David Suzuki Foundation, Ecojustice intervene to protect health and act on climate


OTTAWA — The David Suzuki Foundation and Ecojustice announced today that they will enter the legal battle over carbon pricing by requesting intervener status in the upcoming Ontario court reference case. A national carbon-pricing plan is a necessary part of Canada’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the negative environmental, physical and mental health effects caused by inaction on climate change.

“Climate change is happening here and now, and it’s not fair that Canadians suffer because the Ontario government is eliminating its policies that restrict and shrink carbon pollution,” said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. “Scientists are telling us that inaction is not an option and Canadians agree.”

The application to intervene will be heard by the Court of Appeal for Ontario on January 15. The Foundation received intervener status in the similar Saskatchewan carbon pricing case, along with organizations representing Indigenous nations and other sectors including health care, farming and youth.

Ecojustice filed the intervention on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation in support of the federal law designed to ensure that it’s not free to pollute in Canada.  A nationally coordinated effort is required if Canada is to fulfil its commitment under the Paris Agreement and prevent premature deaths and unnecessary threats to the security of young Canadians due to climate change.

“Protecting the environment is a shared federal and provincial responsibility. Ontario cannot be allowed to derail the implementation of a national climate plan through the courts,” Ecojustice lawyer Joshua Ginsberg said. “At stake in this case is no less than the federal government’s ability to swiftly implement urgent measures to dramatically cut Canada’s carbon pollution in the face of inadequate action by the provinces.”

The World Health Organization declared climate change the biggest health threat of this century. A Canadian report from the leading medical journal The Lancet identified carbon pricing as an essential part of the prescription to address climate change and protect human health.

“You can’t make progress by going backward, which is what the Ontario premier is doing by eliminating the firm limit on carbon pollution and programs for clean cars and energy efficient homes. Ontario’s approach is completely inadequate,” said Bruce.

Ontario’s reference case will be heard by the province’s Court of Appeal in April 2019. Ontario has launched a distinct reference case challenging the federal carbon pollution pricing plan, after cancelling its emissions cap and trade system, which would have complied with the federal standard.

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

Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-306-5095

Catharine Tunnacliffe, Ecojustice: ctunnacliffe@ecojustice.ca, 416-368-7533 x 542


The University of Ottawa and Ecojustice, Canada’s largest environmental law charity, are partners in the uOttawa-Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic, a problem-based educational learning course designed to help train the next generation of environmental law and policy leaders.

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.