On September 27, 2012 the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave to hear the appeal of Castonguay Blasting Ltd. v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province of Ontario as represented by The Minister of the Environment.
This is an important case relating to the interpretation of 'adverse effect' under the Environmental Protection Act (the "EPA"). Castonguay was charged with failing to report a discharge of a contaminant into the environment when it failed to report to the Ministry of the Environment (the "MOE") an errant blast of fly rock that damaged a nearby house and car. Under the EPA, contaminants are things that cause adverse effects, which is defined to include property damage. Castonguay argued that since the property damage didn't negatively affect the natural environment, the provisions of the EPA were not engaged. The Court of Appeal preferred the MOE's strict statutory interpretation of the EPA, however, finding that since the definition of adverse effect did not reference a need for a negative impact on the natural environment, no such criteria existed.
Read Davis' more detailed post on the Court of Appeal decision here.