OTTAWA | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORY OF THE ALGONQUIN ANISHNAABEG PEOPLE — The David Suzuki Foundation is disappointed that Parliament failed to approve Bill C-219 for consideration by committee. The bill, introduced by South Okanagan–West Kootenay MP Richard Cannings, proposes an Environmental Bill of Rights.

“It’s unfortunate that our MPs did not send this bill to committee,” David Suzuki Foundation national policy manager Lisa Gue said. “Parliament passed Bill S-5 last spring. Among other important updates to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, Bill S-5 recognized the right to a healthy environment for the first time under federal law. But that new right is limited to the Environmental Protection Act. Bill C-219 would have recognized the right more broadly across federal environmental legislation and fleshed out some specific mechanisms for fulfilling it and more. It deserved full consideration.

“Bill C-219 proposed ‘citizen enforcement’ provisions, removing barriers and authorizing individuals to take legal action against polluters when environmental laws are violated. Needed updates to parallel citizen enforcement provisions in the act were left out of Bill S-5, and by voting down Bill C-219 at second reading, Parliament missed another opportunity to examine this issue.

“During debate on Bill C-219, the government indicated that work is underway on a second Environmental Protection Act modernization bill. Removing barriers to citizen enforcement and implementing mechanisms to ensure the right to a healthy environment is upheld need to be prioritized and introduced at the earliest opportunity.”

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