Kudos to the Nova Scotia Law Reform Commission for its thoughtful and groundbreaking report on how to encourage redevelopment of contaminated sites. Unlike the recent decision of Ontario’s Environmental Review Tribunal in Kawartha Lakes, the commission recognizes that uncertain and unfair liability rules are major obstacles to an important public policy objective, the redevelopment of contaminated sites. The commission calls, for example, for a one-stop process, outside of the normal civil litigation stream, for fair allocation of liability on multiparty sites.
These are the sorts of changes that Ontario’s Brownfields Network has vainly called for for years. It will be fascinating to see if the Nova Scotia government accepts the recommendations and enacts appropriate legislation. In Ontario, however, concerns about liability may temporarily have taken second place, given the economic effect of the stringent new cleanup standards.