Inderscience Publishers

Constitutional protection of the environment in a federal country: Canadian experience

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National environmental protection through law is a relatively recent initiative. The written national constitutions of federal countries, such as Canada, did not originally provide for which level of government would enjoy the primary constitutional authority to regulate for environmental protection. Today, a legal jurisdiction must be interpreted and declared from an old imperial document that did not foresee the environment as a discrete subject for regulation. This article describes the experience of how each of two exclusively sovereign levels of government in the same country, the courts and the constitution have combined over the last half century to establish a unique regime of environmental protection in Canada, and how that regime continues to be developed.

Keywords: constitutional jurisdiction, environmental law and protection, federal countries, courts, Canada

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