b) an explanation of why the applicants believe that the review applied for should be undertaken in order to protect the environment; and

(c) a summary of the evidence supporting the applicants' belief that the review applied for should be undertaken in order to protect the environment.

(4) An application under subsection (1) must clearly identify the policy, Act, regulation or instrument in respect of which a review is sought.

29 Within 10 days of receiving an application for review, the Commissioner shall refer the application to the minister for any department that the Commissioner considers appropriate to review the matters raised in the application.

PART IV

APPLICATION FOR INVESTIGATION

30 (1) Any two persons resident in the Province who believe that an Act, regulation or instrument prescribed by the regulations has been contravened may apply to the Commissioner for an investigation by the appropriate minister of the alleged contravention.

(2) An application under subsection (1) must be in the form provided for that purpose by the office of the Commissioner and must include

(a) the names and addresses of the applicants;

(b) a statement of the nature of the alleged contravention;

(c) the names and addresses of each person alleged to have been involved in the commission of the contravention, to the extent that this information is available to the applicants;

(d) a summary of the evidence supporting the allegations of the applicants;

(e) the names and addresses of each person who might be able to give evidence about the alleged contravention, together with a summary of the evidence the person might give, to the extent that this information is available to the applicants;

(f) a description of any document or other material that the applicants believe should be considered in the investigation;

(g) a copy of any document referred to in clause (f), if reasonable; and

(h) details of any previous contacts with the office of the Commissioner or any department regarding the alleged contravention.

(3) An application under subsection (1) must also include a statement by each applicant or, where an applicant is a corporation, by a director or officer of the corporation, that the person believes that the facts alleged in the application are true.

(4) The statement referred to in subsection (3) must be sworn or solemnly affirmed before a person authorized by law to administer oaths and take and receive affidavits, declarations and affirmations within the Province.

31 Within 10 days of receiving an application under subsection 30(1), the Commissioner shall refer it to the minister responsible for the administration of the Act under which the contravention is alleged to have been committed.

PART V

RIGHT TO SUE

32 Sections 33 to 43 apply only in respect of a contravention of an Act, regulation or instrument that occurs after the Act, regulation or instrument is prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of Part IV.

33 (1) Where a person has contravened or will imminently contravene an Act, regulation or instrument prescribed for the purpose of Part IV and the actual or imminent contravention has caused or will imminently cause significant harm to a public resource of the Province, any person resident in the Province may bring an action against the person in the Court in respect of the harm and is entitled to judgment if successful.

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an action may not be brought under that subsection in respect of an actual contravention unless the plaintiff has applied for an investigation into the contravention under Part IV and

(a) has not received a response within a reasonable time; or

(b) has received a response that is not reasonable.

(3) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an action may not be brought under subsection (1) in respect of actual or imminent harm to a public resource of the Province from odour, noise, dust, vibration, light, smoke or another disturbance resulting from a normal farm practice unless the plaintiff has applied to the Farm Practices Board under subsection 9(1) of the Farm Practices Act with respect to the odour, noise, dust, vibration, light, smoke or other disturbance and the Farm Practices Board has disposed of the application.

(4) Subsections (2) and (3) do not apply if the delay involved in complying with them would result in significant harm or serious risk of significant harm to a public resource.

(5) The onus is on the plaintiff in an action under subsection (1) to prove the contravention or imminent contravention on a balance of probabilities.

(6) This Section does not limit any other right to bring or maintain a proceeding.

34 (1) For the purpose of Section 33, an Act, regulation or instrument is not contravened if the defendant satisfies the Court that the defendant exercised due diligence in complying with the Act, regulation or instrument.

(2) For the purpose of Section 33, an Act, regulation or instrument is not contravened if the defendant satisfies the Court that the act or omission alleged to be a contravention of the Act, regulation or instrument is authorized by an Act of the Province or the Parliament of Canada or by a regulation or instrument under an Act of the Province or the Parliament of Canada.

(3) For the purpose of Section 33, an instrument is not contravened if the defendant satisfies the Court that the defendant complied with an interpretation of the instrument that the Court considers reasonable.

(4) This Section does not limit any defence otherwise available.

35 (1) The plaintiff in an action under subsection 33(1) shall serve the statement of claim on the Attorney General not later than 10 days after the day on which the statement of claim is served on the first defendant served in the action.

