Auditor general finds climate change action items lack implementation plans and timelines

Source: Auditor General of New Brunswick

Auditor General Kim MacPherson has tabled her report assessing New Brunswick’s progress towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapting to climate change. This report is part of ongoing work on climate change by all auditors general across Canada.

Emissions in New Brunswick have declined from their peak in 2005 and reduction targets set for 2020 in the provincial climate change action plan are on track to be met. However, MacPherson found emissions are not projected to decline much further under the status quo, and meeting 2030 and 2050 targets will require significant action from provincial and federal initiatives.

“Overall, we found many action items do not have timelines or implementation plans,” said MacPherson. “If targets were legislated, it would give government authority to enforce these actions.”

Nova Scotia and three other provinces have demonstrated commitment to reducing emissions by legislating GHG reduction targets. MacPherson recommended New Brunswick GHG emission targets also be legislated.

MacPherson’s report shows New Brunswick emissions represent only a small portion of Canada’s overall output, but the province ranks as the seventh highest GHG emitter per capita.

Electricity generation, industry and transportation are the three dominant contributors to New Brunswick’s GHG emissions.

The report also shows that while NB Power has renewable energy targets, it does not have specific GHG reduction targets to guide reduction efforts in the future.

In addition, a recently announced federal initiative to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030 also poses potential operational risks to NB Power, as its Belledune Generating Station produces 13 per cent of NB Power’s total capacity.

“As one of the province’s largest emissions producers, NB Power should have specific reduction targets set,” said MacPherson. “In addition, impacts and solutions relating to a potential phase-out of the Belledune coal-fired plant should be developed and analyzed.”

MacPherson found vulnerability assessments have been completed in 46 communities in New Brunswick. However, no provincial comprehensive risk assessment or vulnerability assessment specific to NB Power has been performed.

“Adapting to climate change may be one of the greatest challenges for communities, governments and corporations in the coming decades,” said MacPherson. “Without a comprehensive risk assessment for the province, it will be difficult to consistently identify risks and priorities.”

MacPherson made five recommendations to the Department of Environment and Local Government which include:

  • proposing to cabinet that GHG emission targets be legislated;
  • setting specific GHG emission reduction targets for NB Power to ensure the provincial targets are achievable; and
  • finalizing an implementation plan that describes how and when the actions identified in New Brunswick’s Climate Change Action Plan will be implemented.

MacPherson also made three recommendations to NB Power, which include performing a corporate climate change vulnerability assessment and one recommendation specific to the Belledune Generating Station.

The chapter on climate change can be found in Volume I of the 2017 Auditor General’s Report, which also contains a chapter on a Department of Social Development advisory services contract. The report and one-page summaries for the chapters are available online.

Aon Benfield Global Catastrophe Recap (Canada): May 2017

Throughout April southern portions of British Columbia experienced prolonged periods of rainfall leaving several rivers flowing well above normal for the time of year. Further heavy rainfall on May 5 led to several of these rivers overflowing their banks. At least two people were killed and hundreds were evacuated as flooding impacted the southern interior region. Significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture was reported.
Following on from a wet April in Eastern Canada, several low pressure systems brought further rainfall to portions of Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes from May 1-6: the heaviest of which fell on May 5-6 resulting in several rivers overflowing their banks. Two people were killed in Quebec where nearly 2,000 residents were evacuated. Significant flooding was also experienced across Ontario and in portions of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Among the worst affected communities was Ottawa-Gatineau where both the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers burst their banks. More than 5,200 homes were damaged.
A powerful low pressure system brought strong winds and storm surge flooding to southern portions of Canada’s British Columbia province on May 23 before tracking into Alberta and Saskatchewan on May 24. Numerous trees were downed and significant property damage was reported in all three provinces. Almost 200,000 customers were without power at the storm’s peak. Additionally, flooding was reported along portions of the British Columbia coast and in Okanagan region.

XL Catlin’s New Contractors Pollution Liability Express Program Provides Speed to Market

XL Catlin News release:

New program will streamline the environmental insurance underwriting process.

