Over the years, climate change policy has experienced its ebbs and flows. Climate change landed on the international stage at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where 154 countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a level to prevent “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” The UNFCCC came into force on March 21, 1994 and, to date, has been ratified by 195 countries. Subsequent international negotiations led to the Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty which extends the UNFCCC and commits its signatories to reduce GHG emissions. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in December 1997 and came into force on February 16, 2005. There are currently 192 signatories to the Kyoto Protocol. While Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol effective December 2012, a newly elected federal government has indicated its willingness to re-engage in international eff orts to implement a new global climate change treaty for the post-Kyoto era.
Canada is often considered to be the mining capital of the world. More than three-quarters of the world’s mining and exploration companies are based in Canada. Canada’s extractive sector typically amounts to more than one-third of the total value of Canadian domestic exports, and its natural resource sector directly and indirectly accounts for almost one-fifth of the country’s nominal GDP and 1.8 million jobs.
In 2015, the government of Québec introduced legislative changes that have a direct impact on the mining industry. In October, An Act respecting transparency measures in the mining, oil and gas industries came into force (Act). By the end of the year, significant changes had also been introduced to the province’s Mining Act. Each of these legislative developments is described below.
In 2015, Canada’s new federal government committed to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration). This has generated significant attention in the mining and natural resource sectors due to the Declaration’s potential incompatibility with Canada’s constitutional and legal framework for Aboriginal rights and consultation, particularly the potentially broad interpretation of “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) as a veto right against resource development and administrative and legislative decision-making. While FPIC is a potential game changer, ultimately its impact in Canada will depend on how it is interpreted.
A number of mining-related (and largely taxpayer-friendly) amendments were introduced by the Québec Government as part of its 2016-2017 Budget. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of these amendments and their expected impact on companies engaged in mining activities in Québec.
One of the most difficult things to plan for effectively in any joint venture is conflict resolution and decision deadlock between the joint venture partners. Joint venture agreements in the mining industry can be voluminous documents. Pages are devoted to calculating partner dilution, setting out partner rights, outlining how and by whom JV operations will be managed. At the same time, little thought is often given to how the partners will deal with a deadlock over an operational decision.
In a way it is not surprising that mechanics dealing with decision deadlock can be an afterthought – most CEOs want to plan for success. However, spending some time thinking about how a JV partner can break a deadlock long before a deadlock occurs is a wise investment; this especially rings true in the case of a 50/50 JV where no single party will be able to make any decision, major or minor, without the agreement of its JV partner.
This article outlines some of the mechanics we have seen used in 50/50 JVs by companies in the mining industry to resolve a deadlock or to solve a dispute. While it is often the case that parties in 50/50 JVs will spend more time thinking of solutions to deadlock than those in non 50/50 JVs, the concepts described below can be applied in almost any type of JV.
The following post by Selina Lee-Andersen on our Canadian ERA Perspectives blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: Sign of the Times: 177 Nations (and counting) Ink the Paris Climate Agreement while the World Bank and IMF Push for Carbon Pricing
Earth Day 2016 – April 22nd – marked the opening of the Paris Agreement for signature at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted by the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 12, 2015, will remain open for signature until April 21, 2017.
The following post by Selina Lee-Andersen on our Canadian ERA Perspectives blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: Alberta Moves Forward with Climate Change Initiatives in Budget 2016
As part of its strategy to kick-start the economy, the Alberta government has earmarked almost $8.5 billion in its latest budget to build and modernize major public infrastructure. Released on April 14, 2016, Budget 2016 allocates $634 million to various climate change initiatives in addition to funds for roads and bridges, flood recovery and municipal infrastructure support.
The following post by Joanna Rosengarten and Nicholas Hughes on our Canadian ERA Perspectives blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: Federal Government Introduces Administrative Penalty Regulations for Six Environmental Statutes
In 2010, the federal government introduced The Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Act (EVAMPA), which provided Environment Canada with the authority to issue Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) for certain offences. The government has now introduced proposed regulations, the Environmental Violations Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (the “Regulations”), which set-out the details of the AMPs regime under the EVAMPA.
The following post by Selina Lee-Andersen and Monika Sawicka on our Canadian ERA Perspectives blog may be of interest to readers of this blog: First Phase of Water Sustainability Act Comes into Force.
The British Columbia Government has finally brought into effect portions of the long awaited Water Sustainability Act (WSA). The WSA, which was passed by the British Columbia Legislature in April 2014, came into effect on February 29, 2016. The WSA replaces many parts of the old Water Act and creates a new regulatory regime for water management within British Columbia.
The Province is taking a phased approach to the enactment of the WSA. While the majority of the WSA came into effect at the end of February, Part 18, which provides for quick licensing procedures, has yet to be brought into force. The Province predicts the next phase of the regulations and policies will be brought into effect in late 2016. This phase will include regulations relating to measuring and reporting, livestock watering, water objectives, planning and governance. Continue Reading