Federal government announced aim to have case thrown out in May; hearing will determine if case proceeds to trial

VANCOUVER — Since mid-August, more than 6,000 people from across Canada have sent messages of support to the 15 youth plaintiffs of the La Rose et al v. Her Majesty the Queen youth climate lawsuit. The case is in Canada’s Federal Court this week for a two-day public hearing, which will determine whether the case proceeds to trial.

Ranging in age, location and background, writers united in their support for the case’s goal – a declaration that the government is violating the youth’s Charter rights by making the climate crisis worse, and a court-mandated national science-based climate recovery plan – as well as their hopes that the case will proceed to trial.

Nicole C. from Surrey, B.C., said:

“As a teacher and environmental ally, I am deeply appreciative of your work. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to stand up for what’s right, especially in the face of so many adults who do not. Keep your heads up, stand strong and believe in yourselves. You are having an amazing impact on this world and your country.”

Katrina S. from Winnipeg, MB, said:

“I want you to know that *you* are what the world needs right now. What you’re doing is so incredibly important, and what you’re standing for is critical. As our future leaders, I’m proud that Canada has courageous people like you calling for world-leading climate action from our government. Do not lose hope, and know that so many of us stand with you.”

Kathryn P. from Toronto, ON, said:

“I can’t express enough my respect and admiration for your actions in calling for world-leading climate action from our government. I’m grateful for your courage and strength.”

On May 11, 2020, the Canadian government informed the Federal Court it planned to file a motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim in order to stop the lawsuit from proceeding to trial.

The Sep. 30 – Oct. 1 hearing will run each day from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT. To tune in live, the public must pre-register here: https://cas-satj.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_lB8CEz7kQKCpmo_x1Tw5Kg.

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About the La Rose et al v. Her Majesty the Queen (“La Rose”) youth climate lawsuit:

The La Rose et al case was filed by 15 young people from seven provinces and one territory on October 25, 2019. In the lawsuit, the youth claim the federal government of Canada is contributing to dangerous climate change. The case argues that the youth are already being harmed by climate change and the federal government is violating their rights to life, liberty and security of the person under Section 7 of the Charter and for failing to protect essential public trust resources. The youth plaintiffs also allege that Canada’s conduct violates their right to equality under Section 15 of the Charter, since youth are disproportionately affected by the effects of climate change.

The lawsuit calls on Canada to cease violating the youth’s charter and public trust rights and prepare and implement a plan that reduces Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in a manner consistent with what the best available science indicates is needed for the federal government to protect young Canadians, do its fair share to stabilize the climate system and avert the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

The youth are represented by the law firms of Arvay Finlay LLP and Tollefson Law Corporation, and are supported by the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation (CELL), David Suzuki Foundation and Our Children’s Trust.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

• Brendan Glauser: 604-356-8829, bglauser@davidsuzuki.org (Canadian media)
• Beth Kim: 415-350-5455, beth@ourchildrenstrust.org (U.S. / international media)
• Counsel for Plaintiffs are Joseph J. Arvay, Q.C. and Catherine Boies Parker, Q.C. of Vancouver, B.C.; and Chris Tollefson and Anthony Ho of Victoria, B.C.

The David Suzuki Foundation (davidsuzuki.org) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, collaborating with all people in Canada, including government and business, to conserve the environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through evidence-based research, public engagement and policy work. The Foundation operates in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

Our Children’s Trust (ourchildrenstrust.org) is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides strategic, campaign-based legal services to youth from diverse backgrounds to secure their legal rights to a safe climate. They work to protect Earth’s climate system for present and future generations by representing young people in global legal efforts to secure their binding and enforceable legal rights to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate, based on the best available science. They support youth clients and amplify their voices before the third branch of government in a highly strategic legal campaign that includes targeted media, education and public engagement work to support the youths’ legal actions. Their legal work — guided by constitutional, public trust, human rights laws and the laws of nature — aims to ensure systemic and science-based climate recovery planning and remedies at federal, state / provincial and global levels.

CELL (pacificcell.ca) is a non-profit society incorporated under the laws of British Columbia, and a federally registered charity. Its mission is to train and inspire Canada’s next generation of public interest environmental litigators by providing junior lawyers and law students the opportunity to gain hands-on litigation experience working as part of a team on carefully selected and closely supervised public interest environmental cases.