To provide our valued customers with speed to market and a streamlined environmental insurance underwriting approach for small to midsize construction firms, XL Catlin has launched its new Contractors Pollution Liability Express Program in the US and Canada.

“The very nature of day-to-day construction activities leaves most construction firms vulnerable to countless environmental liability exposures – from disruption of underground pollution in excavation activities to indoor air quality issues that emerge after construction is finished,” said Matt O’Malley, president of XL Catlin’s North America environmental insurance business. “Over the last 30 years, we’ve continued to develop environmental coverage to fill the gaps that other insurance coverages won’t touch. Now we’ve simplified the underwriting process to help small to mid-size contractors buy appropriate comprehensive coverage quickly and easily.”

According to Cathy Cleary, XL Catlin’s executive environmental underwriter, “The program is designed for construction firms with USD 50 million in projected revenue or less, providing them with comprehensive environmental insurance coverage that, based on our experience, carefully addresses their potential pollution liabilities from their contracting activities. Coverage is afforded for pollution conditions created or exacerbated at the contractor’s job site, during the course of transportation, disposal of waste at a non-owned disposal site and as a result of a sudden and accidental pollution incident on their scheduled property. Standard coverage is afforded for legionella, mold, asbestos and lead based paint exposures at the job site.”

After an easy application process, qualified construction firms are provided a quick blanket Contractors Pollution Legal Liability quote for consideration. The policy is available either on a claims-made or occurrence basis for a one-year term, with liability limits up to USD 5 million, along with a full set of standard endorsement enhancements including:

• Renewal Certificate for ease of renewal
• Legal Expense coverage of USD 1 million in addition to the Limits of Liability
• Legal Expense for Disciplinary Proceedings in addition to the Limits of Liability of USD 10,000
• Litigation and Subpoena Expense Coverage in addition to the Limits of Liability of USD 25,000
• Mediation Credit up to a maximum of USD 25,000
• Disaster Response Expense Coverage at Limits of Liability of USD 250,000
• Green Building Materials at Limits of Liability of USD 250,000

New Online Tool to Help Canadian Farmers Manage Risk

Flooding, pests, disease and other extreme weather events are constant risks to the businesses and livelihoods of farmers. The Government of Canada is committed to working with industry partners to explore and develop new risk management tools that meets the needs of Canadian farmers when faced with serious challenges beyond their control.

Member of Parliament, Francis Drouin, today announced a $786,921 investment for Farm Management Canada to develop a new online agricultural risk management tool called “AgriShield”. This online tool will help farmers have real-time assessments of the potential negative impact of risks to their businesses and provide mitigation solutions. For instance, if an overland flood situation is imminent, the tool can help farmers to assess the degree of risk they face and potential mitigation measures that they can adopt, such as tile draining or insurance coverage.

This investment is being made through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s AgriRisk Initiatives (ARI) which supports the research and development, as well as the implementation and administration of new risk management tools for use in the agriculture sector.

Quotes

“Canadian farmers face risk every day and it is essential they have the necessary tools to better understand and manage risk. The recent flooding in Eastern Ontario and Quebec, for example, shows the need to help farmers more effectively manage risk, so that they can be stronger, more innovative and more competitive.”
– Francis Drouin, Member of Parliament for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell

“Less than 1/3 of Canada’s farmers have a risk management plan. Our ultimate goal is to increase the awareness and adoption of risk management practices and planning as part of the farm management process and cultivate a more comprehensive understanding and approach to assessing and managing risk within the agricultural sector.”
– Heather Watson, Executive Director Farm Management Canada

Quick facts

  • Farm Management Canada (FMC) is a national organization dedicated exclusively to providing leading edge resources to enable Canadian producers to make sound management decisions.
  • The online tool covers all areas of potential risk faced by agricultural businesses, gathering data that will enable farmers, commodity groups and the agriculture sector to establish benchmarks for improved risk management performance.
  • Project partners include the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and the consulting firm Meyers Norris Penny.
  • AgriRisk Initiatives is a Growing Forward 2, Business Risk Management program.