(2) The Attorney General is entitled to present evidence and make submissions to the Court in the action, to appeal from a judgment in the action and to present evidence and make submissions in an appeal from a judgment in the action.

36 (1) The plaintiff shall give notice of an action under subsection 33(1) to the public in the registry and by any other means ordered by the Court.

(2) The plaintiff shall give notice in the registry under subsection (1) by delivering the notice to the Commissioner who shall promptly place it in the registry.

37 (1) At any time in an action under subsection 33(1), the Court may order any party to give any notice that the Court considers necessary to provide fair and adequate representation of the private and public interests, including governmental interests, involved in the action.

(2) The Court may make any order relating to the notice, including an order for the costs of the notice, that the Court considers appropriate.

38 (1) In order to provide fair and adequate representation of the private and public interests, including governmental interests, involved in the action, the Court may permit any person to participate in an action under subsection 33(1), as a party or otherwise.

(2) Participation under subsection (1) must be in the manner and on the terms, including terms as to costs, that the Court considers appropriate.

(3) This Section does not limit the orders the Court may make under the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules or otherwise.

39 (1) The Court may stay or dismiss an action under subsection 33(1) if to do so would be in the public interest.

(2) In making a decision under subsection (1), the court may consider

(a) environmental, economic and social concerns;

(b) whether the issues raised by the proceeding would be better resolved by another process;

(c) whether there is an adequate government plan to address the public interest issues raised by the proceeding; and

(d) any other relevant matter.

40 (1) An action under subsection 33(1) may be discontinued or abandoned only with the approval of the Court, on the terms that the Court considers appropriate.

(2) A settlement of the action is not binding unless approved by the Court.

(3) A settlement of the action that is approved by the Court binds all past, present and future residents of the Province.

(4) In considering whether to dismiss the action without a finding as to whether the plaintiff was entitled to judgment, whether for delay, for public interest reasons or for any other reason, or in considering whether to approve a discontinuance, abandonment or settlement of the action, the Court shall consider whether notice should be given under subsection 37(1).

41 In exercising its discretion under the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules as to whether to excuse compliance with the requirement that the plaintiff, when making a motion for an interim or interlocutory injunction, file an undertaking to indemnify another party for losses caused by the interim or interlocutory injunction, the Court may consider any special circumstance, including whether the action is a test case or raises a novel point of law.

42 (1) Where the Court finds that the plaintiff is entitled to judgment in an action under subsection 33(1), the Court may

(a) grant an injunction against the contravention;

(b) order the parties to negotiate a restoration plan in respect of harm to the public resource resulting from the contravention and to report to the Court on the negotiations within a fixed time;

(c) grant declaratory relief; and

(d) make any other order, including an order as to costs, that the Court considers appropriate.

(2) No award of damages may be made under subsection (1).

(3) No order may be made under subsection (1) that is inconsistent with the Farm Practices Act.

43 (1) No person may bring an action under subsection 33(1) in respect of a contravention that caused harm after the earliest of

(a) the second anniversary of the day on which the person bringing the action first knew

(i) that the harm had occurred,

(ii) that the harm was caused by the contravention,

(iii) that the contravention was that of the person against whom the action is brought, and

(iv) that, having regard to the nature of the harm, an action under subsection 33(1) would be an appropriate means to seek to address it;

(b) the second anniversary of the day on which a reasonable person with the abilities and in the circumstances of the person seeking to bring the action first ought to have known of the matters referred to in clause (a); and

(c) the second anniversary of the day on which public notice of an action in respect of the contravention and the harm was given under subsection 36(1).

(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where clause (1)(a) or (b) applies to establish the limitation period under subsection (1), a person may bring the action after the end of that period, to the extent permitted by subsections (3) and (4).

(3) Where the person bringing the action applied under subsection 30(1) for an investigation of the contravention before the end of the period established under subsection (1) by the application of clause (1)(a) or (b), the person may bring the action within 120 days after the day on which the application was made.

(4) Where the person bringing the action applied under subsection 9(1) of the Farm Practices Act with respect to the harm before the end of the period established under subsection (1) by the application of clause (1)(a) or (b), the person may bring the action within 120 days after the day on which the Farm Practices Board disposed of the application.

44 (1) No person who has suffered or may suffer a direct economic loss or direct personal injury as a result of a public nuisance that caused harm to the environment is barred from bringing an action without the consent of the Attorney General in respect of the loss or injury only because the person has suffered or may suffer direct economic loss or direct personal injury of the same kind or to the same degree as other persons.

