VANCOUVER — The Ontario Court of Appeal today joined the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in ruling that the federal government has the authority to respond to Canada’s national climate emergency.
Today’s ruling was the second decision by courts to uphold the federal government’s ability to take national action on climate change, including setting a minimum price on carbon pollution.
“The courts are aligning with Parliament, Canadian municipalities and the public in confirming that national action is needed to tackle this climate emergency,” said David Suzuki Foundation science and policy director Ian Bruce. “There’s growing recognition throughout the country that Canada’s climate emergency must be met with national measures in line with the urgency and challenge of meeting our climate commitments.”
Ecojustice represented the Foundation in the reference case, which asked the court to weigh in on whether the federal government’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was constitutional. The Foundation, through our lawyers, was the only group to argue that the law could also be supported under Parliament’s power to deal with a national emergency.
“Canadians throughout the country are experiencing the increasing severity of wildfires, floods, heat waves and melting,” Bruce said. “Human-caused climate change is threatening Canada’s livability and increasing risks to health and the economy. From the courts to city halls to the streets, the message is clear: Concerted action at a national level is a key part of Canada’s climate response.”