Dayna N. Scott

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Professor Dayna Nadine Scott was appointed as York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy in 2018. She is cross-appointed with York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies & Urban Change. Professor Scott is a Co-Director of Osgoode’s Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic and a Co-Coordinator of the joint MES/JD program.

Professor Scott joined Osgoode’s faculty in 2006 after completing a SSHRC Post-Doctoral Fellowship at McGill’s Faculty of Law and a Hauser Global Research Fellowship at NYU. Professor Scott’s research interests focus on contestation over extraction; exercises of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands and resources; the distribution of pollution burdens affecting marginalized communities and vulnerable populations; gender and environmental health; and the justice dimensions of the transition to a greener economy.

Professor Scott is the Primary Investigator on the SSHRC-funded project, “Consent & Contract: Authorizing Extraction in Ontario’s Ring of Fire” with colleagues Andrée Boisselle, Deborah McGregor and Estair Van Wagner, and was also part of the SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, “Reconciling Sovereignties: New Techniques for ‘Authorizing’ Extraction on Indigenous Territories” led by Professor Shiri Pasternak, in partnership with the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET) and MiningWatch Canada.

Professor Scott and collaborators recently completed a major report for the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada entitled, “Implementing a Regional, Indigenous-Led, and Sustainability-Informed Impact Assessment in Ontario’s Ring of Fire.” This project, undertaken in partnership with Chief and Council of Neskantaga First Nation, a remote Anishinaabe community in Ontario’s far north, recommends that the federal government establish a joint decision-making body – a Ring of Fire Commission – with an Indigenous Governing Authority as a partner jurisdiction, in order to issue parameters for regional planning decisions in the Ring of Fire region.

Past projects have included SSHRC-funded research in partnership with environmental justice activists from the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, near Sarnia`s Chemical Valley, that applied a critical, feminist perspective to the examination of law’s treatment of the risks of long-term, low-dose exposures to pollutants, and another SSHRC-funded project (“Investigating Regulatory Chill”) that examined the contemporary constraints on regulation to protect the environment, with a focus on investor rights in the resource extraction context.

Recent publications explore impact-benefit agreements in “Extraction Contracting: The Struggle for Control of Indigenous Lands” (2020) in a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly, co-edited with Shiri Pasternak; “Extractivism” in Mariana Valverde, Kamari Clarke, Eve Darian-Smith and Prabha Kotiswaran, eds, The Routledge Handbook of Law and Society (Abingdon: Routledge, 2021); the resurgence of Indigenous law in Treaty 9, with Andrée Boisselle (2019 UNB Law Review); the dynamics of “sacrifice zones” in the context of the emerging green energy economy (McGill Law Journal 2017, with Adrian A. Smith); anti-toxics politics (“Wanna-be Toxic Free? From Precautionary Consumption to Corporeal Citizenship” in Environmental Politics 2016); and the tactics of activists resisting tar sands extraction in Peace River Alberta (“‘We are the Monitors Now’: Experiential Knowledge, Transcorporeality and Environmental Justice” (2015) in Social & Legal Studies).

Professor Scott is the editor of Our Chemical Selves: Gender, Toxics and Environmental Health (UBC Press, 2015) and the past Director of the National Network on Environments and Women`s Health. Among other awards, Professor Scott has been a recipient of Fulbright and SSHRC Fellowships, and the Law Commission of Canada’s “Audacity of Imagination” Prize.

Professor Scott gave expert testimony to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development in June 2016 as part of their review of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act:

Reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: The assessment and regulation of toxic substances should be equitable, precautionary, and evidence-based. Brief to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, 3 June 2016.

Research Interests: Environmental Law & Justice; Extractivism; Indigenous Law and Jurisdiction; Gender and Environmental Health; Toxics Regulation; Pollution; and Feminist Theory of the Body.

Graduate Research Supervision (LLM, PhD): Professor Scott is particularly interested in supervising critical projects employing community-based participatory methods in the areas of environmental law and justice, resource extraction and Indigenous resistance, gender and environmental health, and imagining alternative legal futures in the green economy.