$101 million dollars leaving Canada?

Take Action to Protect Your Voice !

We are participating in an important legal battle to uphold the decision to reject the Digby Quarry and support environmental protection. 

But it is possible this case could be settled before our courts make a determination on its merits. This would send a message that we won't protect decisions we make as a result of environmental assessments. And Bilcon, the company wanting to run the quarry, is claiming $101 million dollars (USD) from the Government of Canada and will get out a payout for a project that was roundly rejected after thorough review.Humpback whales double breaching

We need your help to make noise about this issue. 

The next Digby Quarry—or pipeline, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) plant, coal mine, etc.—could be yours to fight. We can’t risk allowing trade agreements to usurp our ability to protect our environment.


In 2002 Sierra Club Canada and the Partnership for the Sustainable Development of Digby Neck and Islands called for a stop work order on a local quarry located on Digby Neck, a narrow isthmus of land that juts into the Bay of Fundy.  Our organizations had learned that a marine pier was planned for the quarry. Clearly this project was going to get a lot bigger than its original size of 3.9 hectares.

In the end, the quarry was 120 hectares in size and would blast rock to be loaded onto ships that would traverse habitat for critically endangered right whales, humpback whales and other important marine species.

The community made noise and they were heard, resulting in the project receiving the highest level of environmental assessment possible: and joint review panel. In 2003, a Federal-Provincial Environmental Review Panel began its environmental assessment (EA) on the impacts of a quarry near Digby, Nova Scotia. After four grueling years of evaluation, the panel recommended Bilcon’s application not be approved; a recommendation both the provincial and federal Ministers of the Environment accepted.

In 2015 – 13 years after the quarry battle began -  the majority of the NAFTA tribunal ruled that Canada breached its NAFTA obligations, as the panel did not properly apply the procedure for Canada’s and Nova Scotia’s environmental assessment laws.

The dissenting arbitrator found no breach of the NAFTA, discussed the importance of socio-economic considerations in environmental assessments, and described the majority’s decision as a “remarkable step backwards in environmental protection”.[1]

Please send a letter to Canada's Ministers of International Trade, Foreign Affairs, and Environment and Climate Change to encourage Canada not to settle this case, but continue to fight for our environment, as well as for the rights of those living in impacted communities to have their voices heard!

Thank you for taking action.

Gretchen Fitzgerald - National Programs Director
Sierra Club Canada Foundation

[1] italaw, 2015, William Ralph Clayton, William Richard Clayton, Douglas Clayton, Daniel Clayton and Bilcon of Delaware Inc v Government of Canada, UNCITRAL, PCA Case No 2009-04, Documents: Dissenting Opinion of Donald McRae, at para 51 <http://www.italaw.com/sites/default/files/case-documents/italaw4213.pdf>