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Victory in Court

Transparency and Accountability in Aquaculture Operations

On June 18th, 2018 the Nova Scotia Supreme Court ruled in favour of more transparent governance by ordering the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to release information that it had denied to two concerned Nova Scotia residents.

Ron Neufeld and Kathaleen’s Milan’s legal victory has set an example for companies and government in Nova Scotia to consider their social responsibilities and operate with greater transparency and openness.
Since Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd. began operating an Atlantic Salmon farm in the waters of Port Wade in 2012, Ron and Kathaleen witnessed broken feed lines blowing medicated feed outside the cages, breaches of the lease parameters, and bloody water and offal washing up along the shore following the “clean-up” of a mass fish kill from a superchill.
As these events unfolded, Ron and Kathaleen made five Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPOP) Act applications to the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture (DFA) requesting information about Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd.’s lease and operations. Very little of that requested information was released.

Ron and Kathaleen persisted, requesting that Catherine Tully, Nova Scotia’s Information and Privacy Commissioner, review the decision by the Department not to release the requested information. In April 2017, Catherine Tully released a report recommending that all of the information requested by Ron and Kathaleen be disclosed.
The DFA did not follow Ms. Tully’s recommendations, so last year ECELAW teamed up with the law firm McKiggan Hebert to represent Ron and Kathaleen in their appeal of the Department’s decision Ron and Kathaleen contacted ECELAW through our inquiry line in 2013. Our journey together has been long, but this recent ruling is a positive step towards ensuring government transparency and improving environmental protection in Nova Scotia.
“The East Coast would be a whole lot poorer without ECELAW. They were invaluable to us, two ordinary citizens that needed help holding our government accountable with the release of information withheld in our Freedom of Information requests. Lisa Mitchell, Mike Kofahl and Brian Hebert all came to our assistance when we needed it most. We want to thank them for holding the values they do with such integrity that they will devote time and energy to causes that do not have an assured outcome”.  
--Ron Neufeld and Kathaleen Milan

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