Additional links

Follow us on Twitter: @AAFC_Canada
Like us on Facebook: CanadianAgriculture

 

SOURCE Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

For further information: Guy Gallant, Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, 613-773-1059; Media Relations, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, 613-773-7972, 1-866-345-7972; Heather Watson, Executive Director, Farm Management Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Telephone: 1-888-232-3262 Fax: 1-800-270-8301, Email: heather.watson@fmc-gac.com, www.FMC-GAC.com

RELATED LINKS
www.agr.gc.ca
https://www.canada.ca

Drought predicted for Alberta this summer

Drought predicted for Alberta this summer

Posted by

Farmers in central and northern Alberta should brace for drought this summer, according to AccuWeather.

“We think it’s going to be a very warm summer,” said Canadian weather expert Brett Anderson.

It is also going to be a dry summer. June will have near normal precipitation but July and August will turn dry as a high pressure system suppresses storm activity across the prairie region.

Anderson said it will be particularly hot and parched in a wide swath stretching from northwestern Alberta to southeastern Saskatchewan.

“Northern and central Alberta really sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of dryness,” he said.

He is not as concerned about the rest of the prairie region.

“I don’t think we’re going into a drought in Saskatchewan. I think we have enough moisture in the ground,” said Anderson.

Manitoba will receive thunderstorms from time to time throughout the summer months and is not expected to be as warm as the other prairie provinces.

“The odds of seeing any widespread drought in that (province) are probably 30 percent or less,” he said.

Anderson said his forecast has nothing to do with a weak El Nino forming. He doesn’t expect that to have any impact on weather patterns until fall or winter.

It is more about the disappearance of a blob of warm water in the Pacific Ocean off the west coast of North America. The blob sent moisture across Western Canada the last couple of years.

In its absence, a high pressure system will form over the prairie region.

“That acts like a big bubble,” said Anderson.

“Any fronts that come in from the north and west, they kind of move around that bubble and the dryness builds across the region.”

The good news is the bubble will reduce the threat of severe thunderstorms because there isn’t the wind energy aloft that is transferred down to the ground.

It also reduces the threat of hail because the persistent high pressure system results in warmer temperatures aloft and the less likelihood of hail formation.

Source: The Western Producer

BC Supreme Court – Articles Cited in Expert Reports Are Not Evidence

Today’s guest post comes from B.C. injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken

erik-magraken

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, confirming that articles cited in expert reports are not evidence and outlining how these documents can be used at trial.

In today’s case (Cambie Surgeries Corporation v. British Columbia) the Plaintiffs, who are suing the government of BC arguing certain Provincial health-care laws are unconstitutional, sought to introduce articles and texts cited by their expert witnesses into evidence.

Mr. Justice Steeves provided the following concise and helpful statement addressing the limits and procedural use of such documents:

11]         It follows that I do not agree that the plaintiffs can go as far as they would like to go and put in articles through their experts on examination in chief. I adopt the approach in the Sopinka text and add the following procedural requirements:

1.     An article or text cited by an expert in his or her report may be identified by the expert and then entered as an exhibit for identification. I emphasize that the article or text has to be cited, but the expert report does not have to specifically state that the expert is adopting the article or text.

2.     As part of the examination in chief of the expert he or she may be taken to specific parts of the article or text. These will be read into the record.

3.     The expert can use the excerpts to clarify terminology or ambiguities in his or her report or use the excerpts to make the report more understandable, and the expert can adopt the excerpts as his or her own. I acknowledge that, to be more understandable, different reports may require different applications of this approach.

4.     The article or text itself will remain an exhibit for identification and is not evidence.

5.     Any hearsay issues will be decided as set out in the Mazur judgment.

6.     The expert is not permitted to give a new opinion or adopt an opinion other than the one in his or her report.

7.     If it is not clear, the expert may be cross-examined on any part of his or her evidence.

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