Initially housed at the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) in Edmonton, Alberta, the first issue of the Journal of Environmental Law and Practice (JELP) was published in 1991. In the preface to that issue, it was noted that increased public awareness and knowledge about environmental issues in the preceding decade necessitated a journal that “would present a wide range of articles, case comments and book reviews on environmental law in Canada and to serve as a forum for commentary and dialogue on current issues in environmental law.”
Thanks to the ELC’s dedication and hard work, this is something that the JELP did for over a decade, publishing the works of eminent Canadian environmental lawyers and academics such as Diane Saxe, John Swaigen, David VanderZwaag, Alastair Lucas, and Elaine Hughes, to name but a few. In 2003, editorial responsibilities were transferred to the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan and specifically to Professors Marie-Ann Bowden (a member of the JELP’s editorial board since its inception), Martin Phillipson and Sharon Mascher. Under their guidance and with the indispensable editorial assistance and support of Michelle Halvorson, the JELP continued in its tradition as the premier refereed legal periodical in Canadian environmental law and policy, as evidenced by its citation by numerous Canadian courts including the Supreme Court of Canada.
The transition to the University of Saskatchewan also brought with it an innovation; the new editorial team decided to host a bi-annual conference to bring together academics, practitioners, and policy makers from across the country. The vision was to provide an opportunity for focused discussion on specific environmental issues and build relationships throughout the Canadian environmental legal community. The first JELP Conference, “Defining Canada’s Environmental Priorities,” was held in in Saskatoon, SK in June 2004. Subsequent conferences took participants into the heart of Saskatchewan’s boreal forest as well as eastward to Windsor, Ontario. A fourth conference, “(De)Constructing a National Energy Strategy,” was held in June 2012 at the historic Reesor Ranch in Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, while the most recent conference, “Apres…Le Deluge: Future Directions for Environmental Law and Policy in Canada” was held at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law and the Biogeoscience Institute in Kananaskis. Through these conferences, topical and pressing environmental law issues have been debated and discussed.
Recently, the JELP’s editorial team has changed once again. Professor Sharon Mascher, who in the intervening period moved to Australia but has since returned to the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary, has joined Professor Martin Olszynski, also at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, and Professor Meinhard Doelle, at the Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University. With the support of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law (and Alison Abel in particular who assisted with the design of this website), Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law, the continuing assistance of Michelle Halvorson at the University of Saskatchewan, as well as the dedicated team at Carswell, the new editorial team is excited to embark on a new phase for the JELP.
We look forward to working with the academic, government, non-governmental and practitioner communities in providing a rigorous forum to support the development and debate of Canadian environmental law and policy.