Update on federal Environmental Bill of Rights

Update on federal Environmental Bill of Rights

On Thursday, May 6th, a private members’ bill, C-469, An Act to establish  a Canadian Environmental of Rights, will have its first hour of debate in the House of Commons.
The Bill would provide Canadians with access to environmental information, substantive environmental rights and rights to appeal federal decisions that might harm the environment.  It also enshrines the concept of public trust.  The Bill is comparable to, but goes further than, many provincial environmental rights laws.
For more information see our previous post: Environmental Bill of Rights Enters Parliament.
The debate can be heard using ParlVu from the House of Commons website.  The May 6th sitting begins at 10:00 A.M, the order of business is projected here.

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2 Comments
  • Adam Driedzic, ELC (Edmonton)
    Posted at 11:27h, 23 June Reply

    Thanks for the comments, Dave. I believe that there is an Ontario environment commissioner’s report finding the Ontario bill has not delivered as promised. Bill C-469 has more substantive content than the Ontario bill. Whether that will make a difference remains to be seen.

    Many question whether the legal system’s emphasis on procedure and formalism reduces its value for advancing the environmental movement, but it is this same status quo that calls for statutory environmental rights.

  • Dave
    Posted at 08:33h, 09 June Reply

    I think it’s fair to say that – 17 years in – the Ontario Environmental Bill of Rights has not made an enormous difference to the environment in that province.

    It may be better to have it than not to have it, but nobody should be under any illusions that having an EBR suddenly gives citizens an enforceable right to a clean environment.

    What it does is formalize procedures for commenting on and challenging environmental decisions. Note that most, if not all, such decisions already had other procedures for comment and challenge.

    Some argue that proceduralization (EBRs, land-use planning processes, etc.) has taken the wind out of the environmental movement – by channelling reformist energy away from the major policy changes needed and into avenues with very limited potential outcomes.

    Anyone who wants a federal EBR should be wary of getting what they hope for.

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