Free Webinar: The Alberta Tailings Ponds II Factual Record: A Submission Under the NAFTA Environmental Side Agreement

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020 from 1:00 – 2:30 PM ET

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The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) recently made public the Alberta Tailings Ponds II Factual Record which resulted in widespread national media coverage and commentary. This report is the result of the CEC’s Submissions on Enforcement Matters (SEM) process, which allows individuals and organizations across North America to raise concerns about the enforcement of environmental laws by Canada, Mexico or the United States.

The factual record is based on a 2017 submission filed by Environmental Defence Canada, the Natural Resources Defense Council (US office), and Canadian resident Daniel T’seleie, which asserted that the Government of Canada was failing to effectively enforce the pollution prevention provisions of the federal Fisheries Act with respect to the alleged leaking of deleterious substances from oil sands tailings ponds in northeastern Alberta.

In this webinar, the CEC will provide an overview of how individuals and organizations can use the SEM process to raise environmental enforcement concerns. Submitters and experts involved in the Alberta Tailings Ponds submissions will address the main findings of the Factual Record and share their experience in raising their concerns through the SEM process.

Paolo Solano of the CEC Secretariat on the submissions process under Chapter 24 of CUSMA-USMCA-T-MEC
Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence on an oil sands perspective
Melody Lepine of the Mikisew Cree First Nation on an indigenous perspective
Martin Olszynski of University of Calgary on policy and regulatory considerations
Jonathan Martin of Stockholm University on technical issues

A facilitated Q&A session will follow.

*A recording of the webinar and presentation slides will be provided to all registrants. Please note, all participants will receive a confirmation email and a link to join through Zoom Webinar.

The webinar will take place in English and interpretation to Spanish and French will be provided. Only the English recording will be made available.

Our Presenters

Director of Legal Affairs and Submissions on Enforcement Matters at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Paolo Solano obtained his law degree from the Faculty of Law at the National University of Mexico (UNAM); a Master’s on Environmental Governance from University of Essex (awarded with honors); a Diploma on US Law from Georgetown Law Center, and graduate studies on Business Management and Canadian Law at University of Montreal.

Before joining the CEC in 2006, Mr. Solano worked as a consultant for URS Corporation where he served as project manager on railroad, hydroelectric, LNG, LPG and power generation projects. He also has worked on the areas of environmental auditing, environmental impact assessment and compliance.

Since 2008 Paolo publishes the annual report for the Yearbook of International Environmental Law and since 2015 he also reports on environmental law development in Mexico. Speaker in forums of analysis and discussion on environmental law in Mexico, the United States and Canada.


Dale Marshall is National Climate Program Manager for Environmental Defence Canada. He has over 20 years of experience working in environmental protection, the vast majority on climate change and energy issues. With Environmental Defence, Dale works to move Canada towards greater action on climate change, a phase out of fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and fossil gas, and the development of a just transition for workers and communities. Dale also developed VSO International’s climate change strategy, with a focus on adaptation, and spent two years in Cambodia building the capacity of local NGOs to integrate climate change resilience and adaptation into their programs.

Dale has a Master’s in Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University, a B.Sc. in Environmental Science and Biology from the University of Western Ontario and a Mechanical Engineering degree from McGill University.

@CCDale on Twitter (and @envirodefence).

Ms. Lepine is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) from Fort Chipewyan, Alberta.  Her traditional teachings in environmental stewardship at a young age motivated her to advance studies in environmental conservation sciences at the University of Alberta and Royal Road University. This balance of teachings in both traditional environmental knowledge and western science has become Melody’s key strength in her professional career. As the Director of the MCFN Government and Industry Relations (GIR), she is responsible for overseeing all government and industry consultation pertaining to resource development within the Mikisew Cree territory. For the past 16 years, she has been managing hundreds of government and industry consultation files, many of which include oil sands environmental impact assessments, regulatory interventions at hearings and part of the development of consultation protocols, indigenous knowledge studies, cultural impact assessments, negotiating impact benefit agreements and developing a community based environmental monitoring program in her community.


Martin Olszynski joined the University of Calgary Faculty in 2013, following several years of public service in environmental and natural resources law and policy. From 2007 to 2013, he was counsel with the federal Department of Justice, practicing law in the legal services unit at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. During this period, he also spent time on secondment to the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division at Environment Canada. Martin holds a B. Sc. (Biology) and an LL.B., both from the University of Saskatchewan, and an LL.M. (specialization in environmental law) from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently pursuing a PhD in resource management at the University of British Columbia’s Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. Following law school, Martin clerked for the Hon. Justice Denis Pelletier of the Federal Court of Appeal (2006).


Jonathan W Martin is a Professor of Toxicological and Environmental Chemistry at Stockholm University in Sweden. He’s also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta where he continues to study air and water contamination around the Canadian oil sands industry. For his research in Canada he was elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists and he has been awarded several research prizes internationally. He has published more than 170 peer-reviewed research papers on the sources and effects of chemical pollution, and was named a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson Reuters. His work has impacted the regulation of hazardous perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) internationally and influenced the analytical tools that are currently used for environmental monitoring of water in the Athabasca oil sands region.