(2) Subsection (1) does not limit a right or defence available under the Farm Practices Act.

PART VI

EMPLOYER REPRISALS

45 (1) Any person may file a written complaint with the Board alleging that an employer has taken reprisals against an employee on a prohibited ground.

(2) For the purpose of this Part, an employer has taken reprisals against an employee if the employer has dismissed, disciplined, penalized, coerced, intimidated or harassed, or attempted to coerce, intimidate or harass, the employee.

(3) For the purpose of this Part, an employer has taken reprisals on a prohibited ground if the employer has taken reprisals because the employee in good faith did or may do any of the following:

(a) participate in decision-making about a policy, an Act, a regulation or an instrument as provided in Part I;

(b) apply for a review under Part III;

(c) apply for an investigation under Part IV;

(d) comply with or seek the enforcement of an Act, regulation or instrument prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of Part IV;

(e) give information to an appropriate authority for the purpose of an investigation, review or hearing related to a policy, Act, regulation or instrument prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of Part IV;

(f) give evidence in a proceeding under this Act or under an Act prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of Part IV.

46 (1) The Board may inquire into a complaint filed under subsection 45(1).

(2) In an inquiry under subsection (1), the onus is on the employer to prove that the employer did not take reprisals on a prohibited ground.

47 (1) Where the Board, after inquiring into a complaint, is satisfied that the employer has taken reprisals on a prohibited ground, the Board shall determine what, if anything, the employer shall do or refrain from doing about the reprisals.

(2) A determination under subsection (1) may include one or more of

(a) an order directing the employer to cease doing any act complained of;

(b) an order directing the employer to rectify any act complained of; and

(c) an order directing the employer to reinstate in employment or hire the employee, with or without compensation, or to compensate instead of hiring or reinstatement for loss of earnings or other employment benefits in an amount assessed by the Board against the employer.

48 Sections 16 to 21 of the Trade Union Act apply mutatis mutandis to an inquiry by the Board into a complaint under subsection 46(1).

PART VII

STRATEGIC LAWSUITS AGAINST PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

49 (1) A judge may, on request or on the judge's own initiative, after having heard arguments from the appropriate parties on the matter, declare any legal action or other pleading against a person improper and impose a sanction on a party where the judge determines that

(a) the party initiated or concluded a legal action or other pleading pursuant to this Act, or an Act, regulation or instrument prescribed by the regulations for the purpose of Part IV; and

(b) the legal action or other pleading was

(i) unfounded,

(ii) frivolous,

(iii) vexatious,

(iv) delayed,

(v) quarrelsome,

(vi) made in bad faith,

(vii) unreasonable,

(viii) prejudicial, or

(ix) retaliatory.

(2) The judge, in making a declaration pursuant to subsection (1), shall take into particular consideration prejudice or discrimination against historically marginalized, vulnerable or economically disadvantaged groups and communities, particularly those that are indigenous or African Nova Scotian.
PART VIII

GENERAL

50 The Government of the Province, within its jurisdiction, shall protect the right of every resident of the Province to a healthy and ecologically balanced environment.

51 The Government of the Province, within its jurisdiction,

(a) is the trustee of the Province's environment; and

(b) shall preserve the Province's environment in accordance with the public trust for future generations.

52 (1) The Governor in Council may make regulations

(a) prescribing Acts for the purpose of subsection 7(1);

(b) prescribing information that is to be included in a notice of a proposal given under subsection 6(1), 7(1) or 8(1) in the registry;

(c) prescribing information that is to be included in the annual report of the Commissioner;

(d) prescribing any Act, regulation or instrument for the purpose of Part IV.

(2) The authority in this Act to prescribe an Act, regulation or instrument includes the authority to prescribe an Act of the Parliament of Canada or a regulation or instrument under an Act of the Parliament of Canada.

(3) The authority in this Act to prescribe an Act or regulation includes the authority to prescribe one or more provisions of the Act or regulation.

(4) The exercise by the Governor in Council of the authority contained in subsection (1) is a regulation within the meaning of the Regulations Act.

53 Section 10 of Chapter 1 of the Acts of 1994-95, the Environment Act, as amended by Chapter 30 of the Acts of 2006 and Chapter 61 of the Acts of 2011, is further amended by adding immediately after subsection (3) the following subsection:

(3A) The Minister shall make the environmental registry available electronically through the Internet.


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