Volume 14:2 (2019)

PDF icon Book Review—Integrating Sustainable Development in International Investment Law: Normative Incompatibility, System Integration and Governance Implications by Manjiao Chi

Lukas Vanhonnaeker

Abstract: In Integrating Sustainable Development in International Investment Law: Normative Incompatibility, System Integration and Governance Implications, Professor Manjiao Chi addresses the evolution of international investment law with respect to one specific concept: sustainable development. In particular, this book provides a comprehensive analysis of sustainable development-related concerns raised by the regime of international investment law and it identifies ways in which sustainable development is—insufficiently—taken into account by the regime. Finally, it proposes avenues for the regime to evolve towards a broader inclusion of sustainable development concerns through the incorporation of new substantive and procedural provisions of IIAs.


PDF icon The Rebirth of Social Licence

Kristen van de Biezenbos

Abstract: Canada’s energy industry and the agencies that regulate it are suffering a crisis of legitimacy. Both are battered by shifting public opinion, opposition from powerful NGOs, a troubled history with many communities and Indigenous groups, and the actions of political parties that consider opposition to oil and gas projects to be central to their platforms. In such an environment, the concept of social licence to operate, or simply social licence, seems more important than ever to the energy industry. This Article argues, however, that it is not the ability or inability to obtain social licence, as the term is currently used, that will allow the fossil fuel industry to maintain some measure of public good will and to lower municipal and provincial resistance to energy projects. That is because, while social licence has some value as a normative concept, it is functionally meaningless. Not only has the term itself been hollowed out by overuse and fluctuating definitions, but what it represents in popular discourse—a broad public acceptance or approval—is probably not achievable. For too long, the national debate over social licence has obscured the very real concerns over the local impacts of energy projects, and this has eroded the trust and support of communities. This Article proposes that the concept of social licence should be understood as descriptive only, and what should matter instead is what measures companies can take to earn that descriptor. This Article also argues that, in order to obtain acceptance from local and community groups and thus to obtain social licence, Canadian energy companies should follow the lead of companies in other jurisdictions and employ community agreements to demonstrate their commitment to responsible resource development and to earn local buy-in for projects.


PDF icon Le régionalisme social du programme « Better Work Haiti »

Adelle Blackett

Abstract: This updated translation of an article previously published in English in 2015 affirms that emerging frameworks on social regionalism provide a normative basis through which to assess whether experimentalist transnational regulatory frameworks on trade-labour governance enhance counter-hegemonic approaches to development. First, this article briefly presents a theorization of social regionalism. Second, it turns to the specifics of the “Better Factories Cambodia” and “Better Work Haiti” preferential trading arrangements, with attention to the context and biannual reports emerging from Better Work Haiti. Its core contention is that the initiative constitutes a tentative, limited but promising example of an emergent social regionalism. It considers that a dialogic space at the international level may offer an important means through which to overcome seemingly intractable, sector-specific, transnational collective action challenges at the interface of trade and labour law.


PDF icon Feature, MJSDL Keynote Lecture—Environmental Accountability in Ontario

Dianne Saxe

Abstract: Hello everybody. Thanks for coming tonight, I understand you had lots of other options. I’m going to talk a little bit about who I am and what I do, what is happening now to the Environmental Bill of Rights, and a bit about my climate report which, as you just heard, was probably what is leading to the public execution of the Office of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario.

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