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Simon Shields, Lawyer

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Wild Animal Law of Canada

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Environmental Management Act (BC)

(current to 01 July 2016)

Note Re Application of the Environmental Management Act ('EMA')

The Environmental Management Act (EMA) is what most other provinces title as their 'environmental protection act'. It bears primarily on the wildlife issue of habitat protection.

This law bears on the wildlife issues of:
  • HABITAT
The full current text of the Environmental Management Act and it's Regulations may be viewed at the British Columbia statute website.
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While not directly relevant to animals or animal welfare, British Columbia's Environmental Management Act, 2003 ('EMA') is the province's general environmental pollution statute and as such impacts on animal habitat and protection nonetheless. It clearly mentions animal habitat within it's key operative concept of "environment" ("environment means air, land, water and all other external conditions or influences under which humans, animals and plants live or are developed") [EPA s.1], so wild animals are anticipated as being impacted by the legislation. However, the dominant and immediate goals of the EMA are of reduction and mitigation of harm to the environment from such things as industrial contamination [Part 4], air pollutants [Part 6], greenhouse gas emissions [Part 6.1], hazardous waste disposal [Part 2], and similar substances.

As a practical matter, those facing animal-related EMA concerns would most commonly have recourse to the EMA where animals are being adversely impacted by industrial pollution, toxins or similar substance-related harm specifically regulated under the EMA. Even then they would have to locate those substances within the Act and the extensive EMA Regulations in order to see how the problem is regulated and what can be done about it.

Remedies include prosecution of offences for violation of the EMA [EPA s.120], conservation officer Orders [EMA 112], and Ministerial Orders to violators or potential violators of the EMA regime [EMA s.85].

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